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Practicum FAQs
When do I start on the practicum?
The practicum is an integral component of your degree and you should become aware of the practicum options when you matriculate. Do not leave the practicum planning until your last semester. You should begin serious planning for the practicum no later than 6 months prior to the planned start of work. Planning and identification of a practicum site should not be left to the last semester. You may start a practicum after you have completed all of the core courses and a significant portion of programmatic requirements.
Do I register for the practicum?

Yes, register for SPHL 9980 for the semester during which you begin the practicum. You must register for the practicum at least once to graduate. If your practicum takes longer than a semester, you may register a second time for the practicum. Registration more than twice is not allowed.
When do I register for the practicum?
You register for SPHL9980 the semester you start your practicum. Students who register for the practicum are considered full-time and may qualify for financial aid and deferment of student loans during that semester.
Is it necessary to get my advisor’s approval to begin the practicum?
YES! It is absolutely necessary!
The practicum should be planned in conjunction with your advisor. The advisor must approve your practicum BEFORE you begin. You may use other resources in the school (other faculty, clinical consultants, the Career Service Center), however, your advisor must approve your plans and has final approval. Work done prior to approvals will not count toward the practicum hours.
How and where do I start?
Talk with your advisor about when you will be eligible to begin the practicum (e.g., whether you have completed appropriate coursework). Discuss with your advisor what options are available to you early in your program of study.
The practicum is substantially different from traditional coursework where you register for established courses. The practicum provides you with practice experience and is individualized for you. You are responsible for initiating and following through the entire process including securing an appropriate placement site and project. You will develop goals and objectives for the practicum in consultation with your advisor and preceptor.
You are responsible for initiating and following through with the entire practicum process!
How do I find a practicum placement?
Finding a placement is much like finding a job. You are responsible for working with your advisor to identify a practicum placement. However, many people can help you. Talk with your faculty advisor, other faculty, research faculty, the Career Services Center, and students who have completed their field experience requirement.
In collaboration with your advisor, identify agencies that are working on health issues that are of interest to you. Don’t limit yourself to the New Orleans area. Explore options throughout the state, region, country, and even the world. Call agencies and find out if they have student internship positions available, or if they may be open to exploring such a possibility. TUSPH&TM students have completed practicum experiences across the state and region, at federal agencies and private organizations in Washington, DC, and in other countries.
Remember to keep your faculty advisor informed throughout the process. Your preceptor must be an appropriate/qualified supervisor.
Can I still graduate if my practicum isn’t completed?
NO! You cannot graduate or earn your degree until all aspects of the practicum and documentation are complete and all practicum requirements are met.
Is the practicum requirement ever waived?
No, the practicum cannot be waived. For mid-career students, the practicum may be structured to build upon your prior experiences or to develop advanced leadership skills.