When should I start looking for an internship?
It’s good to start thinking as soon as you start the MPH program, even though you will not be eligible to register for the internship until after your core coursework is completed. For students who enrolled in MPH Program Fall 2020 or after, the Professional Passport Interprofessional (IP) Practice Modules and IP Activities must be completed before you can complete the MPH Internship. The most beneficial internships are those that help you to gain experience in an organization or on a project relevant to what you want to do in your public health career.
What steps can I take to prepare for my internship search?
Upload your resume to Handshake, if you do not currently have a document approved in the system. It often takes students several rounds of revision before their document is approved. You can also review internship opportunities, even if you’re not yet ready to apply. While looking at these opportunities it’s important to ask yourself, “Am I interested in gaining this experience, and is it related to my department/program?” If your answer is yes, be sure to identify what skills sets are more important to doing well in the internship and be sure you’ve highlighted in your resume what makes you a good candidate. You can also set up an appointment with Meagan Butler, your public health career advisor with the UAB Career Center. The UAB Career Center assist with resume/CV review, setting up mock interviews, general career planning, determining the most effective job search strategies.
Can my internship be waived?
No. Waivers are not granted for the MPH internship course.
Where can I complete my Internship?
Applied practice experiences may involve governmental, non-governmental, non-profit, industrial and for-profit settings or appropriate university-affiliated settings. To be appropriate for applied practice experience activities, university-affiliated settings must be primarily focused on community engagement, typically with external partners. University health promotion or wellness centers may also be appropriate. Activities meeting the applied practical experience should be mutually beneficial to both the site and the student.
Can I complete my Internship at my current job site?
Yes. HOWEVER, your internship must still be public health-practice based AND it must go above and beyond what your normal job duties include i.e. your internship must be a separate project and/or additional activity. Your normal job duties will not fulfill the requirement. Please contact your internship coordinator if you have any questions.
How can I tell if my Internship is OK?
Ultimately, your internship advisor will decide if the internship meets the requirements for the MPH degree. In general, your internship should align with the MPH Internship objectives listed in the syllabus. Prior to completing the Internship Proposal Form in APEx, you’re encouraged to meet with and identify the activities of the internship with your internship advisor and preceptor; however, completing this information in the Internship Proposal form is your responsibility. The internship must allow the student to demonstrate the attainment of 5 MPH Foundational competencies. Students can align their internship to additional departmental competencies. The activities will describe what you will do in your internship to be sure you achieve proficiency in the competency you selected.
Who is my internship advisor for my internship?
Students completing their internship in Fall 2021 or later will need to consult with the MPH Syllabus or Contact page located on the website to identify your internship advisor.
What is the role of my internship advisor in my internship?
Per the Internship Proposal form, your internship advisor agrees to:
Assist the student in identifying organizations interested in participating in the internship program.
Review and approve the intern’s plan. Aid the student in outlining the objectives, competencies, and activities, if necessary, ensure that they meet CEPH requirements.
Advise the student if IRB approval is necessary.
Be accessible to students and the agency preceptor as needed during the period of field training. Discuss the student’s progress at least once midway through the internship.
Call the student for a conference whenever a potential problem appears to have arisen.
Remove the student if it is deemed that either the student or the setting is inappropriate.
Encourage the intern and the agency preceptor to provide constructive feedback regarding his/her academic preparation and the operation of the internship program.
Review the student's poster and poster presentation.
Evaluate the progress of progress towards overall goals and objectives of the internship, preceptor evaluations of student performance, student evaluations of internship experience, final products, and internship poster.
Assign a final grade (pass/fail) for the internship based on the final deliverables and evaluation.
What is the role of my preceptor (site supervisor) during my internship?
Per the Internship Proposal Form, your site supervisor agrees to:
Develop a job description along with the student intern before the internship begins.
Explain the structure and function of the agency.
If available, provide the student with space within the organization in which to work while doing the practice experience and include the student in agency/interagency meetings.
Introduce the student personnel within the agency and to representatives of other community agencies when relevant.
Provide direct guidance and supervision of the student during planned internship activities.
Notify the internship advisor and internship coordinator if any problem arises.
Provide a model of professional work habits and attitudes.
Maintain periodic contact with the faculty supervisor and student intern. Discuss the student’s progress at least once midway through the internship.
Evaluate overall student performance at the completion of the internship.
Can my preceptor (site supervisor) be the same as my internship advisor?
No, your internship preceptor should be different from your internship advisor. You preceptor will be overseeing and evaluating your performance with the organization during the internship. Your internship advisor helps you to connect your internship experiences back to your academic program and provides additional guidance for questions you may have while completing the internship.
Is permission required before registering for and starting the internship?
Yes. You cannot start your internship until you have registered for the course, and not before the first day of class for the semester. Note: Credit cannot be applied retroactively to work you have done prior to registering for the internship. Do not wait until the last minute to start this process. In order to have the hold lifted from the course, you must do the following:
- Secure an internship location
- Complete the Internship Proposal form in the APEx portal
- Have your internship advisor and preceptor electronically sign off on your Internship Proposal Form
- Once the signatures are on file, your program coordinator will be notified and your hold will be lifted.
