Students can gain a variety of important, hands-on experiences working with community agencies through our Department’s internship class: PSYCH 461 (Field Practicum). This class allows students to earn course credit for their internships, which in turn can count toward their major or minor in psychology. The course requires students to work on-site at their internships for 120 hours during the semester. This works out to be about 8 hours per week. In addition to the on-site experiences, students complete online assignments with a Department faculty member who encourages students to connect their psychology course work with their internship experiences.
Benefits of an internship in psychology
In addition to helping students see how psychology can be applied to the world around them, completing an internship will provide important benefits to students as they prepare for their lives after graduating with a bachelor’s degree. For example, an internship can be an important networking tool. In fact, several of our interns have been hired into paid positions at the agencies after completing PSYCH 461. One graduate of our internship program who worked with the Propel Program says:
“I knew I wanted to learn and gain hands on experience working with individuals with disabilities… As an intern, I tutored students, helped in classrooms, and more. I found employment as an undergraduate student with Propel as a peer mentor and program assistant. Working with Propel has become my dream job and I want to grow with this program. Since graduating, I now work as an Administrative Assistant with Propel, and love it.” (BilliJo House)
Internship experiences are also critically important for students who wish to pursue a graduate degree in clinical or counseling psychology (or a related human services field). Internships provide a wealth of experiences that students can draw upon when completing graduate school admissions applications. In fact, another graduate of our internship program says:
“I think internships are a useful tool for students to get exposure to the field they have chosen to really get a glimpse of what it will be like outside of the school environment. Having observed the different areas of the mental health field, I was able to pinpoint which direction I want to pursue for my master’s degree.” (Raven Kimmi)
Furthermore, internship site supervisors can be excellent references for job or graduate school applications (since they work collaboratively with interns and get to know them well). The site supervisors at our partner agencies provide hands-on guidance to our interns. They work with interns to ensure a variety professional experiences. The site supervisor at Newhouse Domestic Violence Shelter notes,
“Getting direct experience in your field with clients is so important. You will have the opportunity to learn de-escalation techniques and problem-solving skills … Our internship offers experience with clients from every demographic and allows you to work with people you have never encountered before.” (Kaitlin Dempsey)
We are fortunate to work with a variety of community partners that serve as internship sites for our students, including:
For a list of agencies that are currently taking interns, please contact the Director of the Undergraduate Psychology Program, Dr. Kym Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
How to apply
The Psychology Advising Office (PAO) will send an email to all psychology students to announce when we begin the application process for PSYCH 461. The process typically begins in November for spring internships, and in April for fall internships. There are a few steps involved:
- After receiving the email from the PAO, select the agency that is of most interest to you.
- In most cases, you will email Dr. Bennett (email@example.com) so that she can introduce you to the agency’s site supervisor.
- For most agencies, you will be required to complete an in-person or phone interview, and to pass a background check. Some agencies have other application requirements, and those will be listed in the email from the PAO.
- After approval has been given by the site supervisor, Dr. Bennett will secure permission for you to enroll in PSYCH 461.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Bennett or the PAO (firstname.lastname@example.org).