Internships are a very helpful way to learn more about psychology through first-hand experiences, to explore career options in psychology, and to become a more competitive applicant for both graduate school and jobs. The Department of Psychology offers an internship course — PSYC 393 – during the Fall semesters that is taught by Dr. Meyers. PSYC 393 is a three credit class that counts towards the psychology major, the mental health concentration, and towards graduation.
Students will select a 150-hour internship placement at an approved site that interests them. Undergraduates also will participate in an online component of the class that involves weekly discussion postings, readings, and written assignments about their site work. This opportunity is open to both Chicago and Schaumburg students.
Finding an approved site
Undergraduates will find their sites for the internship class with the support and assistance of the university. The site must be an organized setting (such as a social service agency, a charitable organization, a hospital) rather than an informal arrangement (such as babysitting or assisting a neighbor in need) that directly relates to psychology. The internship also must involve direct interactions with clients or the target group rather than requiring you to perform clerical or other tasks that do not connect as well to psychology. The site must have a designated supervisor. This person must be available to provide training, answer questions, and provide you with appropriate feedback. Supervisors must be sufficiently knowledgeable about your performance so that they can complete the required evaluation forms, and should hold at minimum a 4-year college degree.
Keep in mind that the 150 hours do not include any training that the site requires. Also, students cannot double-count hours serving at the site with any paid employment or other college-related, credit bearing experience. Please note that undergraduate internships in psychology are unpaid as well.
Students can find possible internship placements by contacting the staff in the Career Development Office. They can help you identify ideal opportunities, utilize online resources, write a resume, and support you through the internship process. Start with their site online at https://www.roosevelt.edu/current-students/get-help/career/internships
You can also research site options by looking at different databases online. The best resource is volunteermatch.org. Go to the following link at http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/advanced.jsp and enter your zip code in the location field. Other databases that are similar include www.idealist.org, www.chicagocares.org, and www.allforgood.org.
Another strategy that students use is to contact potential sites directly and ask if they allow volunteers. Places to call in your neighborhood include social service agencies, hospitals, psychiatric centers, and similar organizations. There are online directories of such places, too, such as http://www.yellowpages.com/chicago-il/social-service-organizations. You can modify the location to find a convenient place if you need. Loyola University maintains an excellent list of sites in the Chicago area, too.
If you are interested in volunteering with children or families, the Initiative for Child and Family Studies does have a listing of related sites with these populations. You can download the file at http://blogs.roosevelt.edu/smeyers/files/2013/09/New-site-list-4.pptx. However, some students in this internship class will opt to work with adults instead.
Dates for the site work and advance planning
All 150 hours must coincide with the semester in which students enroll and should be evenly spread across the term. Your work should begin by the start of the semester and finish by the end of the term. The range for start and end dates is listed in the contract form that you can download below. This commitment averages to about 10 hours per week at the site.
Because it takes a while to finalize a site placement, there are two important advance deadlines. First, there is the May 1 deadline to enroll in PSYC 393 for the 2018-2019 academic year (these dates are updated for each year). Second, you must have your arrangements finalized with approved site and your final contract submitted to me by August 24. It takes a few months to find sites and you’ll need to explore many different options. Planning and diligence are very important in this process.
Participation in the online class
The internship class also involves your participation in an online seminar through Blackboard. Each week, students will read a chapter from The Successful Internship by Sweitzer and King, participate in an asynchronous discussion (i.e., students log on to the site at different points during the week to post their responses), and maintain a journal of your site work. Your grade in PSYC 393 will reflect your supervisor’s assessment of your work, the quality of your discussion postings, and the quality of your journal. Even though the class is online, it is not technical or difficult to use Blackboard. An updated copy of the syllabus will be posted here when it is available.
Who can take this class?
The class is designed for psychology majors who have completed at least 12 semester hours. Students are typically juniors and seniors. Students from other areas who have sufficient background can complete this class as well. There is an enrollment limit of 25 students on PSYC 393 each Fall semester.
How do I sign up?
Email Dr. Meyers at email@example.com with any questions you have and to receive permission to enroll. After you receive permission via email, you can add the course to your schedule using RUAccess. Students who are registered for the class will receive follow-up instructions and correspondence as the semester approaches.