Internships and Independent Study

How to Get Involved with an Internship

The Psychological & Brain Sciences Department sponsors clinical internships for credit with an S/U grade. An internship is an opportunity to work as a volunteer at a mental health care facility or other institution in which interactions with clients, inpatients, or subjects in clinical research. Internships are supervised by a clinician or professional staff member. Internship experiences may include activities such as sitting in on individual or group therapy sessions, interacting with patients informally, observing assessments, participating in treatment team and supervision meetings, and assisting with scoring of psychological tests and report writing.

The department maintains a list of Internship Opportunities for internship sites that have requested that we advertise opportunities to our students. However, there are many other opportunities available that require students to take the initiative to contact sites (e.g., clinics, hospitals). Some mental health facilities have internship or volunteer coordinators, who are a good first contact. In the past, students have interned locally at organizations such as the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Sheppard Pratt Hospital, and Mount Washington Hospital. Students can also complete internships at sites that are outside of the local area.

Internships must be sponsored by a full-time faculty member in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences. Students should come to a mutual agreement with the internship site regarding the student’s responsibilities, time commitment, attendance expectations, what you will gain from the experience, and what you will offer your internship site. After locating an internship opportunity, students should meet with a faculty sponsor. The student and faculty sponsor will review the agreement that between the student and internship site, as well as the faculty sponsor’s expectations and the written requirements of the internship (i.e., a journal of observations made at the treatment facility). To register for an internship, the student will submit the signed Undergraduate Research/Independent Study/Internship form signed by the faculty sponsor, in addition to an Add/Drop form as appropriate, to the Registrar’s Office.

Internships contribute significantly to the development of your professional identity. You represent yourself as well as JHU Psychological & Brain Sciences, as the institution and department at your internship site. The utmost professionalism is expected in all capacities at all times.

Internship/Independent Study Guidelines & Grading

Please be advised that the Psychology Independent Study experience does not follow the protocol of the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences.

Students have the opportunity to secure and complete internships and receive credit for them as part of their psychology major. Internships can range from 1-3 credits per semester. For each credit, 40 hours of work (approximately 3 hours per week) in a semester is required. Therefore, a student earns 1 credit for 40 hours in a semester (about 3 hours per week), 2 credits for 80 hours (about 6 hours per week), and 3 credits for 120 hours (about 9 hours per week). The hours can vary by week, and it is the student’s responsibility to accurately record hours worked throughout the semester on a timesheet, for review and approval by the internship supervisor and faculty sponsor at the end of the semester. Students and faculty sponsors should agree upon a number of credits and hours at the beginning of the semester.

To Register for Internship Credit

  • Students who would like to receive course credit for an internship (e.g., a clinical experience) should meet with a faculty sponsor (typically the student’s major advisor) to discuss the internship and its appropriateness.
  • After meeting with the faculty sponsor and gaining their approval, the student will register in SIS for 200.5XX Internship for the first credit (for the first 40 hours) and can also register for 200.5XX Independent Study for 1-2 credits (for an additional 40 – 80 hours beyond the first 40 hours). To register, complete the online Independent Academic Work form, which is available in SIS.  Students must complete one form for Internship, and, if applicable, a second version of the same form for Independent Study.  Be sure to check the course listing in SIS for the correct course and section number.  Those vary based on the semester, your class year, and your faculty sponsor.
  • On the form, select:
    • the course and section number for the faculty sponsor
    • if your faculty sponsor is not your direct supervisor for the internship, name your supervisor and provide a brief reason why your sponsor is not the supervisor (e.g., this internship experience is only available at this site under the supervision of this supervisor)
    • S/U grading
    • Summary Paper (8 pages)
    • Journal (weekly)
    • And write a brief description of your internship site and the duties you will complete during the internship
  • When you submit the form, your faculty sponsor will receive an email indicating that your form and registration require their approval. Once the sponsor grants approval, SIS will automatically register you for the class(es).

Requirements for Internship Credit

  • Weekly Journal – Students will keep and submit a weekly journal of their observations.
  • Timesheet – Students must also complete timesheet documenting their activities and amount of time spent completing the duties of the internship and the written requirements of the internship experience. The student’s supervisor at the internship site will sign the student’s timesheets for approval by the JHU faculty sponsor.
  • Evaluation – Students must complete a survey evaluation of their research/internship experience that will be emailed to them by the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the end of the semester.
  • Paper – Students write an 8-10 page paper that includes a literature review of their internship area and a description of their experience during the internship. Students and faculty sponsors should agree upon more specific guidelines as appropriate to the students’ particular internship experiences.
  • The JHU faculty sponsor must receive each of these items no later than 5:00PM on the last day of Reading Period of the semester as the internship experience. Unless an alternate arrangement has been discussed prior to the deadline, late documents will not be accepted, resulting in a possible Unsatisfactory grade with no credit awarded.

Questions regarding internships should be directed to Dr. Alison Papadakis, the department’s Director of Clinical Psychological Studies.