Applied Learning Experience Support
The purpose of the Applied Learning Experience (ALE) is to give MPH students the opportunity to ‘practice’ public health – in supportive and supervised settings – in anticipation of the receipt of their degree and future employment. All students in an accredited MPH program must complete both a public health project-based field experience and a culminating experience that is academically-based (e.g., a thesis or comprehensive exam). The Tufts MPH program combines these two requirements into the Applied Learning Experience.
- The ALE is structured as two, one-half credit courses – ALE planning PH 301 and the ALE implementation PH 302 – where the ALE planning semester is designed to flow directly into the implementation semester. The ALE sequence is usually done during the student’s final two semesters.
- To meet the accreditation requirement for a culminating experience, the ALE includes an academic component, in which the student conceptualizes, designs, implements, evaluates and describes a public health project. The academic products include an ALE proposal, a work plan, a final paper, and a final presentation to peers, faculty, and field site preceptors.
- To meet the public health field experience requirement, the ALE includes a practice component, in which the student spends a minimum of 160 hours performing work on behalf of a public health agency.
It is important to note that the ALE is not an internship – students are expected to exercise independent professional judgment in designing and implementing the work done in the field and not simply assist others with their professional responsibilities. ALE Course Directors, concentration leaders (or MS-HCOM director) and Career Services staff all assist in helping students identify a topic, find a site, identify and propose a project to a preceptor and get all approvals necessary for implementation.
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