Guidelines for MPH Programs in Canada

Appendix 3: Illustrative Examples of MPH-Type Programs in Canada

Examples of three existing MPH-type programs are provided here to show how the proposed criteria would apply. The guidelines indicate that a program would typically take 16 or more months to complete (if full-time study), and would include two semesters of coursework, a practicum semester, and an additional semester of flexible learning experiences. While these guidelines identify a minimum of 45 semester credits, many existing programs surpass this threshold.

University of Alberta - MPH Program with specialization in Health Policy and Management

  • Required Courses:
    • Introduction to Health Systems and Health Policy
    • Fundamentals of Public Health
    • Statistical Methods in Health Research or Biostatistics
    • Introduction to Health Care Finance
    • Introduction to Health Care Economics
    • Management and Design of Health Care Organizations
    • Epidemiology Methods 1
    • Law Course (2 options)
  • Project in Public Health Sciences
    • Students develop and complete a project in public health sciences under the supervision of the appropriate faculty member over two terms.
  • Field Practicum - 16 weeks
  • Participate in:
    • Student Seminar Series (weekly)
    • Departmental Rounds (weekly)
  • Duration - minimum 2 years (if full-time study)

University of Toronto - MHSc Program

  • Required Courses:
    • Term 1: - Introduction to Public Health - Epidemiology 1 - Biostatistics 1 - Canadian Health Care System - Introduction to Public Health Sciences - Public Health Research Skills - Elective course
    • Term 2: - Epidemiology 2 - Biostatistics 2 - Scientific Overviews - Health Trends and Surveillance - Elective course
  • Summer Practicum - 12-16 weeks (full-time)
  • Year 2, Term 1 +/- 2:
    • Seminar in Applied Epidemiology _ students present their practicum findings to the entire class.
    • Elective course(s)
    • Second practicum - optional

Université de Montréal - MSp (santé publique)

  • Bloc A: Cours obligatoires - 23 crédits:
    Fondements et éthique en santé publique
    • Atelier de biostatistique
    • Raisonnement scientifique/santé publique
    • Sciences humaines/sociales en santé publique
    • Planification et évaluation en santé
    • Santé et environnement
    • Introduction OU Concepts de base en biostatistique
    • Concepts de base OU l'analyse épidémiologie
    • Pratique de la santé publique
  • Bloc B: Cours à option
    • 16 crédits dont 3 crédits fortement recommandés en approches qualitatives
  • Bloc C: Stage ou travail dirigé
    • 15 crédits

Appendix 4: Sample Application Form for a New Practicum Proposed by a Public Health Organization

The following form is an example of the form used at the University of Toronto. (See reference document 5).

Proposed Student Practicum by Field Supervisor

Name of supervisor: E-mail address: Phone number:  
Ideal dates for commencing and ending:  
Physical location of practicum project:  
Availability of funds: (if yes, please specify range of what student may expect)  
Practicum level (1 or 2)  
Brief description of the proposed practicum  

Other comments: (add additional information as required).

Appendix 5: Questions to Assist Development of Learning Objectives and Deliverables

The following table is provided in a report by ASPH (see reference document 3) and is to be completed from the student's perspective. One row should be completed for each objective. The university-based practicum supervisor and field-based practicum supervisor can review the completed table and provide suggestions to the student, as well as identify particular activities/resources that they need to provide. 

Learning Objectives Activities/ Methods Resources Short-Term Outcomes Public Health
Through the practicum, I expect to accomplish the following changes in competency, skill, knowledge, or understanding: To address my learning objectives, I will conduct the following activities: To accomplish the activities, what do the student and the organization contribute to the experience? I expect that once these activities are complete or under way, they will produce the following changes in 0-1 year: I expect that if completed, these activities will lead to the following public health changes in the future:
[objective 1] Etc.        

Practicum Objectives Evaluation Indicators Activities and Tasks Products Time line
What do you hope to achieve on your practicum? How will you know you have met your objectives? What activities will you do to meet your practicum objectives? What will you produce? By when?
1.0 e.g. Plan and conduct an assessment of tobacco prevention service needs among youth between 12 and 15 years of age in a “healthy school” in a rural community in B.C.
  • Achievable, concrete plan
  • Youth participants involved in a meaningful way
  • On target
  • Meet with youth
  • Meet with fieldbased practicum supervisor
  • Conduct an inventory of current prevention activities
  • Create, test and use a simple survey and conduct 3 focus groups with youth about needs
  • Analyze the data
  • Prepare a report
  • Literature review
  • Survey
  • Focus group questions
  • Poster
  • Through the practica weeks
  • Poster by week 12

A similar table appears in Simon Fraser University's practicum guidelines, with a greater emphasis on deliverables. (See reference document 6).

Appendix 6: Sample Practicum Learning Contract

For those readers interested in these forms, please download the PDF versions:

Information on how to download PDF files.

Appendix 9: Options for Additional Material in Practicum Guidelines

Each program may consider including additional information in the practicum guidelines. Understandably, additions will reflect the local environment. Examples include:

  • a summary of timelines and key steps for preparing for practica and key steps to be completed (e.g. learning contracts, interim evaluations, final evaluations);
  • a student self-assessment survey to assist with identifying learning objectives and interests;
  • a reflective journal to record meetings with field-based practicum supervisor, and to keep track of students' personal and professional learning experiences and reflections;
  • guidelines/expectations for academic deliverables (e.g. final report);
  • information to be provided to practicum supervisors on the following topics:
    • negotiating a scope of work for the learning contract;
    • managing the practicum;
    • assessment of student needs;
    • soliciting student feedback on practicum; and
    • giving feedback to student.
  • expectations for students regarding ethical and professional behaviour;
  • sample affiliation agreement between the university and practicum hosting organizations; and
  • a checklist for characteristics of practicum sites.

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