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PY 397: Community-based Practicum

The Community-based Practicum gives you the opportunity to receive academic credit for participating in service activities in the community that involve the application of psychological knowledge. It is taken on a Pass/Fail basis.

Students at Children's Hospital's Amelia Center. Supervisors and settings for PY 397 vary widely, but often involve a clinic, center, or other setting that provides mental health or related psychological services. Our students have completed practica at the Crisis Center, Family Court, Department of Human Resources, and Children's Hospital, to name a few. The basic requirements are:

  1. the student must be engaged in meaningful work of a psychological nature, and
  2. the student must be supervised by a psychologist, licensed counselor, or other qualified professional.


Although PY 397 has no prerequisites beyond PY 101: Introductory Psychology, we recommend that you first complete appropriate course work. For example, if you want to participate in providing mental health services at the Crisis Center, consider first taking PY 218: Abnormal Psychology. If your want to work with children, then PY 212: Developmental Psychology should be completed first.

How to Enroll

If you are interested in gaining community practicum experience, check out UAB's Service Learning website. They can help connect you with a group that fits your interests.

You are responsible for making arrangements with the outside agency to participate in community work related to the field of psychology. In order to receive credit, you must also obtain prior approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies and receive supervised experience at the community site.  If you have questions about whether a site or activity is likely to be approved, feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Dr. John Eric Gampher, ahead of time.

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. Talk to your practicum supervisor to determine what your time commitment will be.

Once you've made those arrangements, you must complete a Practicum Authorization Form in collaboration 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.

Activity Logs

You'll complete an activity log of your practicum that will be graded by your supervisor. You'll use the log to keep track of your time, but also to keep a record of your activities and accomplishments each week. You will also be required to complete a Reflection Exercise, which is included in the activity log. This is a part of your grade, so be sure to fill it out during the semester instead of all at once at the end. You are responsible for making sure that your supervisor has the form on time and is aware of the deadline for submitting your grade.


Contact the Practicum coordinator, Dr. John Eric Gampher.