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Nutritional Sciences Program

MPH Practicum in Nutritional Sciences

All MPH students in Nutritional Sciences must complete a practicum as required by the School of Public Health.

Nutritional Sciences Practicum Faculty Advisor

Anne Lund, MPH, RD
324 Raitt Hall

School of Public Health - Assistant Director of Student Affairs

Amanda Graybill-Pennington, MPH
F350 Health Sciences, Box 357230

Student Learning Objectives:

    Students will:

  • gain practical field experience in an organization, agency, or community that provides planning or services relevant to public health
  • develop skills or competencies learned in the academic program by applying them in a public health practice setting
  • acquire practical skills that are useful to public health professions and are not available through academic instruction
  • link academic training to the core functions of public health practice
  • understand the political, economic, social and organizational context within which public health activities are conducted
  • gain exposure to an organizational and/or community context for public health activities

Practicum settings

The placements should be representative of the kinds of work settings in which MPH students might be employed in their professional careers. These might include local, state or federal public health agencies, or non-governmental agencies engaged in health promotion or policy development.

  • The site enables the student to develop further and apply specific skills or competencies learned in the academic program (e.g., assessment, program planning, evaluation, management, data analysis, policy development, etc.)
  • The site provides a supervisor who is willing and able to spend regularly scheduled time with the student and provide guidance. In addition, the site supervisor should have a population health perspective.
  • The site should afford the student regular/daily contact with public health practitioners.
  • The site supervisor exhibits a willingness to gradually increase student responsibility and independence over the duration of the practicum experience.
  • The site exhibits a willingness to provide support, ranging from a desk and a phone, to stipends or salary, transportation and lodging.
  • The site is a good match with the needs of the student.
  • The site offers a uniquely valuable experience.

Credits and Time Commitment

The Nutritional Sciences MPH program was approved with a practicum requirement of at least 240 hours working in the field under the supervision of a qualified professional. In addition students spend 80 hours preparing for the experience by reviewing documents and literature and completing an Organizational Profile and Analysis. The Organizational Profile and Analysis is part of the SPH Student Written Assignment. In total MPH Nutrition students will complete 320 hours of work (6 credits) on their practicum.

MPH Nutrition Students (Not in GCPD)

  • Complete the practicum any time after the first year of courses (see Preparation below).
  • Register for 6 credits of NUTR 595.
  • The practicum (and credits) can be completed during a single quarter or spread over multiple quarters.

GCPD MPH Nutrition Students

  • Complete the practicum during the Practice Experience (PE, 2nd year).


Students should not begin a practicum before completing at least three quarters of academic work. Before the practicum students need to acquire some understanding of the core functions of public health – assessment, policy development and assurance, basic analytical skills in epidemiology and biostatistics, and master core concepts of the science of nutrition.

Coordination and Timeline

The Nutritional Sciences Practicum Faculty Advisor will assist students in identifying potential practicum sites. All communication between the Nutritional Sciences Program and the Practicum Site should be directed to the Faculty Advisor.

  • Before pursuing a practicum project, students will arrange a time to meet one-on-one with the Nutritional Sciences Practicum Faculty Advisor (Anne Lund) to discuss their practicum placement. Since students must complete 3 quarters of course work before beginning the practicum, this meeting will be during the spring quarter of the first year at the earliest. GCPD students meetings will be scheduled in the fall of the second year.
  • Students will outline their project and the deliverables on the practicum learning contract.
  • Before collecting your site supervisors signature, email your learning contract to Nutritional Sciences Practicum Faculty Advisor for approval of the scope and nature of the project. The Faculty Advisor will modify (as necessary) and return it to you.
  • Have your site supervisor approve and sign the form.
  • Have Nutritional Sciences Program Faculty Advisor sign the form.
  • Make two copies of your learning contract. Keep one for your records, give one to the Graduate Program Assistant (GPA) for your nutritional sciences folder and send the original to the SPH Assistant Director of Student Affairs.
  • Once the SPH Assistant Director of Student Affairs receives your completed Learning Contract, she will initiate a contract with the practicum site. This contract may take a few weeks and must be in place before you start at the facility.
  • Complete your practicum project. Periodically report on your progress to the Faculty Advisor (at least quarterly).
  • When the project is finished have your site supervisor fill out and review the Site Supervisor Evaluation Form with you.
  • Complete the SPH Student Written Assignment and Power Point Poster.
  • Submit Site Supervisor Evaluation Form, the Student Written Assignment and Power Point Poster to both the Nutritional Sciences Practicum Faculty Advisor for grading and SPH Assistant Director of Student Affairs for poster printing. Students not completing all aspects of the practicum during the quarter they register for credits will receive an incomplete until the work is finished.
  • The Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program Assistant (GPA) is responsible for reviewing student files to make sure all necessary administrative requirements are complete and providing the SPH Assistant Director of Student Affairs with all necessary student information for data entry into the practicum database.

    The SPH Assistant Director of Student Affairs is responsible for the administrative aspects of the SPH practicum program. The SPH Assistant Director of Student Affairs is also responsible for:

    • Maintaining and tracking practicum forms
    • Initiation, processing and tracking of affiliation agreements
    • Responding to requests from community sites
    • Coordinating, staffing and providing quarterly reports to SPH MPH Program Steering Committee
    • Coordinating the annual Practicum Reception and Practicum Panel
    • Revising student and site supervisor’s practicum handbooks
    • Advertising new opportunities to students
    • Managing the SPH practicum website
    • Maintaining the SPH practicum database
    • Serving as point of contact for agencies interested in mentoring students.


    There will be an evaluation of the practicum experience by the site supervisor, the student and the Faculty Advisor. The site supervisor evaluation form can be found on the SPH website.

    Practicum Relationship to Thesis Research

    A field experience could serve as the basis for both the practicum and a thesis. However, neither requirement should be diluted simply to allow them to be combined. A field setting could suggest a line of research that might lead to a thesis topic, or begin the process, but combining the practicum and a thesis is neither required nor expected.

    Updated November 20, 2012


2014 Graduation & Commencement Events

Johanna Lampe honored with Senior Investigator Award
Dr. Lampe received the American Society of Nutrition's Mary Swartz Rose Senior Investigator Award in honor of her outstanding research on the safety and efficacy of bioactive compounds for human health. more>



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