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Please also see the University site on internships at http://www.ship.edu/internship/
A psychology internship is a situation in which you, as an advanced student in Psychology, gain supervised practical experience directly related to previous classroom instruction. Our graduates often comment that their internship was their most useful and most enjoyable college experience!
Any on-the-job experience, from crisis intervention to personnel management, to care of the mentally ill, to educational assistance, may qualify. All you need to do is to establish a clear relationship to Psychology. Other examples include hospital work, work at a day-care center, and government work.
By meeting certain other requirements, such as completing an academic paper, you may earn from three to nine credits toward your graduation. Three credits require at least 120 hours of on-the-job experience. Six credits require at least 240 hours. Please note that these credits can only count under free electives. The internship can, however, count as your capstone experience.
In order to participate in the internship program, you must have completed 60 credits toward graduation at the time your internship begins, including 15 credits in Psychology. You must have a 2.0 grade point average or better, overall and in Psychology. Only grades earned at Shippensburg University count.
If your internship involves one-to-one confidential and personal interaction with clients, you must take PSY 384 (Person to Person Interaction) prior to your internship. Likewise, if it involves group interaction, you must take PSY 361 (Group Interaction) prior to your internship. If your internship will involve interaction with children, you must have taken a child psychology or child development course prior to your internship. Comparable training may qualify. Please discuss your preparation with your agency, faculty internship coordinator, or the department internship coordinator.
Finding an Internship Position
We can help you find an internship position. Your advisor has a list of approved internship sites with telephone numbers and the names of contact persons. We also have a bulletin board with ideas and addresses for you. Make an appointment with your advisor or the intership coordinator (currently Dr. Weikel) as they can help you find an internship that fits your educational and career goals and for which you are academically prepared.
After getting information about internship sites, you should call the agency (or agencies) to discuss your interests and theirs. If it seems workable, make an appointment to discuss it in person. The agency must be willing to provide adequate supervision of constructive work -- that is, we expect that you will be doing meaningful things rather than busy-work. Also, the agency must be willing to complete mid-term and final intern evaluation forms which are sent to your faculty advisor.
If everything works out well, have the agency representative sign our Letter of Agreement for Internships, found in the application packet.
Your Faculty Internship Advisor
Either before or after you find an internship situation, you must find a Psychology professor who will be willing to be your faculty internship advisor. The faculty internship advisor has several, duties. First, he or she will look over your application to make sure it is complete and professional, and that what you propose to do is appropriate for a Psychology internship. The faculty internship advisor also signs the Letter of Agreement.
Second, your faculty internship advisor will make a visit to the internship site during your internship to make sure that you are involved in meaningful work, as well as to meet with your contact person as a representative of the University.
Third, he or she will meet with you during the semester or term to discuss your progress. Finally, he or she will accept and review your academic paper and award you a pass/fail grade.
The Application Forms
Applications are available from the Psychology Department internship coordinator and the secretary, or can be downloaded here:
(You will need the Acrobat plug-in to read this form. It can be downloaded here.)
Application deadlines are:
Spring Internships - December 1
Summer and Fall Internships - May 1
Give the application to the department internship coordinator. The coordinator gives final approval and keeps your application on file.
After your internship application is approved by the department internship coordinator and the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences - the department will take care of forwarding your application to the Dean's office - the department secretary will schedule you for the appropriate number of internship credits. You do not need to schedule the internship yourself. Check you schedule on SIS about four weeks after the application deadline to make sure your internship has been registered correctly.
You will be expected to keep a log. This is a private journal in which you record the highlights of each day, new tasks, things you learn, people you meet, tidbits about the organization, session results, and any other interesting data.
You will find this very useful when you write your paper. It will remind you of situations, people, and events that you might otherwise lost track of. You may find yourself quoting at length from your log. Otherwise, this is a private journal, open only to yourself and your faculty advisor.
If you desire three credits, your paper must be at least 12 pages long. If you desire six credits, it must be at least 22 pages long. Your paper must be typed, proofread, literate, and professional!
Examples of possible papers: Case studies, statistical research projects, agency reviews, rewriting of agency materials, etc. Your faculty advisor will give you details of what he or she expects in an internship paper.
Note: if you are on-the-job and notice some different approach for your paper, it is not too late to change. Discuss it with your faculty advisor.
Your Review of Your Internship
At the end of the internship experience, you are expected to complete the Student Internship Evaluation Form (included in the application packet). Please give it to the department internship coordinator or the secretary. It will be kept on file and may wind up in our internship booklet for other students to read.
Some Points of Ethics
Any complication with the program is to be promptly and completely discussed with your internship advisor or the department internship coordinator.
Be sure you have agency approval before getting involved in new areas of activity on-the-job. Know the extent and limits of your responsibility and be conscientious in their fulfillment.
You must safeguard all personal and confidential material concerning clients, patients, or workers, and use it only for professional purposes. Do not carry confidential information outside the agency. Make sure to use fictitious names in your academic paper where confidentiality would be compromised!
This is a step towards a professional career. Please behave like a professional!
One of our internship mentors:
"Try? There is no try. Only do!"