PSY A495A Practicum
PSY A495A Psychology Practicum is the department's internship for undergraduate students. Practicum gives students majoring in Psychology "hands-on" experience in a community service agency while earning academic credit toward graduation. This course meets the Psychology Capstone Requirement.
How do I add the course?
This course requires instructor permission. To gain instructor permission, students will need a Statement of Support from a professor within the Psychology Department. Please ask the faculty member who is providing the statement of support to email Dr. Mychal Machado.
- Why should I take the Psychology Practicum?
In addition to gaining hands-on experience providing services in agencies in our community, this course helps students meet Psychology Practicum the Psychology Capstone Requirement. Former students report that the practicum has:
- given them opportunities to transform theory into practice,
- been beneficial in identifying the types of work they'd like to pursue in the future, and
- practicum experience is an excellent item to add to a curriculum vitae for students planning to attend graduate school and an excellent item to add to a resume for those students entering the workforce upon graduation.
- What should I know about the course before enrolling?
The course uses a combination of hands-on experience in the community and in-class activities to facilitate the development of professional skills.
To successfully complete the course, students are expected to earn an internship and complete at least 90 hours of service in a community agency that provides psychological, behavioral, or social services. Students will also attend weekly classroom activities, reflect on their experiences in the community, and present a final report about an evidence-based practice that could be used in their placement.
- Do I need to know where I want to intern before I enroll in the course?
No, but students should have an idea of what type of work they’d like to do prior to enrolling. Examples include identifying a type of service provided, a specific client population, or a specific clinical diagnosis or social problem to be addressed. Students are best served when they contact the instructor early to discuss course expectations.
What internship sites are currently available?
Following enrollment, students will be given access to the Blackboard course site, which includes a preapproved agency list. The agency list describes several local organizations and contact persons who have agreed to accept interviews from UAA interns at their agency.
Agencies included on this list do not guarantee placement. Students are still required to apply for an internship with the agency, including any required interviews, paperwork, pre-service training, and background checks. The preapproved agency list may serve as a good start to finding a placement.
Students are not required to select a placement from the preapproved agency list. Select a placement that best suits the student’s personal interests and professional goals. Note that all agency placements require instructor approval and a signed Memorandum of Agreement prior to starting the practicum. Students are encouraged to discuss you interests with the instructor early, especially if pursuing placement at an agency not included on the preapproved agency list.
Will I be paid for this internship experience?
Students are not typically paid for their contributions to a community agency. However, it is not uncommon for exceptional students to be hired during or soon after their practicum placement. Alternatively, students who are within their first six months at a new job with a service agency may be able to use their employment experience as a practicum experience. Contact the instructor for more information.
When should I begin contacting practicum agencies?
After submitting the Statement of Support and the Practicum Enrollment Checklist, students may begin reaching out to local community agencies to begin securing their internship. Students should not present themselves as a Psychology Department interns until after the instructor has provided permission to begin contacting local agencies.
In the past, students have had great success in the course when they begin identifying agencies that would meet their personal and professional goals and contacting those agencies 4-6 weeks prior to the start of the semester. The most common cause of unsuccessful course completion is failure to secure a practicum site in a timely fashion.
What should I do before contacting agencies?
Have a copy of the Agency Placement Request and the Memorandum of Agreement to share with agency representatives. The Agency Placement Request briefly describes the expectations for the placement agency, and the Memorandum of Agreement will serve as the formal contract between the instructor, the student, and the placement agency outlining the expectations for each role. The Memorandum of Agreement must be signed, submitted to, and approved by the course instructor before the student begins placement with the agency.