Internships Overview

What is an Internship?

The Center for Career Development (CCD) defines an internship as the following:

  • Hands-on work and learning experience
  • Work relates to major or career and is more substantial than a part-time job
  • Typically lasts two to four months
  • May be part-time or full-time
  • May be paid or unpaid
  • May earn academic credit

Finding Opportunities

The psychological sciences department does make internship placements; students are expected to independently find a field experience opportunity. However, ways by which you can locate a field experience or internship opportunity include:

  • Utilize the many resources the CCD offers:
  • Review Past Field Experience Opportunities to see where other psychological sciences students have completed field experiences, read what they did during their field experiences, and get ideas for places to look for an opportunity.
    • Non-profits are especially great places for psychological sciences majors to look, but these field experiences, while still valuable, tend to be unpaid and resemble a volunteer position more than a true internship.
    • While certainly not the only possible locations, many students complete internships with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, as both have formal intern programs and several geographic locations throughout Connecticut.
  • Keep an eye out for the Undergraduate Psychological Sciences Digest emails for posts advertising organizations with internship openings and volunteer positions. Opportunities are also posted on the bulletin board outside the Undergraduate Program Office.
  • Use your network of contacts and/or expand it with job shadowing and interviews. Your network can include family, friends, acquaintances, faculty, staff, and more. Be resourceful and think outside of the box as to who might be able to help you.

Earning Credit

Please remember that for-credit internship courses require tuition and fees just like any other for-credit course. This becomes especially relevant for summer internships, when internship opportunities are more prevalent and students are not typically enrolled in courses. Therefore, many students participate in an internship still gaining valuable experience, but opt not to enroll in a for-credit course. There is a zero-credit option for students wishing to have an internship documented on their transcript.

Additionally, internship courses are generally graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis and, per University policy, cannot be used on any plan of study. However, all credits will count as electives toward the overall credits needed for graduation.

PSYC 3880 (Field Experience)

PSYC 3880 (Field Experience) is an independent study course available for students wishing to pursue fieldwork or an internship at an off-site organization for course credit. Students are expected to independently find a field experience opportunity, which may be a paid internship or volunteer work.

In addition to a field experience site and supervisor, you will need a faculty sponsor to monitor the academic component of the field experience. A faculty sponsor can be any faculty member within the psychological sciences department. Since you will be asking the faculty member to carry out additional tasks in order to sponsor you, this faculty member is often one you know somewhat well. A faculty sponsor is often your faculty advisor, a former professor from a course you enjoyed, or an instructor from a research course. Arrangements may need to be made in advance of an internship offer, as some internship programs require university support in the form of a faculty sponsor at the time of application. Contact information can be found on the Contact Faculty page.

Each course credit requires at least 42 hours of work per term, which equates to 3 hours of work per week during Fall or Spring semesters (see the credit conversion chart).

No credit may be given retroactively for internship work undertaken without being properly enrolled in the internship course in advance.

Please see the PSYC 3880 (Field Experience) page for complete course policies and information on enrolling.

UNIV 1981 (Documented Internship Experience)

UNIV 1981 (Documented Internship Experience) is CCD’s zero-credit course for students wishing to have an internship documented on their transcript or interning at sites requiring university support. While this option does not require tuition like other for-credit courses, students are subject to the regular Summer Session enrollment fee if not taken during the academic year. The CCD requires approval from the student’s major department before enrolling in this course, and the psychological sciences department is generally supportive of psychological sciences majors pursuing this “credit” option.

UNIV 1991 (Supervised Internship Experience)

UNIV 1991 (Supervised Internship Experience) is CCD’s one-credit course for students wishing to receive credit for their internship but are not eligible for course credit through another department. This is a great option for psychological sciences students with an internship that is not eligible for PSYC 3880 credit (e.g., on-campus). The CCD requires approval from the student’s major department before enrolling in this course, and the psychological sciences department is generally supportive of psychological sciences majors pursuing this credit option.

Other Considerations

Programs Requiring University Approval

Some intern or volunteer programs require you to have the support of the University in the form of signed documentation. Sometimes this information is requested during the application process. (Yes, this requires you to make arrangements with a faculty sponsor prior to completing the application.) Your UConn psychological sciences faculty sponsor will serve as the University contact and sign related paperwork.

Programs Requiring Liability Insurance

Some programs require that the school provide proof of liability insurance coverage for students participating in an internship program. UConn has this type of liability insurance and can issue a certificate of insurance as proof of coverage. Students requiring proof of coverage should contact the Undergraduate Program Office.