Practicum courses, or practica, allow students the opportunity to contribute and experience psychology outside of the classroom. These hands-on courses are broken into three categories: teaching (PY 396), community-based (PY 397), and research (PY 398).

UAB’s large psychology course catalog allows for numerous teaching opportunities. Its connection to University clinics and community organizations offers UAB students a wide range of community-based positions. The Department of Psychology’s research opportunities are one of its greatest strengths with primary, secondary, and adjunct faculty all across campus.

How to Enroll

Once you have made arrangements to conduct research or teach with a faculty member (PY 398/396) or to work within a community agency (PY 397), you must complete a PY 396/397/398 Authorization Form in collaboration with your practicum supervisor. 

It is important to discuss the number of hours per week that you can commit to. This decision translates to the number of credit hours for which you register. The authorization form shows the number of clock hours/week that correspond to credit hours. You can also discus this with your supervisor.

Once the form is completed and signed by your supervisor, return it to a Psychology advisor. Assuming that your enrollment is approved, you will receive notification from the department that you can register for the course.

The Activity Log

You are required to complete a PY 397 or PY 396/398 Student Activity Log during each semester. Turn it in to your supervisor by the last day of classes. Your supervisor must add a grade, sign the form, and return it to a Psychology advisor by the last day of the finals period. You are responsible for making sure that your supervisor has the form on time and is aware of the deadline for submitting your grade. Further instructions are printed on the form. 

If you are enrolled in PY 397, you will also be required to complete a Reflection Exercise. It is attached to the PY 397 Student Activity Log.

Credit Hour Limitation

While research, teaching, and community practicum experiences are extremely valuable, they should be viewed as an adjunct to course work, not as a substitute. Only 3 credit hours of PY 397 and PY 396/398 can be applied toward the 38 hour requirement for completion of the major.

This 3 credit hour limitation should not discourage you from taking additional hours and continuing with a valuable research or community project. Extra credits beyond the three can be applied to your general elective pool.

Students cannot receive payment for PY 396 or PY 396/398.


Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Maria Hopkins.