Experiential Opportunities: Overview

Because many public health challenges cannot be fully appreciated until one has hands-on experience working on public health issues with populations or communities, each concentrator must have at least one relevant field-based educational experience. This requirement is known as the Experiential Component (EC). It may be met through participation in an approved study abroad program, an approved field-work Winter Study course, a WS99 project, or a not-for-credit summer or academic-year internship. Students may also gain experiential credit in external Public Health study abroad programs such as the SIT-IHP program. In every case, the EC Advisor (Marion Min-Barron) must approve the project in advance. Ideally, this EC is one cornerstone of the Public Health concentrator’s thematic track described in their application, but in some cases the EC may be less directly related to the in-class coursework.

Objectives of the EC

  • Experience field work, in a non-academic setting, that engages with a particular public health issue and population
  • Foster an opportunity to apply, reflect and draw on concepts, frameworks and skills learned from public health classes, allowing students to connect the classroom experience to interactions and dynamics in the ‘real world’
  • Meaningfully process, synthesize and evaluate scientific knowledge that is communicated through a variety of media
  • Gain practical and professional experience in public health related work either in a local domestic community or internationally

The following cannot count for EC credit

  • Internships that were conducted without EC pre-approval from the PH Advisory Board, except in unusual circumstances
  • Shadowing a doctor
  • Williams two week spring breakout trip
  • Experiences that are less than one month and do not result in an in-depth understanding of a public health issue or population

Please note: An EC experience proposed and described in your application to the Public Health concentration does not mean it was approved. You *must* receive official approval. To learn more about the EC guidelines and the process to receive approval please read this document. If you are familiar with the process, you may go ahead and fill out the EC google form.

For any questions specifically related to the EC, please read through the EC Description document which can be found here. For any questions thereafter, please email Marion Min-Barron at [email protected].

Study Abroad Programs

The following three programs have been evaluated and approved as an appropriate public health field-based experience.

Also, one or more courses completed on an approved study abroad program can be counted toward the three elective courses, with permission of the program coordinator.

Winter Study Courses

The following four winter study courses have been taught in the past and serve as an appropriate public health field-based experience:

  • AFR 25 Gender & Social Activism in Uganda
  • PSCI 21 Fieldwork in Public Affairs and Private Nonprofits
  • SPEC 24 Eye Care and Culture in Nicaragua

WSP99 Project/Internships

Meet with Paula Consolini, Director of the Center for Learning in Action, as a first step to learn about possible opportunities and brainstorm ideas.