Training and Service Experiences

In addition to their classroom work, our students learn through an unparalleled range of relevant, hands-on training experiences—equating to more than 800,000 hours of high-impact, resume-building work in the community every year. Following is a glimpse at the types of opportunities available to our students:

On-Campus Training at our Centers: At our innovative Chicago School Centers, housed right inside each of our campuses, our students train and work alongside faculty, providing a range of services to local real-world clients—such as providing early intervention services to children with autism at our TEACH Center; individual and family therapy at our Counseling Centers; court-ordered interventions for parents working to regain custody of their children at our Forensic Center; management consulting services to local businesses and corporations at our ConCISE Center; and more.

Community Assistantships: Our community assistantships program provides students with opportunities to work or volunteer (generally between two and 15 hours per week) as mentors, advocates, and program assistants at local agencies and organizations—addressing key community needs while gaining career-relevant exposure and experience. Some of these positions utilize Federal Work Study funding, enabling students to be paid for their valuable service.

Community-Based Research: Many Chicago School students participate in community-based research—working with local community organizations, community members, and academics to research and provide actionable insights to address an issue of importance within a given community.  Unlike traditional academic research—in which community members are typically involved strictly as “human subjects” and the research is intended first and foremost to serve the academic community—community-based research  actively involves the local community throughout the research process and the outcomes are intended to directly benefit the community. Students who participate in community-based research projects typically receive supervision from a faculty or staff member who has research experience, and they are often paid through Federal Work Study funding.

Community Internships and Practicums: While many schools assist students with securing their required internships and practicums, The Chicago School goes even further to ensure that these critical experiences are as enriching and successful as they can be. All of our campus-based students receive comprehensive support from our Office of Applied Professional Practice (APP) –from training on interview skills, to assistance with the logistics of acceptance, to small-group and individual mentorship around negotiating professional relationships, ethical decision-making, and professional comportment.

Community Service Learning: A number of Chicago School courses include service learning components—structured opportunities to explore concepts and knowledge gained in the classroom by providing direct or indirect service at local community agencies. Students involved in service learning will typically spend roughly 2-4 hours per week in the field, applying what they are learning in the classroom in ways that bring those concepts to life and deepen understanding.

International Service Learning: Through our unique study abroad programs, students attend class (online or on-ground) for an entire semester, earning academic credit while learning about critical international challenges in a particular region of the world—and then travel to that region as a class (generally for 7-10 days between terms) to witness the challenges first hand and provide therapeutic services to address them. Although most of our graduate students prefer these shorter-term study abroad experiences (due to family, work, and other life commitments), we also offer longer immersion opportunities for those who wish to participate—such as taking required diversity courses or completing an entire practicum overseas. 

International Field Experiences: Students enrolled in our International Psychology doctoral programs participate in two required, international field experiences led by Chicago School faculty—during which they gain first-hand insight into the social, political, and psychological issues impacting a particular country or region and the unique challenges confronting international psychologists. They may meet with community and political leaders; attend classes taught by professors at international universities; and gain hands-on experience providing crisis intervention, counseling, organizational leadership training, or other professional services