Skip Navigation

Health Policy and Management

Field Placement Experience

The second year field placement, which consists of full-time employment in the health/public health policy arena, provides an opportunity for students to apply their theoretical academic training in a professional health/public health policy setting, and gain skills essential to functioning as public health policy professionals.

Students may choose to pursue field placements in a wide variety of settings, including governmental agencies, consulting, advocacy, non-profit, research and professional organizations. Students are expected to take responsibility for locating and securing their field placement with the assistance of program faculty, staff, alumni, current students and employers.

Students can begin their field placements when they:

The minimum length of a field placement is nine months of full-time or full-time equivalent work. Many students begin their field placement employment immediately after completing their first year coursework in May, although students are not required to begin their field placements until the first day of the first term in their second year.

During the field placement, students are expected to chronicle their professional practice development in health policy/public health, as well as synthesize and integrate knowledge acquired in coursework through the completion of four (4) assignments:

Field Placement Goals

The goal of the field placement experience is to provide students with an intensive application of their academic training under the guidance of at least one senior level health policy/public health professional and the program faculty. Through the field placement experience, students will ascertain how health policies affect the public’s health and further develop their professional health policy competency. During the field placement experience, students are expected to accomplish the follow objectives:

Selection and Approval of Field Placement Sites

Students are responsible for securing their own field placement positions, with assistance and final approval from Program staff and faculty. Students are encouraged to utilize existing Program partnerships with health policy/public health related employers via alumni contacts, recruiters, and established networking contacts. Additionally, students are encouraged to identify appropriate placements on their own. Placements can be domestic or international. Field placement opportunities will be disseminated to students via the seminar course, via email, and/or in person. Students can complete an unpaid, volunteer work experience with an organization, agency, or faculty member in lieu of paid work experience. Students must submit an official field placement offer letter to the Program for final approval.

Selection and Approval of Preceptor

A preceptor is the individual who will:

A preceptor will be approved by the Program if:

The organization/agency will identify the preceptor for the student. The student is to provide the Program with the name, contact information and qualifications of the preceptor. The Program confirms the suitability and approval of the preceptor and is the main point of contact for the preceptor throughout the field placement.

Student Expectations

During the field placement year, students must:

Preceptor Expectations

The preceptors are responsible for the student’s professional development during the nine-month field placement experience. Preceptors should serve as advisors and mentors providing the student with regular feedback, as well as a challenging field placement experience to further develop the student’s health policy analyst skills. The preceptor’s responsibilities are to:

Benefits to the Preceptor

Expectations of the MSPH Program

Evaluation of Students’ Completion of the Requirement: Program

HPM faculty and staff oversee the evaluation of the field placement as a culminating experience. Students are required to complete four (4) assignments, one per term, as a means of evaluation. The assignments include a culminating paper, blending policy knowledge and theory from the year one coursework with real world policy application from the year two field placement and presenting their competency development in a culminating symposium. The field placement is graded Pass/Fail. Specific guidance and due dates for each assignment will be disseminated at the beginning of each term. Students are required to deliver two on-campus presentations in November and a culminating symposium in April. Specific dates for the on-campus symposiums will be disseminated at the beginning of the second academic year.

Evaluation of Student’s Completion of the Requirement: Preceptor

Each preceptor is asked for feedback on the student’s performance at the site visit. Additionally preceptors complete and submit an evaluation form to the program staff near the end of the students’ placement.

Evaluation of Employment Site: Student

Students will be given an opportunity to provide written or verbal feedback about the placement site to Program staff at any time during the placement experience. Program staff will solicit formal feedback from the students during the April culminating symposium.

Final Assignment Guidelines

There are four assignments throughout the field placement, two written assignments (1st and 3rd terms) and two oral on-campus presentations in the 2nd and 4th term. Assignment specifics are provided during the 4th term of the 1st year. Students are expected to return to campus in November and April as part of the field placement requirements.

For examples of field placement sites, please see our Careers page.