Ph.D. Internship Proposal

All applicants are asked to submit up to 500 word internship proposal at the time that they submit an admission application. The proposal should consider the criteria used to establish internships with the understanding that, once admitted, additional materials will be requested to confirm the applicant’s proposal. (All offers of admission are made conditional on the finalization and approval of all details of the clinical internship plan.)

The proposed internship site may be a work-study setting or a clinical placement with which the doctoral fellow would affiliate for two years, three days a week. If the applicant is in private practice, they may propose that one of the three day requirements be drawn from their private practice. If the applicant is in an organization that works primarily or only with children, adolescents and families, the applicant must affiliate with a community mental health organization that can offer 8-10 adult individual clients, and opportunities for supervision and clinical training.

Faculty from the School can also offer consultation for developing an internship if the applicant doesn’t have a proposed setting with which they can affiliate.  If you do not have a proposed internship site, you may request an Internship Consultation by emailing; a Consultant will be in touch by email as soon as possible. Please note, an admission decision cannot be made until the internship arrangements have been developed.

Please see below for detailed guidelines.

Internship Proposal Guidelines

Please describe your proposed clinical internship setting of three days per week specifying the site within the training center or the proposed clinical internship and describing the training opportunities relevant to your learning there. Include a description of clientele, opportunity for long-term treatment, some indication of kinds of cases available, contexts for service and treatment modalities.

Describe the supplemental educational resources relevant to your learning. Offer your analysis of the principal strengths and limitations of the proposed internship site. 


Normally, clinical internships are work-study and are conducted in established non-profit professional community service centers, such as social agencies or the social service departments of a host setting. In addition, some alternative organizations, which offer equivalent experiences, may be used as sites for the clinical internship. Eligible non-traditional settings would be expected to have the equivalent of a social work department through a clear social work presence on the staff. In addition, the organization would be expected to provide clinical services which express social responsibility through variable fee structures and through providing service to vulnerable populations. The organization would also be expected to have in place provisions to support the further professional development of staff members through supervision/consultation and in-service training.

Internship Settings Options

Below are the dimensions of an optimal internship settings, on the one hand, and an acceptable internship setting on the other. We know that some agencies lack resources for supporting advanced clinical study, particularly for a senior social work staff member, and we know that the character of agency practice is changing in ways that can compromise support for advanced study. The description of optimal and acceptable internship characteristics is intended to clarify the range within which feasible clinical internships may be developed. All internship plans must be agency-based.

A. The Optimal Internship
The training center supports advanced clinical education for social workers and accords priority to the fellow's learning needs during the three day-per-week internship program. The center's resources include:

  • Opportunities for intensive treatment, including treatment over a two-year period, with a patient population varied as to age and diagnosis, with at least 8-10 adults over 18.
  • An emphasis on individual treatment plus opportunities in a range of treatment modalities, i.e., family and group treatment, short-term treatment.
  • During the second year of internship, opportunities for pertinent professional experiences in consultation, teaching in-service, or supervision.
  • The availability of regular supervision by a clinical social worker meeting the School's criteria.
  • The availability of regular consultation with senior staff in relation to specialized areas of practice, i.e., child treatment, adult treatment, family and group treatment, etc.
  • Supplemental educational resources such as staff conferences in which clinical data are examined from theoretical and dispositional points of view.

Supervisory functions and qualifications:

An agency supervisor supports the internship by planning and monitoring the internship program, by facilitating the fellow's access to learning resources, by providing some direct supervision, by serving as a liaison to the School, and by evaluating the fellow's clinical performance.

The qualifications of the supervisor include a Master of Social Work degree and an advanced level of clinical practice, preferably a Ph.D. in social, informed by such dynamic perspectives as object relations theory and/or relational psychodynamic approach. The supervisor is interested in the integration of theory and practice and views the therapeutic process as a method of inquiry as well as a service method. The supervisor brings professional standards and commitment to this role and is prepared to collaborate in support of advanced clinical study. A doctoral level supervisor from other disciplines such as clinical psychology or psychiatry will be considered on a case by case basis.

B. Acceptable Internship Settings 

If an agency is unable to support an optimal internship, the doctoral fellow must develop an equivalent program. The fellow must arrange for protection of enough time from completing work obligations to safeguard opportunity for advanced study. If qualified supervision and consultation are unavailable in the agency, the fellow must arrange and support external supervision/consultation. Similarly, if the supplemental education resources are unavailable in the agency, these too must be secured externally.

While an agency base for the three-day-per-week internship is required, one day of that clinical work can be drawn from the fellow's private practice. This arrangement may help expand the range and duration of clinical work conducted under agency auspices.

Whether the social work supervision is agency-based or externally-based, the functions and qualifications of the supervisor listed above are unchanged.