What is the difference between an applied practice experience (APE) and an internship?
The terms are often used interchangeably, but in the context of the MPH program, the APE is a field-based experience for which students receive course credit. An internship is a more commonly used term that refers to an opportunity to gain experience in a field. If you see an advertisement for an internship, it is possible to pursue that experience as an APE; it would simply require additional planning to ensure academic requirements are met through the experience.
When should I start looking for an applied practice experience?
You should complete your core courses and two of your concentration courses before beginning the APE. Start your APE search at least one semester prior to the semester you’d like to begin.
I have an internship opportunity available, but I don’t meet the requirements to start the APE yet. What should I do?
Gaining as much field experience as possible will help you in the long-run. Students can do as many internships as they can reasonably fit into their schedules, but would need to meet the requirements above in order to “count” the internship as your APE.
I have an idea. Now what?
The first step is to refine your idea. There are several ways of doing that:
- Complete a gap analysis – does this opportunity afford you skill development that will aid in your job search?
- Discuss your idea with the practice coordinator and your advisor. They can help to make your idea more specific and suggest possible APE sites.
- If you have a site in mind, discuss your idea with a staff member of the organization or a prospective preceptor.
- Assess how well your idea gives you the opportunity to use what you have learned in your specialty track or concentration in a real world setting.
Once you have a more specific APE topic, complete the learning contract.
I found a site. Now what?
Finding a site is a key step in developing your APE. Before this can become your formal APE site, it is important to do the following:
- Discuss this possible site with the practice coordinator. She will help you determine if the site is appropriate to conduct your APE.
- Obtain approval from the practice coordinator. She may already be familiar with the site or the program of interest within that organization.
- Verify with the practice coordinator that an affiliation agreement exists between GSU and the potential site (if not, the coordinator will facilitate that process).
- Complete the learning contract, including signatures.
- Purchase professional liability insurance through the GSU web store.
What is the difference between my applied practice experience and my culminating experience (thesis/capstone)?
The APE is an opportunity to bring academic theory, specifically what you learned in your concentration, into practice.
- The culminating experience is typically research-oriented, whereas the APE is mostly hands-on in nature.
- You are eligible for the APE as soon as you complete all the core courses AND at least 2 courses in your specialty track. The culminating experience on the other hand is the last academic requirement of the MPH degree.
- You may work on the culminating experience at the same time that you work on your APE and you may focus on a common topic or field; but, the two may not be the same thing.
- In some instances, the APE can help identify interesting research gaps, which could serve as a building block for your culminating experience.
- The APE and the culminating experience are SEPARATE and DISTINCT academic requirements, for each of which specific academic credits are awarded.
Can I do my applied practice experience where I work?
Possibly. If you are working in a public health organization and demonstrating competencies from your coursework, you may explore an APE opportunity in the same agency. Please contact the practice coordinator to discuss.
- Any practice site must be discussed with your advisor and approved by the practice coordinator.
- Consider that the APE offers great networking opportunities; students completing the APE at their place of employment miss out on this aspect.
I want to use a study abroad opportunity. Is funding available?
The study abroad office provides scholarship opportunities to graduate students meeting specific criteria. Please visit the Georgia State Study Abroad Office for more information.