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The information provided in this handbook is designed to provide students with the necessary information to plan for the public health internship experience.


The public health internship is a planned, approved, supervised and evaluated field experience in a professional agency involved in the delivery of public health related services. The internship is designed to integrate theory and practice in an applied setting under supervision. Students have significant contact with the agency and its personnel, and that most of the internship work is conducted on site.  Internships conducted solely under faculty supervision, such as research or laboratory work, are not acceptable for PHP 422.

The public health internship settings are generalist in nature and provide students opportunity to develop skills in one if not more roles essential to public health practice with individuals, groups, organizations, and communities. Student internship work is planned within the limits imposed by a given site’s mission, structure, and the modes of intervention that characterize its service delivery. Internships have been developed at sites within Central New York; however, not all are always available as agency resources to support the student intern vary each semester.

Placements Outside of the Syracuse Area

The public health major recognizes the value of potential internship placement opportunities outside of the Syracuse area to provide opportunities not available in Central New York or for students who wish to complete the internship closer to home. To qualify for PHP 422 internship placement outside of the Syracuse area, a student must:

  1. Complete a request process to complete an out-of-area placement.
  2. The student submits a one-page document to the internship coordinator that provides evidence in academic or co-curricular activities of the capacity to:
    • Set realistic goals
    • Work independently
    • Seek opportunities for learning or professional development
  3. The request is then discussed among the internship staff, faculty advisor, and other faculty as needed. Approval to seek an outside of Syracuse internship placement is awarded or denied based on the following:
    • Student meets with their academic advisor and/or internship coordinator to discuss interests and identify potential internship sites. The student is responsible for initial contact with the potential internship site. The initial contact seeks to gain agency interest and assess capacity to host a public health intern. The internship coordinator follows-up with agency personnel to further discuss the nature of the internship experience.
    • Final approval is dependent in part on the execution on a contract or letter of agreement between the agency and Syracuse University:

*Note: This contract process may take 3-4 months to complete. Placements must be finalized by May 1 (summer internship), December 10th (spring internship), or August 10th (fall internship). 

*Note: Letters of agreement may be used in cases when a student has been accepted into a formal internship program, and in some other cases where the agency agrees to take on liability for hosting the student. In cases of paid internship opportunities, offer letters may suffice.  

Academic Credit

PHP 422 Senior Capstone Internship carries two (2) to nine (9) academic credits based on concentration:  2 credits (90 hours) for Addiction Studies, 3 credits (135 hours) for Health Care Management and Health & Society, and 9 credits (400 hours) for Community Health Education.  The internship is completed over one (1) 15-week semester or one (1) combined summer session.

Preparing for PHP 422 Senior Capstone Internship

These steps explain the internship planning process:

Pre-planning: During Spring of Junior year, student enroll in PHP 375, a zero-credit pre-planning course needed to access PHP 422 planning tasks. The student will be notified via email when to begin the PHP 422 planning process.
Step 1:
  Prepare or update a professional resume. Consider making an appointment on Handshake to see Career Services staff who offer assistance with resume creation. 

Step 2:  Register for Tevera. You will need to visit the "PHP 375" course on your Blackboard. Click the link labeled "Tevera" and activate your student account. This will bring you to our internship tracking system where you will complete the following planning steps. 

Step 3:  Complete the PHP 422 Internship Application on Tevera and upload your academic transcript. Do not upload your resume yet.

  • To access the application and planning tasks: Tevera -> Site Placements -> Pre-application tasks -> apply for internship.
  • The submitted copy will be sent to your advisor’s Tevera account, and they will be notified via email.

Step 4:  Make an appointment to meet with your advisor to discuss semester of preference for PHP 422, your resume, your interests, and your plans post-graduation. 

Step 5:  Upload your advisor approved resume to Tevera. Additionally, make any corrections needed on the PHP 422 application and resubmit (if necessary).

Step 6:  Once you have met with your advisor, have uploaded your advisor approved resume and academic transcript, have completed any revisions to the application as necessary, your advisor must sign your application using the Tevera system.

