Majors often take advantage of internships, which are offered for academic credit to gain practical experience in their particular area of interest. Internships are customized to each individual’s career goals. Students are expected to spend 12 hrs per week on their internship activities over a 14 week semester for a 4-hour internship. On average, 10 majors conduct internships each year in a variety of environments including the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences, LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, Youth Villages, Rape Crisis Center, Planned Parenthood, Memphis City Schools, Mayor’s Action Council, various law firms, and human resource departments of area businesses. Some students complete internships with psychologists working in clinical, business and human services agencies in the city. You can find more about the department internship program on the following pages.
Goals of the Program
The primary goal of the Psychology Internship Program is to allow Rhodes students to integrate what they have learned in an academic setting with relevant experience in a business, service agency, or educational institution. It should provide an opportunity for students to evaluate the strengths and limitations of their current knowledge and to broaden and deepen their understanding of Psychology. An important non-academic goal is to help the students make decisions about possible careers.
- Read and pledge that you have read the Ethical Guidelines for Research or for Clinical Practice, depending on which is relevant to your placement. This is required by the end of your first week of the internship.
- Make a contract (Dr. Person can provide you samples) and have it signed by all three parties by the end of the second week (first draft is due to on-campus instructor by the end of the first week of the internship). An internship contract must include:
- A description of your interest, goal, purpose for doing this internship-what you hope to learn.
- A brief (one paragraph) description of a specific project you will work on during this internship. Specify that you will write a paper describing this project or will write weekly reflective jounal entries. The paper and journal entries will be evaluated by your on-campus supervisor.
- The name and position of the person on-site who will be your primary supervisor. Specify how frequently you will meet with this person, and say that this person will be responsible for evaluating your performance on-site. If there are people other than your primary supervisor with whom you will work regularly, name them and describe their position if possible.
- Specify that you will write a 250-500 word summary of your internship experience which will be kept on file in the Department of Psychology for use by future students.
- Specify the days and hours that you plan to spend on-site.
- Specify how the hours will be allocated between various on-site activities, library work, and writing. The total number of hours allocated should equal 46 x the number of credits you are enrolled for.
- Signature, name with title, address, and phone number of each: the on-site supervisor, the on-campus supervisor, and yourself.
- For students that choose to keep a weekly journal, each entry should describe all on-site activities for the week and include your reflections on those activities. This will be checked at midterm and at the end of the term. In it you will:
- Keep a log of all on-site activities.
- Reflect on those activities, evaluating your experience in light of material you have read and in light of related coursework you have done. Your contract should specify that your journal will be evaluated by your on-campus supervisor. You may optionally turn this in to the on-site supervisor as well.
- Students who opt to write a paper should integrate practical experiences on-site with academic and library work. It just be written and typed in accordance with current APA style.
- Write a 250-500 word summary of your internship experience which will be kept on file in the Department of Psychology for use of future students.
- Students enrolled in Psychology Internships need to join the Rhodes College Psychology Department Facebook group. Periodically, students are expected to post updates about their research experiences.
Arranging an Internship
The semester before you plan to do an internship do the following:
- Go to Career Services and look at their file of possible sites.
- Look at the Internship folder in the Psychology main office. These are summaries written by Psychology majors describing their internships.
- Set up a meeting with Dr. Person (or the internship faculty supervisor) once you have selected a few internships you might want to apply for. Dr. Person will only approve your internship if you have taken courses relevant to the work you will do on site.
Once Dr. Person has approved you for several potential internships, the staff in Career Services will help you make an application and set up interviews with people at the sites. Once you have established an internship site, you will work with Dr. Person and your on-site supervisor to design a project and to prepare a contract.
For a complete listing of current internships for Psychology majors, visit the Career Services internship listings.
Since the field of Psychology now bridges so many other fields and our majors go on to pursue a variety of avenues after graduation, the Psychology Department is flexible in the types of internships that it will support. If a psychology student is thinking about nursing as a future path, then he or she may take an internship and explore nursing while also exploring the psychology of the health care profession. Students can also look at the psychology that goes into making computer software, business decisions, and even theatre design if they can find appropriate supervisors in the community. Students can design intern projects at a wide variety of sites that explore the application of psychological theory and research. Visit Career Services for assistance in exploring possibilities for internship sites. Remember that you must have completed course work relevant to the internship project before you will be placed in an internship site.
Download student essays about internship experiences: