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Professional psychology students participate in an intense, focused practice experience (practicum) and an intense, broad-responsibilities experience (internship) where classroom education, clinical skill building, and research skills are brought to the field of practice. Students identify field sites that enhance professional skills, knowledge, and attributes. Students build relationships with site supervisors—experts in the field—and establish a plan of development that will serve to increase the students’ competence in the areas of professional values and attitudes, individual and cultural diversity, ethical and legal standards, consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills, communication and interpersonal skills, intervention, assessment, supervision (as appropriate), and the use of research in practice.

Progress is achieved by ongoing training, evaluation, feedback, and interaction as students further develop competencies. The expected outcome of these experiences is the integration of knowledge, skills, research, professional attitudes, and beliefs into a comprehensive, ethical model of practice. In this manner, students are trained to be practitioners with the confidence and experience to work in and make contributions to the field of psychology.

Psychology, as a science studying the human mind and behavior, has much to contribute to social change. Throughout the doctoral training programs, multicultural and international issues and perspectives are woven into the coursework; students are encouraged to think beyond the culturally bound traditions of practice and become prepared to address broad social issues in an increasingly diverse world. Field experiences allow advanced students to practice under professional supervision and begin to apply empirically validated strategies to resolving human problems.

Education at Walden University is centered on the learner and sets a standard of mutual courtesy and respect among the students, the faculty, and the community. Collegial interaction among students and faculty members is cultivated throughout the doctoral program. Field sites are expected to follow the same pattern of professional interaction, supporting students as they build competence and confidence in developing their skills.

Field experience provides an important professional socialization experience; students, site supervisors, and other field site personnel are expected to interact in a manner consistent with the highest standards of the profession. When problems arise, students are expected to inform their site supervisors and, when appropriate, Walden faculty members. Students should work to resolve problems consistent with the ethical standards of the profession—the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, policies included in this manual, and those of the field site. Students have a professional obligation to become familiar with these principles prior to beginning a field experience.

Throughout their doctoral training, students should periodically consult their state’s criteria for licensure to ensure that each experience meets those requirements, particularly before planning field experiences. A listing of state licensure board contact information is provided on the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards website. If a state requires additional experiences, students are required to meet the higher standard. 

Walden field placement coordinators are committed to working collaboratively with students and site supervisors to support successful completion of field experiences. It is expected that site supervisors will establish accessibility for students and provide 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. Site supervisors provide mentoring and guidance appropriate to students’ roles at the field site, including ongoing feedback about students’ progress in meeting goals.

Multicultural and Diversity Skills

Students attending Walden are a diverse group who bring varied experiences and world views into their education and training. The university strives to meet the needs of students by recruiting experienced, diverse faculty members who can both model professional roles and who understand the needs of a broad and varied group of students. Multicultural and international issues, as well as other types of human diversity, are woven into the courses throughout the program, including the practicum and internship, to allow students to build skills needed to work effectively across cultures and within diverse groups.


Student and Field Site Practicum Requirements

Students must complete, and field sites must offer, learning experiences that meet all of the following requirements:

  • A minimum of 750 hours with 1 hour of supervision for every 10–15 hours worked;
  • At least half of the supervision must be individual as opposed to group;
  • No fewer than 200 hours of assessment services (diagnosing or defining problems through psychological assessment and measurement) and the formulation of intervention strategies; assessments must be supervised by a licensed psychologist and cannot be conducted via teletherapy and all assessments have to be on site;
  • No fewer than 200 hours of direct intervention services, such as individual therapy or group therapy.
  • The 350 additional hours can be devoted to case management, case management, case consultation, record keeping, and other related activities.
  • Since COVID-19, teletherapy has become a tool for patients to receive mental health services; many field sites conduct teletherapy as part of their practice, and it can also be utilized for practicum experience, but it is the students’ responsibility to check with their state boards to determine how many hours will be allowed for teletherapy while at their practicum;
  • Some states may allow fully remote practicums. Walden allows students to complete practicums in teletherapy, but only for the psychotherapy requirement associated with practicum. The assessment component of practicum must be done in person. Students must be registered for a minimum two quarters of practicum;
  • If a student does not accrue the 750 hours in two quarters, they must remain enrolled a practicum course until the requirement is completed;
  • Some states require practicum hours beyond Walden’s required 750 hours; therefore, if a student remains enrolled in practicum in order to fulfill the state’s licensure requirements, then the student must  be enrolled in a practicum course while completing those hours.
  • Practicum must be successfully completed prior to internship; and
  • Some states expect and require the presence of other practicum students at a site, therefore, students must check their state licensure guidelines to ensure that their field experience meets those requirements.
  • Students may not use their employment to fulfill the practicum requirements. Practicum must be completed separately from the student’s employment.

