Individuals from varying educational backgrounds are drawn to the dynamic and rewarding field of public health for a variety of reasons and find themselves working on a diverse range of issues. It is an exciting and growing field of study which challenges its professionals to confront complex health issues. The scope of work extends from the local level, to the national scene, to global communities. The field of public health promises excitement, stimulation and fulfillment. If you’re interested in improving access to health care, controlling infectious disease, protecting the health of the public or reducing environmental hazards, among many other options, public health is the field for you.
The School of Public Health internship program remains the national model for practice-based public health education. The School offers a wide variety of internship sites for students in every concentration, and as a requirement for the interdisciplinary program, students must rotate through diverse areas of public health practice.
The School of Public Health at the University at Albany is unique from other public health programs because we maintain a close relationship with the NYS Department of Health (DOH), giving students the privileged opportunity to embark on internship experiences there. While providing valuable, practice-based experience, these internships also give students a chance to network in the field. Each semester internship opportunities at DOH, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, county health departments, and private sector businesses, among others are made exclusively available to the School’s student body. Students also have the option to find other professionally fulfilling opportunities through the School’s long-standing relationships with other organizations, alumni, and international/global health office.
Acquiring an Internship
At the start of the first year, informational sessions are held regarding how to learn about and acquire an internship. A student’s first internship experience is often during the summer after their first year of coursework, after the completion of all core course requirements. During the first year, students are asked to develop and submit a professional resume to the Internship and Career Services Office. Students are supported in this effort through the Internship Coordinator, and through a number of informational sessions held throughout the year focusing on resume writing, interview skills, and professional conduct. During the Spring term, internship proposals for the summer are posted for students to view. Students are asked to review the internships, discuss various options and possibilities with their academic advisor, choose several that they are interested in and submit these choices to the Internships and Career Services Office by a certain date. Student resumes are then submitted to the host organizations that are seeking interns. Students will be contacted directly by mentors at these organizations for interviews at which students are expected to act and dress in a professional manner. Once students have acquired an internship, they work directly with the Internship Coordinator and their mentor to register for the internship and to fulfill all of the internship requirements.
More information about the internship selection process can be found in the MPH Internship Handbook.
MPH Degree Requirements
The internship component of the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is viewed as the culminating experience of your graduate academic program. It is designed to provide a meaningful opportunity for you to integrate knowledge gained during academic coursework in a professional public health setting.
In order to be eligible to register and begin an internship, students must have completed at least one full year of coursework, which includes completion of at least 4 core courses, and hold a GPA of 3.0 or better. For part-time students, at least 24 credits toward your degree need to be completed.
The MPH degree requirements are extensive and total 9-credits or 720 hours of experience. The 9-credit requirement can be filled by various combinations of 3-credit (240 hour) internships. Many students choose to do a 6-credit internship during the summer after their first year which involves working 40 hours/week for a period of 12 weeks and then a 3-credit internship during either the Fall or Spring semester which involves working 20 hours/week for 12 weeks. It is also possible for students to complete three 3-credit internships; one each during the summer, fall and spring semesters. Internships allow for flexibility and individual student circumstances can be accommodated.
However, at least 6 credits of internship have to be completed within the student's chosen area of concentration. The additional 3 credits of internship may also be completed within the student's area of concentration, or it can be completed within a different concentration, but all 9 credits may not be completed within the same setting or with the same mentor.
Up to 6 credits of internship experience may be waived for students with significant past public health experience. For more information on internships and internship waivers, please see the Internship FAQ’s
MS Degree Requirements
Internship requirements for the MS degree vary slightly depending on which department and concentration the degree is being completed in. For more information, students should contact the academic department.
Where do I go for more information on internship opportunities?
If you are a student and would like more information on possible internship opportunities you may visit the Internship and Career Services Office in the Student Affairs Office and arrange to meet with the Director of Internships and Career Services in Room 117 at the School of Public Health. The MPH Internship Handbook also provides a comprehensive description of the internship process at the School of Public Health.
If you are mentor or would like to become a potential mentor please contact the Director of Internships and Career Services for more information.
Please note: These internships are restricted to students currently enrolled in the School of Public Health.
Katrina L. Chamberlain MS, MPH
Director, Internships and Career Services