What is a public health practicum?
The practicum is an optional 15-credit course taken in a student’s final year of study. It can be taken in the Fall or Spring semesters and consists of a 13-week full-time placement in a public health setting and focus area of interest.
In this course, students will engage in public health practice under the direction of a preceptor (a degree prepared professional [any discipline] in a practice setting) and work to meet course objectives with the support of a faculty advisor. This course will provide students the opportunity to work with organizations and community groups to address public health issues. Public health concepts will be explored through a scholarly project that provides a contribution to the work of the agency. Students will focus on the development of interdisciplinary core competencies for public health.
Why do a practicum?
A practicum placement provides students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field of public health and to link concepts and theory to real-world experiences. Students will be able to contribute to an agency’s work and develop personal confidence and skills as a public health practitioner. Choosing to do a practicum can help answer the questions, “What kinds of jobs are there?” and “What are my areas of interest and strength in the field of Public Health?”
To date, public health graduates (BHSc [public health]) who completed a practicum have reported higher rates of employment in comparison to those who chose to complete a course-based degree. A practicum placement provides a wonderful opportunity for public health students to develop professional networks, to gain practical experience and marketable skills.
Past Practicum Placements
Possible practicum placements include:
o Health Promotion Facilitation role
o Health Promotion Coordinator (Comprehensive School Health) role
o Community Development Facilitator
o Wellness Coordinator role
o Evaluation Assistant
o Health Information Analysis Assistant (Epidemiology/Health Surveillance) role
o Health Education/Chronic Disease Prevention roles
o Inclusion Assistant/Community Outreeach roles
o Health policy analyst role
o Health Protection Assistant/Communicable Disease Assistant role
o Food Safety Assistant/Food Inspector roles
o Research Assistant/Quality Assuurance Assistant roles
Please contact the Public Health Practicum Coordinator for an overview of practicum placements.
In order to prepare for your practicum, here is a link to the Practicum Placement Checklist. See the course outline for PUBH 4550 Practicum in Public Health.
For more information please check out the University of Lethbridge’s Public Health Student Handbook. You can find information about the practicum in Section 8 Optional Practicum (see p. 8-15).
Click here to read more about our past students' experiences!