Students in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program are required to complete fieldwork to meet degree requirements.
Since gaining practical fieldwork experience is an integral part of the MPH program, MPH students are required to complete 9 credits of fieldwork experience.
The fieldwork has two distinct components:
- Internship practicum: a real-world, applied practice experience (APE) that advances the mission of the fieldwork placement site and supports attainment of public health competencies [6 credits]
- Capstone project: an integrative learning experience (ILE) that demonstrates synthesis of foundational and generalist concentration (program-specific) competencies in the form of an independent, scholarly project [3 credits]
To be eligible and register for internship practicum and capstone project credits students are required to:
- Hold a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Have completed coursework in the five core areas*
- Have completed or be concurrently enrolled in PH 525: Epidemiology II: Applied Epidemiology
*Students enrolled in a 4+1 program must have successfully completed all coursework as outlined in their program plan for terms 7 and 8 to be eligible and register for the internship practicum and capstone project courses.
The 9 credits of internship practicum and capstone project coursework equate to 540 hours of practical fieldwork experience.
This requirement can be filled by either:
- a single-semester, intensive internship practicum and capstone project
two or more semesters of coursework with credit hours variably distributed; for example:
fall semester: 3 credits of internship practicum and 1 credit of capstone project
spring semester: 3 credits of internship practicum and 2 credits of capstone project
- NOTE: 1 credit hour represents four hours per week or 60 hours per semester; blocks of 3 credit hours equate to 180 total hours of fieldwork per semester or approximately 12 hours of fieldwork per week
Fieldwork for which academic credit is being sought must be approved by the MPH field placement coordinator or program director prior to registering for coursework.
Students may be placed in any number of agencies, including:
- local health departments
- public- or private-sector healthcare agencies
- governmental or non-governmental entities
- community-based organizations
Students should plan to meet with the field placement coordinator in their first year of study to discuss fieldwork ideas, areas of interest, professional goals and existing skills. The field placement coordinator will work closely with the student to secure a suitable fieldwork placement. Students are encouraged to seek out opportunities of interest to them and take an active role in this process.
An internship practicum at the student’s place of employment may be possible; however, students must discuss this option with the field placement coordinator or MPH program director to ensure the experience meets internship practicum requirements.
In most cases, the same MPH faculty member will serve as the student's faculty advisor and faculty mentor for the internship practicum and the capstone project. The faculty mentor oversees the student’s internship practicum, evaluates the student’s performance, and assesses the student’s academic progress in meeting internship requirements and attainment of competencies. The faculty mentor also guides the development of the capstone project, supervises the student’s work toward its completion, and assesses the student’s academic progress in meeting capstone requirements and attainment of competencies.
Transportation to fieldwork locations
Binghamton University assumes no responsibility for providing transportation for travel from campus to community agencies used for student fieldwork and other professional experiences. Students must arrange their own transportation to these sites. Some experiences may require students to travel a distance up to 150 miles from campus. In addition, there may be parking costs at some agencies.
Additional costs related to fieldwork
Students should expect to incur costs for additional items related to fieldwork and experiential courses. These costs are in addition to the standard University tuition and fees. Students will be charged a fieldwork management fee of $32.50 once per semester when enrolled in any of the following courses: PH 501, PH 502, PH 503 or PH 598.
Internship practicum and capstone project courses are graded as satisfactory or unsatisfactory. A grade of satisfactory is required to receive credit for the course and meet degree requirements.
Complete information about MPH internship and capstone (fieldwork) practicum is presented in the University Bulletin. (Select Academic Programs > Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences > Academic Programs > Public Health.)
Information is also presented in the Internship Practicum and Capstone Project: A Fieldwork Guide provided to enrolled students and accessible in this Google folder.
Students are encouraged to review this information carefully to ensure they fully understand all internship and capstone project (fieldwork) requirements.
Important info about COVID vaccines
Students entering MPH programs are required to complete fieldwork experiences. If the fieldwork experience occurs in a healthcare agency, specific COVID vaccination requirements must be met. At this time, and for the foreseeable future, all New York state healthcare agencies require that all employees (including students completing fieldwork experiences) be fully vaccinated for COVID. These agencies don't allow religious exemptions and have very narrow guidelines for medical exemptions. Any religious exemption granted by Binghamton University applies only to the University setting; it does not apply to off-campus affiliated activities such as fieldwork placements within Department of Health (DOH) regulated agencies. Students should be aware that if their fieldwork is in a DOH-regulated facility, they will need to comply with the facility’s COVID vaccination requirements or they will not be allowed to complete their fieldwork at these agencies. In those cases, students will need to seek an alternative location for their fieldwork.