Field Training Information for Site Supervisors

Dean's Welcome Message to Site Supervisors

On behalf of the School of Public Health and Health Professions, I would like to thank you for supporting our Master of Public Health program by supervising our students in their field training experience. Site supervisors play a key role in assisting, advising, training and evaluating students throughout their field experiences. We know from our students that they view such experiences as a crucial element of their education. We also know that supervising a student is a commitment in time and effort, and we appreciate your willingness to share your expertise and knowledge to help train our students as future public health professionals. This opportunity is transformative for so many of our students. We’ve heard from many supervisors of our MPH students that they make significant contributions to the work of their agency, as well. We anticipate that you will find value in having our MPH students contribute to achieving your organization’s goals.

We aim to make this experience a valuable one for you, your organization and our students, and look forward to strengthening our partnership during and following the field training experience.

Again, thank you. With your support as a supervisor, our Master of Public Health students will gain invaluable knowledge, skills and experience in public health practice that they can take with them in their future careers.


Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD
Dean and SUNY Distinguished Professor
School of Public Health and Health Professions
University at Buffalo

Field Training Overview

Field training is a cornerstone of the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program, providing students with diverse public health experiences vital to their professional growth. Students gain valuable hands-on learning opportunities unavailable in a classroom setting. The purpose of field training is for students to demonstrate public health competencies, through knowledge and skills acquired during the academic portion of their program, in a practical setting under an agency’s supervision and guidance.

Field Training Hours

Students must complete 120 hours of field training in a semester, but may choose to complete up to 240 hours of field training over one or two semesters. There is no prescribed field training schedule as long as the required hours are completed. It may be useful to schedule students regularly, such as 10 or 20 hours per week. There is no expectation of student compensation for their field training experience. 

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Site Supervisor Responsibilities

Field training provides an opportunity for students to practice public health with supervision from a public health practitioner and develop public health products that are meaningful to the site, allowing students to demonstrate public health competencies.

Responsibilities of site supervisors:

  • Mentor students during the experience, providing guidance and supervision to strengthen their public health practice knowledge and skills.
  • Provide students with opportunities to develop two public health products that are useful to the site and allow students to demonstrate public health competencies described below.
  • Evaluate students' performance at the end of the experience.

Students manage the product and competency requirements for their field training experience. We ask site supervisors to provide opportunities for students to meet the requirements, and mentor and encourage them during the experience.

Site Supervisor Benefits

While students benefit from your supervision and mentorship, there are many benefits to you and your organization, as well.

Site Supervisor Qualifications

A site supervisor should have at least one year of relevant public health or health-related work experience or adequate formal training as determined by MPH program staff.

Required Documentation

  • Supervisors are asked to complete a brief Internship Project Description Form describing the project, goals and objectives, and student activities to establish a field training experience.
  • At the beginning of field training, supervisors are asked to approve a Site Assignment Form detailing the project and student activities to finalize the placement.
  • At the end of field training, supervisors are asked to rate students' performance on a Supervisor Evaluation of Student Form.

Forms are sent to supervisors at each step, and field training staff are available to guide supervisors throughout the process.

Preventing and Responding to Discrimination and Harassment During Field Training

In the University at Buffalo (UB) School of Public Health and Health Professions (SPHHP), our learning community is enriched by differences in perspectives and background. We seek to foster learning environments with a climate of collegiality, mutual respect for differences, and awareness of the dynamics of privilege and oppression. These expectations extend to field training and clinical experiences where students are expected to engage with others with cultural humility and, in turn, are expected to be treated fairly, respectfully, and without bias, as are the patients, colleagues and others at the site.

All field training/clinical sites are requested to review and provide a copy of their organization’s non-discrimination policy with field training students during their orientation. We understand that some small organizations may not have these policies. In that case we ask that the clinical site review any existing practices for promoting inclusion with the student. We acknowledge that unfair treatment, discrimination, harassment and micro-aggressions based on students’, patients’, colleagues’ or others’ identities can take place, and urge students to immediately report any incidents to UB’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and also discuss any incidents with their field training director (contact information is provided below) without fear of retaliation or retribution. This includes incidents perpetrated toward themselves or others.