Student Internship Policy
An internship is intended to provide students with the opportunity to apply what they are learning in their Psychology courses to real-world situations. It offers them the chance to work in an applied setting of their choosing under the supervision of agency staff, who will also train and evaluate them. The Psychology faculty is committed to making the internship a quality educational experience that involves integrating academic learning with the performance of meaningful activities under the direct supervision of an administrator in a community agency or other approved, applied setting (e.g., public school, higher education admissions office).
Many students are interested in human services careers, and it is acceptable for them to be involved in internships where educational guidance, telephone crisis counseling, or basic support and advocacy services are provided as long as: a) appropriate, ongoing training and supervision are provided, and b) the work the intern performs is normally done by someone with an undergraduate degree or could be done by a trained community volunteer. In other words, students should only be engaged in activities that they could perform as a job upon obtaining their bachelor's degree. Because of licensure requirements and confidentiality concerns, students may not observe or participate in individual or group counseling and psychotherapy or psychological testing.
- An internship is typically the equivalent of a 3-credit course, though it may range from 1-4 credits.
- Students are required to spend approximately 100 hours per semester at the applied setting (or 30-35 hours per credit). Note that the 100 hours must be spent working on tasks for the internship site. Completing tasks for the academic portion of the internship (e.g., writing in the journal, identifying and completing readings, researching and writing the final paper) do not count toward the required 100 hours for a 3 credit internship.
- Internships are intended to be new learning experiences for students that broaden their knowledge and skills. As such, internships will typically not be approved for students' existing workplaces. Rather, students who want to complete an internship should seek to complement their employment record with a new internship site that allows them to develop and hone new skills.
- Although students may complete more than 3 credits of internship, only 3 credits may be applied to the major. Students will not typically receive approval to complete two 3-credit internships at the same site, as again, these are intended to be new learning experiences.
- The privilege of doing an internship depends upon the overall quality of the student's academic and relevant interpersonal/applied skills as judged by the Psychology faculty, as well as the availability of faculty sponsors. Sponsoring a student internship is not required of the faculty and is solely based on the discretion of each individual faculty member.
- An internship may not substitute for other courses on the student's academic plan.
- Ordinarily, the student must have a cumulative 3.0 GPA or above, a 3.25 GPA in at least 4 Psychology courses, and be of Junior or Senior standing.
- The student must have a declared major in Psychology.
- The student must have the consent of a Psychology faculty member who is willing to serve as the faculty sponsor for the internship. That faculty member may require the completion of specific supporting courses as pre-requisites to the internship.
Note: The approval of the Human Development chairperson (the budgetary chair) is also required on all internship registration forms.
Procedures for Students to Set-up an Internship
- Take relevant course work specific to the setting and consult the internship lists or the faculty sponsor for the prerequisite courses deemed necessary. Determine whether you meet other pre-requisites (e.g., GPA, Junior or Senior standing).
- Before contacting a potential internship site, submitting an application, or agreeing to an interview, find a faculty member who is willing to serve as the faculty sponsor (see list on advising link). The setting and the site supervisor will be discussed with and approved by that Psychology faculty member.
- Contact the site supervisor at the location you wish to work to determine whether they are accepting internship applications. Complete the internship site application procedures (e.g., application, interview).
- If selected for the internship by the site, complete an Internship/Independent Study Form with your faculty sponsor, which will include identifying a list of learning objectives for the internship.
- The Human Development (budgetary) chair and your on-site supervisor will also need to sign the form after it is completed. The form is then submitted to the Registrar's Office to officially enroll in the internship for course credit.
Procedures for Site Supervisors and Faculty Sponsors
- During the semester, the site supervisor and the faculty sponsor will communicate about the student and his or her learning experience.
- Prior to start of the internship, the faculty member will provide a syllabus that addresses topics such as identifying and assigning readings and the required academic components of the course (e.g., journal, paper). Readings and other assignments must provide a theoretical basis for the academic integrity and integration of the internship experience.
- At the end of the semester (and possibly at mid-semester), the internship supervisor will be asked to complete a Supervisor Evaluation of Student Form.
What's Expected of the Intern
- The intern typically will meet with their faculty sponsor 3-4 times during the semester to discuss the internship experience and relevant academic reading materials and assignments. The intern will also notify the sponsor immediately of any concerns about the internship.
- The student will be required to keep a weekly journal to record activities, reactions, insights and/or linkages to theoretical perspectives noting the date and times at setting. This journal/log should be shown to both the faculty sponsor and the field supervisor on a regular basis. No confidential information from the internship site should be included within the journal.
- A 15-20 page paper will be required at the end of the semester. The paper should not be a review of the internship experience that is more relevant in the journal. The final paper should instead explore a topic specific to the internship site (e.g., the effectiveness of mentoring programs with academically at-risk youth). An integration of research (i.e., library research) and practice needs to be demonstrated in the final paper.
- The intern will write a one page description and evaluation of the internship experience that can be used as a source of future reference for both students and faculty. These papers may be placed in our public departmental internship files.
To see which faculty members sponsor different types of internships, please consult the Internship Advisors table on our Advisors page