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Field Experience Team
 Somer Burke, MPH, CHES, CPH
Domestic Field Experience Administrator

Frequently Asked Questions

The second semester of your first year in the program is a good time to start exploring field experience possibilities. At the latest, begin looking for a field experience two semesters prior to your desired placement. Students participating in an international field experience should begin the process one year from the desired placement date. DFE and IFE students should have their placement secured one semester in advance of beginning the field experience.
Students should successfully complete all core classes before applying/registering for Field Experience. It is critical that students have knowledge and understanding of the key areas of Public Health. Students must register for their Field Experience during the semester when they intend to serve the Field Experience.
The Field Experience may last one semester or may span several semesters. Your Field Experience can range from 1-12 credit hours, as determined by your academic advisor. The advisor will examine your educational and professional backgrounds, as well as departmental guidelines, to determine the number of credit hours that you must fulfill. Note that 1 credit hour = 45 contact hours that the field site.

A field experience can be paid or unpaid. The typical wage for paid field experiences is approximately $8-15 per hour. In lieu of an hourly wage some field experiences will offer:

  • Stipend - A fixed some of money paid directly to the student
  • Tuition waiver - Money paid directly to USF to cover all or a portion of the tuition fees association with field experience
  • Transportation assistance - Mileage reimbursement or a fixed amount to assist with transportation to and from the field site
  • Housing allowance - Housing dedicated for student interns or money to offset/pay for hotel accommodations
  • Note that some sites (especially non-profits) are unable to offer any of the above

This is usually obtained when the placement is researched and obtained by the student. There are four steps for developing your own field experience:

  1. Determine your academic and career goals
  2. Research the desired field of interest
  3. Network with others with the field of interest
  4. Contact field experience sites within the field of interest

In compliance with the Council on Education for Public Health, the college's accrediting body who now requires field experience for all students and sets the standard for FE across all schools of public health, full waivers are not granted.

However, if a student or faculty advisor desires a reduction in field experience hours, then:

  1. Submit a written request to the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
  2. The request should clearly articulate that the student has at least three years of experience directly related to their concentration for each credit hour to be reduced
  3. The request should be signed by the student's faculty advisor and department chair.

According to the Council on Education for Public Health, the accrediting body for the USF COPH, "If the student can do a placement only in his or her regular place of employment, the assignment must extend beyond or be something other than his or her regular work duties and allow application of knowledge and skills being learned." Additionally, the college prefers that the student's job and FE supervisor not be the same person. Finally, students are encouraged to designate a portion of their workday/week solely for FE. This delineation will help the student and colleagues/supervisor to not allow the FE to infringe upon work time and vice versa.

As a courtesy, the Global Health Department will allow international students to complete a domestic field placement. However, a few conditions must be met:

  • The domestic placement will be for six credit hours

Students are responsible for requesting and paying for their background check. To initiate the process, visit American DataBank and select the option for COPH students. As the sole person requesting the background check, students will be the only party to receive results. It is their responsibility to share the results with the FE supervisor, if requested.

Note that it will take anywhere between 3-6 weeks to complete the process and receive results. The search is dependent upon how quickly the student completes all forms and mails them back to American DataBank, as well as the time the FBI takes to process the information.

No, but you do have options:

Visit Undergraduate Study Abroad for a list of service, internship and other opportunities.