School of Public Health internships

Students in both undergraduate and graduate academic programs in the School of Public Health are required to complete an internship as part of their educational requirements to earn their degree.

Undergraduate student internships

The internship is designed to be a culminating portfolio development and service learning experience for students during their senior year. Through this experience, students will work through three core components of knowledge, action, and reflection that are essential to service learning. Students will complete a public health-related internship with clear, independent outcomes and objectives.

Three credits of field study are required for all SPH seniors and are arranged through the Field Studies course (CHS 494). Students in CHS 494 are required to develop a health-related project for their organization worth 100-hours. This will demonstrate the skills and range of knowledge our seniors have developed. Projects, rather than simply working at a site, provide a unique service to an organization and can be a strong addition to a student's resume. Field studies have provided our undergraduate students with valuable experiences that often lead to job offers and very positive letters of recommendation for graduate school.

Graduate student internships

According to the Council on Public Health (CEPH), "All MPH Students must have planned, supervised, evaluated practice experience; in a variety of settings, but especially state and local Health Departments; Preceptors must be qualified public health professionals."

The purpose of the internship requirement is to provide each MPH graduate with significant practical public health experience in a community-based agency outside of the University. While CEPH specifically mentions state and local health departments above, there are a wide variety of local organizations that would qualify for internship sites.

Students must register for a total of three credit hours of CHS 798, and complete 150 total work hours. This course should not be taken until the student has completed and passed the core courses in public health. Students must complete all applicable documentation and assignments at least one week prior to the last day of the semester.

Community agencies/prospective internship supervisors

The School of Public Health has recently launch an internship placement system called Sonia. Students, agencies, Preceptors (Site Supervisors), and the Field Office can manage the internship experience through this web-based platform.

Sonia features

  • Students can find internships, submit required student forms, create their project management plan, and submit timesheets
  • Preceptors can advertise internship opportunities, schedule interviews, complete student evaluations, and approve student timesheets

If you have taken students in the past, you most likely already have a Sonia account. You can simply go to Sonia Online.

  • Select your role as "site."
  • Your username will be your work email address.
  • To establish your password, just click "forgot password," and this will prompt you to create a password to log into the system.

If you are new to the internship process or cannot log in using the above direction, contact Melanie Flores ( within the Field Office to set you up with an account. The Field Office can also provide your site with technical assistance upon request.