Skip to Main Content

Welcome to Field Experience

This Field Experience Manual is designed to guide students from the beginning stages of field experience all the way to completion. It also provides site supervisors and field site personnel an overview of Walden University and the field experience requirements for Walden students. This manual is composed of five key sections to help students understand the requirements and policies for field experience. Section 1 contains an introduction to field experience for students in the PhD in Clinical Psychology program at Walden University. Section 2 provides information about finding appropriate field experience sites, and Section 3 guides students through the application process. Section 4 contains detailed information about the expectations and requirements of students’ participation in field experience. Section 5 provides guidance for students once they have graduated from the program.

We trust students will find this information useful in their journey through field experience. Students are expected to read this manual in detail and adhere to the policies included within. Students must acknowledge that they have read and understood all the policies in this manual prior to applying for field experience. Failure to comply with the policies within this manual is considered a violation of Walden University’s Code of Conduct and Student Professional Conduct Policy and may result in formal sanctions, including but not limited to, award of a failing course grade, Code of Conduct inquiry, and dismissal from the university. See the Walden University Student Handbook for details.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need additional support.

Notes: Students are subject to the policies and procedures described in the most current Field Experience Manual, regardless of the academic year in which they were admitted. The university reserves the right to change any provision, offering, requirement, or fee at any time within the enrollment period.


Field Experience

The field experience is designed to provide you with

  • The opportunity to apply and integrate the knowledge acquired throughout your program,

  • A real-world experience of direct practice,

  • Mentoring from faculty and experts in your area of study,

  • The chance to make a difference in your field, and

  • Proficiency with necessary skills for professional practice.

Field Site

The field site is a clinical mental health agency, or other appropriate setting in which students obtain supervised, applied practice experiences consistent with their specialization and training needs.  Walden University provides guidelines but does not determine specifically how a field site will train students.


A practicum is a distinctly defined, supervised, clinical experience in which students develop basic applied skills and integrate professional knowledge. The practicum is an intense, supervised field experience with clear boundaries and less breadth and responsibility than those associated with an internship. Students, under the supervision of qualified professionals, learn to integrate learning and research in the practice of developing specific skill sets and/or working with new client populations.

Adequate preparation is essential to the success of the practicum field experience. Students must ensure their field experiences meet their specific state board standards and requirements. Students should review their state board requirements often to ensure standards have not changed. State boards can change their requirements without notice, and it is important for the student to know and be aware of their current state board requirements. Students are ultimately responsible for understanding the regulations and requirements of the states or countries in which they intend to seek licensure or other authority to practice.


An internship is a distinctly defined, supervised, clinical experience in which students refine and enhance basic professional knowledge and skills and integrate distinct skills into a coherent professional identity. It is an intense, broad experience that provides students the experience of a fully practicing psychologist, while under professional supervision. The internship is required for students in the PhD in Clinical Psychology program, and it is both a critical part of doctoral study and a predoctoral requirement for licensure. In contrast to supervised experience or on-the-job training, the psychology internship is an organized training experience that is designed to provide students with a planned sequence of training experiences. The professionally supervised training experiences of internship are characterized by greater depth, breadth, duration, frequency, and intensity compared with practicum training. Students’ experiences working in the field and actively participating in required courses helps them to develop the attitudes that enable personal interaction and participation in an interdisciplinary approach to problems of research and practice.


Supervision is a tutorial and mentoring form of instruction in which site supervisors monitor students’ activities in the practicum and internship experiences and facilitate the learning and skill-development experience associated with practicum and internship. Site supervisors monitor and evaluate the clinical work of students while monitoring the quality of services offered to clients.

During field experiences, supervision necessarily follows a developmental model. Site supervisors will implement their theoretical models of supervision and practice in the relationship with students. Using initial experiences to determine the level of students’ strengths and needs, site supervisors will provide more direct support and guidance early in the supervisory relationship and will gradually become more collegial as students demonstrate increasing levels of competence and confidence in executing various professional skills.

Throughout the process of supervision, site supervisors will encourage students to not only increase their skills but also to increase their awareness and reflect upon the impact of their personal characteristics on their work with diverse clients. 


Meditrek, a product of HSoft Corporation, is the user-friendly online tool that students use to apply for, track, and manage their field experience.

Learning Outcomes Overview

Students set goals that are consistent professional competencies for their field experiences at the end of each term and at the end of the field experience process. It is expected that the practicum field experiences focus on developing and strengthening discrete skills, while the internship experience allows students to integrate a range of skills into a coherent professional identity.

Professional Competencies, Skills, and Behaviors

At a minimum, doctoral students should demonstrate the following competencies during field experiences.

