All Rollins students, including those who have prior experience working in a public health setting, are required to complete a supervised practicum experience.
What is a practicum?
A practicum is a 200–400 hour work experience that allows students the opportunity to apply the knowledge they’ve learned at Rollins into a public health setting, like a nonprofit organization, hospital, local or state health department, or for-profit firm.
The experience will be supervised by an experienced field supervisor on the job site. In addition, the student’s ADAP and practicum faculty advisor (PFA) at Rollins will provide guidance and oversight for the practicum. Practica are a requirement for all Council on Education for Public Health-accredited schools and can be paid or unpaid, based on the situation.
Note: A capstone, thesis, or special studies project will not count toward the practicum requirement.
My position with the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) provided clarity on survey design methodology, survey analysis, and understanding what information can be produced for distribution to public and state officials. I also had the opportunity to utilize and improve my knowledge of SAS with the support of extremely knowledgeable practitioners at GDPH.
A Practicum Should
- Be a planned, supervised, and evaluated work experience that enables students to apply the knowledge they’ve gained at Rollins into a practical, professional public health environment.
- Take place after completing the first semester at Rollins (or at least 9 credit hours).
- Have well-defined objectives and a process to track and evaluate performance, competency achievement, and practical experiences. View examples of student practicum objectives.
- Be supervised by a qualified field supervisor (a public health practitioner qualified to evaluate the student’s professional competence).
- Meet at least one of the school’s core competencies and one of the department-specific core competencies. View core competencies
Rollins provides several sources to help you locate ideas for your practicum. View our suggestions for finding a practicum
Once a student has located a potential practicum, they should meet with their ADAP and/or program faculty advisor to make sure it is suitable and meets the guidelines mentioned above. Likewise, students need to meet with their site supervisor to discuss and construct objectives for the experience.
Several departments will require students to go through a pre-approval process before beginning a practicum. For example, the following departments require students to fill out a practicum form prior to entering information into the system: behavioral sciences and health education, biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, and global health. Students should check with their own departments to see what, if any, pre-approval is necessary.
Once the student’s supervisor has approved the practicum and objectives, the student may begin their practicum. The portal system will send the student and their site supervisor an email mid-way through the practicum and at the end of the practicum to remind each of key tasks. Though not required by Rollins, some employers prefer that students track their hours on a timesheet like this.