Psychology Internships

Internships are designed to provide students with practical experience in work settings where their knowledge of psychology is applied. Interns serve in community agencies, schools, hospitals, clinics, businesses and other similar organizations. Interns communicate regularly throughout the semester with the faculty member directing the program in order to share their experiences. The Internship Director for Psychology is Dr. Mary Camac,, office 509-G Life Science, office phone 540 375 2474.

Guidelines for Psychology Internships

Students may take up to two Internships for credit (PSYC 316 and 317); one counts as an elective in the Major, and one counts as a General Elective toward graduation. All Internships are taken on a Pass-Fail basis. Students may receive payment from the internship site for work done as a Psychology Intern, but that is not guaranteed. (see Internships Guidelines for a print copy of these requirements)

Student Qualifications: A student may apply for permission to enroll in internship courses if he or she meets the following qualifications:

Minimum Requirements

  • 2.00 GPA overall and in psychology
  • Demonstrated personal maturity, reliability, and integrity

Procedure for Enrolling in the Internship Courses

1. In order to enroll in internship the student must:

  • complete the Application for Internship.
  • pass conduct and academic integrity checks.
  • be accepted at an internship placement site.

2. The student has primary responsibility for contacting the internship site once the application is approved.  

3. Enrollment in internship is done through the Department Chair.

  • The Internship Director will submit the student's name for registration no later than the end of the Add period for each term. If the student needs the internship in order to be a full-time student and is receiving financial aid, enrollment must be completed before the beginning of the term.  Enrollment in a back-up course is strongly recommended!

4. Summer internships:

  • Typically students sign up for the 8-week summer session for a special summer tuition rate.  Housing is available for local interns or you can intern in another location.  All the requirements are the same, except the poster isn't presented until the December following the internship.

Application to use an internship to satisfy the IL (May Term) requirement

Requirements of the Internship

1. The intern is expected to spend a minimum of 120 hours working at the placement site. During the regular semester, the hours should be spread over at least 10 weeks.  

2. Learning Agreements listing learning goals and expected duties must be developed and signed by the student and the supervisor(s) within the first week of the internship.

3. The intern is also expected to keep in contact with the Internship Director. Students are required to keep a journal logging their hours and reflecting on each session at the site.  They must email the updated journal file to the director every week or two during the internship.  

4. The intern will also submit a reflection paper at the end of the internship or on the last day of classes, whichever comes sooner.

5. The site supervisor will submit an evaluation of the intern's work. The intern will also submit an evaluation of the site and supervisor.

6. Students are required to present a poster at the Psychology Department Poster Session.  You should be able to answer these questions:

  • Can you describe in one sentence what you did?
  • What specific skills/knowledge have you gained through your coursework which helped prepare you for this experience?
  • What specific skills/knowledge have you gained through this experience which helped you (or will help you) with your coursework?
  • Did this experience help you with your career planning? If so, in what way?
  • Imagine that you're applying for a job. What specific skills/knowledge did you gain through this experience that you could talk about during a job interview?

Requirements for the Internship Site

Internships sponsored through the psychology department must meet the criteria listed below:

  1. The intern is given the opportunity to learn a substantial amount about the site and prospective jobs within it, participating as actively as their qualifications allow.
  2. The setting affords the student opportunity to use knowledge learned in psychology courses in the internship activities.
  3. The setting is similar to those in which students might reasonably expect to find employment after attaining either the B.A. with a major in psychology or the M.A. in psychology.
  4. The setting provides a minimum of 120 hours of on-site work which can be spread out over 10 weeks.
  5. At least one site supervisor is available to provide a written evaluation of the intern's work.

Placement Sites
Our placement sites include the following, but you can also check with Ms. McLawhorn in Career Services for additional suggestions or suggest a new site. We are always adding new opportunities.

  • Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center (BRAAC)
  • Healing Strides
  • Salem Montessori School
  • Easter Seals
  • West End Center
  • Dominion Day Services
  • EHS (Embrace Healthy Solutions) Support Services
  • Blue Ridge Behavioral Health
  • Bethany Hall
  • Friendship Rehabilitation
  • Snyder Nursing Home
  • St. Anne's Pre-school
  • Roanoke County Social Services
  • Roanoke City Social Services
  • Roanoke City Police Department
  • Roanoke College Admissions

Comments from recent interns

  • "It was such a learning experience, not only through observation but also real hands-on. It was very useful in helping me learn about real applications of psychology."
  • "The internship gave me a wealth of examples of careers in psychology. It reinforced my desire to work with children in a helping profession."
  • "I think everyone should do an internship. The 'real world' is a lot different than college. Why not have a head start?'
  • "This internship was probably the best thing I did at college. It was certainly the most fun and rewarding. I would recommend an internship for anyone who really wants to know more about what they think they want to do. It could make a big difference in your future."
  • "It was a great opportunity to try out a possible career before you are actually in the real world. My internship helped me reevaluate my career choice and I realized that another career path would be more rewarding. I'm glad I had a chance to discover this while I was still in college."

Value of Internships

Internships are recommended for students who plan to seek employment with their Bachelor of Arts degree. According to the recent article, "How Do I Maximize My Chances of Getting a Good Job with an Undergraduate Psychology Degree?" (Morgan & Korschgen, 1998, Eye on Psi Chi, 3(1), pp 27-28):

"Internships enable you to gain relevant work experience before you graduate, they provide you with employers who are often willing to give you strong recommendations, and they enable you to think through your career options and learn about the atmosphere of a work environment. ... Overall, they enhance your marketability. We know of many employers who will not even consider a recent graduate for employment unless she or he has had an internship while they were an undergraduate"

Internships are also recommended for students who plan to pursue a Master's degree in counseling psychology, social work, industrial-organizational psychology, human resource management, or any area of human development. Your application to graduate school will be enhanced if you can demonstrate that you have knowledge of and commitment to the field you plan to enter.