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Western Kentucky University

Department of Psychology

Field Experience in Psychology - PSY 390

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Handbook

Introduction

The purpose of this handbook is to provide guidelines for Field Experience placement supervisors and undergraduate psychology students participating in the Psy 390- Field Experience in Psychology course. Students in Psy 390 complete 120 hours of experience in the placement across a semester (16 weeks) where they see the work of professionals first-hand, integrate the experience with coursework and explore career options.

The purpose of the course is dual in nature. The first purpose is to provide students with the opportunity to gain experience in a setting outside of the university where concepts, practices and knowledge from the field of psychology are utilized. The second purpose is to provide students with the opportunity to learn about professional behavior and ethics and the linkage between theory and practice.

Purpose

As stated in the course syllabus there are four objects for the Field Experience in Psychology. They are:

  1. Student will obtain supervised work experience within a community agency, program or business.
  2. Students will integrate conceptual knowledge obtained in courses in the psychology major with applied experiences obtained in the placement.
  3. Students will learn to use reflective writings for professional growth and development.
  4. Students will learn the professional ethics and work behavior.

Enrollment Requirements and Procedures

The Field Experience in Psychology course is designed for students majoring or minoring in psychology. Students must be of Junior or Senior standing, obtain faculty recommendations, and hold a GPA of at least 2.5. Most placements also require particular psychology classes as prerequisites or co requisites. In addition to these requirements, the student's schedule of classes should permit at a minimum half-day if not whole day placements at the site.

Enrollment in the Field Experience in Psychology class requires advance planning and approval by the Field Experience instructor in order to be cleared to register for the course. After enrollment in the course, the student works with the instructor to obtain a community placement. This step must take place the semester before the placement is to occur. The specific steps are as follows:

Activities the student must complete the semester before the placement:

  1. Student completes Field Experience in Psychology application form and turns it in to the Psychology Department. This form is also available from the Psychology Department. Student completes the form and obtains signatures from two faculty references, at least one of which needs to be a faculty member in the Psychology Department. It is strongly recommended that students complete this step prior to the pre-registration time period.
  2. Student is emailed regarding approval and instructions for enrolling in Field Experience in Psychology class are provided. Applications are reviewed and approved within a 5-day period of time. If approved, the student is provided instructions on how to enroll in the class and a copy of the Memorandum of Agreement to be signed by the placement site. Students will also receive a copy of the procedures for obtaining a placement.
  3. Student contacts and meets with potential placement site. If the student has indicated a preferred placement site on the application, they will receive instructions as to whether the site is still available and procedures for contacting the site to set up an interview. The student will be provided with instructions and the site will know about the Field Experience. In the event that the student wishes to pursue a placement in a site that has not previously participated in the Field Experience class, the student will need to meet with the WKU instructor to obtain approval of the placement.
  4. Student obtains site approval and submits signed Memorandum of Agreement to WKU instructor. Student contacts placement site by phone and arranges an interview with the designated staff to discuss the placement. The student should be prepared to discuss why they would like a placement with the site and respond to interview types of questions that the staff may have. If the site agrees to accept the student, the Memorandum of Agreement form is signed. The student then submits the Memorandum of Agreement form to the instructor.
  5. Student immediately returns Memorandum of Agreement to WKU instructor. Students have now completed all the procedures to be enrolled in the Field Experience in Psychology course. The next step is to show up for the first class meeting on campus. Students should not start at their placements before the first meeting of the class for the semester. These forms should be submitted to the instructor immediately after obtaining a site placement.

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 Last Modified 9/24/14