Public Health Honors Practicum

The BSPH Honors Practicum includes a two-quarter course sequence that accepted students complete in their senior year (PH 196AH - 6 units, PH 196BH - 6 units). 

Through the BSPH Honors Practicum, students will learn professionalism in the workplace; how to conduct program planning and evaluation; how to develop proposals regarding research, program planning, or evaluation; critical thinking skills; and how to communicate effectively to diverse audiences.

More details regarding the Public Health Honors Practicum and earning Distinction in the Major (listed on the diploma) can be found in the UC San Diego General Catalog under Public Health Undergraduate Program.



The goal of Bachelor of Science in Public Health Honors Practicum program is 1) to provide students with a yearlong intensive applied public health experience and an opportunity to 2) develop skills to successfully apply for jobs and graduate training and the ability to act professionally in the work environment.

The Honors Practicum is limited to a maximum of 20 students. If accepted, you will participate in a public health evaluation from beginning to end and have the opportunity to use the knowledge and skills developed in the public health major. The evaluations are designed to provide a service to the sites to inform or improve their vital activities. As a result, they must be of a caliber that reflects the high academic expectations of an honors program.

Rarely in public health do we have the opportunity to work alone, and the practicum will provide you with the opportunity to develop interpersonal and negotiation skills to work effectively with others. During the practicum, students will work in teams and conduct at least two projects over the course of the academic year. There will be an initial project conducted by the entire class but where you will be assigned to working teams of 4-5. For the second project, you will be given the choice of several community-based evaluation project options and work with the team for the rest of the year. Each team will have a mentor or will work directly with the instructor on their evaluations.

For each of the projects, you will identify stakeholders, develop logic or theory of change models and describe the program being evaluated, develop clear evaluation objectives, design qualitative and quantitative data collection instruments, code and analyze qualitative data and analyze quantitative data in SPSS, and communicating the results to stakeholders and to a scientific audience. You will also develop a career portfolio designed to help you design your strengths and interests, hone your resume, interview, and networking skills to assist in applying for jobs and graduate education. 

Each quarter, there will be didactic sessions on key topics, but much of the class time will be dedicated to working with your group to conduct the various evaluation steps. These activities cannot be completed in the limited class time, however, and you will need to dedicate several hours a week outside class to completing the group assignments through either face-to-face encounters or collaborative document writing and editing in Google Docs or similar platforms. The course is structured around the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluation guidelines that outline the six main steps in performing a public health evaluation. Readings will be limited, though you will be expected to carefully read the required documents and view the required videos. You will also be expected to master SPSS for the analysis, which will be provided at no cost to you.

You should plan on dedicating at least 15 hours a week to practicum activities outside the classroom. Especially during winter quarter, you will expected to spend several hours during daytime hours collecting data and will need to plan you class schedules and outside work activities accordingly.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes

On completion of the BSPH Honors Practicum, students should be able to:

  1. Develop skills to successfully apply for jobs and graduate training (e.g., resumes interviewing skills, etc.) and function in a modern workplace.
  2. Conduct the main steps of a public health evaluation, including identification of stakeholders, developing a program description, focusing the evaluation design, gathering credible data, performing appropriate analyses, interpreting the data, and ensuring use of findings and appropriate dissemination.
  3. Develop a comprehensive evaluation plan which includes the program description, evaluation objectives, methods including ethical considerations and data collection instruments, an analytic plan, dissemination plan, and budget and timeline.
  4. Collect and enter data, either qualitative, quantitative, or both, that are reliable and valid.
  5. Use software to perform appropriate data analyses and organize in an understandable, concise, and visually appealing manner. Prepare materials for different audiences, including stakeholders and public health colleagues.
  6. Synthesize evaluation findings to develop recommendations for policies and other interventions.
  7. Prepare effective written and oral presentations for different public health audiences, including public health officials and the lay public.
  8. Work effectively in teams in a manner than maximizes each person's contribution to the overall goal.
  9. Develop ability to act professionally in the work environment.



In order to participate all students must have:

  • Successfully completed all the following FMPH courses before starting PH 196AH:
    • PH 40 (or FMPH 40)
    • PH 45 (not required for students who entered UCSD prior to FA24)
    • PH 101 (or FMPH 101)
    • PH 102 (or FMPH 102)
    • PH 110 (or FMPH 110)
    • PH 120 (or FMPH 120)
  • A cumulative UC GPA 3.0 or higher
  • Submit the Honors Practicum application by the deadline with an attached resume
  • Complete an interview
  • Commit to the 12-unit course series in the winter and spring quarters, which includes:
    • 6 units PH 196AH (Winter)
    • 6 units PH 196BH (Spring)


Graduating with Public Health Honors

Graduating with Public Health Honors

Successful completion of the Public Health Honors Program to earn Distinction in the Major requires the following:

  • Grade of a B or higher in PH 196AH & PH 196BH (or FMPH 196ABC)
  • A minimum Major GPA of 3.250

Successful completion of the Public Health Honors Program to earn High Distinction in the Major requires the following:

  • Grade of a B or higher in PH 196AH & PH 196BH (or FMPH 196ABC)
  • A minimum Major GPA of 3.500

Successful completion of the Public Health Honors Program to earn Highest Distinction in the Major requires the following:

  • Grade of a B or higher in PH 196AH & PH 196BH (or FMPH 196ABC)
  • A minimum Major GPA of 3.750

Applying to the Honors Practicum

Applying to the Honors Practicum

Applications for the 2024-2025 application cycle is now open.  

Applications for the 2024-2025 year must be completed by Thursday, June 6th at 11:59pm for priority consideration and can be found at the following link: 2024 - 2025 BSPH Honors Practicum Application (PH 196AH & PH 196BH)

  • NOTE: The application will remain open until Thursday, October 3rd for late submissions (or until 20 students have been confirmed) - but for best chance students should submit by June 6th. 

The 2024 Public Health Honors Practicum Information Session will be held virtually on Zoom on Wednesday, May 15th at 4pm.  Please RSVP for Zoom Link!

  • Missed the Honors Practicum Information Session?  You can check out the recording on our website under Past Workshops.  The 2024 Honors Practicum Information Session will post by May 24th.

NOTE: A complete online application and an attached copy of your resume or curriculum vitae are required to be considered.  The Zoom interview will be scheduled between June 17th - October 31st, 2024.

The application essay questions will be evaluated on both content and writing style. You may want to type out questions in advance in word and then copy into the application.  Essay questions are listed below for reference.

  • Why are you interested in applying to the Honors Practicum?
    • Not to exceed 300 words
  • What skills and strengths do you bring to the Honors Practicum?
    • Not to exceed 200 words
  • Please describe the experience have you had working in groups.
    • Not to exceed 200 words
  • How will participating in the Honors Practicum program further your personal and professional development?
    • Not to exceed 200 words