An externship is any field-based experience that occurs during your course of study.

Internship refers to the final capstone field experience that students complete during their last year of study.


All students have an externship during the first two to three years of the School Psychology doctoral program. These externships are generally one to two days a week and occur in the surrounding school system, at the policy level, or in a clinical setting.

Faculty supervisors work with students to help them integrate knowledge and skills related to the practice of School Psychology into their field settings. Students are also supervised by a mentor psychologist within the placement.

Sites are chosen based on the quality of the training experiences. A list of past externship host sites is available in the School Psychology Handbook.

Detailed information about the externship experience is provided in the course syllabus for School Psychology Doctoral Externship/Seminar EDUC 721 and EDUC 821.

Summer Advanced Externship

You may complete externship field-based hours during the summer months (or any months outside of the standard fall and spring semesters) as long as you confirm that those hours qualify as “program sanctioned hours.”

To confirm that those hours qualify as “program sanctioned hours”:

  1. Complete, sign and submit the Externship Agreement Document prior to the last day of classes before the spring semester.
  2. Register for a minimum one credit hour or Externship over the summer session.
    You must be registered as a student during the summer in order to hold the title of “School Psychology Extern” and receive “program sanctioned hours.” Otherwise you are not considered a UNC student, will not be legally protected by the university, and will not be formally approved for inclusion when you apply for an internship later.

Requesting Two Externship Placements

Accepting two separate externship site offers requires the approval of the School Psychology faculty.

Given that completing an externship at two separate sites will demand a considerable amount of time away from working on your dissertation and internship application submissions, you are more likely to be approved if you have consistently demonstrated the ability to manage your academic commitments and work load effectively. Preference will be given to students who have successfully proposed their dissertation.

The following restrictions are in place:

  • Only 3rd and 4th year students may request two externship placements
  • Students with incomplete grades may not request two externship placements

Other considerations:

  • Prior to formalizing the externship agreement contract, you must notify both of your externship site mentors that you will be externing at each site at the same time. It is important to be transparent so that mentors are aware of your time commitments to each site. (NOTE: some externship sites have expressed a preference to not have their doctoral extern overextended at two sites.)
  • Accepting two externship placements may affect your ability to secure RA or TA funding in the upcoming year. If you are approved, must notify your future TA or RA mentor in order to confirm that they are willing to work with your time constraints.
  • You may be required to wait until all other students in the program have secured an externship placement before accepting your second placement. You will be notified in your approval if this is a requirement.

Complete and return this form to your externship coordinator by December 1st: Request for Two Externship Placements Form

Doctoral Internship

Doctoral students complete a full year (or two half years) internship during their final year of study. Students are encouraged to complete internships that provide supervised experiences in school settings, building upon the knowledge and skills gained in this school psychology program.

Internship Planning

During the summer between your first and second year:

Early in the fall semester of your second year (first 2-3 weeks of classes):

  • Attend group and individual advising sessions to discuss potential sites with faculty advisers.
  • Submit your list of sites to the Program Coordinator or the Director of Clinical Training for final program approval.
    You must submit this list at least 30 days prior to any application deadline.

During your second year:

  • Begin initial work related to your internship application, including reflection on long and short-term career goals and vitae preparation.
  • Prepare related essays, one of which will be your conceptual framework.

About internship credit hours

You are required to register for at least 6 credit hours of internship over the course of the internship year. You must  complete these hours prior to being approved for graduation. These hours can be spread across the internship year and may vary from student to student. You should carefully attend to your registration hours as these may affect financial aid and/or your status as a full-time university student. See the School Psychology Student Handbook for details related to planning for internship credit hours.

Dissertation Proposals

All students must have their dissertation proposal approved prior to beginning their internship.

Applying for a Doctoral Internship

There are 3 ways you can apply for internships

  1. You can apply through the APICC process.
  2. You can see an internship outside the UNC area, including outside the state, but the site must meet CDSPP guidelines and you must ascertain that the guidelines are met before requesting that the faculty speak with the site.
  3. You can seek an internship within the UNC area. The site must meet CDSPP guidelines.

See the School Psychology Student Handbook for detailed application instructions and guidelines.

Tips for a successful application

Internship selections are highly competitive. Here are some tips to enhance your prospects:

  • Do not obtain any grades of L or lower in your course work.
  • Do not have a pattern of incompletes. The program will not approve your submission if you have even one grade of incomplete that is outstanding when your verification form is due.
  • May at least one professional presentation.