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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. In the past, students have completed psychology internships in settings such as mental health centers, schools, prisons, and businesses. Our graduates often comment that their internship was their most useful and most enjoyable college experience!
The exact nature of the internship will vary depending upon the internship site and the types of learning objectives you wish to pursue. A faculty member will provide you with a syllabus outlining academic requirements that will encourage integration of prior classroom learning with current practical experiences.
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. You also must complete an internship application that will need to be approved by 1) the professor teaching the internship class, 2) the psychology internship committee, and 3) the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
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. Approval of your internship application will depend, in part, on your academic preparation for the particular internship you are proposing.
Finding an Internship Position
We can help you find an internship position. Make an appointment with your advisor or the internship 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. You will probably need to schedule an interview with the agency.. 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 internship professor. In addition, a representative for the internship site must sign the Letter of Agreement for Internships, found in the application packet.
The Application Forms
Applications are available from the Psychology Department internship coordinator and the secretary, or can be downloaded here:
Application deadlines are:
- Spring Internships - November 20
- Summer and Fall Internships - May 1
The application includes a Letter of Agreement page. On that page there are lines for signatures. You will need to sign on the student line and you will also need to get the signature of the internship professor and a signature from a representative at the internship site. After getting the signatures of the internship professor and the internship site representative and completing the rest of the application, give the application to the department internship coordinator. The coordinator will have the Psychology Department Internship Committee review your application. If your application is approved by that committee, the coordinator will forward your application to the College of Arts & Sciences for final approval. If your application is approved by the College of Arts & Sciences you will be registered for the internship class.
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 the MySHIP Portal about four weeks after the application deadline to make sure your internship has been registered correctly.
You will be expected to complete 120 “work” hours for a 3-credit internship. In addition, you will also need to complete further requirements that will involve your integration of the internship experience with prior classroom knowledge. At a minimum, you will need to keep a log of your experiences each day and write a paper at the end of the internship. Your internship professor will give you a syllabus outlining the requirements and the basis for assigning an internship grade.
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!