For Faculty and Staff.
For Faculty and Staff Advising Practicum Students
See below the most common topics that students ask about. Additionally, the Career & Practicum Office is here to support you:
- For practicum questions, contact email@example.com.
- For career questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
General Advising and Related Resources
Tips for Advising Undecided Students
Use our Career Planning Guide while working with students who are undecided about career paths that might be right for them. The first two sections focus on a) Self-Assessment, and b) Researching the Field and Narrowing Down Options. Once a student has completed these first two sections, a good supplemental activity is for them to conduct informational interviews in the field.
Another way for students to get acquainted with their career options is to read our weekly Career & Practicum Update newsletter which features where new grads are landing jobs, “hot” job and practicum postings, upcoming employers on campus, workshops, external networking events and general career tips.
Advising Students on Course Selection
In preparation for your meeting, ask the student to bring a few sample job descriptions that they may want to target post-graduation (the more detailed, the better). Based on these descriptions, work with the student to identify the knowledge, competencies and skills that they already have. Next, identify the knowledge, competencies and skills that they don’t have (or need to hone) to be more marketable. From there, suggest classes that will fill these “gaps”.
Required Career PREP Course
All MPH students must complete our Career PREP course which is a zero credit, pass/fail course. Like any course, students can register on Student Link for PH746. To accommodate student schedules, we offer this both in-person as well as an online format. Encourage students to take the required Career PREP course as early as possible so they can gain knowledge and techniques not only for their practicum search but also for their job search. Students may complete this requirement any time during their MPH program. Note: There is NO waiver available.
Resume, Cover Letter and LinkedIn Reviews and Interview Prep
- Drop-In Hours – Visit the SPH Calendar for Dates/Times
- VMOCK, our online resume review tool (available only to current students only)
- LinkedIN Photos – walk-ins welcome in Talbot 2 East
- Mock Interviews – email email@example.com for an appointment OR use our video-based Big Interview Tool available 24/7. Create your password and then answer the profile questions.
- Interview Strategies Guide
Current Practicum & Job Postings and Other Resources
The Career & Practicum Office cultivates relationships with hundreds of practicum host sites and employer organizations. All current practicum and job postings are in our Handshake job board for students to access. These postings are vetted and updated daily, and expiration dates are noted on each posting. Handshake is the #1 place where students should look for postings and submit applications. Other resources include:
Employers and Alumni on Campus
- The Career & Practicum Offices hosts over 100 employers and alumni on campus each year. Visit Handshake for Upcoming Dates.
- Employer Info Sessions – Fall and Spring
- Annual Career and Practicum Fair – March
- Annual Alumni Network Express (co-sponsored with Alumni & Development Office) – November
- Note: Students should also join the BUSPH Alumni LinkedIn Group to network online.
MPH Graduate Employment Data
- MPH Employment by Certificate
Advising International Students
Career/Job Search Advising for International Students
Many international students hope to find a job in the U.S. after they graduate. Most students are on F1 visas which allows them to conduct Optional Practical Training (OPT) for one year after they graduate (they must apply via the BU International Students & Scholars Office.). Students who are completing certificates in Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Environmental Health, and Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials are also eligible for an additional length of time under the government’s STEM rule (currently an additional 17 months). See job search strategies for international students seeking positions in the United States.
International students must know their visa status at all times, and it can vary by visa type. We encourage students to meet with an ISSO representative early in their time here to learn the regulations, requirements, timelines, etc. The BU International Students & Scholars Office staff stay up-to-date with any changes in the law.
- If students ask about how to search for employers who sponsor H1B visas, please encourage them to meet with an advisor in the Career & Practicum Office.
- If students are seeking on-campus positions, they should also consult with ISSO to ensure they are following legal guidelines as well as BU policies and procedures.
- Important: Once an international student graduates, they are NO longer in student visa status and therefore can not continue working on campus or in a volunteer position off campus.
