COOL CLASSES: “Psychology Practicum Seminar”

This new course offers students the opportunity to gain intensive first-hand experience working with people in a psychological services or social services setting to provide a supervised platform on which to apply what they have learned in their psychology coursework to helping others in a hands-on way.

Class name: “Psychology Practicum Seminar”

Taught by: Assistant Professor of Psychology Shu-wen Wang


Here’s what Wang had to say about her class:

The “Psychology Practicum Seminar” offers a select group of students an opportunity to gain intensive first-hand experience working with people in a psychological services or social services setting. The goal is to provide students a supervised platform on which they can apply what they have learned from their psychology coursework to helping others in a hands-on and professional way. The “Psychology Practicum” helps students explore their interests in future career options as a clinical, counseling, or school psychologist, and in the allied “helping” fields (e.g., social work, special education, guidance counseling). Students for this semester have been placed in a range of practicum sites in collaboration with our community partners, including a domestic violence center for women, a rehabilitation and senior living center, an organization assisting previously incarcerated women, a homeless shelter, and centers for children on the autism spectrum. Students spend one day a week on site at their practicum where they are closely supervised and mentored by their practicum supervisors, and also attend a weekly seminar with me in which we discuss core issues in the psychology “helping” fields, develop basic counseling skills, process students’ experiences, and provide support and feedback. Students also develop a final capstone project in collaboration with their sites that is meant to make a meaningful substantive contribution to the site itself, and may include a range of formats such as developing written materials, coordinating an event, or helping generate web or audiovisual content.

I created this course in response to what I’ve been hearing over the past five years from students about their interests in the application of psychology in the helping professions. The Psychology Department has traditionally been a very research-oriented department, and I’m proud of the rigorous preparation our students receive as they go on to graduate school and a wide range of careers that draw upon their strong critical-thinking and data-analytic skills, as well as knowledge about human behavior. But the many students who are interested in the clinical and counseling aspects of psychology—how we use psychology in working directly with people who are struggling with psychological issues and disorders—were on their own in seeking out internships in psychological and social services settings. The lack of a formal practicum program meant that students were unable to gain course credit for their internships, and the quality of supervision they received was not monitored. I’m hoping that this practicum program will enhance student experiential learning about the psychology helping professions by formalizing the internship experience, enhancing the quality of supervision and support, and scaffolding the practicum hours with an informative seminar series.


See what other courses the Department of Psychology is offering this semester.

Photo of Shot of Katie Beach ’18 in front of Bryn Mawr Terrace, her practicum site, by Soha Saghir ’21.

Cool Classes is a series that highlights interesting, unusual, and unique courses that enrich the Haverford experience.