Applied Social Psychology - Practicum

The Applied Social Psychology graduate program offers three practicum courses:

PSYC*6471 Practicum I [0.50]

PSYC*6472 Practicum II [1.00]

PSYC*6473 Practicum III [0.25]


As part of the typical requirements, graduate students enrolled in the Applied Social Psychology MA program are expected to complete PSYC*6471 Practicum I. 

Graduate students enrolled in the PhD program may complete up to two additional practicum courses PSYC*6472 Practicum II and PSYC*6473 Practicum III.

It is recommended that students complete one or more of the following courses prior to doing their first practicum:

PSYC*6950 Qualitative Methods

PSYC*6060 Research Design and Statistics

PSYC*6940 Discrete Variable Research Design and Statistics

PSYC*6840 Program Evaluation

PSYC*6920 Applied Social Psychology and Interventions


Practicums are typically completed during the summer semesters. It is possible, however, to complete a practicum during any of the three yearly semesters. 

Students currently enrolled in the program who are interested in seeking a practicum experience should contact the practicum course coordinator (Kieran O'Doherty, as soon as possible. .

What are the overall objectives of a practicum experience?

The primary purpose of the Applied Social Psychology Practicum is to provide students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills, and gain an understanding of the challenges and opportunities of working in an applied environment. 

Under supervision, students will be involved in different aspects of research, evaluation and consultation projects with community agencies and organizations. These projects will provide students with opportunities to put their skills into practice in accordance with the ethical and professional standards of the Canadian Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association. Along the way, students will build community relationships and broaden their professional networks, and become more engaged with their own career development. In addition, placements will sensitize students to the political and financial realities, as well as the accountability pressures faced by government agencies and health and human service organizations.  The success of individual placements depends on student initiative and on the support and guidance from professionals in the community.

Practicums are typically done in settings such as a community agencies, hospitals, government department, or other organizations. 

Examples of Practicum Experiences Described by Former Students

I was involved in the Sexual and Reproductive Health area, with opportunities to be trained in Public Health policies and practices, visit various program sites (e.g., The Prenatal Nutrition Program), volunteer at work-related events (e.g., the Prenatal Health Fair), attend divisional and team meetings, conduct follow-up data collection for social marketing campaigns currently in place (e.g., a PAP Smear Campaign), and work on some cross-departmental initiatives (e.g., Pandemic Preparedness). I produced: 1) a literature review on social marketing for adolescent males (specifically in relation to testicular cancer); 2) a framework for a testicular cancer campaign targeted at adolescent males (including focus groups with individuals in the target age range); and 3) a literature review on the factors that occur during the prenatal to six week postnatal period that are predictive of obesity in later life (including recommendations for practice). (Waterloo Region Public Health)
I worked on developing an enterprise-wide collaboration plan for the Ontario Public Sector (OPS). This plan will help the OPS to improve business functions, attract young professionals, and support their Green I&IT strategy through the implementation of collaboration tools. I also made recommendations for communication of this plan and training strategies. This practicum placement taught me about the structure of government and how government policy is formed, and I gained experience in conducting market research and jurisdictional scans for use in government. (I&IT Policy and Planning Branch, Ministry of Government Services, Government of Ontario)
I assisted a community mental health agency to develop a client council composed of individuals with mental health issues and developmental disabilities. The primary goal of the council is to increase client involvement in service planning, development, and evaluation to ensure that programs offered by the organization meet the needs of clients and the community, and are consistent with client preferences. I completed a best practices review of established client councils and conducted interviews with several Executive Directors of local organizations that have client councils. I also conducted focus groups with staff and clients to assess organizational readiness for implementation of the council and develop an implementation plan that would address their concerns and include their recommendations. (Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services)
I was involved in the development of a culturally sensitive diabetes management program. As part of the project, I reviewed past literature on the needs of the target population (i.e., new immigrants, seniors, and vulnerable adults) with regard to appropriate services for Type-2 diabetes care and self-management. I also researched current diabetes programs in Ontario, conducted key-informant interviews with coordinators of these programs, and provided a final report with recommendations as to best practices and appropriate community interventions for culturally diverse groups with Type-2 diabetes. (Guelph Community Health Centre)
I assisted in the design and implementation of a needs assessment regarding a jail diversion program for youth with mental health issues in Cambridge, ON. The experience was invaluable in teaching me the principles of needs assessments, conducting interviews, focus groups and community forums, and working with diverse stakeholders such as police and consumers/survivors. (Canadian Mental Health Association)
I was a consultant for the Centre of Excellence for the Advancement of Women. In this capacity, I helped the Centre prepare documents and presentations pertaining to sexual harassment in the workforce, female mentoring, women on boards of directors, and executive team support for the advancement of women in organizations. Although most social psychology practica are part-time, I decided to work at the Centre as a full-time employee for one semester. (Conference Board of Canada)
As a Research Analyst for I&IT Strategy in the Policy & Planning Branch of the Ministry of Government Services. I developed an enterprise-wide e-collaboration plan for the Ontario Public Sector (OPS). Responsibilities included conducting background research, a jurisdictional scan, and an internal scan of the OPS to learn the current state of e-collaboration across the OPS, and other governments, organizations, and businesses. The final deliverable was a report outlining the recommendations for an OPS collaboration plan and the steps necessary to realize this plan. (Policy & Planning Branch of the Ministry of Government Services)
I worked at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. I was involved in a needs assessment of housing and related supports for people with mental health problems and illness. This project was funded by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and aided in the development of a National Housing Strategy. As a consultant, I have conducted an outcome evaluation for Catholic Family Services of Peel Dufferin. I also work in an evaluation unit at the McLaughlin Library. (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)
I chose a practicum experience that would be conducive to future work opportunities, the Ontario Public Sector (OPS) Diversity Office in the Ministry of Government Services. I was given the opportunity to work on several team projects that were being developed around diversity training and mentorship for the deputy ministers, assistant deputy ministers, and senior managers and directors in all OPS ministries. My main project was the development of an enterprise-wide survey index that measured how well underrepresented groups in the OPS organization felt about their employment in comparison with the dominant majority. Lastly, I conducted a statistical analysis and reported on the underrepresented groups' degree of inclusion and success at all levels, regions and employment categories within the OPS organization. This experience allowed me to more fully understand how the government operates, the processes involved in developing or changing policy, and the complexity of managing diversity in large organization (Ontario Public Sector Diversity Office, Ministry of Government Services)
I was contracted by the Guelph Community Mental Health Clinic to conduct Needs and Evaluability Assessments, and to design a Program Evaluation Plan for Family Connections, an interagency parenting group serving parents with intellectual or developmental disabilities or delays. (Guelph Community Mental Health Clinic)
I was involved in collaborative development and planning of a psychiatric day hospital for adults with mental health and addiction issue. As part of the project, I was responsible for an environmental scan of mental health services, an analysis of focus groups with stakeholders including consumers and family members of consumers, a review of current psychiatric day hospitals in Ontario, a literature review, and a final report of the progress of the working group. (Homewood Health Centre)