Undergraduate Practicum in Community Psychology

PSYC 3901/3902

What is the Undergraduate Practicum?

The primary purpose of Practicum in Community Psychology (PSYC 3901/3902) is to provide students with the opportunity to combine their academic studies with experience in an applied environment.

Under supervision, students apply psychology in settings primarily outside of the university, such as:

  • a community agency
  • hospital
  • government department
  • or other organizations

Some placements may be research based in nature, and all are voluntary. 

Along the way, students will be:

  • cultivating their professional skills
  • making contacts
  • becoming more engaged with the career planning process.

However, the success of individual placements depends on student initiative and on the support and guidance from professionals in the community.

Each student is expected to spend a minimum of 7 hours per week (but no more than 15 hours per week) volunteering at the supporting agency during either the fall (3901) or winter (3902) term.

The Application students-research-400

In order to participate, students must:

  • be 3rd-year standing or above in Psychology
  • receive permission of the Department.

Interested students should submit a completed application to the Department of Psychology. Successful applicants will receive permission to register in the course. Know that only a limited number of spots are available and demand always exceeds supply.

Application The department will begin accepting applications for the 2017-2018 year on April 3, 2017.

Locating a Placement

It is the responsibility of the student to locate a placement. A list of possible placements can be found here. Students are welcome to propose placements that do not appear on this list. Either way, all placements must be reviewed and approved by the Practicum Coordinator.

Students are encouraged to have confirmation as soon as possible after receiving permission to register. This is important because:

  • the more popular placements fill-up very quickly
  • many placements have requirements (e.g., police check, immunizations, etc.) that must be satisfied prior to the commencement of placement activities.

Some of these requirements can take several weeks and occasionally months to satisfy. In addition, know that some requirements include additional financial costs. Make sure that you communicate with the agency and understand all of the requirements and costs in advance.

Possible Research Component

Some placements may include a research component. Research that is part of a practicum placement must be distinct from other undergraduate research such as honours thesis or independent study, and must be guided by the Placement Supervisor, and not a Carleton faculty member.

Placements that include research that is

  • separate from program evaluation that is part of the organization’s mandate
  • includes activities such as participant recruitment, data collection, and entry and coding of non-anonymous data, must receive advance ethics approval from the Carleton University Research Ethics Board (CUREB-B).

Ethics approval from Carleton is required even for research projects that have already received ethics approval from the placement (e.g., Ottawa Hospital Research Ethics Board). Note that Carleton ethics approval may take several weeks, so students are encouraged to consult with the Practicum Coordinator as soon as possible in order to determine ethics requirements and to secure any necessary ethics approval.

Course Requirements

Student learning will be assessed via the following:

  • Field Evaluation (completed by the Placement Supervisor). This is a formal evaluation of student performance at the practicum setting.
  • Practicum Report (completed by the Student). This assignment provides an opportunity for students to write about their agency, practicum activities, and personal reflections regarding what has been accomplished and learned.
  • Practicum in Psychology Conference (PRACTICON). Students prepare an engaging and informative poster highlighting the most important elements of their practicum. Colleagues, members of the Department of Psychology, and Agency partners are invited to attend. The Department of Psychology will provide poster boards free of charge, but students will be responsible for the cost of printing their posters.

Class will not be held every week. Instead, classes will be held during the first and last week of term, with students presenting their poster at the last class. Attendance at all scheduled classes is mandatory. There is no assigned textbook for this course. For more details on course requirements, students should consult the course outline that will be posted to cuLearn.

PSYC 3901/PSYC 3902 Course Documents

If you have received permission to register for PSYC 3901 or PSYC 3902 or you are interested in learning more about the documents that must be completed click here