Field Placements

The fieldwork experience provides an opportunity to see and work with the human issues previously read about, thought about, and written about in the traditional classroom setting.  This process includes encountering the psychological realities of a real person in real institutions, with all the humanity, complexity and subtlety, which characterizes an individual human life in context.  Here you will confront and wrestle with moral dilemmas involved in choosing among alternative solutions and interventions. As you struggle with the limitations of your own learning, you will encounter the profound ethical issues involved in deciding between what a person needs and what he or she can currently use and assimilate. The experience acts as a pivotal test of whether this kind of life work is what you want to do and where you want to be.

A required field placement at the undergraduate level supplied me with the experience, information, and opportunity to get ahead in my field in a way I otherwise would have been unable to do.  My field placement not only offered me employment, but now serves as a venue in which to receive clinical hours for licensing.  It was an invaluable experience!

—Amanda Drumheller,  Class of 2007

The Dominican Psychology Department's excellent reputation in the community enables our students to be sought out for some of the best field placements in the county and thus to gain on-the-job experience in some of the most respected training agencies in the county.  In the field placement seminar students are given support, supervision and education regarding job-related problems.  Additionally, the field placement provides experience in practicing the processes that you will face in looking for a job following graduation.

We encourage you to begin exploring placement options in your junior year.  The Junior Seminar (Psy 3182) provides you with the opportunities to explore placement possibilities along with possible coordinated thesis topics.  It can be a great advantage to have a thesis topic which is related to your field placement. You may also want to use the summer between your junior and senior year to begin a training program for your field placement. Many of the top placements have training programs which begin in the summer and the investment of extra summer time may pay off in a high quality placement. 

Remember that your field placement application, with your supervisor's signature, must be filed with your instructor by the time you register for the Field Placement (Psy4940) class. Warning: If you do not have an approved field placement by the second meeting of the class you will have to drop the course and take it the following semester.


Choosing a location/area of interest

  • Focus on an area that interests you (clinical, business, law, sports, research, etc.)
  • Attend the sessions of Junior Seminar in which graduating seniors talk about their field placement experience.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open for possible opportunities.  Talk to anyone and everyone you might know who works in your area of interest.  Do informational interviews
  • Look through the Marin Resource Directory. There is a bound volume in the Psychology Department Resource Room
  • Consult the departmental binders on field placement located in the Psychology Department Resource room.
  • Talk with your advisor during the beginning of your junior year

The Interview

  • Set up three interviews with a "contact" person from agencies or organization you have selected
  • Have a resume ready and/or statement of interest prior to the interview
  • Prepare for the interview.  Use the field placement application to review your skills, think about what you have to offer the agency and what you want to learn from them
  • Be on time and dress appropriately
  • Ask the contact person about other possible opportunities
  • Look for a good supervisor/mentor (Will they have time for you?  Can you learn from them?)  Appropriate assertiveness regarding your duties, learning opportunities, and need for supervision is highly recommended: you just might get what you ask for!
  • When you and your field placement supervisor have mutually agreed on a placement, complete the field placement forms (available in the Psychology Department).  Your on-site supervisor must complete the appropriate section of the form. Turn in completed forms to your instructor.


How do I locate a field placement?

  • Consult the 5 binders of approved field placement sites OR the computerized database of field placement sites.  These resources are all located in the Psychology Resource Room.
  • Do informational interviews of potential field placement supervisors during your junior seminar class.
  • If you locate a site that you are interested in that is not in one of the binders of approved sites, present this information to your field placement Instructor for approval PRIOR to enrolling in the field placement class. Do this well in advance of the semester in which you plan to take the field placement class so that you will have time to find another placement if this placement is not approved.


I am not going into clinical or counseling psychology, can I do a placement at an agency that is closer to my area of interest, e.g. marketing, HR, organizational, sports?  

Yes. We have a number of placements in human resources and sports psychology. However, we to not have as many placements in the non-clinical area, so if you are interested in one of these areas plan ahead as you will need to do more informational interviews to survey sites not listed in the existing placement lists. And remember if the site is not listed you will need to obtain prior approval from your field placement instructor. The key factors in determining approval are (1) whether you will be learning something about psychology in your field of interest and (2) whether you will have a supervisor who can teach and supervise you in this learning process.


