Applied Practice (AP) Experience

MPH students demonstrate competency attainment through applied practice experiences.  The program assesses each student’s competency attainment in practical and applied settings through a portfolio approach, which demonstrates and allows assessment of competency attainment. It must include at least two products. Examples include written assignments, projects, videos, multi-media presentations, spreadsheets, websites, posters, photos or other digital artifacts of learning.

The UVa MPH Program takes an individualized approach to supporting students in Applied Practice (AP) experiences as students identify opportunities, engage in experiences, develop products, and attain competencies. AP experiences are tailored to the particular foundational and concentration-specific competencies each student chooses to achieve by graduation from the MPH program.

AP Experience Expectation

Students are expected to have 2 course credits of graded AP experience.  They must produce a minimum of two work products that are useful to the community partner and demonstrate the attainment of a minimum of five competencies, at least three of which being foundational.

Students are also required to complete the Professionalism in Community Engagement module and submit all AP forms.

AP Experience Structure

There are three types of AP experiences to choose from: Field Placements, Community-based Applied Learning Courses, and Global Applied Learning Courses.

  • Field Placements (internships with community organizations)
    • 1 credit (PHS 8901/2) – independent mentored field placement (about 50 hours)
    • 2 credits (PHS 8900) – independent mentored field placement (about 100 hours)
  • Community-based Applied Learning Courses (pre-approved UVA MPH courses focusing on particular topics in the local community)


Field Placements

If a student chooses to complete a field placement in or around Charlottesville, students are required to work with the AP Experience Coordinator to identify an appropriate local organization, based on the organization’s needs and the interests of the student.

For field placements at sites outside of Charlottesville, students are encouraged to explore available internships and/or organizations of interest to them, in consultation with the AP Experience Coordinator, and take the lead in securing a placement on their own.

Community-based Applied Learning Courses

In Community-based Applied Learning courses, students work as a group to accomplish a community-based goal under the guidance of a faculty member. The courses include didactic classroom sessions, individual and group projects, and meetings in the community.