More than one in five of the 3,598 psychology students who participated in the 2009 match did not get an internship, the highest percentage to date, according to the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC).
Last year, 21 percent of applicants, or 743 students, did not match.
"We just don't have the positions to accommodate the increasing number of applicants," says APPIC Match and Clearinghouse coordinator Greg Keilin, PhD.
APPIC released its data Feb. 23.
The match connects psychology doctoral students who need a yearlong predoctoral training experience with programs that have internships. A computer program matches applicants with positions using rank-ordered preference lists.
Unmatched students can try to obtain a position through the APPIC Clearinghouse or try again next year.
The worsening economy brought funding uncertainty and cuts that shrank the number of positions, Keilin says, noting that there are seven fewer internship positions this year, compared with 2008. Meanwhile, registered applicants initially seeking an internship grew by 66 to 3,825, another record.
Catherine Grus, PhD, APA's associate executive director for professional education and training, is working with the five training councils representing the different areas of doctoral training in professional psychology and APPIC on an action plan addressing the imbalance.
"We want to make sure that any actions that are directed toward the internship match imbalance, first and foremost, consider that trainees have a right to a quality internship experience," she says.