The integration of coursework with field experience is a William James College institutional hallmark. Consistent with this focus, field placements are an essential aspect of the MA curriculum for its entire, two-year length. Throughout the program, great care is exercised to match students with field experiences that will enrich and enhance their classroom learning and promote their professional and personal development.
Requirements for Practica and Internship
Consistent with the institutional philosophy of integrating classroom work with supervised field experience, master's students are required to complete a fieldwork experience during each of the two years of the program. The overall time commitments for these experiences are as follow:
Practicum (Year One)
Minimum of 360 total hours (12 hours per week for 30 weeks)
Internship (Year Two)
Minimum of 600 total hours (20 hours per week for 30 weeks)
Field placements run for the length of the academic year and will typically consist of two consecutive semesters (a minimum of 30 weeks) spent at the same site. First-year field experiences are called "practica" and require a 12-hour per week time commitment; second-year placements are called "internships" and require a time commitment of 20 hours per week. It should be noted that the above represent the minimum: some sites may request or require more hours per week and/or more total weeks (for example, some sites may require students to commit to as many as 40 weeks).
First-year (entering) counseling psychology students must secure their field placements prior to the beginning of classes in the fall. Sites will usually require them to submit cover letters with applications and two (2) letters of reference before interviewing them. Entering students will be notified by e-mail in the early spring by the Program Director and the Field Education Office with instructions regarding this process. Students in the program will go to a variety of different settings with the goal of acquiring beginning competence and confidence as a mental health counselor.
Second-year students will be expected to initiate the process of securing an internship in early December of their first year in the program. In year 2, students will apply to settings where they can learn the skills of mental health services in a primary health care setting including community health centers, HMO's and large group practices in disciplines including pediatrics and family medicine. As with first-year placements, students will be notified ahead of time by the Program Director and Field Education Office regarding the details of this process.
All field experiences will be expected to follow specific, formalized, and organized plans that afford students supervised opportunities to learn as they practice and practice what they learn. The training goals of first-year practica will be consistent with the curricular goals of the first year. Together, these should provide students with a fundamental knowledge and skills foundation upon which they can build in their internship year, as they further refine their skills and deepen their understanding of the clinical process and roles of the professional counselor. Integrated closely with their practica and internships, the year-long Practicum Seminar and Internship Seminar will provide students with additional and ongoing opportunities to evaluate and practice their skills and address issues pertinent to their development as helping professionals. Students may not enroll in practicum or internship unless they also enroll in a practicum or internship seminar.
Students' performance at field sites will be evaluated on a semester basis by the site supervisor, who will provide students with oral and written feedback.
Under certain circumstances it may be possible for MA students who are employed in the field to use their current workplaces as their field placement sites. However, every such potential arrangement must first be reviewed and approved by the Program Administration and Field Education Office to ensure that it meets programmatic expectations and pre-licensure field training requirements.