Public Health Honors Practicum

The Department of Family Medicine and Public Health BSPH Honors Practicum includes a three-quarter course sequence that accepted students complete in their senior year (FMPH 196A, FMPH 196B, FMPH 196C). 

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 UCSD's 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.

The year-long projects will be done in small groups. 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.  You will be given the choice of four to five community-based evaluation project options before class begins in the fall quarter. You will be assigned to work with between three and five other students for the entire year on your group’s project. Each group will have a mentor or will work directly with the instructor on their evaluations.

The fall quarter will be devoted to the development of a protocol for an evaluation of a community-based program. During the winter quarter, you will actually gather your data according to the protocol your group has developed and begin the next step on analyzing the data and justifying conclusions. During spring quarter, you will continue with the justification of conclusions and carry out the final step ensuring use of evaluation findings and the dissemination of lessons learned.   Sessions designed to improve job and graduate school application skills, including resume writing, interviewing skills, and networking, as well as self-knowledge about working styles will be interspersed through the fall and winter quarters.

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 Introduction to Evaluation self-study document developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that outlines 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 taught how to use Epi Info 7, a user-friendly, free software widely used in public health departments.  It works best on PCs, though can be run on Macs through the use of Windows emulators or through the University VPN and on some library computers as well.

You should plan on dedicating at least 10 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. Conduct literature reviews and critically assess evidence.
  2. Develop sound research or evaluation questions using qualitative and/or quantitative research methods, including the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data.
  3. Identify the magnitude and determinants of health problems and possible facilitators and barriers to their solution.
  4. Describe the key steps in designing and implementing a new public health intervention or in evaluating an existing program or intervention.
  5. Propose interventions that acknowledge and address the determinants of health, are based upon empirical evidence, and accommodate scientific and practical considerations.
  6. Evaluate ethical issues in public health and apply public health values and standards to public health applications.
  7. Develop communication strategies and demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills for professional and general audiences.
  8. Demonstrate ability to work effectively with others, including in research teams, at practicum sites, and in community-diverse contexts.



In order to participate all students must have:

  • Successfully completed all the following FMPH courses:
    • FMPH 40
    • FMPH 50
    • FMPH 101 or FMPH 102
      • completion of both FMPH 101 and FMPH 102 preferred but not required for eligibility
    • FMPH 110 or FMPH 120
  • A cumulative UC GPA 3.0 or higher
  • Submit the Honors Practicum application by the deadline
  • Complete an in-person interview
  • Complete liability waiver and all necessary paperwork or testing as identified by the assigned practicum site
  • Commit to the full 12-unit course series over the academic year, which includes:
    • 4 units FMPH 196A (Fall)
    • 4 units FMPH 196B (Winter)
    • 4 units FMPH 196C (Spring)



Students will be assigned to groups of 3-5 based on their preferences. Projects will change from year to year based on community interest and availability.  Previous Honors Practicum projects have included:

UCSD Student Health Services Adherence with state and local alcohol vending policies by campus establishments licensed to sell alcohol and by popular off-campus venues popular with UCSD students.

UCSD Student Health Services

UCSD Campus Police

UCSD Facilities Management (Transportation Services)
Prevention of active transport (walking, bicycling, skateboarding) injuries at UCSD: conditions of paths and signage, observed frequency of violations and near-misses, frequency injuries requiring Student Health visits, and frequency of sanctions.
UCSD Campus Police Evaluation of electric scooters (E-scooters) on campus and UCSD's E-scooter guidelines developed and disseminated by the UCSD Vice Chancellor’s Committee.
UCSD Health Promotion Services (HPS) Evaluation of HPS Health Messaging Program that promotes student health and well-being.  Program uses various platforms to disseminate health behavior information and assures consistent tabling and counseling messages.
Cigarette Butt Pollution Project Assessment of the local smoking ban policies to determine if the law is being routinely enforced and compare cigarette butt pollution on beaches with the ban to beaches without the ban to see if smoking ban policies decrease enviornmental pollution.
Copley Price YMCA (City Heights) Evaluation of Teen Achiever program designed to provide after-school opportunities for 100 low-income teens to increase their physical activity, academic success, community service, overall wellbeing, and post-high school readiness.
Copley Price YMCA (City Heights) Evaluation of Kickstart program that provides a series of three wellness coaching visits that identify preferred activities and obstacles to participating in regular physical activity among new and current YMCA members.

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 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 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 FMPH 196ABC
  • A minimum Major GPA of 3.750

Applying to the Honors Practicum

Applying to the Honors Practicum

Applications for the 2020/2021 application cycle are now open!

Applications for the 2020-2021 year must be completed by Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 at 11:59pm and can be found at the following link: 2020-2021 BSPH Honors Practicum Application (FMPH 196ABC)

NOTE: Both the online application and an emailed copy of your resume or curriculum vitae are required to be considered.  The Zoom interview will be scheduled between May 28th - June 12th.

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