USF students in classroom
Public Health, MPH

Applied Practice and Integrated Learning Experience

During the Master of Public Health program’s second year, we guide you through the culminating experiences that demonstrate key MPH competencies.

Gain real-world practice through the Applied Practice Experience (APEX) internships at public health-related settings throughout California and several other states. The APEX gives students direct, hands-on experience comparable to a career position that would be suitable for someone with an advanced public health degree. Regardless of their concentration, all our MPH students are required to complete 250 hours of applied practice. In place of a research-based thesis, students complete an Integrated Learning Experience (ILEX), a capstone paper that demonstrates synthesis of public health competencies.

250 hours of applied practice experience are required for all concentrations.

To support students as they prepare for and complete their culminating experiences, our MPH program offers:

  • Free self-directed three-semester APEX preparation course
  • Over 150 community partners who serve as APEX preceptors
  • Conversations with local leaders and experts from around the world
  • Resume-building and cover letter workshop
  • Faculty APEX Director to serve as students’ guide and resource
  • Support provided during one-on-one practice advising sessions with internship instructors and mentors
  • Health Professions Day, which follows a professional conference-style with poster and oral presentations made by graduating students

The MPH program has allowed me to build on experiences I had in the field and gain a better understanding of how the competencies work individually and cohesively. I have been able to directly use assignments in class with my work."

MPH Alumni '21

Become a Community Partner

If your organization is interested in becoming a USF community partner, please contact Dr. Dory Escobar at