Frequently Asked Questions

1. When should I start to look for an internship?

Four to six weeks before the course begins is a good time frame in order to obtain background checks and other tests before starting at your site. Around registration time, you should begin looking for appropriate sites that utilize psychological theory or methods. Avoid looking for a site during the semester (when you can be accumulating hours).If you are unsure about how appropriate a site might be please check with your 495 instructor.

2.  During which semester should I take the internship class?

Take your internship during a semester when your coursework is less intense than usual so that you have time outside of class to complete the internship hours. You must have completed the prerequisites (three upper-division psychology courses at CSUF and minimum 2.0 GPA in psychology). Typically students take the course during their final year at CSUF.

3. What kind of sites count for the 495 course?

Sites that utilize psychological concepts or theories to accomplish their mission (e.g., mental health facilities, educational settings, homes for the elderly, group homes, rehab centers, work in a psych professor's research lab, businesses that rely on I/O principles for hiring, training, evaluating employees). The sites should have a supervisor or team that offers training and guidance on a regular basis and can provide evaluations and feedback to interns. Students should be active in using psychology at their sites; limit paperwork to 20% of your time on site.

4. Can I use my job for an internship?

You can use your regular job as long as it meets the criteria above but you should insure that your internship involves a new component or challenge to avoid doing the same activity as usual. The internship is a learning experience. It can add to your future job or graduate school application and help you find the field that is right for you.

5. Where can I find a list of the available internship sites?

You can look at recently used sites on the Psychology Department's web page (internship sites). Please note that these are options for you and not required sites. You might find something similar to these sites in your area. Other resource are the campus Career Center and Center for Internships. You can search for an academic internship at any time by going to their respective websites. Faculty who teach the 495 class may also share site information with registered students.

6. What do I do if I want to find my own internship site?

Check with the faculty member teaching your 495 class to see if your site is acceptable. Ask your company or organization to register with the Center for Internships database via their website.

7.  Can I use the research that I am conducting with a professor for my internship?

Yes, as long as you are doing psychological research, can earn 120 hours at the lab, and have supervision from the instructor. If you wish to conduct research with a professor for units exclusive from the internship course, you would enroll in Psych 498.

8.  What if I start my internship and do not like it? What do I do then?

You can search for another site but use the hours that you have accrued at your current site and count them toward the total of 120 hours. Work with your instructor to locate another site before your leave your first site.

 9. What if I cannot complete 120 hours during the semester?

If you cannot complete the full 120 hours during the semester you can apply for an incomplete if your hours total 80 or more at the end of the semester. You may also find a second site at which you can complete your hours. Students enrolled in Intersession and Summer sections of Psych 495 should expect to devote 25-35 hours per week to their site.

10. Can I complete the 120 hours at 2 different sites (60 hours at each)?

Typically, you should have only one site to gain the needed experience in the field of psychology. If a site can only give you limited hours then work first with one site and then the other (e.g., 40 hours at one and the remaining 80 hours at your second site).

11.  Can I do my internship first and then take the course the next semester?

This possibility is not encouraged as it opens up the process to manipulation and abuse. Further, class activities are off-time and the internship experience will be diminished due to lack of support and processing opportunities. International placements, however, do need to be organized in this manner (site work first followed by the class). Such placements need to be arranged with the appropriate Study Abroad Programs and your instructor for Psych 495.

12. Where do I get the Site Supervisor agreement form?

You can find the form at the Psychology Department office in H830M. Please bring it to class at the first or second meeting to verify that you have found an appropriate site.

13. What if I have two supervisors at my site? Who should do the evaluation?

The person who has most contact with you and can give you the best feedback should give you the evaluation. This supervisor is the one that you meet with regularly to discuss your progress toward agreed upon goals.

14. What kind of experience (degree/credential) does my supervisor need?

Your supervisor should have two years of experience in their role OR a degree (BA, MA, or PhD) and some experience.

15. What can I expect from the class?

You should expect to process your experience with other students and the instructor, to reflect on your growth over the course of the semester in journals and papers, to make connections between psychology theories or techniques used at your site, as well as offer information and support to other students.

16. What about AB540 students?

Students who are undocumented, should email or visit Dawn Macy or Robert Pierce of the of the CICE (campus Center for Internships), They have a short list of sites that do not require citizenship and can work with students to find the appropriate fit.