Obtain Additional Practicum Experience

In general, the practicum should be focused on the development of a few discrete core skills rather than developing a broad range of skills. If students find it difficult to obtain the desired range of supervised practice in two terms of practicum, they should plan additional terms of practicum to obtain sufficient opportunities to develop needed skills. Investing too little time in developing skills during practicum may result in insufficient preparation for the demands of internship and subsequent practice.

Practicum Supervisor Requirements

  • For the practicum, the primary supervisor should be a licensed psychologist. However, in certain instances, the supervisor can be any licensed mental health professional—including a clinical social worker, psychiatrist, licensed professional counselor, etc.—in the jurisdiction where the student will be conducting their practicum. If using a non-psychologist as a primary supervisor, the student must check with local state licensing boards to determine if this is acceptable as requirements may vary by state.
  • When a nonpsychologist is used as the primary supervisor, a secondary supervisor who is a fully licensed doctoral-level psychologist is required to oversee the psychological testing and assessment work students are expected to do. All assessments must be supervised by a licensed psychologist. 
  • The supervisor (s) must be actively employed by the field site for a minimum of 20 hours weekly.
  • The site supervisor (s) must have an active and unencumbered license for independent practice in the state, district, or province where the student is completing the field experience. A provisional license will not be accepted.
  • The site supervisor must have at least 3 years of experience with the setting and population the student will work with for the field experience.
  • Students are responsible for ensuring the site supervisor meets any state-specific requirements.
  • Site supervisors’ training and experience must be consistent with student and university goals for professional psychology field experience and field site requirements.



Students must complete all required course work, except the dissertation, before beginning an internship. For students commencing the program from Winter 2023 quarter onward, the internship can be commenced alongside 1 elective course. All core courses must be completed prior to the start of internship. Students should reference their degree plan (DegreeWorks) and the Student Handbook. The only time students will be allowed to take a required, core course while completing an internship is when the required course has not been offered within a reasonable time frame (e.g., within the year before the planned internship). During the internship year, students should plan to devote their attention to their internship for 1 year (full time) or 2 years (part time). Students commencing the program from Winter 2023 onward will be expected to work on their dissertation alongside the internship as noted in the Program of Study.

Students who have completed their dissertation before the internship, or who defend their dissertation during the internship, are ready to graduate immediately after the internship is complete. After graduation, these alumni will be eligible to begin immediately accruing their postdoctoral hours toward licensure.

Student and Field Site Internship Requirements

  • Students must register for a minimum of four consecutive quarters of the internship course and obtain a minimum of 12 credit hours of internship. The internship must completed during a full, 12 month, calendar year. If completing the internship part-time, it must be completed within 24 consecutive months.
  • The field site should supply opportunities for a wide range of training duties designed to expand students’ skills and experience consistent with their Walden training and specialization.
  • The field site must have a clearly designated doctoral-level staff psychologist who is responsible for the integrity and quality of the training program. The person must be actively licensed, certified, or registered with the State Board of Examiners in the jurisdiction where the program exists and be present at the training facility for a minimum of 20 hours per week.
  • The internship must be for a minimum of 2,000 hours scheduled as either a full-time experience for 1 year (12 consecutive months),or a half-time experience for 2 years (24 consecutive month maximum). 
  • Part-time internships may not exceed 2 calendar years or 24 consecutive months. Students must check their state psychology regulations to be certain about the maximum time allowable for a part-time internship. Some states may allow less than 2 years for part-time internships.
  • Some states may require more internship hours. It is a student’s responsibility to know if they need additional hours to meet specific state requirements.
  • Some states require that students have an approved dissertation proposal before they are allowed to start internship to advance their candidacy as an intern.
  • Students typically spend 40 hours per week in their internship setting (or, alternatively, a minimum of 20 hours per week at the internship site, if completing a half-time internship over 2 years). Students who are unable to complete the required hours within four full-time terms will need to apply for another quarter of internship via Meditrek and then be registered for an additional term of internship until this requirement is successfully met.
  • If students fail a term of internship,, hours accrued during the quarter will be forfeited, and will need to be repeated. If a student is terminated from an internship and can, therefore, not continue the internship at the site, the student must start the internship over because the experience must include a continuous year of full time or 2 years of half time in an organized training experience that is designed to provide students with a planned sequence of training experiences. The internship cannot generally be completed at multiple sites unless there the internship is done at a consortium, and may not have a break in the required time of 1 or 2 years.

