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Integrative Learning Experience

Student leading a meeting

The culminating experience for the Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree is known as the Integrative Learning Experience (ILE)‚Äč.

Completed throughout the second academic year of the program, students gain public health practice experience relevant to their concentration/major.

The ILE can be a specific project (e.g. research study, program evaluation) or an internship with multiple projects and activities.

Recent Integrative Learning Experience Projects

Dornsife students gain practical skills and career experience at some of the leading public health organizations in the Philadelphia region. Others work closely with Dornsife faculty.

See examples of 2020 student experiences

The completion of a culminating experience 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 ILE experience. Some students go on to publish their results, or gain employment at the host agency where they may become preceptors for future students.


The ILE is designed to integrate public health academic studies with public health practice skills. These projects must:

  • Benefit the community or a particular target population
  • Support SPH goals and objectives
  • Directly relate to a student’s academic goals 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.

For Community Partners and Preceptors

Thank you for your interest in serving as a mentor and supervisor for our students’ practical experiences. Our preceptors come from all sectors of public health, providing exposure to a variety of skills and tasks relevant to students’ future careers. Review our preceptor requirements and orientation materials (PDF).

For more information about working with our MPH students, please contact Tariem Burroughs, MSEd, MSODL, MA, Director of Experiential Learning and Career Services. If you already have a project or internship description, you can upload it directly to our student opportunities database, Symplicity.

The coronavirus pandemic created a new appreciation for the critical role of trained public health professionals.