Step 7:  You will be contacted by the Internship Coordinator via email when it is time to make an appointment to discuss potential internship sitesIndividual meetings with the internship coordinator for summer and fall intern candidates will occur in March and April.  Individual meetings for Spring internships will occur in September and October.  All internship placements go through the Internship Coordinators, and only the Internship Coordinators can approve a placement. Students do not contact sites themselves without prior approval from the internship coordinator.

Step 8:  After meeting with the internship coordinator, they will speak with and send your resume to agencies which match your interest area(s), current knowledge and skills, experience, etc., to determine which agencies are available to host and are interested in interviewing you for an internship. An interview is required for most placements. The opportunity to interview does not guarantee acceptance to intern with the agency. 

Registration for PHP 422
Registration for PHP 422 is by permission only. Students cannot register for PHP 422 until all planning steps for the internship are complete, including a finalized contract or letter of agreement.

Internship Experience

Internship work varies by site. Some sites are looking for interns with specific knowledge and skills and therefore placements are dependent on public health coursework completed and experience. Additionally, some sites have specific criteria related to GPA, concentration, and otherwise. 

Students are guaranteed a generalist public health internship. Opportunities specific to degree concentrations vary by semester. Broadly, site availability also varies by semester, and is dependent on community partners capacity to host and project availability during the anticipated internship semester. 

Not all work is appropriate for this internship. The internship must focus on public health practice. Some examples of appropriate internship work and deliverables include:

  • Health education and outreach [Leading education sessions, developing flyers]
  • Public health messaging and communications [creating social media posts]
  • Advocacy [writing policy briefs, planning town halls]
  • Needs assessment [survey development, data collection and analysis]
  • Surveillance [data management and analysis, writing data reports]
  • Program Planning and Evaluation [Intervention work plan, evaluation work plan]

Clinical and laboratory work are not allowable for this internship. Hospital and clinical settings are limited, competitive, and the internship work must have a public health focus.  

Internship Outcomes

At the completion of the public health internship, the student will demonstrate competency in entry-level public health generalist skills:

As demonstrated in the practice setting:

  1. Demonstrate professional workplace behavior.
  2. Communicate in oral and written formats appropriate to professional and academic settings.
  3. Interact with individuals, groups, and/or communities across diverse settings.
  4. Participate as a member of a professional workplace team.

As demonstrated by the capstone paper:

  1. Use conceptual frameworks, theory, and scientific evidence to shape public health practice.
  2. Evaluate and synthesize public health and other scientific information to improve population level health.
  3. Think critically about public health problems.

Selection of Internship Placement Settings

In selecting organizations as potential settings for internship placement, the Public Health Program looks for evidence of commitment to a learning environment for public health practice. The following represents some of the criteria utilized in the selection process:

  1. The acceptance of professional education for public health as part of the philosophy and practice of the organization by the board of directors, the executive, and the organization staff members.
  2. The degree of congruence between the organization’s policies and procedures and the philosophy and objectives of the public health program.
  3. The extent to which an organization fosters a climate conducive to student learning.
  4. The availability of qualified site supervisors.
  5. The willingness of the organization administration to release the site supervisor from other responsibilities to function as site supervisor to plan the student’s program, prepare for and hold supervisory conferences, and generally to supervise the student’s progress.
  6. The willingness of the organization to accept the student as a learner whose assignment must be geared to learning needs rather than the scheduling demands and workload of the organization.
  7. Student assignments must be flexible enough to maximize learning, neither too superficial nor too repetitive.
  8. The availability of adequate physical space and provision of adequate support services, office supplies, etc.
  9. The organization’s agreement to treat all information, including evaluations of students, as confidential.
  10. The organization’s willingness to allow the student to use the internship experience and other appropriate material, with confidentiality protected, in classroom discussions and assignments, including the capstone presentation.
  11. The organization’s willingness to allow the student to take part in staff meetings, in-service staff training, interagency conferences and such other education opportunities as might arise.