Internship Site Supervisor Requirements

  • The qualified internship site supervisor has a minimum of 3 years of experience within the field setting and with the population with whom the student will work; they are responsible for supervising a student’s work at that setting.
  • The internship will required to have at least two doctoral level psychologists on-site.  One or more licensed doctoral level psychologists affiliated with the site must be designated as internship supervisors of the student. The primary supervisor must hold a PhD or PsyD degree in a relevant field, and be a licensed psychologist; however, in certain circumstances a licensed master’s-degree person can serve as a secondary supervisor for internship as long as the state allows this and does not require two doctoral level supervisors. Students need to contact their state board to confirm that  a secondary supervisor  with the master’s-level credentials will satisfy state requirements.
  • Internship site supervisors must be in good standing with the licensure board or equivalent in the state or jurisdiction where they practice and have at least 3 years of postdoctoral experience. In the instance that a site supervisor is trained in a specialty that is different from that of the intern, students should also inquire of the state board whether this is acceptable under the licensure rules. Provisional licenses will not be accepted.
  • Secondary site supervisors, also licensed, certified, or otherwise qualified in the jurisdiction in which they practice, are expected but not required. A minimum of 2 hours of individual supervision must occur each week addressing, in part, the delivery of psychological services rendered by the intern.
  • The supervisor (or someone designated to cover for the supervisor) must be always on site with the student trainee. Trainees should never be working without a licensed professional on site to provide supervision and consultation.
  • Students are expected to check with their licensing boards to ensure that the selected site supervisor meets any state-specific requirements for serving as site supervisor.
  • The supervisor (s) must be actively employed by the field site for a minimum of 20 hours a week.
  • The site supervisor must have at least 3 years of experience with the setting and population the student will work with for the field experience.


  • At least 45% of the internship must include direct participation in activities, such as assessment/testing services, intervention services (individual and group), consultation services, teaching, research, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • At least 25% of the trainees’ time must be in face-to-face psychological services to patients/clients.
  • A minimum of 2 hours of individual supervision must occur each week, with no less than 100 hours over the course of the entire internship, addressing, in part, the delivery of psychological services rendered by the intern.
  • Students should demonstrate the professional competencies outlined in the Field Experience Manual during their field experience.
  • If students anticipate circumstances that would cause an interruption in their internship either through voluntary or involuntary termination from an internship site, they should confer with the field placement coordinator prior to terminating their internship and before reenrolling for a subsequent term of internship. If there is a break in the student’s internship at any time during the internship the student will generally fail the course and lose all hours accrued at the internship site. If this occurs, a student development plan will be created by Walden’s administration and the student cannot pursue a new internship site or return to their internship until all remediation areas are met. Each student case will be reviewed individually to determine the best way forward.


  • Teletherapy is allowed as a part of the internship if the site provides adequate training on the proper use of teletherapy and teletherapeutic practices..
  • Teletherapy cannot include assessment hours.
  • Teletherapy can only include up to 50% of the  therapy hours accrued at the internship. Student must check their state board allowance for teletherapy. Each state is different.
  • Students may not conduct teletherapy without the virtual or physical availability of the approved supervisor. Supervisors will be required to engage in observation of the student doing teletherapy.

State Requirements

  • Some states, such as California, require specific credentials before the student starts their internship. Students should check with their state on these requirements early on in the program in order to properly plan to meet state requirements for starting internship.
  • Students are responsible for knowing the requirements of their state’s psychology board and for arranging an internship that meets those requirements. Students should periodically review these requirements to ensure that no changes have been made within their state.
  • Students are responsible for understanding that if a state’s requirements are greater than Walden’s requirements, students must engage in field training that meets the state’s requirements in order to meet the state’s licensure requirements. If Walden’s requirements are greater than the state’s requirements, students must remain enrolled and comply with Walden’s requirements.
  • Stipends may be allowed for internship students in some states.
  • Students may not count paid working hours as field hours. There must be a clear definition between work hours and internship hours. Students are not allowed to use their regular employment to fulfill the internship requirement. The internship must completed separately from the student’s employment.
  • Some states expect and require the presence of other practicum or internship students. Students must check their state licensure guidelines to ensure that their field experience meets those requirements.

