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Community-Based Master's Project

The Community-Based Master’s Project (CBMP) comprises the culminating experience required of full-time second year Drexel MPH students and MD/MPH students. Students spend approximately 400 hours throughout the academic year gaining public health practice experience relevant to their concentration/major. The CBMP can be a specific project (e.g. research study, program evaluation) or an internship with multiple projects and activities.  Because the scope of projects differ by academic concentration, it is important to consider the MPH Core Competencies (PDF) relevant to individual departments when designing a CBMP project.  

The completion of a CBMP project and accompanying master’s paper are required as part of the Drexel MPH degree. Students must complete and defend a master’s paper based on their CBMP experience, and present a poster session to faculty, peers and their community preceptor. Some students go on to publish their results, or gain employment at the host agency where they may become preceptors for future students.


The CBMP is designed to integrate public health academic studies with public health practice skills. CBMP projects must:
  • Benefit the community or a particular target population
  • Support SPH goals and objectives
  • Directly relate to a student’s academic goals, objectives, and professional interests
  • Involve appropriate SPH faculty as preceptors and advisors.

Students develop a written learning agreement in consultation with a faculty advisor and the community preceptor. Sponsoring agencies designate a qualified member of their staff to serve as the community-based preceptor for each assigned SPH student. The preceptor guides the student's experience on site, helps him/her think critically about the concrete details and meaning of activities, and facilitates interactions with agency staff and community members.




Unsure of what to do for CBMP? Find an existing position.

The Office of Public Health Practice maintains Symplicity, an online system where all current project descriptions submitted by community preceptors are posted.  The list of projects will change as sites continue to submit projects and opportunities are taken by students.  Students should have been registered for the system in their first year.  If any challenges arise with the database, contact Caroline.

When logging in for the first time as a Second Year, students should:

Log in as a student user, update their profile and upload an current resume.

- Search available positions and apply to positions of interest via Symplicity or as described in “How to Apply” sections. 

- Along with the preceptor, develop and submit a signed Learning Agreement to the student's Academic Advisor and to their Department Coordinator for approval.

- Receive feedback and make any necessary changes before beginning any work.

Have a project idea? Create your own position.

Students are not limited to projects on Symplicity.  Students that are interested in pursuing an opportunity not listed on the database should:

- Connect with a preceptor at an organization of interest.  If unsure of individuals/organizations to contact, the Director of Student Placement and/or the Academic Advisor should be contacted over the summer to help locate potential preceptors. 

- Develop a Learning Agreement after agreement is reached with the preceptor on the scope of the practicum.  

- Submit a signed Learning Agreement to the student's Academic Advisor for approval.

- Receive feedback and make necessary changes before beginning any work.


Any international student with an F1 visa completing a CBMP off-site (not on Drexel property), even though it is unpaid, must obtain Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval through Drexel's Office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS). CPT applies only to experiences like the practicum which are required of an academic program. You will need to submit the two forms below and a copy of your signed Learning Agreement prior to your starting work on your CBMP, and resubmit the forms for any quarter that you are doing practicum (i.e. if you start your practicum in the winter and continue in the spring, you'll have to resubmit in the spring quarter).   The letter can be signed by either your academic advisor or the Director of Student Placement.

Both of the CPT forms and your final practicum learning agreement should be submitted to the ISSS office (Creese 210) at least three business days before you start work at your practicum site. ISSS Policies | CPT letter



Below is a list of behaviors the School expects its students to exhibit within the context of their community-based learning responsibilities.  You are representing yourself as well as the School and Drexel University when undertaking a CBMP within a community-based site.

1. Be punctual;

2. Be respectful of all persons with whom you interact;

3. Dress professionally;

4. Honor confidentiality: what you see and hear on site remains on site;

5. Exhibit the same intensity, rigor, and commitment at your community site that you have displayed in the context of your classroom learning. All communications, whether in person, by phone, or by email should be conducted in a professional manner.



For more information about working with our MPH students, please contact Caroline Voyles.  If you already have a project or internship description, you can upload it directly to our student opportunities database, Symplicity.