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Thank you for your interest in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Department of Community Health Sciences (CHS) Field Studies program.  These pages are designed to provide information about the field studies requirements, the courses that students are required to take before their field studies experience, and the guidelines that we ask our field studies preceptors to meet.

The contents of this page is also available in handbook (PDF) format.

Registration and Requesting Graduate Students

We request that organizations register with the Department of Community Health Sciences before requesting a graduate student.  The registration form is available below.

Objectives of Field Studies Experience

  • Apply the theory, knowledge, skills and techniques obtained in the classroom to a professional setting
  • Understand organizational dynamics in a given practice setting
  • Polish and enhance program planning, implementation, and evaluation skills under the guidance of an experienced preceptor
  • Acquire skills related to policy formulation, implementation, and analysis
  • Develop a professional persona by integrating the lessons of a professional environment
  • Provide an opportunity to explore a particular health care setting as it might relate to future career decisions

Field Studies Requirement

All students must complete a minimum of 400 hours of field studies experience in a minimum of 10 weeks. Students must work between 32-40 hours/week, with the exception of illness or other extraordinary circumstances. Telecommuting is not allowed as students need to be present to become familiar with the daily operations of the agency and learn about the professional environment.


Please visit the sites listed here to obtain more information about the school and our department.

All students are required to complete the following courses in their first year before beginning their field studies:

  • CHS 210: Community Health Sciences
  • CHS 211A and B: Program Planning, Research and Evaluation in Community Health Sciences

For more information about our department’s MPH program, the curriculum is available here.

Timeline for Field Studies

Month Requirements/Deadlines
January Field Studies Orientation for students
January - April Most students begin looking for appropriate placement sites, based on their interests and location requirements
End of March Early funding deadline for Global Health placements.  Students must have Scope of Work and application completed.
End of April Funding deadline for all other placements.  Students must have Scope of Work and application completed.
February - June All students must complete a Scope of Work (SOW) that aligns their placement work objectives with their MPH Competencies. This SOW must be approved by their Field Studies Coordinator and their preceptor.
May or June All students must attend the Send-off meeting.
June (or first week of field studies) All students must sign a contract with their preceptor by end of their first week of work and submit to Field Studies Coordinator.
Throughout their experience

All students must submit a Weekly report to the Field Studies Coordinator which includes answers to eight weekly questions.

Field Studies Coordinator will request a visit or phone call halfway through the experience to check-in with preceptor.

At the end of their experience All students must submit a Final Report, Abstract, Preceptor Evaluation, Student Evaluation, and signed Weekly Hourly Log within 1 week of their last day of Field Studies.


Competencies for the MPH Field Studies Requirement

Field placement objectives are required to align with the following competencies:

  1. Describe and apply theories, concepts, and models from the social and behavioral sciences to community health practice.
  2. Describe, explain and apply procedures for evidence-based planning and implementation of community health programs, policies and interventions.
  3. Recognize when existing approaches may not be culturally appropriate for a particular population and to collaborate with communities and others to design, implement and evaluate more suitable health programs.
  4. Identify, explain and apply steps and procedures based on social science approaches for evidence-based evaluation of community health programs, policies and interventions, including community-based participatory research.
  5. Effectively communicate orally and in writing with public health professionals, members of the community, and stakeholders about community health issues, interventions, programs, and policies.

Guidelines for Field Studies Preceptors

These guidelines were developed to assist preceptors in structuring the field experience of the graduate student so that the student can become operational within a short period of time and thereby work effectively to contribute to the organization.

  • Advise student in the development of a Scope of Work (SOW) to plan assignments, develop objectives that align with their required Competencies, develop a work schedule for accomplishing assignments, and a plan for evaluating the completion of assignments.  See SOW template below.
  • Attend optional preceptor training at UCLA with other preceptors. Field Studies Coordinator will announce the date, location, and possibility for remote participation.
  • Provide an orientation and overview of your organization including:
      • Mission and purpose of agency
      • History and structure, organizational chart
      • Sources of funding, major programs, services provided
      • Personnel, key professional and community contacts
  • Provide office space and support to carry out assigned tasks.
  • Review agency policies and procedures that the student is expected to follow during the field experience.
  • Plan assignments and work schedule based on the previously defined objectives for the field experience.
  • Introduce the student to agency personnel, other professionals and community representatives with whom the student will work.
  • Provide opportunities for the student to attend management and/or staff meetings as well as program planning and coordination meetings with professionals, agency and/or community representatives.
  • Encourage the student to work independently while providing opportunities for gathering and sharing information.
  • Assist the student in gaining awareness of relationships between your agency and the community.
  • Meet with the student at regular intervals (at least weekly is suggested) to discuss and evaluate progress, provide feedback and resolve problems.
  • Guide student to find answers for weekly log questions (see “Weekly Log” section for questions).
  • Meet with Field Studies Coordinator (in-person or phone) mid-experience as a check-in.
  • Conduct an exit interview:
      • Prepare a written Student Performance Evaluation (see form below)
      • Provide an opportunity to give and receive feedback.

Weekly Log Questions

Students address a weekly question as part of written logs submitted to the Field Studies Coordinator. In total, students submit 10 logs. For your preparation, below are the prompts for which your student may need assistance.

  • Week 2: What are the major sources of funding? How is this funding secured? 
  • Week 3: What role does the governing board (Board of Directors, Elected Officials, (etc.) play in day-to-day operations and decision-making? 
  • Week 4: How are intra and inter agency/developmental conflicts handled?