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EIU Department of Psychology

Internship FAQs

PSY4275 Internship is an individually-planned work experience in a business or agency appropriate to the student’s chosen career path, graduate school plans, and/or professional goals. The goal of this FAQ page is to answer common questions that students have about the internship program and how to find an internship. 

How can I be admitted to the Internship Program? You must successfully complete PSY 4274 Orientation to Internship.  This is a 1 credit online course that is offered every semester. 

I was not able to finish PSY 4274 Orientation to Internship, but I already have my internship planned, what should I do? Unfortunately, you will not be able to register for PSY 4275 (and obtain academic credit) until you receive credit for PSY 4274.

Do you place me into an internship? No, students are responsible for securing their own internship.  We provide support and guidance for students along the way, but each student finding their own internship based on their professional goals, geographic location, and schedule.

How do I find an internship site? During PSY 4274 you will be provided with tools and resources to help you find, interview for, and register for your internship.  There is a list of past internship sites in Coles County here, which is a great place to start.  You should also go to the Career Services website for additional internship opportunities.  In addition to these two resources, you are welcome to finding your own internship.

What if I can’t find an internship that I like on the list of past sites or Career Services?  This is one of the most commonly asked questions!  You are welcome to set up your own internship experience that matches your professional goals, location, and schedule.  For example, many students complete an internship in the summer when they have returned home for summer break.  When locating your own internship, there are several strategies that I recommend. 

  1. Personal Connections. If you know of someone who works at an agency/business where you are interested in interning, that would probably be the best place to start!  Using your personal connections is a great way to find out who you need to speak with about setting up an internship!
  2. Google it!  Look for businesses or agencies in the area that may be a place you would want to be employed using online searches or Yellow Pages.  Many businesses and agencies have website so you can look at the services they offer and the populations they work with.  Websites often have information about employment, volunteering, or internship experiences.  Use a wide variety of search terms when conducting online searches.  For example, when I type in “Rockford, IL psychology internship” many of the hits were related to doctoral-level internships.  However, when I search “Rockford, IL mental health services,” over 20 agencies that provide mental health services came up.  Now I can go look at the websites of these agencies to see if any of them have current openings OR look for contact information.
  3. What do I do if there are no internships posted?  Even if there is not an internship position posted, you can still inquire about the possibility.  Be prepared to share the basic requirements of the internship (e.g., 135 hours, on-site supervisor) and your qualifications (i.e., you have taken an orientation class on ethics and professional behavior, classes that are related, your career goals).  Many students have been successful in setting up an internship by contacting agencies on their own! 
  4. Who do I contact? It is unlikely that you will find the name of a person with the title “Intern Coordinator;” however, you can look for departments or people with job titles such as, Human Resources, Employee Relations, or Volunteer Coordinator.  If you cannot find contact information for these types of positions, you can always just call and ask the receptionist!
  5. What should I say? You should explain that you are a student at EIU looking to complete an undergraduate internship in psychology.  To receive course credit for the internship, you need to complete 135 hours of work during the course of the semester, which is approximately 9 hours per week and need to have a contact person that will serve as your supervisor.  Your specific role for the agency or business is dependent on what they allow interns to do, so there are not certain assignments or tasks that have to be completed at your internship site.  If the agency is hesitant or has not had an intern before, you can always have them contact the Internship Coordinator.  Sometimes we recommend that students describe the internship as a “structured volunteer experience” where they need to complete 9 hours of work per week. 
  6. What if they say “No?”  You should be prepared for an agency or business to decide not to have an intern.  In some cases, their work is very confidential and they cannot have anyone other than their paid employees involved.  Other times, they simply do not have enough work for an intern to come in 9 hours per week.  If this happens, you simply find another possible internship site!!

Could I complete an internship in another town? State? Country? You are welcome to set up an internship in a different town, state, or even country!  Many students complete an internship in the summer when they are on break from classes at EIU.  All the same requirements apply to these internship, thus you must still have a faculty sponsor and on-site supervisor. 

How do I sign up for PSY 4275 Undergraduate Internship in Psychology? There is a form in the Psychology Department office, or available online.  There is a section for you (the student) to fill out, your on-site supervisor to fill out, and your faculty sponsor to fill out.  After ALL sections are completed turn the form into the Psychology Department office, the department secretary will add you to the class.  You do not register for the class in PAWS like a normal course.  You MUST be registered by Friday of the first week of class within the semester you are completing your internship. 

How many hours do I have to work to earn credit for my internship? A three credit internship requires 135 hours of work at the internship site, which is roughly 9 hours of work per week of the semester.  

Will I get paid for my internship? Paid internships are not common, but are allowed.

Who will serve as my faculty supervisor? It is your responsibility to ask a psychology faculty member to serve as your faculty supervisor.  You should plan on meeting with your faculty supervisor on a regular basis (e.g., 2-3 times per month) to discuss progress towards internship goals and any concerns or questions that you have. 

Other than going to my internship site, what else do I have to do during internship?  You will use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of your hours.  Every week you will upload your hours log to a dropbox on D2L.  Each week you will also answer a discussion board question on D2L.  In addition to the weekly hours log and discussion board, you should make arrangements to meet with your faculty sponsor on a regular basis. 

How is PSY 4275 graded? The course is graded as “credit- CR” or “no credit – NC.”

What if my site supervisor has a question? Your Site Supervisor can always contact the Psychology Department (217-581-2127)

If I have a problem with my internship, what should I do?  You should discuss any problems with your faculty supervisor.  

Can I do 2 internships?  Yes, you may complete two internships, but there are different ways to do this: (1) You can do one internship per semester for two different semesters (e.g., a spring internship and summer internship), (2) You can do two separate internships in the same semester (e.g., 3 credit internship at Site A and 3 credit internship at Site B), or (3) You can do a 6 credit internship at a single site. Doing two internships in a single semester is a very large time commitment, so you should think carefully about the pros and cons, as well as your schedule before committing to two internships at the same time.

Suggested Timeline

2 semesters before desired internship semester:

  • Register for PSY 4274 Orientation to Internship

1 semester before desired internship semester:

  • Complete PSY 4274 Orientation to Internship
  • By midterm, begin applying for and interviewing for internships
  • Ask faculty to supervise you
  • By finals week, complete PSY 4275 registration form and turn into office

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Contact Information

Eastern Illinois University

Physical Sciences - 1151
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920

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