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Internships and Learning Experiences - For Declared Applied Psychology Majors Only

  1. Internships
  2. Undergraduate Research Experience and Independent Studies


Internship in Applied Psychology 

Internship Registration Form

Applied Psychology Program Student Credit Internship Packet (Supervisor J. Kalavar)

Applied Psychology Program Student Credit Internship Packet (Supervisor J. Fishbourne)

Checklist for PSYCH 495
Review the checklist carefully. In order to ensure that you have sufficient time to meet the requirements, you should plan to start early.

  • Prerequisites: PSYCH 100, STAT 200, and PSYCH 301W
  • Prepare your resume for submitting to internship placements. Career Services may provide assistance.
  • Initiate contact with faculty internship instructor.
  • Identify potential sites for internship site placement.
  • Investigate required documents, materials, and site-specific application procedures
  • Some sites may require an agency application form, physical exam, and/or TB test
  • Draft cover letter stating interests, career goals, and how the internship site can help you meet your goals.
  • Obtain two or three professional letters of reference.
    • Seek letters of reference from faculty members well in advance of submission deadlines
    • Provide faculty with a copy of your resume and statement of your career and academic interests
    • Provide faculty with full and complete information of the internship sites to which you are applying. Include the name of internship facility, contact person, address, telephone number, website address, and email address (if available)
  • Join the American Psychological Association (APA) as a student affiliate member.
    • You may download a student affiliate application form at: http://www.apa.org/membership/forstudents.html; application is $27 for undergraduate students; allow 4-6 weeks for your application to be processed.
    • Obtain Professional Liability Insurance (if required) and be able to provide proof to placement site. This is required because undergraduate and graduate students who provide professional services risk allegations of malpractice, error, or professional negligence and thus require protection for lawsuits.
      • You may apply for student professional liability insurance through the APA Insurance Trust (if you are APA student affiliate member); annual premiums range from $35; see http://www.apait.org/products/studentliability
      • If you prefer, you may obtain through your own means (e.g., insurance company
  • Obtain clearances (if required) - You may submit copies of your clearances with your application if they are required by the site; you must show the originals upon the start of your placement.
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance form may be downloaded at http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/ucmprd/groups/webcontent/documents/form/s_001762.pdf.
    Submit with $10 money order; allow fourteen business days for processing, and up to six weeks during peak times of processing.
  • Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Record form may be downloaded at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=4451&PageID=458621&mode=2
    Submit with $10 certified check or money order; allow at least fourteen business days for processing, and up to six weeks during peak times of processing.
  • Submit applications / resumes to potential placement sites.
  • An interview with potential internship site may be required.
    • Practice your interviewing skills
  • Talk to the internship instructor to discuss possible interview questions
    • Dress professionally and appropriately
  • Once a site has been selected and approved by faculty instructor, you need to arrange a meeting to complete and submit the required forms before registration. These include:
    • Internship Registration Form
    • Internship Release and Student Agreement Form
    • Educational Plan and Learning Agreement Form

For further information, please contact the faculty internship instructors: 
Dr. Josi Kalavar, at jmk18@psu.edu (fall and spring internships)
Dr. June Fishbourne, at jxf32@psu.edu (summer internships)


Undergraduate Research Experience and Independent Studies

Many psychology majors supplement their coursework with research experience. "Research experience" usually means working on research projects conducted by faculty, performing tasks ranging from participating in discussions with faculty to testing subjects, designing surveys, or coding data. This provides an opportunity to get to know faculty members on a one-to-one basis, and to see the science of psychology in operation. This experience enhances your understanding of the field of psychology, it also can have some other practical benefits:

  • It enhances your resume by demonstrating involvement outside the classroom.
  • Working on research with a professor gives that professor an opportunity to get to know you well enough to write an effective letter of recommendation.
  • Working on research can help you decide whether a particular field of psychology is a good career choice for you.

Some common questions are:

So, how do I get started?
The best way to start is to identify professors whose research seems interesting to you, and ask them if there are opportunities to work on that research. Check the Faculty Directory for Dr. K. Robert Bridges, Dr. Richard J. Harnish, and Dr. Jyotsna "Josi" M. Kalavar then start visiting those faculty members to talk about their research.

Does the research have to be in my main area of interest?
Well, of course it helps to be interested in the research. But, any research experience can be beneficial both in enhancing your education and in preparing you for graduate school. So, don't limit yourself to only psychological research. Consider related fields like business or education, or (well, you get the idea).

Can I earn money by helping with research?
Sometimes. It depends if whether the faculty member has a research grant. It doesn't hurt to ask, but if you're looking for a paid job, be sure to make that clear when you talk to faculty. In general, paid research jobs are only available to students who have a work-study award as part of their financial aid.