Public Health Internships

Pursuing a Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree can open the door to a variety of career opportunities. As part of a MPH program, students are required to participate in an internship to gain supervised work experience. In addition to the benefits of acquiring career-related experience before graduation, internships provide students with the opportunity to decide which environments and specialty areas fit their interests. Internship opportunities exist at the national and local levels, and may be in the private or public sector.

In most cases, if a program requires an internship, there is usually a professor that helps to coordinate internships. Some programs may have established designated sites that have previously agreed to accept students. In general, MPH programs offer suggestions for internships, but it might be the student’s responsibility to find an internship that meets the requirements for their program.

When searching for a MPH internship, the internet is the most accessible method of finding potential opportunities. Reputable agencies and organizations often list internship opportunities online, along with their requirements and application process. However, students should not neglect their school or department’s career center, as well as speaking with professors or their fellow students. Local agencies or non-profit organizations may not list possible opportunities online or regularly update information. A potential internship may be missed, if students do not inquire with an organization directly.

Many national organizations and large companies offer internships, and these opportunities offer the most diverse experiences. Federal government agencies and pharmaceutical companies are often good resources for internships in public health. Students with an interest in the areas of biostatistics, disease control and prevention, health care policy and epidemiology are likely to find relevant opportunities. Some programs may allow internships in on-campus research labs, as long as the research relates to public health. Professors in various departments, such as computer science, statistics and science may have on-going research projects that relate to epidemiology and medicine. Internships available through federal agencies and notable organizations can provide interested MPH students with opportunities to work on international and global projects that may be of interest to them, especially those interested in disaster management or global health.

Students that are interested in health education are more likely to find relevant opportunities with local non-profit organizations, clinics and health departments, or the local chapters of national organizations. These local organizations typically offer seminars and events that educate patients, students and the community on health-related issues. Students that are interested in careers that involve planning health events, leading groups and other forms of community involvement will find the most relevant internships with these organizations.

There are many opportunities for MPH students to find an internship in an area of public health. Students should start looking for internships early in their program by determining their interest areas and which organizations best fit their career goals.

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