Practicum Advising for International Students
International Students who are on an F1 Visa must follow Curricular Practical Training (CPT) guidelines in accordance with the United States Federal Government when completing their practicum. International students must wait 2 full semesters before becoming eligible to conduct a U.S. based Practicum which requires CPT approval from the ISSO. International students may only complete what is required of the MPH program which is 240 hours with one organization, and practicums can be PAID OR UNPAID.*
- International students must go through the Practicum Portal approval process — and in ADDITION — must have their practicum authorized by ISSO to be used as CPT. International students can NOT begin their practicum, including any kind of Orientation at the practicum site, without ISSO authorization.
- CPT cannot be processed for authorization until a student is registered for PH976 (which is only done after the Practicum Portal Proposal is approved).
- A CPT form should be signed by a Practicum Manager and listed as the Practicum Instructor or Advisor.
- Students must contact the ISSO to apply for CPT, and should leave 1-2 weeks (before their proposed practicum start date) to go through this additional authorization step.
- Failure to gain CPT authorization before beginning their practicum could result in a violation of their immigration status. In this case, students will be asked to leave the United States to re-apply for their Visa and will lose Optional Practical Training (OPT) privileges.
- For Off-Cycle International Students: International students who begin the MPH program in the Spring cannot begin a Practicum until the following Spring. If they are conducting a Practicum in their home country and/or another non-U.S. location, these restrictions do not apply. In either instance, students are encouraged to begin networking and exploring potential practicum opportunities in the Fall of their 1st semester.
*Students often ask about securing UNPAID volunteer opportunities at nonprofit organizations in addition to their CPT. Please refer them to ISSO as these requests are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Practicum Information & Requirements
Students must complete 240 hours which may be completed in one or more semesters. Remote practicums are acceptable with sufficient team interaction. The Practicum must meet five learning competencies and produce two tangible work products (deliverables). Students must submit a Practicum Proposal in our Practicum Portal for approval. International students must also register with the BU International Students & Scholars Office. For more details on specific requirements and the registration process, please visit our Practicum Requirements Page.
NOTE: New CEPH guidelines are in place for faculty hosting practicum students. These practicums must now involve external stakeholders. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steps for Students Actively Seeking Practicums
To help students seeking practicums, please suggest that they do the following:
- Attend a Practicum 101 Workshop. Check Handshake for Dates.
- Schedule an individual appointment with a Practicum Manager to fine-tune their practicum search plan and brainstorm targets.
- Attend drop-in hours for resume and cover letter reviews.
- Attend Employer Info Sessions and Practicum Expo. Check Handshake for Upcoming Dates.
- Apply to practicums on Handshake which are posted all year. Use other job boards as well.
- Look through our Past Practicum Database to find practicums of interest. Reach out to Past Practicum Supervisors to see if they have needs.
- Become a member of the BUSPH Alumni LinkedIn Group, and identify alumni to see if they have needs.
- Past Practicums Completed by Certificate
Practicum Advising for Off-Cycle Students
Students who enter the MPH program in the Spring semester may inquire about completing a Practicum in the Summer of that year. However, these students have only completed their core courses at this point, and do not have certificate courses to put into practice. For these students, we recommend the following:
- Complete an internship, not a Practicum, during the Summer to build their resume and prepare for a successful Practicum experience. Students should check Handshake and other job boards for entry-level internships that require less hands-on experience and proficiency.
- Network across campus to secure projects with faculty members who may need help with data cleaning, coding and analysis, as well as general research and other support.
- Wait until after the Summer to look for a Practicum. Practicums are flexible in terms of start dates, and can be done over multiple semesters. Note: Students must register for their Practicum by the ILE deadline in their final semester. The ILE deadline can be found on the Academic Calendar.
- Important: International students must wait 2 full semesters before becoming eligible to conduct a U.S. based Practicum (which requires CPT approval from ISSO). Thus, international students who begin the MPH program in the Spring cannot begin a Practicum until the following Spring. If they are conducting a Practicum in their home country and/or another non-U.S. location, these restrictions do not apply. In either instance, students are encouraged to begin networking and exploring potential practicum opportunities in the Fall of their 1st semester.
Hiring Practicum Students to Support Faculty Research
Find out here about the advantages of hiring Practicum Students for your research needs. Please note: CEPH requires that students interact with external stakeholders as part of their practicum experience.