All Master of Public Health students are required to complete a 450 hour practicum. All Diploma in Public Health students are required to complete a 225 hour practicum. This planned, supervised and evaluated experience will usually be completed at the end of the student's program of study. Students have the option to complete their placements in the community of their choice in Canada or the U.S.A.  

Heather Ulmer, Practicum Coordinator
Tel: 250-721-6628

For additional infomation please review the FAQs.

What is a practicum?

The practicum is a course that provides you with an opportunity to integrate classroom learning and practice into a public health setting while supervised by a public health practitioner.  You will contribute to a community’s resources and to addressing a public health issue, while enhancing the knowledge and skills necessary to be a public health professional. 

What are the requirements for practicum?

Students must have completed all core courses in the MPH or Graduate Diploma program prior to commencing practicum and project/thesis.

All students must submit an application to complete their practicum placements two terms in advance of the practicum start date.

Students completing a practicum must submit a criminal record check to the School. Organizations hosting students may require proof of immunization, additional security checks, etc., as prerequisites to commencing the practicum placements. All costs related to these requirements and any other agency costs associated with practicum are the responsibility of the student.

When is the practicum course offered?

The PHSP 589 part-time practicum (1.5 units per term) is only offered in the September and January terms.

The PHSP 589 full-time practicum (3.0 units over one term) is only offered in the January term.

Where will I complete a practicum?

Most students choose to complete their practicum placements in their home communities; however, that option is based on the capacity of organizations within that community to host and supervise a graduate student. All students have the option to complete their placements in the community of their choice in Canada or the U.S.A.  

What are some key considerations for the practicum?

As you begin your program the most important consideration is to ensure you have set aside adequate time and space to complete the expectations of your practicum semester(s).  

If you are in the MPH program, you must complete a 450-hour placement with an organization. Most students complete this practicum in the January to April semester, a full-time commitment (35 – 37 hours per week). 

For MPH students who cannot complete their practicum full-time it is possible to apply for a part-time practicum over two semesters from September to April (16 – 18 hours per week). 

Since the goal of the practicum is to enhance and develop skills needed to function in a public health setting, it is expected you will be based primarily within a public health setting. This means you must be available during regular work hours to complete the requirements of your practicum.  Students are strongly discouraged from working full-time while completing their practicum.

When considering the commitment required to complete a practicum, keep in mind that you must complete an accompanying on-line course. In addition, unless you elect to complete a thesis you must also register in the Culminating Project Course (MPH students) or Culminating Major Paper ((Diploma students) concurrent with your practicum in the January semester. If you are planning to complete a thesis you are strongly encouraged to continue the development of your thesis proposal during the term (or second term) you are in Practicum. 

It is important to plan ahead as you enter this program so that you can make the arrangements necessary to complete the practicum and its concurrent coursework.  For example, if you are currently employed, you should begin discussions about time off with your employer as early as possible.

I am in the Graduate Diploma program – how is my practicum different?

If you are in the Graduate Diploma program you must complete a 225-hour placement based primarily within a public health setting in the January – April semester.

Will I be paid during my practicum?

Most organizations provide only unpaid placements opportunities. An organization may pay a stipend at their discretion (and ability to pay). Students will also likely be expected to pay for any additional costs of practicum—e.g.  immunizations, criminal record check, travel to and from the agency, etc. It is important for students to plan for the financial considerations that might arise from the practicum semester(s).

Can I complete my practicum at my regular workplace?

Students are expected to complete their practicum outside of their usual workplaces so they have exposure to new opportunities and experiences. While the practicum should normally take place in an organization separate from the student’s employer, the School of Public Health and Social Policy recognizes that this may not be possible for some students. If there is no alternative, workplace placements may be approved if they are outside normal workday responsibilities and supervised by someone other than their regular supervisor. A practicum must be different from a student’s existing job.  Academic credit cannot be earned for fulfilling the responsibilities of the student’s regular job.

Who should I contact if I need more information?

If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact Heather Ulmer, practicum coordinator at: