Why choose to do a psychology-related internship?
- Learn from personal experience what you like and dislike about psychological services or a profession that likes to hire psychology majors.
- Psychology-related work experience for your resume/vita.
- Qualify for a good letter of recommendation for after graduation employment or graduate school.
- Establish good professional network contacts.
- Increase graduate school application/admission competitiveness.
- Internship experience
Internship experience can be obtained in three basic ways, each with some different advantages (or limitations) for you:
- You can register for between 3-12 credits of internship experience with any psychology-related organization of your choice. There is tuition cost for this option, but the advantage is that you will be formally supervised and evaluated, and you will receive a credit in the form of “satisfactory” (does not count toward your GPA) on your SDSU transcript. Another advantage is that because of having your work performance formally supervised and evaluated, your work experience is most likely to be better organized and diverse.
- You can apply to be hired by any psychology-related organization on your own. Of course, the organization needs to have the type of jobs that an undergraduate psychology major can do, and there needs to be those positions to be filled by the organization. It is probably true that being hired by a psychology-related organization is the best form of “internship” in terms of being valued by the organization. This experience is probably recognized as the most valuable type of internship by graduate schools and other psychology-related organizations to which you may want to apply to after graduation.
- You can volunteer to work for any psychology-related organization on your own, for any period of time that is suitable for your life conditions. The advantages are no tuition cost, no academic evaluation of your performance, no time constraints on how much time you are to do work for the organization, you can qualify for a good letter of recommendation and you can still include your experience on your resume/vita.
- Important Things You'll Learn
As you arrange for doing an Internship and while you are doing it, you will have the opportunity to observe and learn firsthand the following important things about the psychology-related organization/work that you have chosen to intern for:
- Specialized education or skills needed to be more competitive for success in being hired and for advancement in the organization/career.
- Starting salary range and highest salary possible.
- Locations of similar organizations/career opportunities in other cities and states.
- The details of the major work tasks at different levels of the organization/career.
- The normal pace of advancement and opportunities for advancement in this organization/career.
- The positive and negative things about the work setting and about typical organizational members.
- The hiring demand (top cities and states, bottom cities and states).
- From your perspective, the advantages and disadvantages of working in this organization/career.
- The personal traits of a very successful person in this organization/career (this reveals how well you might fit or what you need to develop to fit better in this type of organization or career).
If you do not plan to attend graduate school to earn an advanced degree in psychology (M.A., M.S., Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D.), but you do want to prepare for a career in psychology-related work after graduation, then an Internship will improve your competitive advantage in the following entry-level positions that are commonly obtained by psychology majors.
The internship provides sociology majors with supervised work experience related to their field of study. Most students who have completed the internship have found it to be an invaluable experience for testing their career goals and for establishing credentials and contacts that aid them in finding permanent positions after graduating.
The internship is taken for credit. Internships are conducted during all semesters including summer.
Twelve credit hours are required of all students in the Human Services Specialization; these credits count toward the required 45 credit hours needed to complete that program. Internship credit hours are university electives for students in the General and Human Resources specializations. They may earn between six and twelve credit hours.
Credit hours earned in the internship count toward the upper-division (300 and 400) credit hours required of all SDSU students.
- Initial Internship Requirements
In order to enroll in SOC 494—Internship in Sociology, a student must:
- Provide the Internship Coordinator with an unofficial, current transcript
- Provide the Internship Coordinator with a resume
- Provide the Internship Coordinator with a photograph of himself or herself
- Be a declared sociology major
- Be of Junior or Senior status
- Be in good standing with the university and have a GPA of 2.20 or higher
There are also internship experiences available at the graduate level. Graduate students wishing to sign up for internship credits should talk to their advisor and the internship coordinator about the opportunities to enroll in SOC 794 Internship.
- Planning and Registering for the Internship
The student is responsible for initiating the planning of the internship. It is the student's responsibility to contact the internship coordinator. Each student must have written consent from the coordinator prior to registering for SOC 494.
- Selecting a Site
The student is responsible for finding the internship site and securing the internship. Internships may be paid or unpaid.
Recent internship sites have included:
- The Bakery-Entrepreneurial Cooperative
- Brazoria County Alliance for Children-Texas
- Brookings County Sheriff's Department
- Brookings Police Department
- The Compass Center-Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services
- Dept. of Social Services/Child Protection Service (in Sioux Falls, Lake Andes and Watertown)
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes
- Hope Lutheran Church, Day and After School Care-Sioux Falls
- HyVee-HR and Management
- Jackson County Court Services-Minnesota
- Planned Parenthood
- Red Cross
- Six-West Community Corrections-Minnesota
- South Dakota State Penitentiary- (Unit Manager AND Correctional Officer)
- SDSU Facilities Management HR
- Ultimate Services/Natural Resources Conservation Service-Brookings
- Yellow Medicine County Family Services- Minnesota
- Initial Meetings with the Internship Coordinator
The process begins with the student meeting individually with the coordinator and discussing what the prospective intern would like to accomplish during the internship, where the internship will be conducted and filling out the necessary paperwork. The planning stage of the process may take one to two semesters prior to the start of the internship. The intern must complete all the requirements and paperwork as directed by the coordinator prior to the beginning of the internship. The paperwork must be completed and submitted to the coordinator at least six weeks prior to the end of the semester proceeding the time period when the internship is to begin.
- Meeting the Requirements of the Internship
The student must meet all the requirements set forth by the internship agency in which the internship will be conducted. Each agency may have different requirements; therefore it is important that the student work closely with the Internship Coordinator. A complete list of requirements is in the SOC 494 syllabus.
- How is the Internship Graded?
The internship grade is a "U" (fail) or "S" (pass) and does not affect the GPA.