Santa Clara University

Public Health Science


MEDIIPublic Health Internship Image

The internship experience is intended to help students gain practical experience and apply their education to real-world problems.  PHS majors must devote at least 100 hours to an internship. Internships are typically with organizations outside SCU such as in public health departments, health clinics, community health agencies, or non-profit organizations. Such experiences are a valuable part of an integrated education and benefit you when applying for jobs, graduate and/or professional programs.

Internship Criteria to fulfill the PHS major requirements:
  • The work must be relevant to understanding and/or improving human health, health care delivery, health education, or health policy.
  • Internship activities must include opportunities for active engagement and intellectual creativity.Passive observation or repetitive tasks are not sufficient.
  • Internship activities must provide insight into human health at the community or population level. Working with health care providers dealing with individual patients is not usually sufficient.You and your mentor must make a conscience effort to broaden insights gained from clinical experience to the community and population level.
  • Supervisors of interns must have appropriate training and expertise.
  • You must participate in internship activities for a minimum of 100 hours.
  • You may receive course credit for your internship if it is unpaid or as part of an approved study abroad program in Public Health.Course credit must be arranged IN ADVANCE (PHSC198) with the PHS program staff.Course credit for summer internships requires enrollment and tuition.

Internship Process:

Step 1: Successfully complete PHSC 1 (additional PHSC coursework is encouraged).

Step 2 Enroll in/successfully complete PHSC 139 (2 units) prior to, or concurrently with, your internship. This course is design to help you identify internship opportunities, provide advice on applying for positions, and improve your resume prior to applying for a position.

Step 3: Identify an internship opportunity/opportunities. Resources include PHSC 139, online searches, personal networking, SCU Career Center, and the SCU Public Health group on LinkedIn.

Step 4: Discuss options with your faculty advisor, any Public Health Science faculty member, or Sarah MacGregor, Program Manager and PHSC 139 instructor, to determine if the internship is appropriate. If your internship is deemed appropriate, have the advisor or faculty member sign your internship approval form. Unsigned forms will not be accepted or forwarded on for final approval.

Step 5: Submit a completed and signed Public Health internship approval form to PRIOR TO THE START OF THE INTERNSHIP. You will then be contacted by Sarah MacGregor, to discuss internship expectations and receive final approval. Hard copy approval forms can be dropped off at the Public Health Program Office in Kenna Hall, Room 110.

Step 6: Complete a minimum of 100 hours of approved internship activities.

Step 7: Complete the Student Intern Evaluation of Organization form AND complete your reflective essay by the appropriate due dates. The Student Intern Evaluation will not be shared with your internship organization; it is intended to help the Public Health Program continue to improve upon the internship experience through quality organizations. The reflection essay will document your internship and help you examine and reflect upon the experience. This will serve as a valuable resource for you when applying for jobs, professional schools, or graduate programs. Both should be emailed to Sarah MacGregor (

Essay Instructions (~ 4 - 6 pages):

Reflect on how the internship addressed learning objectives of the PHS major: "Students will actively engage with real-world public health problems in order to: (1) develop critical thinking capacity for analyzing and addressing difficult public health problems that require creative, interdisciplinary solutions; (2) recognize injustices and inequities evident in contemporary society, and develop a commitment to actively address health disparities facing disadvantaged and underserved communities, both locally and globally; (3) recognize diverse professional opportunities within the field of public health, and have sufficient understanding of the nature of various positions and required job skills to be able to make informed decisions on career directions and/or post-graduate education; and (4) demonstrate effective communication of public health issues to professional audiences.


Deadlines for Essay Submission/Internship Hours Confirmation:

Internships Completed During

Essays/Internship Hours Confirmation Due By

Fall Quarter

Second Friday of Subsequent Winter Quarter

Winter Quarter

Second Friday of Subsequent Spring Quarter

Spring Quarter

May 15 for graduating seniors, last Friday in June otherwise


Second Friday of Subsequent Fall Quarter



Santa Clara University Food & Agribusiness Institute

The Food & Agribusiness Institute’s “Real Cost of a Healthy Meal” project is a long-term study started in 2011. Interns will research the ability of low-income individuals to purchase “healthy” foods by USDA guidelines with their food stamp allotments through interviews, diet analysis and food cost surveys. The internship will not only allow interns to improve their understanding of the links between public policy, economics, health and social justice, but it will also influence their ability to communicate, increase their working knowledge of Excel, and expose them to database software. Also, it is a paid internship!

Here is a link for more information