Field Placements

Why Do a Field Placement?

Psychology is one of the most popular majors in the United States. Thousands of graduates each year will have completed the basic coursework in psychology. Going beyond the basic coursework by completing a field placement is one excellent way to set yourself apart and demonstrate that you have the drive and ambition to do more than just the basic expectations. Field placements are basically like doing volunteer work in a psychology-related setting while earning course credit. Field placements are also an excellent opportunity to get out of the classroom for more real-world, hands-on learning experiences. Also, completing a field placement will help you gain additional references for jobs and graduate school. Students have worked in forensic, health, school, and clinical psychology settings. Others have gained valuable experience working with children and adults with special needs, and by training sea lions at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

General Field Placement Requirements

Students can register for field placement by enrolling in Psych 292 (freshman, sophomores), 692 (juniors), or 697 (seniors). Typically field placements are 3 credits, which corresponds to 9-10 hours per week for one semester. Some field placements ask students to work less (say 5 hours per week) over two semesters and students would register for the second of their two semesters of work. If you find a placement that you are very interested in, but are unsure how to work out the hours per credit please contact the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, Christine Larson, larsoncl@uwm.edu.

How to Obtain a Field Placement for Course Credit

Finding a field placement involves a bit of legwork to find an appropriate placement and coordinate with a faculty sponsor. To find an appropriate field placement:  

1. Find a field placement opportunity that is related to your interests

  • Think about what aspects of psychology really interest you and what kind of job you would like to have when you are done with school. Finding a field placement that is related to your interests can help you decide if that is the field for you and provide experience that increases your marketability.
  • Explore options for volunteer positions that could serve as a field placement. You may already be working at or know of a setting in which you'd like to do your placement. If not, use the internet to find sites of interest. You may also talk with a faculty member you know about opportunities that they are aware of.
  •  Consult this list of organizations in the Milwaukee area that rely on volunteers.
  • The department does not sponsor field placements involving observing or working with non-human vertebrate animals without a protocol approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

2. If you have not already, find a faculty member who is willing to have you sign up for the field placement under their name. Discuss the placement(s) you are considering with them and learn about the process for enrolling and requirements for completing the course. The faculty sponsor will ensure that the placement is a good learning opportunity and a safe environment.

3. Contact the possible placement site to see if they have opportunities available that would work as a field placement course (e.g., appropriate hours per week, willing to complete a few brief evaluations of your contributions).

4. Your field placement supervisor (not the faculty sponsor) will be your primary supervisor. You will work out your schedule and responsibilities with them by completing a contract together regarding expectations for the placement. The supervisor will also provide an evaluation of your work that will determine your grade. The necessary forms can be found below. Please download them, complete your portion, have your supervisor complete the field placement supervisor portion. This can be done on the computer – they are fillable PDF forms. Then print the form and both you and your field placement supervisor should sign them. Then turn these signed copies in to your faculty supervisor.

5. If you have further questions feel free to contact the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, Christine Larson, larsoncl@uwm.edu