When do I take Field Placement (PSY 4940)?

Most Day students take PSY 4940 during the fall and spring of their senior year. Most Pathways students take PSPY 4940 during the summer preceding their senior year and the fall of their senior year.

When should I begin looking for a field placement?

You can not wait until you take the field placement class.  You must plan ahead.  Begin looking for your field placement during Junior Seminar and/or during the semester prior to registering for PSY 4940.Your placement may require that you begin your training before the field placement class begins.

By when do I have to have my Field Placement Application signed?

Come to your first Field Placement class with a Field Placement Application signed by your on-site supervisor. This means that, if you are planning to take PSY 4940 during the fall of your senior year get your field placement application signed by your on-site supervisor during the spring of  your junior year.

Can I be paid for my hours at my field placement?


Can I count my regularly paid job as my field placement if this job is in the field of psychology?

No, you may not count your regular job as your field placement.   However, in some unusual circumstances, an arrangement may be made to expand what you are currently doing at your job to include additional responsibilities, not ordinarily included in your job, which could be counted toward your field placement hours.  In this atypical case, you must get prior approval in writing from your Dominican instructor.   In addition, a written contract must be signed by your on-site supervisor.

Can I start my training for field placement before the Dominican Field Placement class actually begins?

Yes. You may also count your hours of training toward the 90 hours required.   However, since the bulk of your 90 hours must occur during the time that you are actually taking the Field Placement Class, only training hours may be counted “ahead of time.”  PLAN AHEAD…YOUR PLACEMENT MAY REQUIRE THAT YOU BEGIN YOUR TRAINING BEFORE THE FIELD PLACEMENT CLASS BEGINS.

Will I have any support in this process?

Yes. Your junior seminar instructor will assist you in locating a field placement.

Undergraduate Field Placement List

All placements are located in Marin County, California unless otherwise noted. Students were in these placements from 2005-2011.

  • 9 Grove Lane, Huckleberry House
  • A.P. Giannini Middle School, San Francisco
  • American Sports Institute
  • Bay Area Community Resources
  • Breast Cancer Research Project
  • Buckelew Programs, Transition Age Youth
  • California Pacific Medical Center, Play Therapy Department, San Francisco
  • Canal Community Alliance
  • CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocate
  • Center for Attitudinal Healing
  • Children’s Hospital Autism Intervention (Oakland)
  • Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (Oakland):
  • Coleman Elementary School
  • Community Violence Solutions
  • Consortium for Children
  • County Community School
  • Danbury House, Richmond
  • Drawbridge
  • Family Paths (Oakland)
  • Friends Outside
  • Giant Steps Equestrian Center
  • Girls on the Run
  • Halleck Creek Riding Program
  • Helen Vine Detox Center
  • Hospice of Marin
  • Image for Success
  • Life House
  • Love is the Answer
  • Love2dance
  • Marin Abuses Women’s Services
  • Marin Academy
  • Marin AIDS Project
  • Marin County Adult Probation Department
  • Marin County Juvenile Probation
  • Marin County Older Adult Services
  • Marin County STAR Program
  • Marin County Youth Court
  • Marin Head Start
  • Marin Interfaith Youth Outreach (MIYO)
  • Marin Literacy Project
  • Marin Services for Men
  • Marin Services for Women
  • Marin Suicide Prevention and Community Counseling
  • Mayflower Center
  • New Beginnings
  • Novato Human Need Center
  • Ohlhoff Recovery Programs
  • Pacific Diversified Services
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Ritter House
  • San Francisco General Hospital, Psychiatry Department, San Francisco
  • San Rafael High School
  • Special Programs for Youth, San Francisco
  • Spectrum Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns
  • St. Vincent’s School for Boys
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Sunny Hills Services
  • Total Golf Adventures
  • Valley Kids Program
  • Walden House, San Francisco
  • West Marin Senior Services
  • YMCA Mentoring Program