How to find a summer internship for psychology

Updated April 17, 2017

If you are enrolled in an undergraduate psychology program and are interested in applying to a graduate program in the field, you should find an internship to gain experience. Most doctoral programs will also require you to complete a year-long internship or some clinical experience before you can graduate. You might begin your internship searches within your own university before branching out to psychology associations, medical centres and private practices.

If you are an undergraduate psychology student looking for a summer internship program, you should first consider looking for programs available within your own university. Many colleges with psychology departments offer internship programs for psychology students, and others offer internship placement services. Internships with on-campus psychology departments or counselling centres can be competitive. Most accept students based on strong grades and letters of recommendation. They are designed to provide an opportunity to see clinical work, laboratory research or scholarly research in action, and to further prepare students for positions in the field.

Look into non-profit association internships. Some associations and institutes associated with psychology offer internship positions for undergraduate students. For example, the Jewish Child Care Association is a not-for-profit organisation that offers a psychology internship program for pre-doctoral psychology students. The goal of the program is to provide students like you with real-world experience providing clinical services to families and children. The American Psychological Association also offers a summer fellowship program for undergraduate psychology students.

Earn strong grades and submit applications. Many summer internship programs in the psychology field are competitive. Even those offered by universities can accept as few as two to four students per summer. You should concentrate on earning high marks and forming relationships with faculty members in your university's psychology department. Many internship programs rely on personal recommendations from respected faculty members when they are making their selections. You should also submit applications by deadline if you want to be considered for competitive internship programs.

Consider matching programs at the doctoral level. When you get to the doctoral level, the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) offers a matching program that can place you into a psychology internship position in your particular field of study. The internships typically last for more than one summer, and are designed to help you fulfil your commitments as a doctoral student.


You should apply to more than one internship program to increase your chances of acceptance.


Don't forget to get letters of recommendation from your internship experiences.

Things You'll Need

  • Good grades
  • Letters of recommendation
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About the Author

Lindsey Klingele is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer with more than five years of experience writing for consumer and trade publications such as "Meatingplace," "Plate" and "Celeb Life" magazines. She holds a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University and has covered topics ranging from the food industry to popular culture.