MPH Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

about the Culminating Experiences:

Field Placement & Capstone Project

 What are the Field Placement and Capstone Project?

They are the culminating experiences of the MPH program. The Field Placement is similar to an internship or a practicum, and the student will work with a public health agency on a project the agency identifies as a need. The Capstone Project consists of writing a Master’s Paper, and the student may or may not work with an agency, depending on the student’s topic.

 Do all MPH students need to take these courses?

Yes, both the Field Placement and Capstone Project are required courses. Students may apply for a waiver from the Field Placement requirement if they have a bachelor’s or advanced degree in health and at least five years of continuous, paid, public health experience. See the Field Placement Waiver webpage for further details.  Additionally, students who are conducting a traditional Field Placement must complete the Field Placement Preparation course (18279) the semester before enrolling in Field Placement.

 How do students plan for the Field Placement and Capstone Project?

Students should begin thinking about these courses when they enter the MPH program. The first step is to review this website and consider options and interests. Any questions or concerns that arise should be addressed to the Program Coordinator, Laura Conklin, MPH at or 414-955-4510.

 When do students enroll in these courses?

The Field Placement should be taken as one of the last courses in the MPH program, and the Capstone Project must be the final course. Students should be planning for these courses throughout the program, but intensive planning occurs during the semester before enrollment. Students must gain Program Coordinator approval prior to registering for either course.

Field Placement Capstone Project
Should be taken as one of the last courses in the MPH program Must be taken as the final course of the MPH program
Required prerequisites include the five core courses and Field Placement Preparation; all other MPH coursework, except for the Capstone Project, are recommended Required prerequisites include all other MPH coursework
Intensive planning occurs the semester (4 months) before enrollment in Field Placement through enrollment in the Field Placement Preparation course Intensive planning begins 3 months before enrollment and occurs independently (in conjunction with the Program Coordinator)


 How is the Field Placement different from the Capstone Project?

These courses are similar in that they both require students to apply the knowledge they have gained through coursework; however, there are some distinctions between them:

Field Placement Capstone Project
Required to work with public health agency Choice of whether or not to work with a public health agency
Agency identifies needed project Student identifies topic of Master’s Paper
Products vary, depending on project, but include Action Learning Project Summary Report and PowerPoint presentation Products consist of Master’s Paper and PowerPoint presentation

Some project ideas might be appropriate for either course.  Questions and comments regarding project ideas should be discussed with the Program Coordinator, Laura Conklin, MPH at or 414-955-4510.
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 09/12/2014