APEx: Practicum & EPR

Located in the nation's capital our students have access to local, national, and international organizations to apply their classroom knowledge in the real world. There's no better place to gain public health experience!

Throughout GWSPH's 25 year history, MPH students have completed their APEx at over 2,100 organizations across all 50 states; Washington, DC; Puerto Rico; and over 40 countries.

Applied Public Health Events

AY 23-24 Events TBD

APEx Defined

The Applied Practice Experience (APEx) is the applied learning experience required of all Master of Public Health (MPH) students as set forth by our accrediting body, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). "The applied practice experience allows each student to demonstrate attainment of at least five (5) competencies... the school assesses each student's competency attainment in practical and applied settings through a portfolio approach." (CEPH, 2018). All students at GWSPH must complete an APEx in order to graduate. 

At GWSPH, the APEx is an umbrella term for two tracks available for completion of this CEPH requirement, Practicum or Expedited Portfolio Review (EPR). Guided by your departmental Practice Team, faculty, and preceptors, you will be able to demonstrate the attainment of MPH foundational and program-specific competencies, learn from public health professionals from a range of public and private sector disciplines, and jumpstart your public health career (or career transition).

Resources specific to students and current and/or future preceptors can be found through the resource tabs on the side menu. 

Watch an APEx 101 session HERE.

Disclaimer: Information on this webpage supersedes any other documentation that may exist in regard to the APEx and/or EPR.


If you are new to the field of public health, the Practicum Experience serves as an important first step in a public health career, providing an introduction to the practical skills and experience necessary for a productive and fulfilling career. If you have had prior work experience, you will find that the Practicum Experience provides the opportunity to hone your skills or to gain new experience in a different area of public health. 

The Practicum Experience is a planned, supervised, and evaluated project in which students gain practical skills and knowledge via a 120-hour real-world work experience with community partners outside of GWSPH. During the Practicum, students will work under the supervision of their department’s Practice Team and a Site Preceptor to develop skills and confidence as a public health professional contributing to a community’s resources and to the solution of public health problems. 

Students will plan, submit, and log their practicum in the online practicum system, Handshake Experiences.

The GWSPH Practicum Experience 

Expedited Portfolio Review (EPR) 

MPH students with substantial public health experience relevant to their department/track may request an Expedited Portfolio Review (EPR) from their Practicum Director.

To be eligible, student’s must have worked full-time (as designated by an employer) in a professional public health setting that is relevant to the student’s MPH track/program that demonstrates the application of at least five MPH competencies across two work products that were produced prior to matriculation into the MPH program and are no more than 5 years old.

  • Students with an undergraduate degree are eligible if they have five (5) years or more of experience since obtaining an Undergraduate Degree.
  • Students with graduate degrees (Masters, MD, PhD, DrPH, etc.) are eligible if they have three (3) years or more of experience since obtaining Graduate Degree, and post-residency for MDs.

MPH students who believe they meet the work experience requirement need to discuss this possibility with their Practice Team within their first year of the program.