Mentored Clinical Internship in Psychological Science (PSYS 3994)

(service learning approved)

CONTACT: Judith A. Christensen, Ph.D.,

  • Once per week seminar plus 10 hours/weekly (minimum) at placement site.
  • Capstone Research Project to benefit placement site agency: both semesters

Sometimes, the best way to see psychological science “at work” is to experience a clinical internship placement where people of all ages who experience mental health challenges are served. The MENTORED CLINICAL INTERNSHIP (MCI) course offers psychological science students opportunities to apply their academic learning experiences to a wide variety of mental health related placements. Placement agencies range on a continuum from advocacy to programs serving people of all ages experiencing mental health challenges.  This course is designed to maximize your placement experience in several ways.

  1. Every effort is made to assist you in finding a placement that fits your interests and/or future goals.
  2. The weekly seminar will offer an opportunity for all interns to share experiences, appreciate the importance of ethics and confidentiality in clinical psychological work, practice writing reflectively to increase self-awareness in challenging contexts and offer advice about how to handle thought-provoking, sometimes perplexing, placement situations. The seminar is a kind of “think tank”, a way to present situations, cases, and specific concerns in a safe and confidential environment, as you work your way through your placement experiences.
  3. Guest experts and supplemental activities provide a deeper understanding of broader clinical psychology professional options. This includes a focus in the second semester on post-graduation planning, job finding and graduate school goal.
  4. Practical and clinical skills development is strengthened through reflective journaling, capstone project research and clinical case reporting. 

A wide variety of programs serving various age groups and mental health challenges are located in the Chittenden County area and surrounding counties. The process of obtaining a “good fit” internship for both student and placement site is, in itself, an important learning opportunity. Students are assisted in creating resumes and cover letters, strengthening interviewing skills, developing a mutually agreeable learning contract, and learning how to successfully orient to an unfamiliar and likely challenging placement site.

The seminar meets once a week for 75 minutes. Students are expected to spend 10 hours a week outside of class at their internship site. Expectations include completion of a learning contract; participation in weekly discussions; weekly reflective journaling and assigned readings; a “Capstone Research Project (both semesters) designed for the benefit of the placement site; and a final reflection paper on the student’s internship experience. Both you and your site supervisor will independently complete a mid-term and final evaluation of your performance at the site each semester.

How Do You Enroll?
Junior and senior psychological science majors who want to explore mental health experiences across a continuum of agencies from primary prevention (advocacy, public education) through all levels of intervention (primary, secondary and tertiary) may seek enrollment. Preference is given to rising seniors.

  • Students who will have senior/junior status in the next academic year will be notified by departmental email of the opportunity to apply. The email will include an overview of the program, placement opportunities, an application form and instructions on applying. It is important that students follow these instructions to begin the application process
  • Individual Interviews are scheduled in February/March with Dr. Christensen
  • Through a matching process, students apply to community-based agencies with formal relationships to the Department of Psychological Science (see examples by clicking on the down arrow next to "Recent MCI Collaborations")
  • The student is referred to placement sites to set up interviews as part of the agency’s regular hiring process.
  • Once students are interviewed and approved (hired) by the placement site, the MENTORED CLINICAL INTERNSHIP LEARNING CONTRACT is completed with the associated site supervisor.
  • Submit the Contract to Dr. Christensen for approval. Upon approval, student is notified by email of the course override and given instructions to register.