Specific State Requirements and Licensure

Virginia (only for practicum applications)

If students plan to be licensed in Virginia, please note that they will need extra hours and will have to complete 5 quarters of practicum. Walden University’s PhD in Clinical Psychology program only requires 2 quarters of practicum. Students will want to reach out to the Office of Field Experience to learn what they will need to do to make sure they are enrolled in the correct number of practicum courses.

Virginia (only for internship applications)

If students plan to be licensed in Virginia, please note the state requires completion of an APA accredited or APA equivalent internship. The field experience team can help you determine if your intended site meets the proper criteria.

Texas (only for internship applications)

If students plan to be licensed in Texas, their internship must have at least two students and two licensed psychologists as supervisors.

California (Internship apps only)

Students who intend to do their psychology internship in California must secure an APA, CAPIC, APPIC, or government agency-based internship to comply with California regulations. This applies to providing psychological services to residents of CA as a psychology intern and for students to count their internship hours for licensure purposes in the state of CA.  

Completing an Internship in California at a Non-Qualified Agency

If a student cannot secure an internship at one of the stipulated agency types, the student must apply for and become established as a Psychological Assistant (PA) in the State of California. Once the student is designated as a PA, and the supervisor and student register the supervision plan for the internship with the Board of Psychology in CA, the student is eligible to count their internship hours toward licensure in CA. In other words, unless the student’s internship is completed at one of the stipulated agency types or is formally established as a PA with a registered internship agency and supervisor, the student will not be able to count their internship hours for licensure in CA.  

Becoming a Psychological Associate in California

To qualify to become a Psychological Associate (PA) in California, the student must either have either a master’s degree in psychology or have a formal letter from their doctoral program stipulating that they have been officially designated as a “Doctoral Candidate” at the university. To be eligible for such a letter from Walden, the student must have successfully completed their dissertation proposal oral defense, including final URR approval of the proposal. The candidacy letter will be prepared by the Registrar’s Office. 

The video is provided by the CA Board of Psychology and provides an overview of the application process for a PA in that state. Please note that the video mentions a “qualifying exam” from the university for the Doctoral Candidate status. Again, in the case of Walden University, this means that the student has successfully defended their dissertation proposal. Also, although the video explains that a psychological assistant can be supervised by a psychiatrist, this does not apply to the requirements for a Walden internship. A Walden internship must have a fully licensed psychologist as the primary superior.

When students submit their application as a PA, the students and their supervisor must also submit a “supervision agreement form” and “a supervision plan” to the board, as noted in the video. To understand all the mechanics of this, students should contact the CA Board of Psychology for the most current information about the application process and additional details about the California psychology internship training requirements.

Internship Consortium Partnerships

The internship is a single, organized, and coordinated program of professional experiences obtained under the supervision of a licensed psychologist but may include multiple clinical settings (maximum of three). Sometimes students need or desire a range of activities or roles during an internship that cannot be obtained in a single field site setting. In such cases, students may choose to combine experiences in separate settings under a consortium plan. Students may arrange a consortium internship that involves more than one field site (maximum of three) under the coordinating supervision of one licensed psychologist. The licensed psychologist does not have to work for more than one of the field sites; however, they must be willing to remain in communication with the involved field sites.

International Students

Note for international or non-U.S.-based students: Students who do not plan to practice in the United States should select a site supervisor who holds a license or other equivalent authority to practice appropriate for the country in which they intend to seek licensure.

Participation in a field experience in a country other than the United States may meet the local requirements for training and/or licensure; it does not guarantee, however, that such field experience will meet requirements for licensure in any state in the United States or similar requirements for authority to practice in the country or local jurisdiction where students intend to practice. As a result, students may be prohibited from obtaining licensure in the United States or the equivalent of licensure in the jurisdiction where they intend to practice. Students are strongly advised to research licensing or authority to practice criteria for any state, jurisdiction, or country in which they would like to practice professionally in their field of study. 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.