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Students who choose the applied practicum are placed at a site that serves children and/or families. Students, under the supervision of a trained professional, have direct contact with clients and are exposed to a wide variety of professional skills and situations, including client interactions, awareness of individual needs, communication, family dynamics, teaching, time management, assessments, and group processes, all of which relate to future careers and advanced degrees. At all sites, students are supervised closely by a site supervisor, receiving feedback and evaluations. All site supervisors have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree; however, the majority have a Master’s degree. Students start at their site in an observational role, and as the site supervisor feels they are capable and ready, the student takes on more responsibility.


  • Attend practicum information session, a minimum of one semester in advance of application
  • Decide if you want a research or applied practicum
  • Meet with your Human Ecology advisor and go over your degree plan, discussing your practicum option. If your advisor finds you are ready to complete your practicum the semester indicated, he/she will give you an application to complete.
  • Give the reference forms, with addressed, stamped envelopes for mailing or addressed for campus mail, to your prospective recommenders at least two weeks in advance
  • Turn in the application, degree audit, and references (sealed in a signed envelope) by the required deadline. Turn-in instructions are on the application
  • Your references may also turn in the forms; turn-in instructions are on the reference form
  • Approximately one month after the due date, you will receive an email notifying you if you are denied, accepted, or are pending.  
  • If denied or pending, recommendations are made based on the information provided on your application about steps you need to take to move into the accepted category.
  • Mid-semester prior to your practicum semester, you will be emailed about a required practicum meeting.
  • At this meeting, discussion focuses on practicum options, procedures, and sites, with instructions on the interview and selection process. It is your responsibility to arrange the interview and secure a site. 
  • After you secure your applied site, you will be notified to register for HDF 652F or HDF 652P.


At the time of application, students do not indicate a preferred placement site. The practicum coordinator works closely with students and with various sites to ensure a good fit.  If you want a specific site, please email the practicum coordinator at least nine months in advance to confirm that it is on the approved list and to ensure al legal UT paperwork is completed.    It is possible to complete your practicum out-of-town; please contact the practicum coordinator at least nine months in advance if you want to seek an out-of-town placement.  

At all sites, students are closely supervised by a site supervisor, receiving feedback and evaluations. Students start at their site in an observational role, and as the site supervisor feels they are capable and ready, students take on more responsibility.

The majority of utilized sites do not have specific requirements for placement.  However, the following sites do have specific requirements.

Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Lab School:  This site has various opportunities for students, including direct classroom experience, management of facilities, and parent education.  Additionally, a practicum can be created based on a student’s needs.   HDF 466 is a required course for placement; HDF 338 is required for placement in the classroom and encouraged for other placements.  

ECI (Early Childhood Intervention):  ECI focuses on children aged zero-three who are mildly to severely developmentally delayed, with a strong focus on the family.  Introduction to Early Childhood Intervention (HDF 378K, SED 378T, or PSY 341K) is required for placement, and those with Advanced ECI and HDF 466 will have priority.  Visit www.dars.state.tx.us/ecis/ for more information.

Child Life: The focus of child life is to reduce stress and educate children and families who are in a hospital setting. The practicum takes place at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas (DCMC). For placement in child life at DCMC, a student is encouraged to volunteer for at least two semesters prior to the practicum.  Placement is at the discretion of the child life unit.  DCMC Child Life has its own application process, which is the student’s responsibility. HDF 378K – Intro to Child Life is required.  Beneficial coursework is HDF 366 and HDF 338. Visit www.childlife.org for all requirements

Certified Family Life Educator:  Students seeking their Provisional CFLE must complete the applied practicum. Please let the practicum coordinator know that you are seeking your CFLE to ensure a good match for the certification process.  Visit www.ncfr.org/cfle-certification to learn more about the CFLE program

Other options: The applied practicum utilizes over 50 sites in the Austin and surrounding areas. Sites include school settings, management of facilities, the elderly, ECI, child life, legislative issues, children who are abused, populations deemed at-risk,  those with special needs, parenting, nutrition, health, STEM, and OT/PT. Each site may impose its own requirements in terms of course work, previous experience and GPA.  HDF 466 is recommended for students that want a site that serves young children.