Employed Placement Policy

If a student wishes to request a placement in an agency in which he/she will be simultaneously employed, the following minimal conditions must be met:

  • The organization possesses an interest in an opportunity for public health practice.
  • An individual must be available as site supervisor, subject to the approval of the Department of Public Health. The site supervisor may not be the same individual who supervises the student in the work setting or has supervised the student in the past.
  • The proposed internship placement activities and requirements must differ significantly from previous or current employment responsibilities in the agency.
  • The proposed internship placement assignment must meet curriculum requirements.

Students who wish to secure an employed placement meet with the internship placement coordinator to discuss their learning interest and goals. The constraints of an employed placement are reviewed and other options available to the student are discussed. Once it is determined that an employed placement is the best option for the student, the faculty advisor and internship placement coordinator make final decisions regarding employed placements.

Roles and Responsibilities

Agency Role

The agency’s role is to help students develop public health skills. Progressive increases in tasks and student involvement should occur as the student’s workplace skill proficiency and knowledge of the agency increases. Tasks for students may involve data collection, writing informational brochures, program planning and program development, implementation assistance, evaluation of conferences or programs, and direct contact with community clients. The agency must  have the capacity to provide meaningful work in which a student can be productive by applying skills or learning new ones, and by providing supervision and guidance consistent with a student’s needs and progress. Public health interns are productive assets, capable of assuming responsibility and fulfilling tasks. The internship experience also provides the agency an opportunity to observe the student as a prospective employee.

All public health interns design and implement a capstone project that demonstrates a contribution to the placement agency and public health. The agency must have the capability to support this requirement. The agency site supervisor, along with the internship placement coordinator, will assist in guiding the process.

It is further understood that the organization serving as the internship placement site will:

  • Provide a site supervisor who possesses the knowledge, experience and skills necessary for public health placement.
  • Allow the site supervisor minimum time as deemed appropriate to dedicate time to a student each week for individual supervision.
  • Allow the site supervisor time to attend other meetings as requested by the student and/or the internship placement coordinator and the capstone presentation as appropriate.

Site Supervisor's Responsibilities

Prior to the beginning of the internship:

  • Participate in the formal communication processes with the internship placement coordinator and student prior to student initiation of the experience.
  • Prepare a schedule outlining job duties and supervision before the student begins the experience.
  • Participate, if appropriate, in the students’ interview process.

During the internship:

  • Plan an orientation for the intern to the agency’s physical setting, policies, services, and links with other service delivery systems in the local community, region, state, or nation.
  • Provide clear communication to the intern regarding day-to-day expectations.
  • Enrich the intern’s learning opportunities through carefully selected educational experiences.
  • Hold a supervisory conference (with the student) of at least one hour of “protected time” per week, in addition to “normal” interaction throughout the weeks.
  • Assess regularly the intern’s level of knowledge, educational needs and interest in collaboration with the internship placement coordinator.
  • Review and sign the student’s time sheets.
  • Participate in the evaluation of Intern Performance:
    • Situations in which the student’s performance brings into question the student’s ability or willingness to meet minimally acceptable standards are communicated to both the student and the internship placement coordinator. Obvious examples are erratic attendance patterns, failure to keep appointments or other obligations, inappropriate behavior in the professional role, violation of the ethics or laws, and refusal or failure to carry out policies or procedures that are vital to the organization’s functioning. It is especially crucial that any performance deficiency be brought to the student’s attention as soon as it has been observed. Only in this way do the student and the site supervisor and internship placement coordinator have full opportunity to initiate timely corrective steps.
    • Provide the internship placement coordinator with a written evaluation of the intern’s performance at the mid- and end of term. PHP 422 Internship Evaluation Forms will be provided in advance to the site supervisor.
    • Discuss the mid-term evaluation with the intern and internship placement coordinator at a scheduled meeting.
    • Intern activities which may be evaluated may include but are not limited to review of work products (brochures, education materials, literature reviews), oral presentations, participation in group meetings, and fulfillment of daily responsibilities.

Intern Responsibilities

Prior to the beginning of the internship:

  • Complete pre-planning steps, as outlined in “Preparing for PHP 422 Senior Capstone Internship” section in this handbook.

