Practicum is for ambitious students who are able to work independently. Typically, interns are upper-level students (juniors or seniors) with specific learning goals (e.g., to learn more about research, to learn more about a specific agency, etc.). Students who want to explore might consider job shadowing and/or volunteering. Both are excellent ways to learn about different professions and different agencies efficiently.

Practicum combines on-site training with coursework (e.g., reflections, evaluations, literature reviews) to create a course, PSYC 4950 Practicum. The general guideline is an intern is on-site 3 hours per week for every credit hour earned; for example, an intern taking a 3-credit internship will work on-site 9 hours per week. The course can be taken for variable credit hours, for multiple quarters, for a letter grade or for credit/no credit. A maximum of 10 credit hours of practicum can be earned.

Often the best practicum opportunities available (i.e., the ones where students get to do the most) are in research labs and institutions. Undergraduates are not qualified to get clinical experience per se, although interns work in labs studying such things as PTSD, autism, borderline personality disorder, substance abuse, etc.

Our own professors also offer research lab opportunities that can be found here.

Applying for a practicum takes several weeks. Interested students are encouraged to begin the process in the quarter prior to the quarter in which they wish to intern. To begin, prospective interns should write the Psychology Administrative Assistant ( for Practicum Materials.

Overview of the Practicum Process (highlights of the Practicum Materials)

  1. When prepared with a resume, the names of two psychology professors who can recommend them, and a clear idea of what they hope to learn/achieve through their internship, potential interns should contact the Practicum Director for an interview.
  2. After a successful interview and favorable endorsements from the recommenders, the Practicum Director will contact the desired practicum site on behalf of the student.
  3. If the site is interested in additional interns, the potential intern typically sends a letter of introduction (i.e., cover letter) and their resume. Often the site requires an interview as well. 
  4. If accepted, there is paperwork (at a minimum, an independent study form, a practicum contract, and a risk release).
  5. The course takes place at the practicum site and online via Canvas. 

 For additional information about practicum, review the Practicum Flyer and Practicum Overview for Students documents.