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Psychology 489: Frequently Asked Questions


In addition to having secured an internship experience related to the psychology field, you must have the following qualifications to enroll in PSYC489:

  • Junior or senior standing
  • Declared major in Psychology (BA or BS)
  • Psychology major GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Overall GPA of 2.5 or higher
If you do not meet any of these qualifications but have secured an internship, you can still do the internship. Please contact Career Services if you’d like to register your internship to receive a note on your transcript. You may also be eligible to enroll in ILAS 390 (Internship) for general elective credit as an alternative. Please contact Catherine Doederlien (Director of Internships and External Relations) for more information at cdoederlein1@niu.edu or 815-753-7169.

PYSC 489 is not offered in the summer. However, psychology majors are eligible to take ILAS 390 (Internship) for general elective credit as an alternative. Please contact Catherine Doederlien (Director of Internships and External Relations) for more information at cdoederlein1@niu.edu or 815-753-7169.

Ten hours is only the recommended average per week to fulfill the 120 hour requirement (over 12 weeks). As long as you complete 120hrs by the end of the semester, you can certainly work less hours in more weeks (e.g., eight hrs over 15 weeks). You can also do more hours in fewer weeks (e.g., 15 hrs over eight weeks). Some interns find their hours fluctuate a lot based on organization's needs or workload for a particular week, so that is expected. 

PSYC 489 has to be taken at the same time as the internship. There are multiple reasons for this. First, we have to make sure the internship is formally registered through Career Services and that you’ve received a satisfactory evaluation from your supervisor. Second, the course is designed around experiential learning principles. This means that you need to reflect on your current internship experiences in order to make adjustments based on what you’ve learned from the course sessions and activities.

There is some flexible around start/stop dates, especially if you start your internship early. However, your internship start date cannot be later than the second week of the regular semester (course enrollment deadline). You also need to be enrolled by the second week of classes to attend the first required PSYC 489 session. If you start your internship in advance of the semester, you will need to meet with the Internship Director ahead of time to make sure you get orientation materials for the course. You will also need to complete the majority of your internship hours during the semester that you are enrolled.

PSYC 489 can be taken up to two times (6hrs) for credit. However, only the first time (3) hours counts toward the psychology major. The following (3) hours counts as a general elective toward graduation. Also, the second PSYC 489 course must be taken with a different internship than the first one.

We usually meet as a class only four times a semester (once a month) for a three hour session. These sessions are usually Friday afternoons and are required for course completion. Everything else for the course is done online through Blackboard (portfolio completion) or by one-on-one appointments with the Internship Director. Are there letter grades for PSYC 489? Grading for this course is on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis rather than letter grades. This means that, although the credits count toward degree completion (i.e., major requirements and/or general electives), the course is not included in your GPA calculations.

If you have more questions about the PSYC 489 course requirements or enrollment procedures, please contact Larissa Barber via email or sign up for advising hours on the clipboard next to the main psychology office (PM 400).