Psychology majors have the opportunity to earn departmental elective credit for their fieldwork experience in areas related to psychology. The Psychology Department offers Psych 497, a weekly seminar open to students who are also engaged in work in the community. Students have the chance to gain valuable training and work experience in the fields of counseling, social services, criminal justice, education and human resources. In conjunction with the field experience, the Psych 497 seminar helps students to further define their educational and career goals by encouraging the exploration of larger academic questions which relate to the fieldwork they are doing.
Step 1: Find a Psych 497 fieldwork site.
Locating a fieldwork site may take several weeks and, depending on the organization, may require you to go through training or conduct a background check. Students are encouraged to begin the process of finding a site in the quarter prior to the quarter in which they wish to enroll in Psych 497.
There are a lot of different ways to find a volunteer experience.
- Visit our page for fieldwork - which lists fieldworks sites that have worked with psychology students in the past. When you find an organization, please contact the volunteer coordinator and let them know that you are a UW undergraduate Psychology student who wants to explore the opportunity of working with their organization. They may be able to connect you with individuals on their staff with work that might interest you.
- You may also look for internships on Handshake (a list maintained by the UW Career & Internship Center) or at the United Way of King County or Volunteer Match or Idealist.
- If you are interested in an area that is not covered in the above lists, please feel free to search out another organization that does psychology related work.
- If you don't see a volunteer opportunity listed at the organization you're interested in contact them anyway! Some organizations don't post all available positions.
- Talk with Cy if you need any additional help.
- International students on an F-1 visa should review the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) information available through the International Student Service (ISS) office before searching for a fieldwork site. COIVD-19 CPT related questions and answers can be found here.
Step 2: Register for Psych 497 credit.
****[Updated: 7.16.20] King county is in Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start Plan and the UW is in Phase 2. On June 29, President Cauce announced classes will be held in a hybrid approach. With the uncertainty of autumn and the impact COVID may have on our lives, we encourage students to find remote opportunities to help protect yourself and others from COVID. The university has created a COVID website that provides current information about UW's responce and may answer some of your questions.****
Complete the 497 registration request survey and you will be registered into the seminar on or after May 22 for autumn quarter. Registration is not dependent on your registration date and you will not receive an add code. Review How do I earn credit for my experience? information below for converting hours into credits.
Step 3: Submit the ALC.
After you have secured a fieldwork site, complete and submit the fieldwork Application & Learning Contract (ALC). The ALC submission deadline is the first Friday of the quarter. Prior to accessing the ALC, it is recommend to meet with your site supervisor and talk about the duties and expectations of your fieldwork site. You may be contacted at any time if there are any questions, issues or concerns about your ALC.
To access and to submit your ALC*, please follow these steps:
- Log into Handshake using your UW net ID.
2. Click Career Center at top.
3. Click Experiences
4. Click Request an Experience
5. Choose Psych 497 - Fieldwork
*International students on an F-1 visa should review and complete the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) information available through the International Student Service (ISS) office before submitting the ALC.
COIVD-19 CPT related questions and answers can be found here.
How do I know if my Psych 497 fieldwork site is "psychology related?"
Psychology is a very broad field covering many things from child development to mental health; animal behavior to sensory perception. There are many different types of experiences that are related to psychology. You are encouraged to reflect on your psychology coursework to identify how your volunteer experience may be related.
Keep in mind that psychology is the study of human and animal behavior. With your experience you will want to seek out positions where you will have a large amount of interaction with people. A position where you file, answer phones, copy, stalk goods, cook or prep will most likely limit your interactions with others and will not provide an in depth experience where you can observe, converse, and reflect in a deep and meaningful way.
Your site supervisor may be helpful, as you identify these commonalities. Cy and the other Psychology Advisers are available to help you with this process. When you submit your Learning Contract, you will be expected to include specific ways that your fieldwork experience is related to psychology.
What do I need to discuss with my site supervisor?
Your relationship with your site supervisor is very important. When you first meet to discuss your fieldwork experience, please discuss the following topics:
- Discuss what you would like to learn about the organization and the work that they do.
- Discuss your future career goals and interests and how this experience may prepare you for that work.
- Discuss the type of work they will expect from you at this organization
- Discuss the quality of supervision and the type of training you will receive as a volunteer.
- Discuss the number of hours you will be expected to perform and your schedule.
- Decide how many credits you want to receive.
What is expected from my site supervisor?
A critical component of your fieldwork experience is the training and supervision that you will receive at the field site. Below is an outline of what is expected of your field site supervisor. Please keep these guidelines in mind and refer to them when talking with the agency where you plan to do your fieldwork. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the training or supervision that will be provided by the agency, please don't hesitate to contact Cy Delgado, in the Psychology Advising Office.
