The only way to get internship credit through the Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience is to do a clinical internship, as outlined below. If you’re interested in doing an internship outside the realm of clinical psychology, click here.

How to Do a Psychology Internship

The Facts

  • To get internship credit, you must complete 120 hours of volunteer work at an approved organization. This averages out to eight hours per week (excluding finals week and fall/spring break).
  • You must also take the internship class, PSYC 4931. This class is offered every fall and spring, but never in the summer. So, as counterintuitive as this may sound, you can’t do a psychology internship over the summer, only in the fall or spring.
  • Internships are always volunteer positions (no pay).
  • Your volunteer work must include high-quality, ongoing supervision. Many agencies have weekly or biweekly supervision meetings to discuss cases. (These may be individual or group meetings). Other agencies provide more “in the moment” supervision (e.g., school settings in which student works side-by-side with a teacher).

The Process

  1. If you want to know what internship opportunities are out there, come have a look at the Big Book o’ Psychology Internships, a binder that we keep in the psychology advising office (Muenzinger D-243). This binder has information on many different mental-health and social-service organizations in the Boulder area, grouped by population served (children, at-risk youth, abused women, the chronically mentally ill, etc.)
  2. Once you’ve identified an agency where you would like to volunteer, e‑mail Dr. Samantha Strife (samantha.strife@colorado.edu) to verify that it would be an appropriate internship site. (If you found it in the Big Book o’ Psychology Internships, the answer is probably “yes,” but sometimes organizations drop off the list due to policy or personnel changes.)
  3. Contact the agency and find out if they are willing to take you on as an intern. Be sure to ask if they can provide you with at least eight hours of volunteer work per week. (There are some agencies that offer terrific services in the community but cannot accommodate a student for eight hours per week.) Also be sure to ask what kind of supervision you will receive. Check in with Dr. Strife if you have questions about supervision.
  4. Come to the psychology advising office (Muenzinger D-243) to pick up the forms you need: a blue form that gets signed by a representative of the agency where you’ll be volunteering, and a white form (on the back side of the internship info sheet) that you fill out yourself. These two forms are located in the spinner rack in the corner of the office. Feel free to ask the student assistant or one of the advisors for help if you have trouble finding them.
  5. Once you get the forms filled out and signed, turn them in to Dr. Strife. Her office is in Muenzinger D-356A. She also has a mailbox in the main Psychology office (Muenzinger D-244), but it’s a bit hard to find, so you may need to ask the receptionist or student assistant to help you find it. Note: The form asks for your registration date, so you won’t be able to submit the form to Dr. Strife until the Registrar’s office has assigned your date.
  6. Assuming your paperwork is in order and Dr. Strife approves the internship, she will pass along the completed paperwork to me on your registration date, and I will enroll you in PSYC 4931. I will send you an e-mail letting you know you’ve been enrolled.

The Class (PSYC 4931)

  • PSYC 4931 — Field Placement Internship
  • taught by Dr. Samantha Strife
  • 3 credit hours
  • letter-graded (not pass/fail), so it counts toward the 18 upper-division Psychology hours you need to complete the major
  • meets once a week
  • usually offered in both fall and spring (but never in the summer)
  • requires you to participate in weekly discussions, keep a reflection journal, write a research paper, and write a final reflection paper. Overall, the academic load is relatively light compared to other upper-division classes since you’re already putting in eight hours per week at your internship site.

Related Topic: Internships outside clinical psychology

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