Loyola University Maryland

Department of Psychology

Masters Research Externships

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The graduate research externship (PY700 and PY701) is intended to give the masters degree candidate the opportunity to be involved in a large university-based or other research program under professional supervision. The student is expected to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and strategies which he or she has learned in classroom studies. The experience is expected to contribute to the growth of his or her potential as a professional researcher.

The format for each graduate student's externship results from an individualized assessment of his or her career and educational goals. As a result of this individualization, each externship may vary in scope and experience based on the student's needs. Externships are arranged through collaboration between student, the director of masters education - thesis track, and the site supervisor. One research externship is required for the M.S. thesis track, however, students may elect to take the Research Externship Continuation (PY701) or the clinical or counseling externships in addition to the required research externship. A maximum of three externships (required or elective) may be taken by a master's student. For more information on the program, please contact:

Martin F. Sherman, Ph.D.
Director, Masters Education, Thesis Track

Casey Hofmann
Assistant, Field Education

Expected Learning Experiences

It is expected that any student involved in a research externship would have a full understanding of the main hypotheses of the project, the background literature and theory from which the project was conceived, the measures being used, and the statistical analyses planned. Clearly, externs may not be able to be actively involved in all areas of the research project in one semester, but specific experiences may include:

  • Literature searches and library work
  • investigation of various measures and their psychometric properties
  • Data collection
  • Data entry
  • Data analysis
  • Interpretation of data
  • Assistance in writing up of papers
  • Assistance in writing grant proposals


The diversity of experiences received in the externship program will be determined mutually by Loyola and the supervisory institution. A minimum time allotment of 150 hours (this translates to approximately 10-12 hours per week) over the course of the semester is required. The institution's supervisor and the student will be responsible for arranging supervisory sessions during the externship experience. All 150 hours must be completed by the end of the semester. The Loyola Liability Insurance is provided only during the semester in which you are registered for the externship experience and hours cannot be carried over to the next semester. Research Externships are offered in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

The director of masters education, thesis track will meet with all thesis track students to discuss procedures for selecting a research externship site. All students must meet with the director prior to beginning the process of selecting an externship site. The psychology department has on file a list approved sites which have provided graduate students with excellent training.

If a student has the opportunity to arrange his or her own placement at a site not on the department's list, the director must review and approve the site. A description of the facility, proposed extern activities, and the resume of the supervisor must be provided to the psychology department before approval. Therefore, to ensure approval of your site, please contact the director at least two months prior to the start of the semester to obtain approval.

Students may not begin their externship until they have registered for the appropriate course. This registration process requires a letter of acceptance from the placement agency sent to the director of master's education, thesis track. This letter must state the student's acceptance as a research extern for a specific semester, describe the duties of the extern, state that the extern will work for a minimum of 150 hours, and specifically state who will serve as the student's supervisor. After the letter is received, the director will sign the student's registration form. Only after a student is registered for the externship, is he or she covered by Loyola's professional liability insurance policy for externship placement.

Requirements for Research Externships

  • Collection of papers (including an example of a journal) that the Director would like the student to read and reflect upon as he/she experiences the externship.
  • Creating and maintaining a Research Activity Journal describing learning experiences and integrating field work with classroom learning. The journal must be maintained throughout the semester and submitted to the Director before a grade will be assigned for the Externship. (Note: the Director will require students to send an electronic copy of the journal midway through the semester to review student's progress).
  • Maintaining a Weekly Hours Log. This log form must be signed by the student and site supervisor every two weeks and turned in at the end of the externship to the Director before a final grade can be assigned.
  • Signed acknowledgement form that the student has read and understands the information containing documents regarding HIPAA and patient privacy.
  • Completed and printed out certificates from the on-line U.S. National Institute of Health Compliance Training and the Johns Hopkins University Compliance Training.


Externship students must complete the prerequisite courses within their program prior to the externship:

  • PY615: Advanced Abnormal Psychology
  • PY620: Theories of Counseling & Psychotherapy
  • PY621: Principles & Practices of Psychotherapy
  • PY705: Ethics & Legal Issues in Psychology
  • PY746: Research Methods in Psychology I
  • PY747: Research Methods in Psychology II

Exceptions to the above prerequisites need to be approved by the director of masters education, thesis track.