Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 99 for those who complete an internship through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC); 102 for those who complete a non-APPIC internship

Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree with the Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis: 105 for those who complete an APPIC internship; 108 for those who complete a non-APPIC internship

Required Courses:

Core Courses
ABA 5302Effective Teaching Strategies and Academic Interventions3
ABA 5303Ethical and Legal Issues3
or SPSY 5303 Ethical and Legal Issues
CPSY 5526Multicultural Counseling3
or AOD 5524 Sociocultural Dynamics
EDUC 8404Quantitative Analysis, Part I3
EDUC 8405Quantitative Analysis, Part II3
EPSY 5529Tests and Measurements3
EPSY 5561Development and Learning Over the Lifespan3
EPSY 8627Introduction to Research Design and Methods3
SPSY 5667Introduction to Cognitive Assessment3
SPSY 5671Integrative Assessment3
SPSY 5674Social and Emotional Aspects of Behavior and Assessment3
SPSY 5676Applied Behavior Analysis3
SPSY 5771Biological Aspects of Behavior3
SPSY 8773Developmental Psychopathology and Low Incidence Disabilities3
SPSY 8776History and Systems of Psychology3
SPSY 8777Theories and Techniques of Counseling for Youth3
SPSY 9487Professional Issues and Practicum (2 terms)6
SPSY 9488Advanced Practicum in School Psychology (6 terms)6
SPSY 9551Consultation3
SPSY 9687Clinical Supervision Seminar in School Psychology6
SPSY 9688Psychoeducational Clinic (2 terms)6
SPSY 9876Supervision of Psychological Services3
SPSY 9885Internship in School Psychology 16-9
Advanced Statistics Course 23
Electives OR Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration Courses 36-12
Research Courses 46
EDUC 9994
Preliminary Examination Preparation
EDUC 9998
Dissertation Proposal Design
SPSY 9999
Doctoral Dissertation
Total Credit Hours99-108

Optional Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis

The optional 12-credit concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis allows students to meet Pennsylvania’s educational requirements to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA):

ABA 5304Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis3
ABA 5305Single Subject Research Design3
ABA 5306Organizational Behavior Management - OBM3
or PSY 8610 Topical Seminar in Organizational-Social
ABA 8787Seminar on Verbal Behavior3

Internship: An internship with a minimum of 1,500 hours must be completed in an approved setting. A minimum of 600 hours must be in a school setting. The internship can be full-time for a year or half-time over two years.

Culminating Events:
Portfolio Review:
During the internship year, students must submit a portfolio of professional work for review by the advisor.

Preliminary Examination:
The preliminary examination is an essay examination that covers key areas of Psychology and School Psychology to determine the student's competence and ability to explain key concepts. Four areas are covered:

  1. Scientific Psychology;
  2. Consultation and Intervention;
  3. Diagnosis and Remediation; and
  4. Role/Function and Ethical/Legal Considerations.

The preliminary examination is taken after completion of all academic subjects except for the internship. It is offered over two days, with each section of the examination requiring three hours. The exam is administered and proctored at a time determined by the College of Education and Human Development.

All School Psychology faculty participate in writing the exam by submitting questions and by evaluating the written exam. A passing grade in all four areas is required to pass the exam.

Proposal with Oral Defense:
The dissertation proposal demonstrates the student's knowledge of and ability to conduct the proposed research. Minimally, the proposal should contain the context and background surrounding a particular research problem; a survey and review of the literature to a sufficient degree to provide the reader with enough information to understand why the research is being conducted; a detailed methodological plan for investigating the problem; and a proposed timeline for completing the dissertation. The Doctoral Advisory Committee must approve the student's proposal, which is presented at a formal proposal defense.

Internship Evaluation:
The internship experience is evaluated for successful completion.

Dissertation with Oral Defense:
The doctoral dissertation is an original piece of scholarship that makes a significant contribution to the field of School Psychology. A majority of the dissertations in the program are empirical, typically using statistical analysis as the means of completing the data collection process. Other types of scholarship (e.g., those utilizing more qualitative approaches or those employing theoretical or philosophical analysis of educational issues) may be acceptable. A successful dissertation will be publishable in a refereed journal.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee oversees all aspects of the student's dissertation from the proposal to the oral defense. It is composed of three members of the Graduate Faculty. A member of the School Psychology faculty typically chairs the committee. At least one faculty member from outside the program must be on the committee. The student chooses her/his committee in consultation with the selected chair. A student may petition for a change of chairperson or member of the Doctoral Advisory Committee. This petition must be approved by the Department Chair and by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies. Complete details about the dissertation process are available in the College of Education and Human Development Dissertation Handbook, which is available from the Dean's office.

The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense. It is composed of the three members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee plus one additional faculty member, i.e., an outside examiner. One member may be assigned by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies. The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the dissertation and the student's ability to defend it. The committee votes to pass or fail the dissertation. The outcome of the defense is determined by majority vote.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation must confirm a date and time with the Dissertation Examining Committee. Notification of the date and time must then be submitted on the appropriate College form to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies no less than 3 weeks prior to the oral defense. The announcement of the oral defense is sent by the Associate Dean to the Graduate School no less than 10 days prior to the defense. A copy of the announcement is also sent to each member of the Dissertation Examining Committee and is posted on the bulletin board in the Office of Student Services of the College of Education and Human Development.

Clearance Requirements

Students enrolled in courses that require fieldwork or internships must submit updated child abuse, criminal and drug clearances every year. Learn more about submitting clearance requirements.

Prerequisite Coursework

Students should have completed coursework in child development, elementary statistics, general psychology and learning/cognition theory. If you haven’t taken these courses, you will need to enroll in a few introductory courses in educational psychology, human development and learning theory.

Please note that these are not admission prerequisites, but students enrolled in the program may need to complete coursework in these areas concurrent to the requirements of their program.