How do I register for the internship course?
A hold will be placed on the internship course. In order to have the hold removed, complete the Internship Proposal form in APEx. Request that your internship advisor and preceptor log in to electronically approve this document. Once both approvals are on file, an email will be sent to your program coordinator. Your Program Coordinator will then lift the hold from the course. You will need to register for the 3-hour internship course, PUH 697/697Q, under your internship advisor.
How is my internship graded?
You will receive a Pass or No Pass grade for your internship. Your grade is assigned by your internship advisor based on completion of the internship requirements.
How much time do I need to spend on the internship?
Students are required to work at least 180 hours over the semester. This is an estimate of approximately 13 hours per week. However, preceptors can require the student complete additional hours. You should be fully engaged with your organization during that time. While internship projects may require you to occasionally travel offsite from the organization you are working with, you cannot work from home and count hours toward your internship unless you receive permission from your host organization.
The student is responsible for tracking hours using the Hour Log, which is located in the APEx Portal. At the end of the semester, the preceptor is asked to verify the number of hours completed by the student for the internship.
When can I start working on my internship?
You cannot start your internship before the first day of classes. In addition, in order to start your internship you must complete the following: Internship Proposal form, obtain electronic approval from your preceptor (site supervisor) and internship advisor, receive confirmation the hold has been lifted from the course, and register for the internship course.
Can I be “fired” from my internship position?
Yes, a student can be “fired” from an internship position. However, we request that any problems at a site be reported by the student or preceptor as soon as possible so that any issue can be resolved prior to taking the steps to remove a student from an internship position.
What are the final deliverables for my internship?
You will be required to do the following:
Submit a minimum of 2 products demonstrating at least 5 MPH competencies
Submit an evaluation of your internship
Create an electronic poster using the template provided and create a professional poster presentation video
Submit an hour log detailing the number of hours worked per week
You should also talk with your preceptor to be sure he/she completes the final evaluation in APEx. All documents will be able to be viewed by all parties. Any concerns you do not want to address in the evaluation of your internship should be brought to the attention of your internship advisor and/or your internship coordinator.
What is the internship poster presentation?
In addition an electronic poster, students are responsible for recording a poster presentation of their internship experience. Students should follow the instructions on the Poster Requirements page when creating their electronic poster and recording the poster presentation. The poster does not have to be professionally printed but the electronic poster and link to the poster video should be uploaded to APEx prior to the last day of classes the semester the student is completing their internship.
I’m an international student, do I have any additional requirements?
Yes. If you are a F-1 or J-1 visa holder, please be sure to read, understand, and follow the requirements stated on the Internship Polices and Procedures page in advance of your internship search. If you have any questions about your status or the requirements, please contact the International Scholar and Student Services office at 205-934-3328.
I’ve applied to several internships positions. Now what?
Most internships will have a deadline or end posting date. Do not expect to hear from the organization until after the deadline, if given. After the deadline for applications, most organizations will spend a week reviewing applications, a week to conducting interviews, and a week to notify applicants. Most organizations will only contact those that they are interested in interviewing for the internship position. This process normally takes several weeks. Be sure to apply early so you have adequate time to complete your initial paperwork, get approvals, and register for the internship course.
Should I expect to be paid?
It depends. The range for stipends or salaries varies widely depending on the organization. If travel and relocation are involved, students might expect some sort of compensation or stipend. Some organizations have a need for an intern, but are unable to provide a stipend. They normally offer something unique that students cannot find elsewhere.
What are the internship requirements?The focus of internship must be public health practice. The internship cannot be SOLELY clinical, research or administrative.
Internship sites may include governmental, non-governmental, non-profit, industrial and for-profit settings or appropriate university-affiliated settings. If the internship occurs in an university-affiliated setting, the internship must provide an opportunity for the student to interact with external community partners/stakeholders. University health promotion or wellness centers may be appropriate.
Work completed by the student should be reflective of an entry-level MPH professional.
The internship must allow the student to demonstrate the attainment of 5 MPH Foundational competencies. Students can align their internship to additional departmental competencies.
The student will demonstrate competency attainment by developing work products, which are tangible items developed by the student during the internship. Students must ensure all five competencies are represented in the work products they submit and must submit a minimum of 2 work products.
Students must submit an Internship Proposal form in APEx which will describe their internship plan and anticipated 5 MPH competencies. For each competency, the student will identify the work product which represents that competency and describe how the work product will demonstrate the competency.
Work products must mutually beneficial to student and internship site (i.e. the internship poster DOES NOT count as a work product).
Work described should be reasonable for the student to complete 180+ hours in one (1) semester.
When am I eligible to complete the internship?
You are eligible for internship after completing your core coursework. For students who enrolled Fall 2020 or after, you must also have completed the Interprofessional Modules in the Student Canvas Center and you must complete a background check before registering for your internship.