Psychology Externship

The Drexel University Counseling Center offers an 11-month practicum for doctoral students who are enrolled in Clinical or Counseling doctoral graduate programs. Externs are expected to spend between 16-to-20 hours on-site. Our externship experience is designed to expose trainees to the work that occurs specifically in a diverse college counseling setting, while also providing generalist training to assist in the developmental and enhancement of culturally sensitive clinical skills. Drexel's externship program aims to assist trainees in the preparation for internship and beyond. Our training mission is three-fold: 1.) To foster the growth of previously acquired competencies and personal interests; 2.) To facilitate the development of a broad range of new clinical competencies using clinical theory and empirical research; and 3.) To support and nurture professional growth.

We believe in the importance of using a developmental and individualist approach to supervision that meets our trainees where they are and encourages the exploration of trainees own identities and beliefs to understand how their unique experiences and background informs their approach to treatment. The areas of functioning emphasized at our training site include individual and group psychotherapy, clinical assessment, crisis intervention, outreach, and consultation.

Goals and Competencies

The overarching goal of the externship is to provide high-quality learning experiences to graduate students in counseling and clinical psychology programs. Our extern training goals include:

  • Increase levels of effectiveness and confidence.
  • Understand and integrate theoretical learning with clinical experiences.
  • Demonstrate developmentally appropriate effective skills in diagnosing, assessing, and developing case conceptualizations and treatment plans.
  • Apply sensitivity and understanding regarding individual and cultural diversity factors, and employ multi-culturally competent interventions through assessment, treatment and consultation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how one’s own personal /cultural history, attitudes, and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves.
  • Explore individual therapeutic style.
  • Demonstrate broad and accurate self-assessment of competency and self-monitoring and working toward the recognition of limits of knowledge and skills and to seek means for growth.
  • Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision.
  • Consult and collaborate effectively with peers, supervisors/professional staff, faculty, student support staff, parents, and other mental health professionals.
  • Participate in outreach activities and workshops.
  • Apply knowledge of PPA Ethics and the APA Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct and act in accordance.
  • Develop professional relationships and begin to formulate a professional identity.
  • Respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence as they progress across levels of training.

Activities and Responsibilities

The Drexel University Counseling Center offers a robust training experience in which externs are expected to provide empirically based treatment from a cultural humility frame. Activities include:

  • Individual psychotherapy: Trainees' caseloads will reflect the wide range of general student concerns. Externs will develop a case formulation/conceptualization, create treatment goals, and provide empirically-based interventions with their clients. While the majority of clients receive brief-oriented therapy, externs may work with their supervisors to identify one to two longer-term clients.
  • Initial Consultation: When working with a new client, externs will conduct an assessment to ascertain treatment goals. Over the course of the summer and fall, externs will shadow professional staff completing initial consultations. These are 30-minute initial assessments with clients in order to determine disposition (level of need, e.g., group, individual, off-campus referral), assess for safety, and gain a better understanding of client’s goals for treatment. 
  • Group psychotherapy and Workshops: Trainees have the opportunity to be involved in all areas of functioning at the center. This could include workshops, process groups, and support groups. Depending upon their developmental level, trainees may observe a group first, and then facilitate one later in the year.
  • Outreach: Trainees may have opportunities to participate in various types of outreach to the Drexel University community during their training year. Externs are expected to shadow at least two outreach events by the end of fall quarter and should lead two to three outreach events winter through spring terms.
  • Consultation: Consultation may occur with faculty, staff, parents, other students, and/or other treatment providers.


  • Individual Supervision: Externs receive one hour per week of individual supervision with a licensed PA psychologist. From January through June, externs will receive an additional hour of supervision with a doctoral intern who is receiving supervision of supervision. Trainees will regularly videotape their therapy sessions and review the videos with their supervisor.
  • Group Supervision Seminar: Attendance is mandatory. Group Supervision meets once a week for one hour. This seminar includes a component to present cases and to receive didactic training on a range of topics.
  • Outreach: Externs will receive training and guidance regarding preparation for outreach presentations. Supervision with the Outreach Coordinator occurs on an as-needed basis.
  • Group Therapy Supervision: Externs will receive supervision surrounding their group therapy experience.


