Psychology 4985:  Internship

The internship opportunity is designed for the upper-level psychology major to integrate an applied, professional work experience with academic coursework. Internships can be a “foot in the door” for a future job in a psychology-related field, and of course graduate programs and employers value work experience. To earn credit through Psychology 4985, you must obtain an internship and then work with a faculty mentor to register for the course and create a syllabus.

Please note that the instructions below are for registering for an internship through the Psychology department. It is also possible to gain work experience for which you do not received credit, or to do an internship with mentorship from the Student Professional Development Center (SPDC) that fulfills your ELR but does not earn Psychology credit. To learn more about ELR internships, read through the information on the SPDC webpage, and contact the SPDC to discuss your options.

Follow these directions to pursue an internship through the Psychology department:

1. Identify an internship site. It is your responsibility to identify a potential field placement and an on-site supervisor. The work you propose to do must be psychological in nature and it must be supervised by a qualified person at the internship site. You may want to make appointments to talk to several people working in psychology-related positions. Other resources include the psychology faculty and the staff at the Student Professional Development Center (SPDC). The SPDC offers a “quick start” guide to the Elon Job Network and are also happy to provide in-person help.

You can often see past internship sites that students have interned with on EJN by searching the employer directory. You are also encouraged to do national and local searches and use LinkedIn and similar websites. This is merely a starting point! It is up to you to reach out to potential sites based on your preferences for location and type of internship.

2. Determine the number of hours you will work. In general, you may receive one hour of credit for every 40 hours of work on-site. Forty hours at one site fulfills Elon’s Core Curriculum Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR). Most students find it takes more than 40 hours to become a contributing worker at their internship site; consider committing to 80, 120 or even 160 hours of work. A total of 4 credit hours of internship may be applied as an elective in the psychology major. Distributed across a typical 15-week semester, the work-load looks approximately like this:

Credit Hours Hours per week
1 3-5
2 5-10
3 10-13
4 13-15

3. Find a faculty mentor. A member of the permanent full-time faculty must agree to serve as your faculty mentor. Meet with your faculty mentor to discuss your learning goals, your academic assignments and your planned contacts. Students often do background reading, write daily fieldnotes, and complete a final paper, project or presentation for their academic assignments. You will meet periodically with your faculty mentor, so your progress may be monitored and any problems addressed.

4. To be able to help you register, your faculty mentor will need to create a syllabus for your internship course together. See this proposal form as a starting point for setting up your syllabus. Each faculty member may have additional information that they require. To be able to complete that form and create a syllabus, you will also need specific information from your site supervisor. Please use this Site Supervisor Planning and Evaluation Form as a guide for gathering information from your site supervisor.

5.  Complete your online registration process through the Student Professional Development Center. This cannot be completed until you have worked with both your site supervisor and your faculty mentor to create a syllabus for your internship. Once you complete the online registration process, your faculty mentor, department chair, and advisor will be contacted to provide approval online.

6. Provide your on-site supervisor with a copy of the Field Supervisor Evaluation and Feedback Form to return to your faculty mentor. Notice that you will be evaluated on your professionalism and positive attitude as well as on the quality of your work.

7.  You will be assigned a letter grade by your faculty mentor. This grade will be based on your on-site supervisor’s evaluation of your performance and your faculty mentor’s evaluation of your experience and your academic assignments, as negotiated with your faculty mentor. Pass/Fail is not an option because the internship is a part of your major. If during the course of your internship your work is determined to be unacceptable to your on-site supervisor or agency you will be withdrawn from the course and your grade will be an F. Completion of an internship taken for credit automatically satisfies an experiential learning requirement and will appear on your academic and Elon Experiences transcripts.