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Applied Psychology

A key component of the Applied Psychology major is our sequence of fieldwork placements and seminars. These field experiences are closely supervised and take place in schools, social service agencies, psychiatric hospitals, legal clinics, and youth centers. Students also have the opportunity to satisfy their fieldwork requirement by joining a faculty member's research team. Research in the Department of Applied Psychology is conducted in diverse settings and covers a broad array of topics.

Our course of study is specifically designed to provide practical hands-on learning experiences in the field in conjunction with theoretical knowledge learned through coursework in the classroom. One of our goals in this program is that through supervised field experiences and coursework, our students will be able to make informed decisions about career or educational plans following graduation from this program.

Seminar in Applied Psychology Sequence

Applied Psychology majors are involved in a two-semester sequence of fieldwork activities. The Seminar sequence is intended to provide practical, supervised hands-on learning experiences, and guide students to create meaningful connections between their practice and the conceptual knowledge gained through coursework.

All students must demonstrate readiness to begin the seminar sequence. Readiness is attained through performance in coursework as well as participation in community service event, sponsored by the program. During the semesters leading to participation in the seminar sequence, students explore subfields of psychology and assess their abilities, interests, values, and personality characteristics. Students then select a field site that will allow them to explore their areas of interest, thereby developing insight into their long-term professional goals.

During Seminar in Applied Psychology I and II, students learn how to relate their professional experiences in the field with psychological literature, making explicit connections between theory, research and practices. During these two semesters, there is focus on ethical issues and professional standards, writing in psychology and the dissemination of findings in a professional forum, as well as exploration of future professional and education goals in relation to fieldwork experiences; such as graduate school admissions, career paths, and basic skills for entry-level jobs.

Students begin Fieldwork I in the fall of Junior year. Spring semester Sophomores may enroll in Fieldwork under special circumstances.

Fieldwork FAQ

What is a field site?

A field site is a setting with an on-site supervisor, such as a school, hospital, clinic, or community based organization. A field site can also include working on a faculty member's research team.

How do I apply to a field site?

  1. As part of the Seminar in Applied Psychology I requirements, you will be required to complete an application listing your top four preferences for field site placements.
  2. The Fieldwork Coordinator will review your application, and will then meet with you to discuss which of the sites would be the best match for your interests, skill-sets, goals, etc.
  3. Following that meeting, you will send your cover letter and resume (along with any other required application materials) to the supervisor at the site(s) approved by the Fieldwork Coordinator.
  4. You will likely be asked to schedule an interview with the supervisor at the site.
  5. Once you have finalized your placement, inform the Fieldwork Coordinator.
  6. You begin your field site placement during your second week in Seminar in Applied Psychology I.
  7. Before you can begin your field site placement, however, you and your supervisor must complete the Field Site Agreement Form, which you then submit to the Fieldwork Coordinator.

If I plan to go abroad for a semester, and will not be taking Seminar in Applied Psychology I and II consecutively, when do i apply to a field site?

Even if you will not be enrolled in Seminar in Applied Psychology II in the semester directly after you take Seminar in Applied Psychology I, submit an application listing your preferences for field site placements while enrolled in Seminar in Applied Psychology I. On your application, indicate that you will be going abroad. The Fieldwork Coordinator will then let you know whether you should contact potential field sites before you go abroad, or whether you should wait until your return before you do so, as this will depend on the particular site.

What do I actually do in a fieldsite?

The specific tasks and activities vary greatly based on the field site. However, in all sites, you will have a supervised hands-on experienced working in an area of your choice.

How many hours a week am I required to spend at my field site?

You are expected to volunteer at your field site for a minimum of 8 to 10 hours per week. Please note, however, that some field sites require that students commit more than 10 hours a week. Students are expected to abide by the hourly commitment they make with their supervisors.

If none of the existing sites match my interests, can I find an outside site on my own?

Students can complete a form requesting that a new site that they have identified be added as a field site placement. Please note, however, that the process of adding a new site generally takes a full semester.

Is it permissible for a student to have more than one field site?

Yes, students may opt to have more than one field site. For example, some students choose to volunteer at a social-service agency, as well as on a research team. Typically, students who have more than one site volunteer for a minimum of 10 hours a week.

How will I be evaluated?

Your supervisor will complete a brief mid-semester evaluation. Then, toward the end of each semester, your supervisor will fill out an evaluation form that you both will discuss. These evaluations are intended to help you learn about your strengths and weaknesses as a developing professional.

Can I volunteer on a research team if the faculty is on sabbatical?

You may volunteer on research teams where the faculty PI is on sabbatical as long as there is regular in-person contact with the faculty member. 

Can I volunteer at a site before or after my fieldwork requirement?

Although you are free to volunteer at sites prior to or following your fieldwork requirement, the APUG program does not facilitate or take responsibility for this process, nor for your performance during this time.