Directed Projects in Psychology
PSYC 495: Directed Projects in Psychology is a capstone field experience course. It is intended for students to gain experience outside of the classroom in an applied setting (e.g., mental health, school, human resources, drug/alcohol, criminal justice, geriatric, human services/social services rehabilitation settings, etc.) and to learn about professionals’ roles in that setting. In some cases, students also may receive Directed Projects (DP) credit for assisting with a research project under the supervision of psychology faculty.
Okay, sounds interesting. What exactly will I be doing?
Students may gain experience with a variety of issues, including psychological and behavioral conditions, current treatments/interventions, and/or functioning of professional agencies and programs. Activities in the field placement may include shadowing, attending meetings/workshops, interviewing, assessing clients, collecting behavioral data, assisting with treatment sessions or other relevant programs, report writing, conducting literature reviews on relevant topics, etc. Except for industrial-organizational settings, clientele will be “exceptional” in that they seek assistance with mental, psychosocial, behavioral, or special learning concerns. Students develop professional skills and clarify career goals throughout the course, and they receive regular supervision from a professional employee at their placement.
Who can enroll in DP?
Students enrolled in DP are junior- or senior-level undergraduate psychology majors, with priority given to graduating seniors.
How many hours do I work per credit hour?
DP is a variable credit course (between 1 and 6 credits). Students may enroll in the course up to two semesters. For each credit hour earned, students work at their placements for a minimum of 40 hours per semester.
When is it offered?
DP is offered during fall, spring, and summer semesters.
The course significantly emphasizes students’ reflection on their learning in their placement (i.e., making applications to Millersville coursework, academic research, psychological principles/concepts) and sharing what they have learned with other students. Students complete a number of assignments, including (but not limited to) a journal, D2L discussion boards on topics pertaining to professional development, an APA-style research paper, and a presentation about their placement during a poster session.
I saw on the Class Schedule that DP meets on Friday nights. Is that accurate?
No. There are only two full class meetings during the semester: an orientation session during the first week of the semester and the poster session toward the end. Students also meet with the instructor for a small-group consultation/update meeting around the middle of the semester. From there, the course entails an independent study format involving regular correspondence with the instructor via e-mail and assignments posted to D2L. A strong degree of self-motivation and organization is required to be successful in DP.
Okay, I’m interested. How do I register?
Students are required to attend an information session and to apply for acceptance into DP during the semester prior to that in which they intend to enroll in the course. Dates/times and locations for the information sessions are announced via e-mail and flyers posted around Luek Hall (around February for summer/fall semesters and around September for spring semester). Once a student’s application has been reviewed and he/she is accepted, the DP instructor will provide an enrollment form for the student to submit in person to the Registrar’s Office.
Where have students been placed before? How do I land a placement?
It is the student’s responsibility to arrange the placement and to seek approval from the DP instructor in advance of the semester he/she completes DP. This gives students the opportunity to practice skills necessary for developing a resume, interviewing for a professional position, appropriately following up as needed, etc. More information and tips for securing a placement will be provided at the information session. A list of potential placements is available here.