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School Psychology PhD & EdS |
Program Overview

Professional Context

School Psychologists work in schools and related settings to support the behavioral/mental health and educational success of youth and their caregivers. School psychologists take a scientific problem-solving approach and have broad competencies in science-based assessment, intervention, and consultation. The Department of Psychology at USU offers professional preparation for careers in school psychology at both the educational specialist level (EdS) and the doctoral level (PhD). Both the PhD and EdS Programs are grounded in four core professional values:

  1. Science-based practice
  2. Ethically-informed practice
  3. Legally-compliant practice
  4. Culturally-competent practice

The EdS Program prepares school psychologists to function primarily as practitioners in schools or other educational settings. The PhD Program training builds on specialist-level training by preparing school psychologists with strong scientific research skills and additional competencies related to the broader practice of psychology outside of schools. Doctoral-level school psychologists are capable of being employed as practitioners in a variety of settings (e.g., schools, clinics, hospitals, private practice) or as faculty at universities and research institutes.

The job outlook for school psychologists practicing in the schools is currently very favorable in most regions of the U.S., whereas the job outlook for school psychology faculty in academia is relatively favorable (compared to faculty positions in other fields of psychology). For more information on the professional context, please see the websites for school psychology’s two professional parent organizations: National Association of School Psychologists and Division 16 of the American Psychological Association

PhD Program

Prospective students interested in applying to the PhD Program should refer to the Application Process page and the Admissions Requirements page

The PhD Program is relatively new, having matriculated its first cohort of graduate students in 2018–2019. Applicants should be aware that the Program is not yet APA-accredited nor NASP-approved. That said, Program Faculty are actively working toward securing APA-accrediation and NASP-approval in the future. 

The PhD Program provides broad and general training in scientific psychology as well as in the foundations of health service psychology in the practice area of school psychology. Graduate students are admitted to work with a particular Major Professor, who functions as the student’s primary advisor and mentor. Program Faculty have a strong interest in preparing students who are capable of advancing the field as researchers and/or practitioners who are effective consumers and/or producers of research. Program content and experiences are structured to align with APA’s Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology (2015) and NASP’s Standards for Graduate Preparation of School Psychologists (2010). 

The curriculum for the PhD Program consists of (a) comprehensive coursework, (b) an intensive research lab experience, (c) several years of part-time practicum, (d) comprehensive exams, (e) both thesis and dissertation research projects, and (f) a full-time internship in professional psychology. The typical program sequence consists of 5 years on-campus, followed by a year-long predoctoral internship off-campus. More details about the curriculum can be obtained by viewing the current PhD Program Handbook. Questions about the PhD Program can be addressed to the Director of School Psychology via email.

EdS Program

Prospective students interested in applying to the EdS Program should refer to the Application Process page and the Admissions Requirements page

The School Psychology EdS Program has been continuously fully-approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) as a specialist-level training program since 1995. Completion of the EdS Program will satisfy requirements for school psychology educator licensure/certification in Utah and most other states, as well as for credentialing as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP). Similar to the PhD Program, graduate students are admitted to work with a particular Major Professor, who functions as the student’s primary advisor and mentor. Program Faculty have a strong interest in preparing students who are capable of advancing the field as practitioners who are effective consumers and producers of research. 

The curriculum for the EdS Program consists of (a) comprehensive coursework, (b) an intensive research lab experience, (c) one year of part-time practicum in schools, (d) a thesis research project, and (e) a full-time school-based internship. The typical program sequence consists of 2 years on-campus, followed by the year-long school-based internship. More details about the curriculum can be obtained by viewing the EdS Program Handbook. Questions about the EdS Program can be addressed to the Director of School Psychology via email.

Interests & Expertise

In addition to receiving broad training in school psychology, students in the PhD and EdS Programs also have opportunities to receive enhanced training in areas that align with Program Faculty's interests and expertise. Faculty's interests and expertise cover a range of key professional topics, including: 

  • School-based mental health services
  • Mindfulness-based intervention
  • Neurodevelopmental disabilities
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Parent training
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse students
  • Psychoeducational assessment and intervention
  • Professional/training issues in school psychology