Frequently Asked Questions Regarding HS 408: Fieldwork Experience

HS 408: Fieldwork Experience (Public Health Program)

Q. When must I inform the department I plan to take my internship?

Please email the program coordinator if you have specific questions regarding deadlines. (Jessica.Parks@nau.edu). 

Planning should start at the beginning or slightly before the semester prior to when you plan to take the internship. (For example, if you plan to intern in Spring, you should be readying to prepare for the internship at the beginning of the previous Fall term. You should be added the the official HS 408 zero-course shell around this time which will have a full list of the internship deadlines. If you haven't been added to the BbLearn shell, please contact Jessica (Jessica.Parks@nau.edu) ASAP. 

When emailing Jessica, please make sure to:

  • List your full name and EMPLID
  • List the semester you plan to intern
  • List the city/state you plan to intern (even if it is within Flagstaff)

Q. When can I take HS 408?

  • As stated in the NAU catalog, students must complete all Public Health program requirements prior to enrolling in HS 408. This includes all HS required courses, BIO 201 and BIO 202,  NTS and PSY/STA, and any corresponding lab requirements. While a student may take a general elective concurrent with HS 408, it is not recommended.*
  • A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher is also required.

Note: While many students need to be enrolled in 12 credits for financial aid reasons during their first semesters, this likely is not true in the last semester. Most financial aid programs do NOT require a 12-credit enrollment if the student does not need all 12 to complete the degree. Contact your financial aid consultant to verify what your particular situation requires.

Q. Why is a GPA of 2.5 or higher required?

Students graduating with a degree in Public Health need to maintain a 2.5 GPA average. However, HS 408 is considered a Pass/Fail class, which means that the 9 credits calculated will not affect your GPA. Therefore, students need to have a 2.5 GPA or higher to enroll in HS 408 so once they've successfully passed HS 408, they are eligible to graduate with this degree. Students who are credit-ready to take HS 408 but have a GPA below the minimum 2.5 will be asked to take or retake additional credits to raise their GPA to the required minimum. 

Q. What is an appropriate site?

An appropriate agency is one that allows you to have an opportunity to be involved with a specific project in public health, provides appropriate supervision and mentorship, gives you an experience that utilizes your knowledge and skills, and helps you achieve your professional goals.

For a list of specific HS 408 course requirements, contact Jessica.Parks@nau.edu. 

Q. I'm very busy with school, job, and family. How do I find an internship site?

Quite a few interns have proposed and conducted relatively independent projects that they could work on at night and during weekends. Agencies that offer opportunities for hours beyond 9-5 exist. It may limit your search, but it is possible to find one.

The majority of our students work full time, have family responsibilities, and have successfully completed their internships while working. The internship experience has been very rewarding for our students. It has taken their learning to a new level, and in some cases has opened new doors for an improved change in employment.

If you are concerned about balancing your work/life time with an internship, please reach out to Jessica.Parks@nau.edu.

Q. I already work in a health-related field. Can I do my internship at my work site?

You may do your internship at your work site with the following conditions: 

  • The duties for your internship must be clearly identified and different from those for which you are employed.
  • Your site supervisor for the internship must be different from your employment supervisor.
  • Your internship duties must be unpaid.

Q. Do I have flexibility in the timing of my internship hours?

Public Health students must log 360 internship hours. Those hours may be spread out over the time frame of the semester--you may not start your hours before the semester starts or complete them after the semester ends. You do have the flexibility to coordinate your hours with your internship site so that your needs and theirs are met. You may not log more than 40 hours in any week.

Q. What is an affiliation agreement?

The agreement is a legal document to clarify what obligations NAU has and what obligations the site has while an intern is working there. The affiliation agreement is not student-specific--for example, we have an agreement with Flagstaff Medical Center. We may send ten public health students, three nursing students, and a dental student there all covered under the legal terms of the same agreement. NAU requires that we have a current agreement in place with any site at which we place interns. This process can sometimes take up to a month or longer so an early start is recommended.

Q. Can I do my internship out of the country?

Yes. You will need to contact Danielle Varnes, the International Internship Coordinator in NAU's Center for International Education Department. You may reach her at (928) 523-2602.

Q. Can I do a paid internship?

You may pursue a paid internship; however, there are a few things to consider. With a paid internship it must be completely clear that you are an intern and NOT an employee. Also please be aware that you must carry your own liability insurance coverage.

Q. Who should I contact if I have questions?

Contact your academic advisor or the program coordinator at Jessica.Parks@nau.edu.