Hands-on Experience

In addition to what they learn in the classroom, students at The Chicago School have the opportunity to experience an unparalleled range of inspiring and enriching hands-on training. Together, our students provide more than 1.2 million hours of high-impact, career-relevant service work in local and international communities every year. As a result, our graduates are prepared for successful careers as effective practitioners.

Centers at The Chicago School

At centers housed inside each of our campuses, students train and work alongside faculty to provide a range of services to local real-world clients, including individual and family therapy with diverse populations, law enforcement personnel training, and management consulting.

Our Centers

Community Assistantships

Addressing community needs while gaining career-relevant exposure and experience, students may choose to work or volunteer as mentors, advocates, and program assistants at local agencies and organizations. Some of these positions utilize Federal Work Study funding and enable students to be paid for their valuable service. Ask Community Partnerships Department about these opportunities.

Participatory Action Research

Collaborating with organizations and community members, students participate in research to provide actionable insight to address community issues. Participatory Action Research leads to meaningful social change through combining research, reflection, and action. Typically, students receive supervision from a faculty or staff member, drawing upon years of practical experience. Students are often paid through Federal Work Study funding.


Many of our courses allow students to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom by providing meaningful service at local agencies. Service-Learning enriches students’ learning experience while addressing community needs. Students involved in service learning will typically spend roughly 2-4 hours per week in the field.

International Service Learning

Through our one-of-a-kind study abroad programs, students attend class for an entire semester—learning about critical international challenges in a particular region of the world. Then, they travel to that region as a class (generally for 7-10 days between terms) to witness the challenges firsthand and provide therapeutic services to address them, gaining first-hand experience by applying theory in the field. We also offer longer immersion opportunities for those who wish to participate, including completing an entire practicum overseas.

International Field Experiences

Students enrolled in our international psychology graduate programs participate in required, international field experiences led by our faculty—gaining first-hand insight into the social, political, and psychological issues impacting a particular country or region and the challenges confronting international psychologists. Students may meet with community and political leaders, attend classes taught by professors at international universities, and attain hands-on experience providing crisis intervention, counseling, organizational leadership training, or other professional services.