The culminating experience, known as the Public Health Capstone is a requirement for completion of the MPH degree. The main purpose of the Capstone is to provide the culminating, integrative curricular experience for students enrolled in Claremont Graduate University’s Master of Public Health program during their last semester prior to graduation. As such, the course draws on students’ prior training in the five core areas of public health (i.e., Social and Behavioral Science, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health Services and Environmental and Occupational Health), their additional required course work in Health Promotion, Education & Evaluation, Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Leadership and Management and their “real world” experience gained in the field prior to their graduation. More than just providing a review of the MPH curriculum, however, the Capstone is designed to challenge students to reflect and integrate their training and experience with the goal of developing their own individual point of view regarding the role of public health in contributing to the improvement of the health and well being of populations in the United States, as well as abroad.
Because the Capstone course pulls together the training students have received in all their prior coursework and field experience, it provides the opportunity to round out the development of the full set of competencies viewed as essential for masters-prepared graduates in public health. As such, this course is structured to accomplish four objectives:
Provide students with a means of self-assessment, indicating how core and concentration-specific competencies were achieved, through master’s courses and fieldwork, community service, and paid work experience.
Demonstrate to the graduate faculty that students have attained a basic knowledge base and skill set within the core public health areas.
Provide information that will be used by the Council on Education in Public Health to assess the curriculum’s effectiveness in providing students with the opportunities necessary to become competent in the core public health areas and in specialized areas.
Offer a means whereby students can market themselves to potential employers, showcasing their professional development, accomplishments and abilities.
Through development of a portfolio and final paper deriving from the field training experience, students reflect and integrate their training and experience with the goal of developing their own individual point of view regarding the role of public health.