  • Proficiency with concepts of scientific psychology, including
    • conceptual understanding of the bases of human behavior (affective, biological, cognitive, cultural, developmental, and social);
    • development of adaptive and maladaptive behavior;
    • application of various techniques of data analysis and data-based decision making;
    • application of research to practice; and
    • understanding of psychopathology and case conceptualization.
  • Skills in forming and maintaining working relationships, including
    • relationships with peers and coworkers;
    • relationships with site supervisors and field site administrators;
    • communication skills in therapy and other interaction with clients;
    • self-awareness about personal characteristics and impact on others in professional interactions; and
    • demonstration of professionalism in relationships with peers, coworkers, site supervisors/administrators, clients, faculty, and program administration.
  • Proficiency in working with diverse populations, including
    • individual, cultural, ethnic, gender, age, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, racial, ability, and religion/spirituality differences.
  • Proficiency with legal and ethical issues, including
    • knowledge and applications of professional ethics and relevant professional ethical codes; and
    • knowledge of applicable federal and state laws guiding practice.
  • A coherent professional identification consistent with their education and training, including
    • an attitude of lifelong learning;
    • appreciation for consumer protection;
    • practice within the limits of their education and training;
    • commitment to their own professional development;
    • ethical guidelines and principles associated with their profession; and
    • affiliation with and involvement in appropriate professional organizations.
  • A commitment to social responsibility, including
    • advocacy;
    • involvement in building collaborative partnerships that contribute to improvement of the mental health of varied constituencies; and
    • public policy.
  • Competencies with psychological assessment, including
    • engaging with information and in ongoing training to support appropriate use of a broad range of assessment measures and instruments;
    • choosing assessment strategies and instruments/methods appropriate to the questions being asked;
    • using data gathered through assessment to diagnose or classify a client’s strengths and needs consistent with best practices;
    • using ongoing assessment strategies to monitor and adjust diagnosis/classification and treatments/interventions;
    • writing or otherwise effectively communicating findings, progress, and results to clients and other appropriate recipients; and
    • appropriately retaining responsibility for data generated in assessment procedures and the use of those data in an ethically appropriate manner.
  • Proficiency in intervention, including
    • understanding of models of intervention appropriate to the practice of their specialty;
    • knowledge and application of scientifically validated interventions; and
    • evaluation of intervention efficacy used with clients or organizations.
  • Competencies with research and methods of evaluation, including
    • strategies of scholarly inquiry;
    • critical thinking;
    • research and evaluation; and
    • research design and methods.

Roles & Responsibilities

Field Experience Coordinator

The field experience coordinator is a Walden staff member who acts as the main point of contact for students on matters related to the field experience application process. They work with faculty, directors, and field placement coordinators to assist students in the field experience process. This role includes implementing policies, facilitating student support, auditing coursework, approving field experience application materials, facilitating enrollment into field experience courses, and tracking and maintaining student field education files and field site information.

Field Placement Coordinator

The field placement coordinator is a Walden faculty member whose primary role is to approve field experience sites and plans, and to oversee the field experience for students. The field placement coordinator also assists students in securing sites, reviewing résumés and/or CVs and preparing for interviews, and is a liaison in supporting students and field sites. The field placement coordinator serves as the liaison among faculty, students, and the field supervisor(s) in addressing problems with a team approach.

Course Instructor

The instructor is a Walden faculty member who teaches the field experience courses and is the first point of contact for students or supervisors in an event of any/all concerns while enrolled in the course. The instructors collaborate with field site supervisors and students to ensure that the expected goals of Walden and the field site are being met.

Site Supervisor

The practicum or internship site supervisor is a qualified individual with a minimum of 3 years of experience in the field who is responsible for supervising a student’s work at a field site setting. Site supervisors’ training and experience are consistent with student and university goals for professional psychology field experiences. Site supervisors also provide students guidance and supervision that promotes growth of knowledge, skills, and competencies consistent with Walden’s training goals as well as with preferred practices in the profession.

The site supervisor has the following responsibilities:

  • They should provide a mentoring relationship and an educational opportunity to assist with psychology work as well as to orient the student into the profession.
  • They must provide at least 2 hours of supervision (individual and group) every week; at least half of the supervision must be individual.
  • They will provide the site’s training manual or completion of the Walden template.
  • They complete evaluations and review and approve the students’ time logs (at the end of the quarter) of in Meditrek.
  • They attend a midquarter conference call between the practicum student and the student’s Walden course instructor.
  • They address any potential issues with the faculty during the midquarter conference call with the site supervisor and discuss areas for improvement with student; if problems continue, the faculty, student, site supervisor, and field placement coordinator will schedule a conference call to address any issues and find solutions.
  • At any time during the practicum or internship there may be instances when problems arise at the field site with the student, supervisor(s) or other individuals at the field site. If the representatives of the field site have internal protocols to address and document specific areas for improvement, they should utilize their internal processes. The field site supervisor(s) shall proceed with their documented remediation plan. Walden University requests that the development plan be created in collaboration with the student and supervisor(s) with specific targeted outcome dates. The document should be signed by both the student and supervisor(s) and will be provided to the student, faculty, and field placement coordinator. The purpose of providing documentation is to create a successful plan to resolve any/all issues accordingly. If the field site does not have internal protocols to address and document the issues, a Walden template of Professional and Clinical Success Plan (PCSP) will be provided by the field placement coordinator. The site's internal document or Walden’s PCSP will be uploaded into MediTrek.
  • They must be on site with the student or designate another licensed professional to be on site for all the time the student is on site;
  • If teletherapy is being performed, the supervisor or licensed designees must be available for contact by the student during the period that the students are conducting the therapy; assessments cannot be conducted via teletherapy.