Psychology 497 Fieldwork

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.


In the current era of social distancing protocols and other measures to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we strongly encourage students to consider remote community engagement opportunities. We also recognize there are essential social services that depend on volunteers and interns to provide support, shelter, and food security. We trust each individual to assess their risk factors and availability for in-person volunteer roles, and to navigate listings accordingly. The university has created a COVID website that provides information about UW's response and may be a good resource for you or your supervisor. Some common questions regarding COVID are answered below, but if you have questions about engaging with volunteer or internship roles, please contact Cy Delgado at delgadoc@uw.edu 

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 variety of ways to find a volunteer experience:

Step 2: Register for Psych 497 credit.

****Class sections A, B, and C will be synchronous. Section D (for continuing 497 students) does not have a meeting time and students will submit assignments on Canvas*** 

To enroll in 497 you must complete the 497 registration request survey and you will be registered into the class. Enrollment will start on or after November 20. Registration is not dependent on a student's registration date and an add code will not be given. Students will be registered directly into 497. Please review How do I earn credit for my experience? below for information on converting hours into credits. 

Step 3: Submit the Application & Learning Contract (ALC).  

After a fieldwork site has been secured, 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 if there are any questions, issues, or concerns about your ALC. 

To access and to submit your ALC*, please follow these steps: 

  1. 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: 

 Number of  
Credits

 Class + Homework 
Hours Per Week

 Site Hours 
Per Week

 Total Site Hours 
Per Quarter

2 3 3 30
3 3 6 60
4 3 9 90
5 3 12 120

Continuing Students:

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.  

 Number of 
Credits

 Site Hours 
Per Week

 Total Site Hours 
Per Quarter

1* 3 30
2 6 60
3 9 90
4 12 120
5 15 150

*Beginning 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 in more than one quarter? 

Yes, you may earn up to a maximum of 10 credits of Psych 497 by registering in the continuing 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. 

Is it possible to have more than one fieldwork site in one quarter and combine the hours for credits?

From past experiences, it is best to find one site for a vareity of reasons, e.g., time demand, continuity of tasks supervisor coordination, etc., however, it may be possible to do two sites. Depending on which section you plan to register in please reach out to Cy or Dr. Nelson for final approval. If it is approved you must complete separate ALCs for both fieldwork sites.

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.

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.

Should I be going to my Fieldwork site during COVID?

If you can conduct your fieldwork remotely, that is the most ideal solution at this time. By conducting your fieldwork from home, you reduce your potential risk of exposure, practice good social distancing as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and still complete work vital to your organization. Talk with your site supervisor about the potential to work remotely for the duration of your fieldwork.

If your organization is open, work with your employer to come up with a plan for your fieldwork safety. Be sure to consider the following questions in your planning: Are employees still coming in to work? What measures are being taken to mitigate exposure to others? What will the nature of your work be given the circumstances? If you and your employer agree on a plan that works for both of you and takes your health and safety into account, then you are welcome to complete your internship as discussed. You and your supervisor may also refer to the UW COVID website for information on creating a safe work space.

I want to go to my fieldwork site during COVID, but my supervisor won’t let me or isn’t able to let me.

If remote work is not an option for your fieldwork, and your supervisor does not want you to come in-person, or is unable to allow you to do so, unfortunately your options are very limited. You may want to defer your experience for a future quarter.

I have reached out to many fieldwork sites but haven't found one and I can't find a site due to COVID, what can I do?

You may want to defer your experience to a future quarter and continuing looking for a site through out the year. If you are graduating winter or spring quarter and you have made many attempts to locate a site but couldn't, please talk with a Psychology Adviser and we will waive your experience requirement during your last quarter.

My employer isn’t sure about what remote projects could look like during COVID, what resources are available to help them?

You can refer your employer to the Career and Internship Center's handout, Developing Remote Internships. You can use our Internship Work Plan Template to help develop goals and track progress. Information about best practices for remote work is available here. There is also a variety of free LinkedIn Learning courses about remote working here.

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. 

What are my options if I cannot attend the class or if my opportunity is not considered "psychology related"?

In the event that the class is full your name will be added to the waitlist and once a space is available you may be added. If you have a time conflict, please adjust your schedule or plan to take 497 the following quarter. In the case, of 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 Community Engagement & Leadership Education (CELE) Center located at 171 Mary Gates Hall. You have two options for receiving 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 substituted 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 genst350@uw.edu.

General Studies 350

What will I learn by completing Psych 497?

Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to learn and observe many things about the application of psychology in the world of work. You will also learn about various topics in career and professional development.

If I have further questions, who should I contact?

You can direct specific questions to Cy Delgado, 206.543.3365, delgadoc@uw.edu, or visit 119A Guthrie Hall

Alternatively, you may contact the Psychology Undergraduate Advising Office at psyadvis@uw.edu or 206.543.2698