Department of Psychology

Practicum in Psychology

PSY 4030

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The Practicum in Psychology is a three-credit-hour independent study opportunity that may be available to some students. The purpose of the program is to allow students to gain experience that is directly relevant to their program of study in psychology, including human factors, health psychology, human services, LGBT issues, forensic, clinical, animal behavior, or industrial/organizational psychology. Students may volunteer in local agencies, private organizations, local government, hospitals, government laboratories, businesses, or industries.  The course is intended to be more than a volunteer for credit arrangement. Students are expected to relate their work experiences to their academic program (in a journal that is due finals week).

Student experiences have ranged from working with local agencies who seek to reduce intimate partner and family violence, assisting in utilizing applied behavioral analysis programs with children on the autism spectrum, working with families in crisis by monitoring parental visitations, helping to organize and execute LGBTQA youth summits, working with adolescents within the juvenile probation system, assisting with programs among local school counselors, and working with geriatric populations and the organizations that seek to assist them, among many other experiences. 

A student who wants to complete a practicum is responsible for finding a practicum site and practicum site supervisor. Dr. Schiml is the practicum faculty supervisor. Students must have completed (PSY 3010 and PSY 3020) or PSY 3030, and at least one core psychology course in the relevant field of psychology.

The practicum faculty supervisor is responsible for setting practicum requirements and submitting a final grade. Grading is pass/fail. Typically, students will spend 100-120 hours over the course of the semester (approximately 7 -9 hours/week) in the workplace during the practicum. Expected activities and the work schedule should be approved by the practicum site supervisor and the practicum faculty supervisor. The faculty supervisor may require other activities to enhance the experience. These may include journaling, required reading, annotated bibliography, activity log, literature review, or paper. Students should meet regularly with their practicum site supervisor.

Students must get approval from the practicum site supervisor by completing the white Independent Study Approval Form from Dr. Schiml in 313B Fawcett. Then approval must be sought from Dr. Schiml before registering for PSY 4030.

What is the Practicum Program?

The Practicum in Psychology is a three-credit-hour independent study opportunity that is available for hardworking students. The overarching goal of the program is to expose students to a real-life work environment to gain valuable experience relevant to their program of study. It is the responsibility of the student to find a site that fits into his/her academic program. Some relevant fields of study in psychology may include human factors, health psychology, human services, clinic, industrial/organizational psychology, and social psychology. Students may work in local agencies, private organizations, local government, hospitals, government laboratories, businesses, or industries.

Where to Start

Any student who wants to complete a practicum is responsible for finding a practicum site and site supervisor. Dr. Patricia Schiml serves as the faculty supervisor. Exceptions must be approved by the Chair of the Department of Psychology. Prerequisites for the practicum program include completing (PSY 3010 and PSY 3020) or PSY 3030, and at least one core psychology course in the relevant field of psychology. The practicum course may be taken up to two times.

General Requirements

Students who wish to participate in the practicum program must hold an accumulative GPA of (2.5) or higher. Faculty practicum supervisors are responsible for setting practicum requirements and submitting a final grade (pass/fail). Typically, students will spend 7-9 hours each week (100-120 hours over the semester) in the workplace. Activities and the schedule should be approved by both first, the practicum site supervisor, and then the faculty practicum supervisor to ensure a cohesive plan. Additional tasks may be implemented to enhance the experience. These additional activities may include such things as extra readings, annotated bibliography, activity log, literature review, or a final paper.

What Can I Offer a Practicum Site?

The marketable skills of an individual with undergraduate training in psychology can be broken down into five core abilities: communication, interpersonal competencies, problem analysis, data management, and planning/decision-making skills. Undergraduates in psychology can provide a unique contribution to the work environment because of a professional approach to dealing with human interaction and behavior. With enhanced critical thinking abilities, participants can approach problem-solving in a scientific manner. Training in research methods allows students to integrate data and ideas. Basic statistics can be used to analyze company data. Presentations (oral, written, and visual) can be generated and presented by the students in a professional and scientific manner. Technical and scientific writing skills may be utilized.  

Participants may not only be involved with information gathering, but they may also be involved in customer service tasks. With an enhanced appreciation for diversity and human interaction, practicum students will be well adapted to deal with people in a number of settings. Such duties may include cooperating, persuading, supervising, training, motivating, and assessing performance.  Computer skills can also make an undergraduate psychology student a valuable asset to community organizations.

Professionalism and Code of Conduct

It benefits both the University and the community to have a program that allows the two to work in conjunction with each other. Students will be working in professional environments and must act accordingly. Professionalism is very important to the success of this program developed for students. You will be representing Wright State University in the community. As such your actions will reflect both your and the University's integrity. Therefore, any actions deemed unethical by the practicum site supervisor or the faculty sponsor will result in the student's termination from the practicum program. This in turn results in a failing grade for the course. This has not been a problem in the past, and we trust, with your cooperation, that there will be no problems in the future.  Dress and appearance requirements will be made by the practicum site supervisor, and in accordance with the appropriate dress codes will be expected.

How to Sign up for a Practicum

The Independent Study Approval Form and registration form can be obtained from the Psychology office at 335 Fawcett and the CoSM Student Service Office in 106 Oelman. The Independent Study Approval Form (PDF) must be completed and signed by the student, the site supervisor, and then the faculty supervisor. The registration form must be completed by the student, and then signed by the faculty supervisor.

For further questions and concerns please contact the Practicum Coordinator Dr. Patricia Schiml at, or call at 775-2391.