In contrast to many colleges and universities, faculty at Illinois State maintain a strong commitment to undergraduate instruction and mentoring. Opportunities are available for more advanced students to complete an internship in an applied setting in the local community. Students can earn one credit hour for every 40 hours worked at the internship, up to a maximum of three credit hours per placement per semester. Therefore, if students registers for PSY 398 Professional Practice: Psychology for three hours, students need to work at the internship site for at least 120 hours during the semester. The maximum number of credit hours that can be earned for PSY 398 is nine hours, with no more than three hours earned for a single placement per semester
PSY 398 Professional Practice: Psychology is an opportunity for students to earn academic credit for work experience related to psychology. Professional Practice allows students to apply what they have learned from their psychology courses to direct experiences in a work environment. Professional Practice placements are commonly referred to as internships. Interns are trained and supervised by professionals in the workplace. Internships are usually unpaid positions, although there are occasional exceptions.
In order to be eligible to register for PSY 398, students must have completed at least 15 hours of psychology courses relevant to the internship, have junior or senior standing as a psychology major, and have a grade point average of 2.2 or higher for all psychology-related coursework. Students must meet with the psychology internship coordinator, Dr. Karen Mark, to plan their internships. During this meeting, Dr. Mark will verify students' eligibility to enroll in PSY 398, their goals for the internship, and appropriate placements will be discussed. If eligible to register for an internship, Dr. Mark will provide students with an internship contract.
When a specific internship site has been selected, students should contact the agency or business to schedule a meeting with the potential supervisor to discuss requirements and other details about the internship. After a student is accepted for the agency or business for an internship, the supervisor and student should complete and sign the internship contract. The contract verifies the student's placement, responsibilities, and supervision during the internship. The signed contract should be returned to Dr. Mark. After the contract is received by Dr. Mark, an override for PSY 398 will be approved so that the student can register for course credit. The internship may not begin until registration is completed and the semester has begun.
Students are required to submit a term paper on the last day of class for the semester. This paper (at least five pages, word-processed, and double-spaced) should integrate the student's internship experience with relevant psychology coursework, focusing on how the material from their psychology courses was applied to the internship activities. The internship supervisor also evaluates the intern's performance at the work site. The grade for PSY 398 is determined by both the quality of the term paper and the supervisor's evaluation of the student's performance.