Practice-based learning combines the current and innovative educational curriculum of the school’s academic degree programs with real world experiences. Colorado School of Public Health students apply classroom lessons in the context of solving current public health issues facing our communities. Throughout the program, students network with potential employers, develop essential career-building skills, and start the process of life-long learning and professional development.

Master of Public Health students are required to complete a practicum and a capstone project as part of their Practice-Based Learning. Students may complete their practicum and capstone project with the same organization or individual or with a different organization or individual. The practicum and capstone can be completed anywhere in the world. The practicum should be completed before the capstone, or they can be completed concurrently. Following the completion of the capstone experience, students give professional oral and poster presentations at the Public Health Forum, held each semester.

Kendra Bigsby is the lead contact for practicum coordination for the Colorado School of Public Health at Colorado State University.

Students should contact their assigned faculty advisor with any questions regarding their capstone project.


The MPH practicum experience provides students with practical experience in a public health setting. The practicum is intended to support student growth, while connecting and contributing to community needs.

All MPH areas of study in the Colorado School of Public Health require students to successfully complete a practicum experience. Students work with the practicum coordinator and faculty to find an appropriate site to complete a minimum of 120 field hours in their chosen area of study.

Practicum Video Series

Practicum Objectives:

  • Apply classroom theory, knowledge, skills, and techniques to a professional work setting;
  • Enhance and develop new skills needed to function as a professional in a public health setting;
  • Work on a specifically defined public health problem or issue that is salient to the preceptor site;
  • Participate in a setting that allows the student to explore future career directions;
  • Engage in professional self-assessment and personal reflection;
  • Build a personal network of professional leaders in public health;

Practicum sites may include health departments or other governmental agencies, medical centers, community-based organizations, related private industry, community-based research projects, or research centers. Sponsoring sites designate a qualified member of their staff to serve as the student’s preceptor. Preceptors guide the student’s experience on site, helping him/her think critically about the meaning of activities, while facilitating interactions with staff and community members.

World Health Organization Student Opportunities

The ColoradoSPH at CSU has established relationships with the Headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO), based in Geneva, Switzerland, in multiple departments and programs. It also supports student experiences elsewhere within the WHO at local offices.

Learn more about WHO Internship Opportunities.


For MPH students, the culminating academic experience for their program is a capstone project that benefits the community or a particular target population. Projects contribute meaningfully to the current body of knowledge in the field and may include, but are not limited to, creating a program plan or evaluation, summarizing data findings, developing policy recommendations, designing an online tool, teaching health education classes, and many other possibilities.

The goal of the capstone project for the MPH student is to connect all aspects of the curriculum, including seminars, lectures, course work, independent studies, projects, and direct experiences, to establish an understanding, appreciation, and working knowledge of public health practice, and specifically, how their particular concentration enhances public health practice opportunities in Colorado, the nation, and the world.

The project, which consists of a paper and professional oral and poster presentation, relates to the student’s academic goals and professional interests and demonstrates their ability to work independently at the master’s level.

While completing the capstone project through CSU, students enroll in a two-credit capstone course and are assigned a faculty advisor for ongoing support and guidance throughout the process. Students present their work at the CSU Public Health Forum at the end of the semester.

Capstone Poster Templates are available for student use.

Capstone Packet