School Psychology

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Only those students who anticipate a doctoral degree will be admitted. Students are selected within the limitations of program facilities. Priority is given to applicants with work experience with children.

An undergraduate major emphasizing work in psychology and/or education is preferred, but students with fewer than 20 upper-division credits in psychology, educational psychology, or special education may be admitted with limited deficiencies to be fulfilled concurrently with their graduate work. Requirements for admission include:

  • a minimum of one-third of graduate credits of A quality;
  • undergraduate GPA of B or higher;
  • satisfactory recommendations from two or more professors, preferably psychologists; and
  • a score of 1000 or higher on the two general sections or a score of 1500 or higher, including the analytical or an advanced test, of the Graduate Record Examination.

Exceptions may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests.

Degree Requirements

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

Students qualifying for a certificate to practice in the schools must meet standards specified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. These include, but are not limited to,

  • a master's degree,
  • about 60 graduate credits,
  • practicum experiences, and
  • successful completion of precertification tests.

Master of Science (M.S.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

Students entering the program with a bachelor's degree complete the M.S. as prescribed by the Graduate School.

Students qualifying for a certificate to practice in the schools must meet standards specified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. These include, but are not limited to,

  • a master's degree,
  • about 60 graduate credits,
  • practicum experiences, and
  • successful completion of precertification tests.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

Students may be admitted with a master's degree from school psychology programs from other institutions or from related programs in this or other universities. The doctoral program includes:

  • a predissertation research requirement;
  • the core program described here (which qualifies the candidate for a school psychology certificate);
  • a special proficiency of 6 to 18 credits;
  • an internship; and
  • a dissertation.

Students completing the School Psychology Core Program will have courses in:

  • the biological bases of behavior,
  • the cognitive bases of behavior,
  • the social bases of behavior,
  • personality theory or abnormal psychology,
  • human development,
  • professional ethics and standards,
  • research design and methodology,
  • statistics,
  • psychometrics,
  • counseling theory,
  • educational foundations,
  • educational administration,
  • the education of exceptional children, and
  • curriculum.

Dual-Titles

Dual-Title M.Ed., M.S., and Ph.D. in School Psychology and Comparative and International Education

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in School Psychology and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Comparative and International Education dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Comparative and International Education Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Comparative and International Education prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the degree they are enrolled in School Psychology. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Comparative and International Education, listed on the Comparative and International Education Bulletin page.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from School Psychology and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Comparative and International Education program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both School Psychology and Comparative and International Education. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a School Psychology and Comparative and International Education dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Comparative and International Education Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Comparative and International Education, the member of the committee representing Comparative and International Education must be appointed as co-chair. The Comparative and International Education representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in School Psychology and Comparative and International Education. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

School Psychology (SPSY) Course List

Professional Licensure/Certification

Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head James Clyde Diperna
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) James Clyde Diperna
Program Contact

Boi Lan Ngoc Hoang Conrad
125C CEDAR Building
University Park PA 16802
bhc13@psu.edu
(814) 865-1881

Program Website View