During the internship:

  • Engage in public health practice, in accordance with professional and ethical values of the field.
  • Completion of all PHP 422 assignments as stated in course syllabus.
  • Completion of required internship hours. Students who do not complete at least 70% of their required hours will receive an “F” grade in the course. 
  • Actively communicate with internship coordinator to discuss any concerns or issues with the internship placement and/or academic assignments of PHP 422.
  • Participate in regular conferences with their site supervisor, focusing on student learning and application of public health concepts.
  • Take responsibility for acting as a member of the placement organization and participate as a responsible member of the staff, with particular attention to timekeeping, professional demeanor, and communication with site supervisor.
  • Understand and act accordingly based on placement site policy regarding confidentiality, use of materials, etc.

Faculty Advisor Role

  • Mentor advisee throughout academic career to help identify interest areas that will help shape internship placement.
  • Review professional resume and approve PHP 422 application during PHP 422 planning phase.
  • Act as consultant to internship placement coordinator.

Internship Placement Coordinator Role

  • Mentor student throughout academic career to achieve career goals and provide guidance and support relative to the students’ potential.
  • Develop internship opportunities through contacts in practice and service activities.
  • Arrange for placement of students with agencies congruent with student career and/or academic interests, and ability level.
  • Serve as a liaison among the student, the internship site and academic advisor.
  • Conduct periodic internship site visits.
  • Meet or communicate with the student intern throughout planning and placement to facilitate a successful and productive placement experience.
  • Evaluate students’ attainment of internship objectives.
  • Grade student portfolios and capstone projects.
  • Instruct PHP 422 seminar classes.

Internship Grading Policies

Grading Policy

The Internship is a supervised and evaluated experience. Students complete the service hours as scheduled with the site and student performance is considered in the assignment of the grade. In addition, internship related assignments and performance are graded and included when assigning an overall course grade. 

Grading Standards

The internship is evaluated as a 'pass/fail' course requirement. To 'pass', students must earn a grade of 'pass' for the internship requirement.

To receive a grade of 'pass' for the internship, students will

  • Adhere to the student expectations for the internship (see preceding section).
  • Receive a “Pass” on the early alert and final performance evaluations.
  • Complete at least 70% of the service-learning hour requirement.
    • Students who complete 70-79.9% of the required hours will face a 30% grade penalty on all “practice” assignments, per the syllabus.
    • Students who complete 80-89.9% of the required hours will face a 20% grade penalty on all “practice” assignments, per the syllabus.
    • Students who complete 90-99.9% of the required hours will face a 10% grade penalty on all “practice” assignments, per the syllabus.

Student Expectations and Responsibilities

  • Behave professionally:
    • Observe the public health program policies on appropriate attire for field work.
    • Punctuality: arrive on time and don’t leave early.
    • Adherence to service schedule. Provide a minimum of 24 hours’ advance notice of absences.
    • Keep all cell phones, iPods, and other electronic devices not pertaining to your service activity turned off and out of sight.
  • Participate in required training/orientation sessions.
  • Use formal names/work titles unless directed otherwise.
  • Fulfill all hours and complete assignments/projects.
  • Respect the policies and expectations of the site, especially in regard to confidentiality.
  • Serve in a manner which preserves the reputation and integrity of Syracuse University.

Termination from site

  • Students who are dismissed for reasons of unprofessional conduct will receive a course grade of ‘F’ and will not be assigned to another site.
  • On occasion, sites may not be able to accommodate the student for the full hour requirement. In these situations, students will be assigned to another site to complete the service requirement.

Internship Planning Timeline


Orientation meeting for Summer, Fall, and following Spring internships.


Meeting with academic advisor. Internship application, resume, and transcript submitted to Tevera.


Confirmation of eligibility for Summer and Fall registrants. Follow-up meeting with internship placement coordinator scheduled for all Summer and Fall internship students. Agency interviews completed.

May (Summer), August (Fall), December (Spring)

Internship placements confirmed.

September to October

Follow-up meeting with internship placement coordinator scheduled for all Spring internship students. Agency interviews completed.

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