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Field Study

Completing a field study experience connects your child psychology courses to real-world experiences and provides you an opportunity to develop your career skills working with children.

“My field study experience allowed me to gain hands on experience with mental illness in children and abnormal development. I’ve also gained hands on experience with play therapy and using developmentally appropriate language and narration to help children understand their feelings and interactions with others. I now have a better recognition of normal developmental milestones which allows me to better understand and recognize issues of abnormal development.” – Carly Baumann, Child Psychology B.A.
"My child psychology courses made working with and understanding children so much more enjoyable because when you’re reading a book or taking a test, its difficult to understand how this applies to real life situations, but when you’re actually put in the field you come to appreciate all that you’ve learned because it helps you make decisions and hypotheses with greater confidence." - Sumaya Mohamed, Child Psychology B.S.

Choosing a field study site

During field study, a student completes an internship or volunteer experience working with children in a setting external to the university that also provides an on-site supervisor. The location of the field study should match your career interest, such as a school, clinic/hospital, non-profit agency, homeless shelter, child care facility, etc. You are responsible for securing a field study placement.

Explore recent examples of field study sites.

Registration Instructions

CPsy 4996 Field Study in Child Psychology (the course)

The class is facilitated online with typical assignments that include journal postings and a final paper relating the field study experience to a topic in child psychology.

The field study class may be used to complete an Honors requirement. Please speak with your University Honors Adviser for more information about your University Honors Program requirements.

A field study experience may also count towards service-learning hours for the Community Engagement Scholars Program. For more information please visit the Center for Community-Engaged Learning.

How to register for CPsy 4996 Field Study in Child Psychology

  1. Contact an agency with whom you would like to volunteer. This should be done well in advance of the semester you plan to complete a field study.
  2. Once you locate a site, you will work with the on-site supervisor to determine your hours. One credit of CPsy 4996 requires 45 hours of experience (equivalent to approximately 3 hours per week during a regular semester).
  3. Complete a Field Study Contract with your on-site supervisor.
  4. To register for CPsy 4996, a signed copy of the Field Study Contract must be submitted to Meghan Allen Eliason who will issue you a permission number.

Deadlines

You have until the end of the 2nd week of the semester to receive a class permission number from the child psychology department adviser (Meghan Allen Eliason). After that time you will need to petition through your college office to add the course.

To register for field study credits after the 2nd week of the semester and before the end of the 10th week of the semester bring the field study contract, signed by your field study supervisor and the child psychology departmental adviser to 16 Johnston Hall and you will receive a class permission number.

After the 10th week of the semester, you may still register for the class, however, you will need to petition through your college advising office to add the course. This requires you to complete an Academic Policy Petition and have it signed by advising office staff. You will need to submit the petition and the Field Study Contract to One Stop and they will register the course for you.

Honors

Your field study experiences may be used to complete an honors requirement. Please speak with your University Honors Adviser for more information about your University Honors Program requirements.

Hear from current students and alumni

Carly Baumann, B.A. in Child Psychology, Public Health and Family Social Science Minors
Washburn Center for Children, Spring 2015

When did start your field study experience?

Fall semester of my senior year.

How long have you been involved with your field study site?

Just one semester, it was a single semester internship.

How did you first get involved with your field study site?

I heard about the organization through another student who did the same internship and the more I researched the work Washburn did and their overall mission, the more I thought it would be a good fit and interesting learning opportunity.

What type of work do you do at your field study site?

Washburn Center for Children is a family center care facility aimed at helping children work through a variety of mental health problems. My internship was in the Family Focus preschool classroom. In the classroom I assisted teachers in their goals of helping children engage in positive social interactions with one and other and support children to express and work through their feelings in appropriate ways.  

How does your field study experience relate to your child psychology major?

My field study experience allowed me to gain hands on experience with mental illness in children and abnormal development. I’ve also gained hands on experience with play therapy and using developmentally appropriate language and narration to help children understand their feelings and interactions with others. I now have a better recognition of normal developmental milestones which allows me to better understand and recognize issues of abnormal development.

What are you interested in doing after you graduate?

Interested in becoming a Child Life Specialist. This experience gave me practice in performing play therapy to gain a better understanding of a child's feelings and to help them understand and validate their feelings. This also gave me practice in using developmentally appropriate language with this age group. From my internship I also gained experience working with special populations that are likely to appear in my future line of work.

 

Raina DeMarais, B.A. in Child Psychology, Family Social Science minor
Fraser Minneapolis - Autism Day-Treatment Program for Preschoolers

When did start your field study experience?

I started in the Fall of 2014, my sophomore year, and am still working there.

How long have you been involved with your field study site?

I have been involved for two semesters so far, and plan on continuing to work there for a good period of time.

What type of work do you do at your field study site?

I work with children with autism in a room with seven kids, and seven adults. I work one-on-one with a child each day, and work on social skills, language skills, basic life skills, etc. 

How does your field study experience relate to your child psychology major?

I absolutely see Child Psych concepts at work. I talk about things such as secure base behavior and attachment almost weekly. We also pay a lot of attention to where the children are developmentally compared to their typically developing peers.

What are you interested in doing after you graduate?

After I graduate, I'm still not exactly sure what I want to do, but I want to work with children with special needs. Working at Fraser has showed me that I have a passion for kiddos with special needs, and has shown me that am going down the right path with child psychology.

 

Brittney Bekkers, B.A. in Child Psychology
Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay (Wisconsin)

When did start your field study experience?

I did my field study over the summer semester of 2014 which was the summer between my freshman and sophomore year. 

How long have you been involved with your field study site?

I was only involved with the field study for the summer but I do go back to the club and visit the kids and staff that I worked with there.  

How did you first get involved with your field study site?

I got involved with my field study by e-mailing one of the members of the Board at the Club.  He attends my church back home and was one of my religious ed teachers when I was in High school.  He actually took my class to visit the club and at that time he said that I would be good working there but I had just laughed at him because, honestly, working with the kids that go to the club was a little out of my comfort zone at the time.  I e-mailed him last spring (2014) because I was looking for a summer job back in Green Bay with kids and thought, ‘why not?’

What type of work do you do at your field study site?

At the Boys and Girls Club I was hired on as a Program Assistant for the 7 and 8 year olds.  With this job I planned their weekly activities and at times would be responsible for 20-30 kids by myself.  I planned anything from science experiments, to reading, to playing kick ball outside on the field.  

How does your field study experience relate to your child psychology major?

I have seen a lot of things from my child psychology classes! With the club, the majority of the kids are from a lower socio-economic background and I have seen a lot of the challenges that these kids are facing. I also tend to see the positive impact that having a mentor can have on the kids and how children tend to choose their mentor based on their own situation.

What are you interested in doing after you graduate?

I am still trying to figure out what I will do post-graduation; I am hoping to either go on and get my Master’s of Social Work (maybe to work with Child Protective Services) or a School Psychology degree. It was actually my job this past summer that has caused me to look into helping underprivileged kids.  I saw so many of the kids that come from rougher neighborhoods that I would love to help out and try to get them out of this situation! I know that when I first toured the Club in high school I thought I would never go back and work there but now, I can't imagine my summer without the Club! 

Lauren Hindt working with children

Hear from students:

Want to see more? Check out what students are saying about directed research, field study, learning abroad, and their careers after graduation.

Questions?

Contact Meghan Allen Eliason at alle0335@umn.edu.

Forms

For best results, download and save a copy of the form below.

Field Study Contract