Choosing Your Out-of-Class Experience

How you choose to fulfill your out-of-class requirement for the major in Psychological Science will influence what other classes you will need to complete the major (e.g. how many electives you need to take, how many WI courses, etc.)

If you choose to do 491/492

  • This is a year-long experience in which you work on a small (4-5 person) research team with a faculty member.
  • This is especially recommended for students looking to go into a graduate program with an emphasis on research. However, having that goal is not a pre-requisite to be on a team.
  • You will earn 6 credits (3 per semester). This means you will need to complete two 3-credit electives after fulfilling the other psychology requirements to reach the 37 credits needed to graduate with a psychology degree.
  • This fulfills your Research in Psychology requirement. This means you do not need to take a research seminar, although you can if you really want to.
  • 492 is speaking intensive (SI).
  • 491/492 is NOT writing intensive. You do NOT get a WI for doing 491/492.

If you choose internship

  • This is a semester-long experience in which you complete your internship and attend a class with other people completing internship (typically held Tuesdays at 3:30pm).
  • Your internship site must be pre-approved by the department. A list of already approved internship is on the psychology website; new internships must go through an approval process, and this need to start in the first half of the semester before you want to do the internship.
  • Each internship has different pre-requisite classes that you need to be aware of before pursuing a specific site. All internships require 12 credits of Psychology beyond 100 in addition to specific other courses.
  • It is very difficult to complete an internship over the summer because you need a faculty member to supervise you, and not all faculty members are around during the summer to do this or feel comfortable supervising internships at all sites.
  • Internships vary from 1-6 credits depending on the number of hours you complete. The typical internship is 3 credits. You need to go through a special approval process for internships over 3 credits, and it’s rare for an internship to meet the approval requirements for this.  The number of credit hours determines the number of hours you need to complete at your site (42 hours at your internship site for each credit earned).
  • How many credits your internship fulfills will determine the number of remaining elective credits you need to reach 37 in psychology (e.g. if you do a 3-credit internship, then you would need two 3-credit classes as electives).
  • You must also take a research seminar to fulfill Research in Psychology. Because research seminars are both WI and SI you will get one WI and one SI from this combination.
  • Internship, like all of the Psychology out of class experiences, meets the Beyond the Classroom requirement. However, internship can also be used to meet the After Mary Washington requirement. However, you cannot use the same class to meet both the Beyond the Classroom and After Mary Washington requirements. If you wish to use internship for After Mary Washington, you must have another experience that meets Beyond the Classroom (e.g, CSL, 491-492 or something outside of the major).

If you choose community service learning (CSL)

  • You need 12 credits in Psychology beyond Psychology 100 before you start CSL.
  • You need to complete 40 hours of community service.
  • You need to contact the CSL community learning coordinator (listed on the website), get added to the UMW Canvas page, do an online volunteer training, and upload a contract signed by both you and your site supervisor. You must do all of this BEFORE you start your hours.
  • It is possible to complete hours over a summer or winter break or across semesters as long as you have completed the above steps BEFORE you start your hours.
  • While there are many approved CSL sites it is easy to get new sites approved by submitting one additional “new site” form that is in addition to those forms listed above.
  • Before you get credit for CSL you must submit an hours log, answer written reflection questions, attend a reflection session, and submit a final contract signed by your agency supervisor.
  • You must complete all your hours within 2 consecutive semesters, however (e.g., Fall/Spring or Spring/Fall). You cannot take a semester off in between doing your CSL hours.  You would then have to start your hours over again.
  • Community service satisfies the out-of-class requirement, but you do not earn credit toward your 37 credits for psych (or 120 for graduation). This means that you will need to take three 3-credit electives in psych. to reach 37 credits in addition to the other requirements.
  • Psychology majors who are also majoring in Education may utilize their non-credit bearing practicum hours as CSL hours in order to complete their Experiential Learning requirement. However, practicum hours may only be used as CSL hours if the correct CSL procedure is followed (e.g., getting on the CSL Canvas class) prior to beginning practicum hours.
  • You must also take a research seminar to fulfill Research in Psychology. Because research seminars are both WI and SI you will get one WI and one SI from this combination.

Additional Notes:

  • Regardless of which option you choose, completing the out-of-class requirement for Psychology will also fulfill your experiential general education requirement for Beyond the Classroom. If you choose to use Internship to, instead, meet the After Mary Washington requirement, you will need another Beyond the Classroom course to meet that aspect of the gen ed requirements.
  • You can find the specific instructions for applying to 491/492 teams, selecting an internship, or community service learning site under “Experiential Learning” on the UMW psychology webpage.
  • There are some other options (e.g. NECC) that can help to fulfill this category as well. You should speak to your advisor about how that will influence other classes you need to take.