The Department of Psychology strongly encourages students to gain practical experience through internships for course credit.
Finding an Internship
- Students negotiate directly with community sites to arrange to do internships with them. Students may arrange to do internships in any setting that will allow them to engage in activities that advance their future career goals. Our List of Internship Possibilities is a good starting point for identifying potential internship sites. Students can also explore options available through Career Services. When contacting sites, you should have a resume or CV ready, and you should expect that most sites will request an interview. You should treat these initial interactions the same way you would approach a prospective job.
Getting Academic Credit for an Internship
- To complete an internship for credit, you will need a faculty sponsor. Any faculty member may sponsor a PBS student for an internship taken as UMASS 298 (see below), and any PBS faculty member may sponsor a PBS student for an internship taken as PSYCH 398 (see below). Dr. Carolyn Davies (email@example.com) and Dr. Erik Cheries (firstname.lastname@example.org) are the internship liaisons and can serve as faculty sponsors for PBS students taking either UMASS 298 or PSYCH 398. If you are in the DDHS program, your faculty sponsor is Dr. Ashley Woodman.
- After securing an internship position and faculty sponsor, students should process an internship contract in Handshake in order to receive course credit (see Internship Contract below). The requirements for earning academic credit for an internship are:
- Completing 40 hours of internship work for each credit received;
- Submitting weekly reports to faculty sponsor;
- Submitting a ~5-page final paper on “What I Learned from My Internship” by the second day of final exams;
- Receiving a satisfactory end–of–term evaluation from the intern’s on-site direct supervisor;
- Submitting a completed Internship Site and Supervisor Final Assessment form by the second day of final exams.
- Internships may be taken as either PSYCH 398 or UMASS 298. To register for PSYCH 398 or UMASS 298 credits, you must complete an internship contract in Handshake (see below).
- PSYCH 398 is a variable-credit course and students with a GPA of 2.5 or better may register for it. Internships registered as PSYCH 398 must be Psych-related.
- UMASS 298 is a variable-credit course and students with a GPA of 2.0 or better may register for it.
- Students may take both PSYCH 398 and UMASS 298 concurrently in a single term, provided they complete the required hours of on-site work for each of the sites
Once you have confirmed an internship placement, you must complete an internship contract to register these credits on SPIRE. You cannot register directly for internship credits on SPIRE. Please complete the contract by the last day of classes the term prior to the start of your internship (e.g., Fall 2020 to start an internship Spring 2021). Contracts will be considered through the add/drop period under special circumstances.
You will need to create a free account on Handshake before you can access the internship contract.
- Once you log in, you can create a profile.
- To add an internship, click Career Center in the upper right hand corner, then scroll down to select Experiences.
- Next, click Request an Experience in the upper right hand corner.
- For Experience Type, select Undergraduate Internship for Academic Credit Experience Contract.
- Enter the term (e.g., semester and year) you plan to complete this internship.
- Enter all of the information requested.
- Under Internship Department and Course number, enter PSYCH 398 or UMASS 298 (confirm with your faculty sponsor if you're not sure)
- Under 'What is your Academic Project?', enter "Weekly reports to faculty sponsor and 5-page final paper describing what I learned from my internship"
- For Supervisor Name, this is the name of the supervisor at your site. The supervisor that you list on this contract is the person that will receive a request at the end of the semester to evaluate your performance and approve your hours, so you want to choose someone at the organization that will actually observe your activities on a regular basis.
Due to the added risks associated with field placement during the global pandemic, students will be required to complete an acknowledgement of risk form and upload it with their Handshake contract
When completing the Field Experience Acknowledgment Form, please CLICK THE FILLABLE BOX in the third paragraph and fill in any known risks specific to your placement. If you aren't aware of any, then enter the following phrase: "Other industry-specific hazards" in that box.
Once you submit the contract on Handshake, it is approved by Career Services, then your faculty sponsor. Once it is approved by your faculty sponsor, Laurie Dove will add the credits to your SPIRE account. You are NOT required to get a signature from your internship site supervisor.
Criminal Background Check
Though not required, we encourage students to complete a CORI form prior to completing their internship contracts. This is a background check that your internship site may also request you to complete. This background check is only valid for one year, so you may need to complete it more than once if you are doing multiple internships. To complete the CORI, fill out this form in its entirety (don’t forget to sign it) and bring it to Jonathan Tominar-Lipari in Tobin Hall room 401. He is typically in his office M-F 9:30-4:00.
You receive 1 academic credit for every 40 hours of internship. Your schedule is determined by you and your internship supervisor. You MUST complete your hours by the last day of classes. You can count hours for professional development and training. You cannot count hours traveling to and from your internship site from campus. If your internship requires travel from the main office to homes or schools, for instance, you can count these hours. You can count up to one hour of time per week spent working on the required journal entries.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you complete the required number of hours. If you need to make up hours from sick days, vacations, or snow days, discuss opportunities with your internship supervisor. If you are not able to make up these hours by the last day of classes, you will receive credit for only the hours completed. For instance, if you complete 100 hours but planned to complete 120, you will receive 2 credits for the first 80 hours. Contact your internship faculty sponsor as soon as possible if any changes need to be made to the number of credits after the add/drop period.