Volunteer & Internships

Volunteer, Fieldwork, & Internship Opportunities

The Psychology Department strongly recommends that all students complete an internship before graduation. Even if you do not receive credit, professional experience is very important. Both employers and graduate schools mention professionally-related experience as one of the top things they look for in their candidates.


Students should begin the internship process the semester before taking internship for course credit. This includes applying for internship positions and consulting with the Department of Psychology Volunteer/Internship Coordinator.

Students are required to attend the first class scheduled the 2nd Friday of the semester. There are mandatory class meetings (to be announced during first class meeting) that students are also required to attend. Course enrollment may be limited and late approvals could result in a student delaying the experience for a semester if credit for the experience is needed.

Below are two annotated PowerPoint presentations by Dr. Tobin that include all of the information you need about volunteering and internships. Please view them before reaching out with specific questions.

The Process expanding section

Obtaining internship or volunteer credit (Fall, Spring, or Summer)

  • PSY 309 Volunteer Experience in Psychology
  • PSY 450 Fieldwork Experience in Psychology: Undergraduate Internship
  • CEI 450 Cooperative Education and Internship
  • CYC 450 Internship in Child/Youth Care

*Please be aware that there are mandatory class meetings (2-6) associated with PSY 309, PSY 450, CYC 450, and CEI 450.

Step 1: Decide on the type of experience/credit you wish to obtain PSY 309; PSY 450; CEI 450; or CYC 450. Use this comparison chart to help make the right choice.

Step 2: If you decide on PSY 309 (prereqs: PSY 100, PSY 212; PSY Milestone #1) - enroll in the course during regular registration. Juniors are encouraged to take PSY 309 prior to a 450 internship. 

Step 3: If you decide on an internship, be sure you meet the prerequisites:

  • PSY 450:PSY 100 and 210; cum GPA of 2.30; junior standing; PSY major; consent of instructor; If CYC minor, same prereqs as PSY 450 plus CYC 301.
  • CEI 450:Junior standing; cum GPA of 2.25; consent of instructor. If CYC minor, same prereqs as PSY 450 plus CYC 301.
  • CYC 450:CYC 301; junior standing; cum GPA of 2.25; consent of instructor.

Step 4: Students should begin the internship process the semester before taking internship for course credit. This includes applying for internship positions and consulting with the Psychology Volunteer/Internship Coordinator.

Step 5: Placement begins with you, the student, by logging into Handshake at uwlax.joinhandshake.com. This account is connected to your other UWL login; click on the "University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Login" link to begin.

Step 6: If you haven’t already done so, you will need to set up your profile and you can search for internship sites if you so choose. For specific questions regarding Handshake or the internship search, please contact Aiyana Dettmann (adettmann@uwlax.edu) or Karen Durnin (lkdurnin@uwlax.edu) in Career Services in 1140 Centennial Hall or 608.785.8514.

Step 7: After you find a site, interviewed and secured your internship, you will need to click on “Career Center” on Handshake and click “Experiences”, then click “Request an Experience”. Please complete the form in its entirety and this will begin the approval process.

While completing this “Request an Experience”,  please indicate you would like to take PSY/CYC 450 for course credit from the drop-down menu.  

Step 8: A part of the Handshake approval process, at the end, you will need to attach a 1-2 page essay regarding your placement. In this essay, please elaborate on:

  • How the work you will be doing in your internship is directly related to the field of psychology. If you are submitting a CYC 450 internship (or PSY 450 and you are CYC minor), please emphasize how the placement is directly related to at-risk children/families.

  • Any relationship you already have or have had with your site supervisor and/or other employees within this particular site. Include the length of time you have known them, what relationship you have, and describe if the relationship is professional, personal or both. If you do not have a previous relationship with your site supervisor, please indicate this in your essay.

  • ***DUE TO COVID-19 and the uncertainty of additional quarantine time, ALL students requesting approval and course credit for internships in Summer 2020, Fall 2020, or Spring 2021 will need to submit in addition to the paper mentioned above a detailed back-up plan if for some reason interns cannot longer complete their internship requirement at the agency for which they are requesting approval. This detailed plan must be discussed and approved by your on-site supervisor, and submitted as part of the application process on HANDSHAKE. YOU MUST HAVE a detailed back-up plan that is feasible, prior to any approval. Click here to see two sample backup plans.

Step 9: Once you have submitted your “Request for Experience”, Career Services and the Psychology Volunteer/Internship Coordinator will review prerequisites, determine if it is acceptable, and if approved, Career Services will register you for the course. Please allow a minimum of two (2) weeks for the course to appear on your class schedule after the final approval.

* Please send questions regarding internships or volunteer experiences to the Psychology Volunteer/Internship Coordinator at psyinterncoord@uwlax.edu.


Popular psych internship sites in the La Crosse area expanding section