Applied Learning Experience (ALE)

Traditionally completed in the last two semesters of study, the Applied Learning Experience (ALE) offers students an opportunity to integrate and apply the knowledge and skills gained in the classroom to an important real world health communication problem. Further, it is an opportunity for students to provide service to the community by working with a real world agency. The ALE allows our faculty to assess student preparedness to graduate and practice health communication.

The ALE consists of a placement with a practitioner and a classroom-based seminar. Students spend a minimum of 160 hours over the course of a semester performing their work on behalf of their field agency. The classroom based seminar is a forum for students to learn from each other’s experiences and for the Course Director to track student progress, assess performance, and provide technical assistance. At the conclusion of the semester, students submit a written report and give an oral presentation of their work.

Students often find the ALE the most rewarding experience of the program:

“Presenting my ALE at the national American Public Health Association conference in Chicago (2015) was a great opportunity that opened a lot of doors for me - I was able to network, which is how I met my current employer (also a Tufts alum!)"
-Sammi Gassel
“My ALE gave me insight into the complexities of working with a refugee population, including survey design, audio drama script development, and analysis of findings. It was just what I wanted in terms of getting my feet wet with community-level, domestic work with minority communities.
- Ellyson Stout
Ellyson Stout
“Through my ALE I explored the valuable role of technology in health communication, particularly in reaching audiences with physical disabilities. The experience made me more competitive in the job market, and the lessons I learned carry over into my work every day.
- Amy Behrens
Amy Behrens

View more ALE projects

HCOM Brochure

3 Minutes of Insights from Faculty and Staff


Alumni Spotlight

Photo of Tufts Alumna Liz Austin
Liz Austin, MS '09
Communications and Outreach Coordinator at the National Cancer Institute
Read Liz's story...

More about jobs in the field