Applied Practice Experience

The NYU Master of Public Health program requires all students to complete an Applied Practice Experience Program (APE) which includes 180-hours of hands-on public health practice and two courses taken in the final year of the academic program.. The APE provides students the opportunity to become familiar with the kinds of organizations that put into practice the theory, concepts, and methods taught in the MPH program. Students will be able to choose their own field placement with NGOs, governmental agencies, multilateral institutions, community-based organizations, or private sector companies based within the US and overseas. 

The course you will complete depends on your concentration:

  • CHSP, ENV, GH, PHN, PHPM, and SDG students complete GPH-GU 2359/5359 Applied Practice Experience Seminar in the Fall and GPH-GU 2360/5360 Integrative Learning Experience Seminar in the Spring.
  • BIOS, EPI, and SBS students complete GPH-GU 2686 Thesis I in the Fall and GPH-GU 2687 Thesis II in the Spring. Additional information about Thesis may be found here.

Students in the Biostatistics MS program are highly recommended  to complete an APE during the summer and possibly through the fall semester. This experience will best prepare students for their Thesis, a required component of the MS program. 

Students in the Epidemiology MS program must complete an Applied Research Experience (ARE), which is an internship with a strong research focus. This includes projects focusing on analyzing, interpreting, and modeling data from public health, health care, biomedical, clinical, and population-based studies. The experience can be completed during the summer and possibly through the fall semester. This experience will best prepare students for their Thesis, a required component of the MS program.

APE Information Session

APE is a requirement of all students in the MPH program, and select MS programs. This information session covers the most common questions, including when to complete APE, finding an internship, and how to obtain approval for the APE.

When Can I Complete the APE?

Students begin working towards the 180-hour practice/internship requirement after completing the first two semesters of coursework, which is a minimum of 21-23 credits towards the MPH degree. 

If you are a full-time student, and:

  • Began your program in the Fall semester, you are highly encouraged to complete all 180-internship hours in the summer between your first and second year. You may enroll in the APE or Thesis I course concurrently (if offered), or you must enroll in the Fall semester of your second year. 
  • Began your program in the Spring semester, you are highly encouraged to start your 180 internship hours in the winter/January session between your first and second year. You must enroll in the APE or Thesis I course offered during the same semester.

If you are a part-time student, you may start the 180-hour requirement after you have completed a minimum of 21-23 credits of the program. Consult with your academic advisor to determine when you should take the APE or Thesis I course.

How do I find an APE?

The process of finding the right practice experience takes time, so it is important to begin your applied practice search early. Start looking at least one semester in advance!

Some questions to ask yourself as you begin your search:

  • What are my goals for the experience? What skills do I want to gain? 
  • Where would I like to work and with what type of organization?
  • Will I be exposed to a wide range of interesting activities?
  • What level of mentorship/guidance would I like from my preceptor?

We recommend that students identify at least two potential applied practice sites/projects in the event that your first choice falls through.

Use the many resources available to you:

  • NYU Handshake is a great search engine for finding APEs and the Wasserman Career Center staff is available to help prepare you for your applications and interviews
  • NYU GPH Career Development 
  • Faculty often have a wide network of colleagues and may be able to point you in the direction of a strong APEs 
  • NYU GPH Centers, Labs, and Initiatives
  • Online resources such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Idealist, and more.
  • The GPH Practice Office maintains a database of previously completed APEs. To request it, please email 

In addition, many of your fellow classmates work in public health - network with them!

How do I obtain approval for my APE?

To obtain approval for an APE, students must have secured an internship and should have completed and submitted a Practice Learning Contract (PLC) via the online portal. See deadlines section.   

A completed PLC must be submitted, reviewed, and approved by the Office of Public Health Practice Office and a GPH faculty member before any hours may be counted towards the 180-hour requirement. PLC reviews typically take 4 to 5 business days, so please manage your time wisely! Upon approval of your PLC, you will receive the permission code required to register for the APE or Thesis I course.  

Please find below an example of a completed learning contract and along with the guidelines for each concentration

Deadlines for Submitting the Practice Learning Contract (PLC)

All students are strongly encouraged to complete their APE hours in the Summer before their final year in the MPH or MS Program. Therefore, the deadline to submit a PLC is May 15th.

CHSP, EPHS, GH, PHN, PHPM, and SDG students have the option to complete the APE hours in the Fall of their final year while enrolled in GPH-GU 2359/5359 Applied Practice Experience Seminar. In this case, they should submit a PLC by August 1st.

Enrolling in APE-related Courses

An access code is required to enroll in the APE and Thesis APE courses. Students will not receive an access code for the courses until a learning contract has been submitted, reviewed, and approved. 

If you have any questions, please contact

Interested in working with our MPH Students?

If you are an organization or preceptor who wants the innovative and systems-changing input of our advanced-level MPH students, learn more about becoming an applied practice sponsor.

What I loved most about GPH was my practice experience in a research lab where I could apply what I learned in the classroom and interact closely with faculty.”
- Jazmin Rivera (USA), MPH 2016, Social and Behavioral Sciences Concentration