Loyola University Maryland

Department of Psychology

Undergradaute Field Experience in Psychology

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The Psychology Department currently offers a 3-credit course called Field Experience in Psychology I (PY435). This course is only available to psychology majors, requires junior or senior status, and may only be taken once.  PY435 is currently one of several courses that majors can choose from within Group VI (Clinical/Applied courses for those in the Class of 2014) or Group I (Advanced Topics for those in the Class of 2015 and beyond) to fulfill our major requirements.  

PY435: Field Experience in Psychology I

  • Designed for students to gain supervised experience in mental health setting.
  • Offered in fall and spring semesters only.
  • Junior or senior psychology majors only.
    • Off-campus: 120-hour (8-10 hrs/week) field experience.
    • On-campus: three 90-minute classroom meetings, journal entries, assigned readings.
  • Fulfills requirement for Group I

PY436: Field Experience in Psychology II

  • Prerequisites: PY435 and written permission of the Director of Undergraduate Field Education.
  • PY436 does not count towards the 40-course, 120-credit hour requirement for graduation but can be taken and earned for additional credit. Course grade does count within your GPA. Thus, this course will not fulfill any needed PY or free elective as denoted in your audit form.

Planning for Field Experience

  • All junior and senior psychology majors will receive an email at the start of each semester announcing the meeting day(s) and time(s). RSVP for planning meeting during the semester prior to the semester you wish to complete your field experience.
  • Attend planning meeting to obtain information on course guidelines, receive handbook, site list and complete necessary paperwork.
  • Contact sites and begin interview process.
  • Accept an offer/obtain letter of offer from site in order to receive departmental permission to register for PY435.     

Important Issues to Consider Before Committing to Field Experience

  • It is the student's responsibility to arrange for transportation to and from their placement site. Loyola does not allow students to use motor pool for undergraduate field experience.
  • Remember, once a student commits to a site, that commitment needs to be honored. Only in extremely unusual circumstances do students not complete the placement once committed (e.g., leave of absence from the University, etc.) Re-evaluation of one's schedule and feeling that you are over-extended is not sufficient enough reason to drop out of a placement.

For more information on the program, contact Dr. Katie Loomis, Director of Field Education, at kjloomis@loyola.edu or Casey Hofmann, Field Education Assistant, at 410-617-2298 or cmhofmann@loyola.edu.

How Study Abroad Affects Field Experience Planning

Students who are planning to study abroad can register for either field experience course if they undergo the process described in the previous paragraph during the semester before they depart for study abroad. Thus, they need to plan early and try to solicit a site early before leaving, if and only if the site is willing to secure the student that far in advance; some sites have been willing, while others have not. For instance, a student who is a junior studying abroad in the spring would need to plan, interview, and solidify a placement for PY435 or PY436 during the fall of their junior year to then take either that field placement course in the fall of their senior year. There is no guarantee that all sites are willing to secure a student a full year in advance. In the event that PY436 students are wishing to continue at same placement in the same position they did for PY435, arrangements should be made with the site supervisor and the Director of Field Education during the semester they take PY435 to ensure that PY436 could be taken upon their return from abroad.  In the event that students do not wish to plan the two semesters in advance to take PY435 or PY436 upon their immediate return from study abroad, students are certainly able and encouraged to follow through with the process upon their return and pursue taking a field experience two semesters after studying abroad (i.e., junior who studies abroad in spring could return in fall of senior year and interview at sites and then take PY435 in spring of senior year).    

Alternatives to PY435 and PY436

For students who are not able to complete PY435 or PY436, they may wish to pursue field experiences during the summer months. Please note that PY435 and PY436 are not offered for credit during the summer.  However, non-credit opportunities which will enhance their portfolio are available.  Please see the following website for more information: https://inside.loyola.edu/academics/psychology/undergraduate/current/summerinternship.html