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Sattha Riyapan and Austin Cohrs, both alumni of the Master of Public Health program in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine, discuss a poster being presented. The two men are at left in the photo, pointing toward a large research poster.

Master of Public Health (MPH)

MPH Practicum & Capstone Experiences

All students in the Penn State College of Medicine Master of Public Health (MPH) Program participate in both a practicum (internship) experience and a capstone project.

These requirements provide students with a unique opportunity to gain professional experience and apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real-world public health settings and real-time public health issues.

Applied Practice Experience

PHS 895: Master of Public Health Internship

The Penn State Master of Public Health (MPH) program requires that all students complete three credits of internship experience prior to graduation. Students complete their Applied Practice Experience at various domestic and international sites, and they work on substantive projects that both contribute to their growth as future public health professionals and help advance the mission of the sites at which they are placed.

The goals of the Applied Practice Experience are to:

  • Build and strengthen students’ public health practice skills.
  • Increase students’ comprehension of and analytical skills relevant to the field of public health.
  • Provide students with the opportunity to contribute to the field of public health in a substantive way.
  • Build students’ professionalism.

The experience provides students with the opportunity to gain professional experience and apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to real-world public health settings and real-time public health issues. The Applied Practice Experience is critical to students’ academic and professional development and their ability to become competent in the practice of public health.

Contact Us

Those working in the public health field who are interested in hosting MPH students by serving as preceptors should contact Julie Lentes at .


All MPH students will complete PHS 894: Capstone Experience in their final semester of the program. PHS 894: Capstone Experience serves as students’ culminating experience where students will utilize the information acquired from previous public health courses to design, carry out, and present a scholarly project through a paper and poster presentation.

Options for Your Capstone Project

  • Research project: Students conducting a research project will identify a problem to be studied, review the literature associated with the problem, collect data about the problem (quantitative &/or qualitative), analyze the data in order to either support or refute a pre-selected hypothesis or answer research questions, discuss the findings, present conclusions, and make recommendations based on the study. The resultant paper should suitable for publication.
  • Grant proposal: Students writing a grant proposal for a public health initiative will identify the problem for which the grant would be used, explain the significance, list the hypotheses/questions to be answered, review the literature associated with the problem, create goals and objectives, methods, create a time line and budget, and explain how the intervention would be evaluated. The resultant paper should be suitable for submission.
  • Other project: This category is an all-inclusive section for projects such as community outreach reports, evaluation of an intervention or interventions, policy analysis, evaluation of an existing program, written plan for a program or a manual. This list is not exhaustive, and the program will consider any projects that result in scholarly work.

Goals and Objectives

Upon completion of this course successful students will:

  • Compose a scholarly project
  • Identify appropriate literature through the use of varied library resources, public-domain repositories and Internet search engines to support their scholarly project.
  • Develop and organize complex ideas in a logical, orderly and well-written fashion.
  • Critique limitations while creating scholarly work.
  • Develop enhanced written and oral communication skills.
  • Interpret reviewer feedback and defend scholarly work.
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