Practicum Overview

Watch this 4 minute video highlighting what PSY 490 is all about!

Does the Psychology Department offer course credit for internships?

PSY 490 is our Psychology Practicum course, which is similar to an internship. Because the word “internship” is typically reserved for graduate school training in the field of psychology, we use the word “practicum.” The practicum course is a student-initiated supervised work experience in an area of potential career interest. Students enrolled in the course receive credit for their work experience and attendance to a bi-weekly seminar.

PSY 490

  • PSY 490 is a course designed to provide students with opportunities to expand their awareness and understanding of the various fields of work and study that are impacted by the psychology discipline and in which students with bachelor’s degrees in psychology often develop careers.
  • Students are required to find a supervised work experience within the field of psychology at a professional site of their choosing.
  • Students will spend 45 hours at their worksite during a given semester per credit hour they are registered for the class.
  • Students will also attend a bi-weekly group meeting with the practicum coordinator and other students enrolled in the class.

 

PSY 490: Practicum Course Syllabus (pdf)

 

This course is aimed at students who may not know what they would like to pursue in terms of a career or possible graduate education. If you are a psychology or behavioral neuroscience major, and you are unsure of what you want to do with your degree, this course may be beneficial for you because it will provide you with real-world experience in the field of psychology in addition to learning more about other career options and engaging in career preparatory experiences for your future.

  • Apply concepts you have learned in your psychology (and other) courses to a professional workplace setting
  • Try out a career option
  • Gain practical work experience in a real-world workplace
  • Build self-confidence and gain a competitive edge for future jobs/positions
  • Network with professionals in your field
  • Build a professional portfolio
  • Obtain work references
  • Learn about a variety of career options within the field of psychology
  • Obtain course credit for a volunteer/unpaid or paid work experience
  • Must have obtained a work position/placement in the field of psychology
  • Must be a psychology or behavioral neuroscience major
  • Must be at least junior standing*
  • Must have at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA*
  • Must be enrolled in PSY 490 during the same semester as you are completing your practicum
  • Must have taken PSY 101
  • Must interview with the internship coordinator and have the coordinator’s approval

*If you do not meet some of these criteria (e.g., sophomore standing, GPA below 2.75) but are very interested in the practicum course, please reach out to Dr. Wildey (wildeymi@gvsu.edu). Typically, an additional letter of recommendation from another professor and the internship coordinator’s approval are required in order for any exceptions to be made to these criteria.

PSY 490 is typically offered in the fall and winter semesters, and sometimes also in the spring/summer semester.

Currently, we limit each course to 12 students.


I meet the eligibility requirements, so how do I sign up for PSY 490?

First, you will need to find a practicum worksite that is of interest to you and apply for the job.

Second, once you have obtained a worksite position, you will need to fill out the online internship agreement.

Third, contact Dr. Wildey (wildeymi@gvsu.edu) to set up an interview with her.

  • You will need to meet with Dr. Wildey AND have all respective parties sign off on your internship agreement (Dr. Wildey and your worksite supervisor) before you can enroll in PSY 490.  
  • A permit from the Psychology Department to register for the course will be given to you after these requirements are met.

 

Tip: You should complete these steps one semester prior to registering for the course. That is, you should find a job placement and complete the steps prior to registering for the course but you will complete the job placement during the semester that you register.

Tip: Contact Dr. Wildey when you are in the process of applying/interviewing for a job to ensure that it would be a good fit for PSY 490 and that there is potentially room in the course if you want to enroll.

list of current sites at which many students have already found work experiences is available. Feel free to look at the list, but you are also welcome to find your own work experience opportunity that will count as long as it relates to the field of psychology. If you have any questions about an experience and whether or not it counts, you can contact the internship coordinator.  

What work and internship position are currently available?

  1. Log in to www.gvsu.edu/handshake using your GVSU network ID and password.  If this is your first time logging in, complete the career interest questions to improve the search results.
  2. Click “Jobs” tab.
  3. In “City, State, Zip Code, Address” box towards the top of page, add your preferred location.  *You can select appropriate radius.
  4. Click “Filters”.  Then, select appropriate filters.
  5. Click “See Jobs” in lower right-hand corner.  *After your filtered jobs appear, you can save your search by clicking the hyper link “Save your search” found in the paragraph above the job listings.

 

To obtain credit for PSY 490, you must work at your worksite 45 hours over the semester per credit hour you enroll in. So, if you want to take the class for 3 credits, then you would have to complete 135 hours total at the worksite over the course of the semester (remember the spring/summer semester spans 12 weeks). You can enroll in the class for anywhere from 1 to 6 credit hours. You can also enroll in fewer credits than your work experience entails (e.g., register for only 1 credit even if you are working over 100 hours in the semester at the worksite), but you cannot enroll in more credits than what your total hours at the site will be for the semester. You cannot change or alter the amount of credits for which you take the class once you register.

Absolutely not! In the field of psychology, there are many wonderful volunteer opportunities as well, and these would also count for your practicum experience.

No. You must be enrolled in PSY 490 during the same semester that you have the worksite position.


What happens after I register for PSY 490?

  • For some students who are working in fields where you have direct patient contact, you may have additional health compliance measures to complete before the start of the course.
  • You will be required to attend a bi-weekly meeting with the internship coordinator and the other students who take the course.

For some students who are working at sites where they will have direct patient contact, some additional health compliance measures might be necessary through GVSU (e.g., certain immunizations, online health training). The internship coordinator will discuss these requirements as needed depending on your worksite location and the job you plan to do. Note that for some students, the health compliance measures are not an option; they would be a requirement of the course and there may be additional financial costs associated with the compliance measures.

The time of the class varies each semester, so please check Banner to see the time and meeting dates for the course. Generally, the class will meet for two hours every other week during the fall and winter semesters, and it will meet for two and a half hours every other week during the spring/summer semester, since it spans 12 weeks.

A general syllabus can be found here and outlines the types of assignments and workload to expect for the seminar course. All of this work is outside of the hours you are required to do at your worksite.

PSY 490 is graded using a pass/fail system. If you complete the course requirements and obtain the necessary points for the course (see course syllabus), you will pass the course.


Who is the internship coordinator, or who can I contact for more information?

Dr. Mikhila Wildey – wildeymi@gvsu.edu