Division of Community Health and Humanities

Graduate Programs - Master of Public Health - Population/Public Health - Practicum Information

Practicum Information

The following outlines important information about your practicum, MED6710.

What is the practicum?
The MPH program is designed to offer a combination of academic and professional training in public health and create diverse experiences for its students. The professional training involves completion of a practicum in a public health work setting that allows for students to gain experience in a wide range of public health settings. The experience of the practicum assists students to develop core competencies in public health while allowing them to contribute to the community through a specific project or activity. This focus may include the following:
  • Health Promotion
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Non-communicable Disease and Injury Prevention  
  • Environmental Health
  • Community Development
  • Surveillance and Epidemiology
  • Public Health Management  
  • Healthy Public Policy 
Who has to complete the practicum?
All students registered in the MPH program (full-time and part-time) must complete a 12 – 16 week practicum, after all core courses have been completed. However students entering the MPH program with significant public health work experience may be eligible to do a “Capstone Project” in lieu of a standard practicum. Students interested in doing a Capstone Project should discuss this with the MPH Practicum Coordinator to determine eligibility. 
Do I have to register for the practicum?
The practicum MED 6710 is considered a course and part of the MPH curriculum. Therefore all students must register for the practicum, during the registration period, for that semester.
Are practicums paid?
Although some practicums may be funded, the majority are not. The organizations, who host MPH students for their practicum, are not obligated to pay the student.
How many weeks should a practicum be?
The practicum must be the equivalent to a minimum of 12 weeks to a maximum of 16 weeks.
Learning Contract
A Learning Contract must be developed by the student and his/her practicum supervisor and submitted to the practicum coordinator. This could be submitted anytime the student’s practicum has been confirmed. However, submission should be no later than the end of the first week of the student’s practicum
Course work during a practicum
At the start of the practicum a D2L site will be set up by the practicum coordinator. Each student must log in weekly and write a statement of each week’s experience. Students can read each other’s experiences and make comments. The Coordinator will be reviewing these submissions on a regular basis.

Your supervisor of the practicum, must submit a mid-term and final evaluation of the student(s) to the practicum coordinator. The mid-term should be approximately midway of the practicum and the final evaluation should be submitted on the last day of the practicum.  Your supervisor may send the report to the practicum coordinator themselves or send them to the student to forward on. Either way is acceptable. The mid-term and final evaluation forms can be found at the back of the syllabus.

A final report must be submitted and a presentation will be scheduled at the end of the practicum. The report should be no longer than 10 pages doubled space and is usually submitted approximately a week before the final presentation. More detailed information regarding the practicum report can be found on page 9 – 10 of the syllabus.

The presentation should be no more than 15 minutes and include no more than 10 slides. All students should attend all presentations. The presentations are usually scheduled over a two day period and arranged for a suitable time for the relevant year. Any student outside of the St. John’s area may conduct via YouSeeU.

Your final mark of the practicum will be based on the mid-term evaluation, final evaluation, final report and practicum presentation. A Pass/Fail will be submitted for each student. A “Pass” in all components is normally required for completion of the MPH program. 
Arranging a Practicum
The practicum is arranged by the practicum coordinator. The students will be given a catalogue with listings of all organizations used in previous years. Then the students are asked to submit their preferences. A student does not have to choose from the catalogue. In some cases a student may have a different organization in mind for their practicum. If the student’s choice, is in the MPH catalogue, we would prefer that the practicum coordinator make the initial contact. However if the organization is not listed in the catalogue the student may make the initial contact or have the practicum coordinator to do so. This decision can be made between the student and the practicum coordinator.

In some cases students may be working in a public health setting. This workplace CANNOT be used as a practicum. In such a case the student may be eligible to do a capstone project in lieu of the practicum.
How long does finding a practicum typically take
The time it takes to have a practicum confirmed is not the same for every student. Some students are fortunate enough to have confirmation early, however for some other students it could take months. There are several different reasons for this delay. There have been times that a student may not get confirmation until the last day of class in April. This does not happen often, but it does occur at times.  
If I am offered a practicum do I have to accept it?
If you are offered a practicum, but you do not want that location, than you can refuse it, but you have to be very careful in this decision, especially if you do not have a backup practicum. However, if you do accept it, and later you wish to apply for another, it would be inconsiderate to withdraw from the first practicum that you have already accepted. As this organization has already pushed forward to get you started. We do not recommend this to happen.

There have been some cases when a student may have applied to several organizations for practicums and the student may receive a one or two acceptances at the same time. It would be the decision of the student which offer he/she accepts.
Two day job shadowing

This experience is designed to expose you to a traditional community based public health worksite. It is primarily for those whose practicum is outside of this public health environment such as in a NGO, a municipal, provincial or federal government office etc.  At least 2 days of shadowing are required for students not working at a community-based worksite.  Public health practitioners that would be suitable include public health nurses, environmental health officers, health promotion specialists, community health nutritionists and epidemiologists.  You will be in an observer role. You may assist the public health practitioner if requested, and the task is something which you feel qualified to perform, otherwise you are expected to observe and make inquiries about routine activities, challenges and public health issues that the public health practitioner encounters on a daily basis.  


The following is a lists of organizations that have hosted students in the past. However, there are no guarantees that these organizations will continue to take students.

St. John’s and Metro
  • The Boys and Girls Club
  • The Canadian Cancer Society
  • The Canadian Red Cross
  • Community Employment Collaboration
  • Eastern Health Authority, Mt. Pearl, St. John’s (Cordage Place), Holyrood
  • Food First NL
  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation
  • Department of Health, Confederation Building
  • Department of Human Kinetics and Recreation, MUN
  • Safety NL

Corner Brook
  • The Canadian Cancer Society
  • Corner Brook Status of Women Council                    

  • Community Services and Recreation
  • Department of Health and Social Development
  • Sheshatshiu Innu Health

  • Department of Health and Wellness
  • Nova Scotia Health Authority
  • The Health and Stroke Foundation

  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation
  • Horizon Health Network

  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation (Ottawa)
  • Canadian Society of International Health (Ottawa)
  • Public Health Ontario (check online)
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (apply online) (Guelph)
  • National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools, McMaster (Hamilton)
  • Dilico Anishinabek Family Care (Thunder Bay)
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit (Thunder Bay)

  • Alberta Health Services (Edmonton)
  • The Canadian Cancer Society (Edmonton)

  • BC Ministry of Health
  • BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

  • Chief Medical Officer of Health (OCMOH)