The field site supervisor must agree to:
- Provide a good learning and training environment for the student, to include adequate orientation to the program and regular supervision, as necessary, keeping routine work such as data entry and filing to a minimum.
- Work directly with the student and make explicit arrangements with the student concerning the student's overall learning objectives, communication with the student, expectations, and records of the student's hours and performance.
- Complete an evaluation of the student's performance--this evaluation will be emailed to the site supervisor toward the end of the academic quarter, and must be returned to the Psychology Advising Office before the student can receive credit.
How do I earn credit for my experience?
The general guideline is 1 credit hour earned for 3 hours per week work on-site.
First quarter Students:
As a first quarter student, in addition to the time at your site, you must attend a weekly class session (Please check the current UW Time Schedule/MyPlan for class day and time). The class will count for 1 credit (3 hours of work per week) while your site hours will make up the remaining credits. The minimum number of hours at your site is 3 hours per week for a total of 30 hours over the quarter. The maximum number of hours is 12 per week, for a total of 120 hours over the quarter. Typically, students enroll in 3 credits to fulfill the experience requirement. See chart below:
Class + Homework
Total Site Hours
If you continue with Psych 497 for a second or third quarter, you will not attend a class. Instead, your credits will be the number of hours at your site and submission of assignments and a final paper through Canvas.
Total Site Hours
*Begining winter quarter 2020, continuing students can register for 1 credit of Psych 497.
Is there a Maximum or Minimum Number of Allowable Internship Credits?
For first quarter students, you may register for a minimum of 2 credits, continuing students are allowed to register for a minimum of 1 credit. In a given quarter you may register for a maximum of 5 credits. You may apply a maximum of 10 credits of Psych 497 towards the Psych degree and you may only apply 18 credits of Psych 496-499 towards the 180 credits.
How do I track the number of hours I've completed at my fieldwork site?
At the end of the quarter, your site supervisor will be emailed a final evaluation asking to rate your performance and confirm the number of hours you have completed. Your supervisor may use their organization's hours tracking system or your personal tracking system either digital or on paper. It is important you speak with your supervisor at the end of the quarter to discuss how well you have done and to confirm the number of hours you have completed.
Can I earn fieldwork credits more than once?
Yes, you may earn up to a maximum of 10 credits of Psych 497 by registering in the continuining student section, section D, of Psych 497.
Can I be paid?
Yes! While most sites are volunteer, the rational for being paid is that wages provide compensation for the effort you put forth in the internship/fieldwork itself. Whereas academic credit provides compensation for the completion of assignments demonstrating that the learning takes place in an internship.
I have been at or will be continuing my fieldwork at the same site, are there any different expectations?
If you have already been working at a site for a period of time or before registering for Psych 497, you will be asked to do an additional project or take on additional responsibilities to further your learning.
What if I want to complete my hours during the summer?
Psych 497 is only offered during the autumn, winter, and spring quarters. Students who would like to receive credit for the hours they complete during the summer may do so by registering for 497 during autumn. Summer is the only quarter students may complete their hours prior to registering in 497. Students have the option to complete their hours during the summer, or summer through autumn, or during autumn. You are encouraged to review the credit vs hours chart above to determine how many credits to register for 497 during the autumn. If you complete your hours during the summer, your final performance evaluation will be sent to your supervisor at the beginning of autumn quarter.
International students on an F-1 visa are strongly encouraged to review the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) information available through the International Student Service (ISS) office during the spring or prior to starting your search for a summer fieldwork site.
If you have questions, contact Cy Delgado before the summer quarter begins to discuss this process.
Can I receive credit for experience I have completed in the past?
No. With the exception of hours completed during summer, Psych 497 is intended to grant students credit for academic work (the Psych 497 class) done concurrently with the fieldwork experience.
What are my options if I cannot attend the class or if my opportunity is not considered "psychology related"?
If this is your first quarter completing a psychology fieldwork experience and the class is full or if you have a time conflict, you will not be able to receive Psych 497 credit. In this case, and for students who complete non-psychology related internships, you have the option to apply for General Studies 350 credit. The General Studies 350 class is managed through the Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center located at 171 Mary Gates Hall. You have two options for recieving GEN ST 350 credits: Option 1 -find a UW faculty or Instructor Sponsor. Option 2 - enroll in a distance learning section of GEN ST 350. GEN ST 350 credit may not be subsituted for Psych 497 credit. Due to CPT restrictions, international students may not register for Option 2, the distance learning section because the distant learning course it not tied to our department. Please contact the Carlson staff for assistance at 206-543-4282 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What will I learn by completing Psych 497?
Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to learn many things about the application of psychology in the world of work.