Psychology externship trainees are expected to have completed basic coursework in counseling and clinical theory. It is preferred that externs have had some clinical practical experience in the psychology field. Externs are not required to have previous experience working with a college-age population, but should show interest in working with a diverse population within a college setting and an openness to being immersed in all that Drexel has to offer trainees. All externs are required to have their own malpractice insurance.

Background Checks

Drexel University strives to provide the safest possible environment for all in the University community, including Student Workers, Faculty, Professional Staff, Temporary Staff, Non-Employee Associates, Volunteers, and Finalist Candidates. This policy supports the University’s efforts to minimize institutional risk and assists hiring authorities in making sound hiring decisions.

Applicants should note that under the revised Drexel University Background Check Policy, the University will require all new hires to have their background check clearance from Human Resources prior to starting employment. There is a provision in the policy for a waiver that would possibly allow a new hire to start work prior to obtaining the clearances if certain specific criteria are met. In addition, all new and current Drexel faculty, professional staff (including those affiliated with a collective bargaining unit), student workers, volunteers, temporary staff, and non-employee associates who have direct contact with minors (which includes Drexel students under the age of 18) must undergo the Act 153 background checks, which include: FBI Fingerprinting, PA State Police Criminal Record Check (PATCH) and PA Child Abuse History Clearance. These checks are valid for 36 months. Those individuals who have already obtained the Act 153 clearances through Drexel are not required to renew them for 36 months from the issuance date.

Since under the law a minor is considered to be anyone under the age of 18, Human Resources will be conducting background checks for all current faculty, TAs, and GAs who teach freshman classes and/or labs or are involved in programs that include minors. Those covered under this policy will not be permitted to have any contact with minors until the Act 153 background checks are completed and cleared by HR.


The University will conduct background investigations on Faculty, Professional Staff Members, Student Workers, Volunteers, Temporary Staff, Non-Employee Associates, and Finalist Candidates to determine or verify background information. This is to ensure that individuals who serve the University are well qualified, have a strong potential to be productive and successful, and have accurately presented their background and qualifications in oral representations and in written materials including the Application for Employment Form and résumé.

The University complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which regulates the use of information gathered by consumer reporting agencies and which may determine an individual’s eligibility for employment, credit, or insurance. Results of the background investigation are kept confidential by Human Resources but may be shared on a strict need-to-know basis.

The University reserves the right to decline an Applicant or Finalist Candidate or to discipline, revoke the privileges of and/or terminate any Faculty, Professional Staff Member, Student Worker, Volunteer, Temporary Staff Member, Non-Employee Associate, or other person to whom this policy applies, who has provided false, misleading, erroneous, or deceptive information on an application, résumé, or during an interview or who has omitted material information during the hiring process. The University reserves the right to share false, misleading, erroneous, and deceptive information to probation officers and other appropriate authorities. Drexel University reserves the right to conduct a background investigation at any time as a matter of law or based on the nature of the position. Please review the Background Check Policy and direct any questions related to Act 153 Background Checks to Monée Pressley, HR Compliance Specialist, at 215.895.6245.

Application Process

Our doctoral externship follows the PENDELOT timeline and procedures.

Applications must include:

  • PENDELOT cover sheet and agreement
  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vita (CV)
  • A letter of recommendation, from someone who can speak to clinical competence

PENDELOT applicants should upload materials through the PENDELOT. Applicants who are not part of PENDELOT should send all materials directly to Letters of recommendation can be sent directly from a recommendor, if needed, and sent to

Upon review, interviews will be arranged with applicants under consideration. We will start our one-hour interviews in accordance with the timeline. We will make offers according to PENDELOT guidelines [PDF] on Match Day.

Interested applicants should submit a copy of their CV or résumé, along with a cover letter explaining interest in the externship program. Interested applicants can submit their materials via email at

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