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The Biobehavioral Health Internship Program is designed to provide experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting within the field of Biobehavioral Health. The summer Internship Program provides real world career experience to those looking to explore or gain the relevant knowledge and skills vital to establishing a professional identity, preparing for future job placement and/or enabling competitive applications for entry into post baccalaureate programs in healthcare-related fields or graduate school. The internship provides an opportunity to gain relevant work experience and to be immersed in a professional setting that meets ones individualized learning and career goals. The internship process begins in the sophomore or junior year - see the The Biobehavioral Health Internship Program Handbook for more information.

Biobehavioral Health Internship Application Requirements

Student Applicants:

  • Must have a minimum 3rd semester standing
  • Must have completed BB H 311 and/or other 300-level BB H course
  • Are recommended to have a 3.0 GPA
  • Are recommended to attend a BB H Internship Program Information Session
  • Must Complete a BB H Internship Program application and be accepted into the program

Once selected, you must take the introductory 3-credit course, BB H 490, before enrollment in the summer field placement. The Internship Program consists of two courses (6 or 9 credits) listed below.

Internship Courses

BB H 490: Introduction to Internship Experience (3 credits, spring)

The primary goal of the course is to provide students with the tools and skills necessary to be successful securing competitive internship placements. Course topics include: professional development and refinement, resume, and professional writing for internship essential skills related to securing an internship consistent with professional goals, interviewing skills, professionalism and ethics within the BBH field, effective communication and internship agreement guidelines. Interactive presentations, readings, healthcare speakers, group discussion, role playing submitting applications and related assignments will help students secure competitive placement in reputable and relevant healthcare facilities and organizations. Students also have the opportunity to confirm careers of interest through interest assessment and interacting with healthcare professionals identifying best fit internships.

In BB H 490, you will submit applications , and all required documentation for possible acceptance. If an affiliation agreement is required, it will also community based be submitted. Once approved, student and faculty will communicate regarding required documentation, clearances, immunizations and responsibilities.  Approved intern responsibilities are designed to meet individualized goals and skills based on future careers or educational paths. Progress toward these goals will be evaluated at the mid-point and conclusion of the internship by the site preceptor. You must complete BB H 490 with a minimum grade of "B" and have the instructor's approval before you can continue with the internship program.

BB H 495: Internship Experience in Biobehavioral Health (1 - 6 credits, summer)

BB H 495 represents a one semester internship experience. Its focus is experiential learning accompanied by intensive supervision, provided by on-site personnel, as well as University based mentoring. The BBH major is an interdisciplinary program enabling you to explore many factors influencing individual health—biological, behavioral, social/cultural, and environmental. This course places our students in numerous workplace and/or research settings that relate to these respective factors with the expectation that these experiences will allow students the opportunity to apply and integrate theoretical course work within professional settings to prepare for future job placement and/or enable students to prepare more competitive applications for entry into post baccalaureate programs in medical fields or graduate school. You will learn the “day-to-day” requirements of being in the field, including professional behavior, practices and ethical considerations. You will be asked to critically reflect on new, challenging and unexpected encounters that occur during the internship period so as to draw personal and professional lesson from them. In addition, internship activities and assignments are designed to meet individualized learning goals and skills, and to evaluate progress toward those competencies. Internship performance will be evaluated on an ongoing basis with you, your work place supervisor, and/or the faculty member involved in the process.

Even though BBH 490 focuses on the development of internship arrangements, it is important to be thinking about the internship prior to BB H 490. If possible, try to volunteer at an agency before the internship or try to get a summer job in a related field. Then you will be ready to contemplate the following questions:

  • What kinds of problems am I interested in resolving?
  • What type of agency, organization, or setting  do I want to be in during my internship?
  • What kind of professional experience do I want to gain?
  • How will this internship experience fit into my short-term plans after I earn my degree?
  • Do I want to do my internship in a particular geographical area?

Ultimately, although our program has professional connections and a variety of available opportunities, it is your responsibility to identify an internship site. It is possible to choose internship agencies or organizations from among those previously used by the department or new sites may be identified. Although most students will complete their internships in agencies within Pennsylvania and surrounding states, requests for completing an internship anywhere within the United States may be approved. Under special circumstances, the department may also approve internship sites abroad.

All internship sites must be approved by the Internship Coordinator. Of primary concern in granting approval will be the appropriateness and suitability of the internship site and the ability of the host organization to provide the desired experiences and supervision of the student. It is recommended that students purchase professional liability insurance for their internships.

The internship is completed during the summer months and is variable regarding credits and hours depending on the needs of the internship site. Generally students complete 3 credits or 240 hours of placement. Even though the internship semester is spent away from the University, students will be enrolled and expected to pay tuition for the number of credits desired. The internship is one of the most valuable and exciting educational experiences at Penn State.

Students can ask for advice regarding internship choices. For further questions regarding the Internship Program, contact the Internship Coordinator at (814) 863-7256. Your faculty adviser, academic adviser, or a trusted faculty member can also help you.

The BB H Internship Program office is located in 125 Biobehavioral Health Building.