Practice Experience

At GW, public health students gain practical skills and knowledge through a variety of practice experiences. GW’s extensive network of public health settings enables students to partner with the very top Washington, D.C., national or international health organizations and learn to apply academic knowledge and theory in real-world professional practice settings. Depending on the program and department, students participate in a combination of internships, a supervised Practicum project, residency, and/or culminating experience. In every program, students gain confidence and real-world experience through their practice experiences. 

View Epidemiology Past Practicum locations

MPH Epidemiology students complete a Practicum and a Culminating Experience as their practice experiences, described below. MS Public Health Microbiology and Emerging Infectious Diseases (MS PHMEID) students complete a Field/Lab experience and Final Project instead of a Practicum and Culminating Experience, and should refer to the MS PHMEID practice experience page, rather than follow the guidelines below.


In the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, the Practicum is a credit/no credit course where students engage in a Practice Activity - defined as a planned, supervised, and evaluated experience in a public health organization. The Practice Activity can be related to either primary research or public health practice and include activities such as conducting literature reviews, proposal writing, data collection and analysis. The Practice Activity enables the student to apply new skills in the context of public health, and must not be directly related to the student's day-to-day work. If the student does conduct the Practice Activity at his/her place of employment, this must be a separate activity for which the student is not remunerated.

Epidemiology Skills Building Modules

DEB Epidemiology and Biostatistics Skills Building Modules Blackboard Community

The Department of Epidemiology has determined that there are several skills essential to the practice of epidemiology that our MPH students should have.   Until this year, a required course, PubH 6261.10 was offered for MPH Epidemiology and Biostatistics students to acquire those skills.   This course has been eliminated, freeing up one credit which must be used and which students can use for electives. Thus, there is no need to register for PubH 6261.10.

The department restructured the skills building course into a series of online and on-site offerings to accompany the Practicum and the Culminating Experience (CE).    They are housed in Epidemiology Blackboard Community to efficiently provide these offerings to students in a series of learning modules.  Some of these offerings are optional, others are required.  There are also two on-site required activities for building career and oral communications skills.  All new Epidemiology MPH students will be included in the DEB Blackboard Community as they enter the program.   Current students who did not take the Department of Epidemiology Skills Building Seminar, PuBH 6261.10 will also be required to participate in the modules.

Culminating Experience

The Culminating Experience (CE) integrates the knowledge and skills students acquire through their academic work and the practice activity. It is a graded course in which students identify and define a specific public health issue and formulate questions to address that issue. Students work with data obtained through primary research or from an existing dataset. The process of proposal development, data analysis, interpretation and extrapolation of the results, culminates in a written report or manuscript, and an oral presentation.

Although it is not required, some students choose to link their Practicum and Culminating Experience so that the content of the selected Practicum is linked to the planning and interpretation aspects of the CE. Students may also choose to conduct a Practicum that is independent of their CE; in this case, a separate project needs to be identified for the CE.  Students can opt to do the Practicum and CE concurrently.  If, however, they choose to do the two courses sequentially, the Practicum must come first.

Epidemiology and Biostatistics Mandatory Practicum Orientation Session Information

All Epi MPH students planning to work on their Practicum are required to attend the mandatory Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Practicum Orientation Session.

This is a requirement that must be completed prior to starting the Practicum.

The orientation session is offered at the beginning of each semester. Specific dates and time for the orientation are announced on the Epi listserv. To subscribe to the Epi listserv, please send an email to with the subject link “Subscribe Epi”.


Please refer to the following resources and guidelines to complete the Practicum and Culminating Experience:

Practicum/CE Forms

Please visit the Milken Institute School of Public Health' practicum web pages for more information and to access the Practicum forms listed below. Click on the highlighted CE form to view or download it.

Student Practicum/CE Forms

The following forms must be completed by students to participate in the Practicum:

  • Student Profile
  • Student Practicum Plan
  • RTF Form - This form must be signed by your Practicum Director

The following forms must be completed by students at the midpoint and the end of the Practicum and Culminating Experience:

  • Midpoint Evaluation Form (Practicum)
  • Final Student Evaluation Form (Practicum)
  • Final Student Evaluation Form (CE)

These forms are located on GWork for Public Health.

Site Preceptor Practicum/CE Forms

The following forms must be completed by Site Preceptors to participate in the Practicum:

  • Preceptor Application
  • Practicum Site Application
  • Practicum Project Application

They can be found on the Information for Practice Partners page.

The following forms must be completed or signed by Site Preceptors during the Practicum and Culminating Experience:

Student Awards and Opportunities

Links to Other Practicum Resources

Information for Students Traveling Abroad

Students who are considering traveling abroad should contact their Practicum Director regarding forms that need to be completed.

Advanced planning and preparation are necessary for international placement.

Practicum and Culminating Experience Faculty and Staff

For general questions or questions regarding this website, please contact the Department of Epidemiology Practicum Manager:

Joseph Schmitthenner, MS
Practicum Manager and Co-Director
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
950 New Hampshire Ave NW 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20052
Office Telephone: 202-994-7154

To arrange a meeting with the Department of Epidemiology Practicum and Culminating Experience Co-Directors, please contact:

Joseph Schmitthenner, MS
Practicum Manager and Co-Director
950 New Hampshire Avenue
504 - 5th Floor
Washington, DC
Tel: (202) 994-7154
Fax: (202) 994-0082
Office Hrs: by appointment

Ann Goldman, MPH
Practicum Co-Director
950 New Hampshire Avenue
520C - Floor 5
Washington, DC 20052
Tel.: (202) 994-4581
Fax (202) 994-0082
Office Hrs: by appointment

Joseph Schmitthenner advises students with last names A - L.
Professor Goldman advises students with last names M-Z.