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PSY 4890 - Internships and Field Experience

Undergraduate Psychology Service & Internship

UPSI Award Opportunity

Curious about how psychology is applied in the real world? If so, the Internships and Field Experience class is for you! PSY 4890 offers opportunities for students to participate in internships and field work related to the field of psychology in the broadest sense. These educational experiences will look great on your resume. They will also help you decide which career path you may (or may not) want to follow. There is no better teacher than experience!

Please take a look at the list of currently approved organizations. The list is always being updated and we are always open to suggestions for new opportunities!

Not sure where to begin? Meet with your Internship Coordinator to discuss your options.

General Requirements

  • Your internship/field experience will be self-initiated and highly autonomous (i.e., you are responsible for setting up your placement and for completing all required tasks in a satisfactory manner).
  • You can meet with your Internship Coordinator to begin your internship search. The Internship Coordinator can also assist you with polishing your application materials.
  • Internships can be broad but must be related to psychology.
  • Whether paid or unpaid, your placement site should offer you new learning experiences (i.e., the opportunity to learn something new that is related to the field of Psychology).
  • Internships or field work should offer the opportunity to develop marketable, professional skills, including self-reflection skills, communication skills, and applying research-based information to practice.
  • Internships or field work primarily consisting of physical labor, photocopying, filing, or similar work will not be considered. However, it is acceptable to do some of this work if it is in the service of learning psychology-related skills.

Prerequisites, Timeline, and Process

This class is intended as an opportunity to get to connect academic learning in psychology with actual experience in the field of psychology. Therefore, you must have a basic background in psychology. You must be able to demonstrate professional communication skills, be reliable, and show a willingness to learn.

  • Prerequisites: PSY 1010 and PSY 2010.
    • We also recommend that you take at least one 3000-level class that is relevant for your internship or field work, either before or concurrent with PSY 4890, so you can make connections between what you learned in class and what you learn in the field.
  • 1-2 Months Before the Semester Starts:
    • Contact the internship coordinator and schedule a meeting to help you start out on the right foot for developing your placement.
    • Research internship or field work options. Look over our list, as well as other campus resources, and think about your own network and contacts to the community.
    • Contact two or three organizations that look interesting to you, to maximize your chances of finding the best match for your interests and schedule. You are responsible for contacting the organization and setting up your placement.
  • 1.5 Months Before the Semester Starts.
  • 0.5 Months Before the Semester Starts.
    • Register for the PSY 4890-079 class. You will need a permission code from the internship coordinator to register.
  • You can choose to take 1 to 6 credits.
    • For every one credit, you need to do 3 hours per week of internship or field work hours.
    • During Fall and Spring, this is required for 12 weeks out of the 15-week semester (36 hours total for one credit).
    • During Summer, you need to do 9 weeks of field work or internship hours (27 hours total for one credit).
  • After starting the class, you will need to create a contract (see example contracts: clinical and non-clinical) with your field work or internship supervisor, participate in four monthly meetings, and complete class assignments.

I liked the way everything was broken down and that we were able to choose our own amount of hours for credit. This was a great class and it provided me with guidance for my future career plans. I enjoyed being able to meet with the other students and hear about their experiences.

Expectations of the Student, the Organization, and the Department

Expectations of Student:

  • Find an internship or field work site related to the field of psychology.
  • Follow the procedures, as listed above
  • Create a contract with the organization
  • Satisfy agency expectations in a thorough and timely manner
  • Behave in a professional manner
  • Maintain clear and open communication with the agency and with the Psychology coordinators for the Internship and Field Experience class. As you prepare for your experience, you will be in contact with the department's Internship Coordinator. Once the class starts, you will maintain communication with the instructor for 4890, Ilse Dekoeijer-Laros.

Expectations of Organization:

  • Provide assistance and training to the student as needed
  • Serve as a professional mentor and professional connection for the student
  • Provide professional experiences focused on psychology (avoiding an abundance of menial tasks)
  • Provide clear explanations of student's duties and provide feedback
  • Give clear indication of timeline for completion
  • Maintain clear and open communication with student
  • Assist student intern with troubleshooting
  • Contact the Internship Coordinator if problems arise

Expectations of the Psychology Department:

  • Actively seek out Internship and Field Experience options for students.
  • Distribute Internship Announcements
  • Assist student with assessing potential agencies to contact for an internship
  • Provide coursework for student focused on professional development.
  • Address concerns raised by the student or the organization.

"I feel like [this class] really helped me to know and understand what many of the things are that I can do and what I should be doing in order to get valuable experience in the field and to help get my foot in the door for future job and scholarly opportunities."

Last Updated: 10/31/19