Course description students enrolled in internship

26 Oct


PSY 399/499 and 383 – Internships

An Internship in Psychology involves working alongside psychology professionals in human services, business, or other work setting.  The intern’s on-site work experience is supervised by an employee of the organization providing the Internship. An intern may or may not be paid for the on-site work by the placement. Because the Internship earns academic credit, the Internship also has an academic component.  Internships offer valuable exposure to applied work in Psychology, enable you to apply and expand your knowledge of Psychology, and assist you in testing your interests and developing your skills.

Options for Course Credit:

Students can enroll in an Independent Internship (PSY399 or PSY499) or in the Counseling & Clinical Field Study Course (PSY383) .  All of these courses involve intensive field experiences. The amount of time required on-site is similar (2-3 more hours per week are required for PSY399 and PSY499) and the on-site duties are the same. The courses differ mainly in the academic component and in the application process.

  • PSY383 is a regularly-scheduled course with 12-15 students that meets for three hours per week, with registration through PAWS.  PSY383 is appropriate for field experiences involving counseling or clinical work and is the recommended means for students in the Counseling & Clinical Specialization to obtain their required field experience. The course has pre-determined learning objectives, readings, and writing assignments. To support work in counseling and clinical field placements, the course has prerequisites of PSY216 and PSY217. The course provides a forum for group supervision and opportunities for students to learn about the field placement experiences of other students; this is an advantage of the field study course relative to Independent Internships for students in counseling or clinical field placements. Students in PSY383 do not submit an internship application but do arrange their own field placements, as do students in PSY399/499.  Because PSY383 is not designated as an ELOPsy course, it does not count toward the maximum allowed ELOPsy courses.  To take PSY383, students enroll during registration as they would for any course.  To reiterate: students in the Counseling & Clinical Specialization are encouraged to obtain their required field experience through PSY383 whenever appropriate; although the required field experience can also be obtained through PSY399/499.
  • PSY399 and PSY499   are individual internships with individualized academic components that are developed jointly by student and faculty sponsor. The student is responsible for securing the internship placement, arranging for a faculty sponsor, and completing the online application (described below).  PSY399 and PSY499 are appropriate for field experience in ANY discipline of psychology (e.g. counseling or clinical, developmental, I/O).   PSY499 has a larger writing requirement than PSY399 and also has an oral presentation requirement.  TTo enroll in PSY399 or PSY499, students must follow the detailed application process BELOW (note: students should leave plenty of time for the application and should talk with their advisor about finding a faculty sponsor).

PSY 399/499 Information and Application Materials


  • Minimum GPA of 2.5
  • For 399:Sophomore status
  • For 499: Second semester junior status
  • For 499: Completion of Psychology 299
  • Sponsorship by a Psychology Department faculty member
  • Internship placement (student is responsible for finding a placement in consultation with a faculty member)
  • Approval of a TCNJ Psychology Internship Form by the Psychology Department ELOPsy (Experiential Learning Opportunities in Psychology) Committee.  The application:
    • is due the last day of classes the semester preceding the semester in which you wish to be an intern, e.g. last day of Fall classes for a Spring semester internship.
    • requires the coordination of multiple steps. See instructions below.


PSY399 and PSY499 are ELOPsy courses; ELOPsy restrictions apply to Psychology Majors. In line with those restrictions, Psychology Majors may count multiple internships (PSY399 and/or PSY499) toward the major. Psychology Minors may count only one internship (PSY399 or PSY499) toward the minor.

Course Description

Students enrolled in Internship in Psychology engage in an extensive real-world learning experiences in an organizational context relevant to Psychology. Placements include positions in such areas as human resources, marketing, education, and social services. Students increase their mastery of specific areas of Psychology by using theories and practices in these applied settings. The opportunity to work in a professional setting helps students develop appropriate professional work standards, explore career options, and build mentor and other network relationships in the workplace.

Learning Objectives Associated with this Course

This course is designed to contribute to the following Program Learning Objectives:

  • Psychological Knowledge
  • Critical Thinking in Psychology
  • Effective Communication
  • Applying Psychology
  • Career Preparation

Course Specific Learning Objectives

  1. Experience the importance and relevance of psychology concepts and issues in practice.
  2. Gain exposure to professional settings.
  3. Learn to work effectively as a contributing member of a work group or team.
  4. Enjoy mentoring and networking relationships with professionals in the field of Psychology.
  5. Develop competency working in diverse settings and with diverse populations.
  6. Experience a sense of accomplishment when contributing to an organization.
  7. Share new perspectives with current and future students at TCNJ.
  8. Gain valuable experience for graduate school and employment.

Learning Activities/Pedagogy

In this upper level course, the student works side-by-side with professionals in an applied setting. While some placements require formal training programs and required readings, much of the learning is hands-on at the worksite. The learning goals will vary for each internship, but always include specific learning objectives, relevant readings assigned by the on-site supervisor and/or the faculty sponsor, weekly communication with the faculty sponsor, and evaluation of the learning goals by the on-site supervisor and the faculty sponsor.

For All Internships (PSY399 and PSY499 ): Students meet regularly with both their faculty sponsor and their on-site supervisor; keep a daily journal of their experiences at the placement; and email the journal to their faculty sponsor each week.

For PSY399: Students write a 12-15 page paper that integrates relevant sources from the professional psychology literature with the experiential learning of their placements. It is recommended that papers have a minimum of 12 scholarly references from the last 10 years.

For PSY499: Students take greater responsibility in the applied setting and develop self-directed learning skills. Students write a 20-25 page paper in multiple revisions, incorporating feedback from their faculty sponsor. The paper integrates relevant sources from the professional psychology literature with the experiential learning of the placement. Students also make an oral presentation based on their applied work to an appropriate audience.

Faculty Responsibilities

The faculty member will:

  • Assist the student with completion of the internship application.
  • Read the student’s daily journal on a regular basis and comment as needed; weekly communication between student and faculty sponsor is recommended.
  • Meet with the student on a regular basis, at least monthly, to discuss the student’s placement experiences. Weekly meetings are recommended, particularly for internships at clinical placements. If this is not possible, email and/or phone may be alternative means of communication.
  • Discuss with both student and on-site supervisor the student’s progress towards the learning objectives delineated in the Internship Form.
  • Provide written and oral feedback on student progress toward the learning objectives.
  • Evaluate the student’s work in accordance with the assessment plan outlined in the Internship Form and assign the student’s final grade.

Syllabus and Student Assessment

Student learning will be assessed through the achievement of specified academic learning objectives as well as professional conduct on the job.  In preparing the PSY 399 or PSY 499 application, students (in collaboration with their internship site supervisors and TCNJ faculty sponsors) should develop individualized learning objectives and an assessment plan. The learning objectives and assessment plan will be included in the internship application and serve as the course syllabus.

Downloadable Application Forms

Downloadable Internship Forms (after the internship begins)

Faculty members can/should edit the evaluation forms to address student-specific tasks and learning objectives

  1. An Excel Spreadsheet with MANY former internship sites that students have used. The document has contact information, descriptions, and other important information.
  2. An internship binder with student ratings of recent internship experiences.   This binder is available in the Psychology Office.
  3. Students can also find their own internship, in collaboration with their faculty sponsor/professor.

Questions?  If you have additional questions about internships, please refer to the internships FAQ .

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