Help children and adolescents achieve academic and community success as you work to minimize learning and behavioral difficulties while enhancing educational success.
A school psychologist works with young children; elementary, junior high, and high school students; teachers and administrators; parents; and various educational professionals to offer services to prevent or improve existing student difficulties and enhance the educational success of all children. Through diagnostic testing, counseling, consultation, and intervention, school psychologist programs help students deal with learning and behavioral difficulties and help improve students’ adjustment to school and their community. The school psychology masters prepares students for provisional New York state certification as school psychologists. Designed to provide students with a strong background in psychological foundations, the program develops professional skills and competencies in assessment, counseling, consultation, and program evaluation.
Designed to provide students with a strong background in psychological foundations, the MS degree in school psychology develops professional skills and competencies in assessment, counseling, consultation, and program evaluation. The program prepares students for provisional New York state certification as school psychologists. The MS degree in school psychology is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists, and is awarded after students have completed all course work, an internship, and have passed a portfolio review.
Plan of study
A minimum of 66 semester credit hours are required for completion of the program. Before registering for the internship, students must pass a portfolio review. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above is required.
Faculty in the department of psychology focus their research on a wide variety of topics across the discipline. They work closely with students to pursue their research and advise on thesis work. Learn more by exploring our psychology research areas.
School Psychology, MS degree, typical course sequence
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
Field Experience I: Professional School Psychology Foundations
The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the field of school psychology. The student will participate in field and in-class activities enabling them to obtain firsthand knowledge and familiarity with the roles and functions of school psychologists, along with an introduction to the expected competencies required of school psychologists by state and national accrediting bodies. Field experiences will also give students the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge and familiarity with school systems, collaborative problem solving, micro-skills in counseling, classroom management, and relevant professional and legal issues.
Field Experience II: Professional School Psychology Foundations
The purpose of the course is to continue to immerse students in the field of school psychology. The student will participate in field and in-class activities enabling them to obtain firsthand knowledge and familiarity with current topics and issues that impact school psychologists. Field experiences will also give students the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge and familiarity with the necessary competencies required of school psychologists by state and national accrediting bodies. These competencies and topics may include, but are not limited to: collaborative problem solving, bullying, learning disabilities, evidence based interventions, counseling, consultation, classroom management, applied behavioral interventions, curriculum based measurement, and relevant professional and legal issues.
Interpersonal Intervention Skills
This course presents counseling theories, techniques and strategies for working with children and adolescents and their families. It is designed to develop basic counseling and crisis intervention skills. Three areas that are given the most attention are developing one's counseling knowledge base, developing one's basic psychotherapeutic communication skills and developing one's self awareness.
Students of this course will study assessment generally, types of tests and their uses, strengths and weaknesses of specific instruments, principles of reliability and validity, scales, and norms. Students will acquire an understanding of the quantitative and qualitative aspects of measurement. Extensive practice will be given in the administration and scoring of standardized assessment procedures. Emphasis will be placed on the use of various academic assessment procedures in schools and other settings.
This course concentrates on the development of theory and applied skills in intellectual assessment. Students learn to select and administer individual intelligence tests, to interpret results, to form test-based recommendations for intervention, and to provide written and oral reports. Assessment of persons who are culturally different or disabled is emphasized.
This course uses interviews, behavioral observations, rating scales, and projective measures for the assessment of child and adolescent personality and adaptive behavior. Students gain experience in administering, interpreting, and reporting results of measures currently used in the practice of psychology in the schools.
This course reviews descriptive and inferential statistics. Basic and advanced conceptual material will be presented to assist students in their understanding of diverse data analytic methods, their appropriate application, and how to interpret statistical analyses. Topics include one- and two-sample inferential procedures, interval estimation, correlation, nonparametric tests, linear regression, and analysis of variance. Students will learn to integrate concepts with computer applications. Course content will be taught through lectures, discussion, and applied data analysis exercises. Student mastery of the material will be evaluated through small group discussion of data set analyses, written results of the analyses following APA style, and two exams.
Applied Behavior Analysis
This course reviews scientifically-based principles, concepts, and methods of behavior analysis. Topics covered include behavioral assessment, data analysis, and approaches to behavior change. A special focus is on the functional behavioral assessment process within schools. Students will learn to develop assessment-based behavior intervention plans, which are tailored to the unique needs of individual students, through a collaborative problem-solving process involving families and school staff.
Graduate Developmental Psychology
This course is designed to enhance students' knowledge and skills with regard to infant, child, and adolescent development. We will examine a variety of topics that relate to the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development of children and adolescents in the context of classic and current theory. We will also explore issues such as attachment, resiliency, and policy issues that pertain to positive child and adolescent development. Students will gain an enhanced knowledge of the sequence of child development and the processes that underlie it by studying child development from a chronological approach. Theories that discuss the various domains of development will be examined through each age period. This course will emphasize the interdependence of all domains of development and contribute to an appreciation of the interrelatedness of theory, research, and applications.
Most referrals to school psychologists involve some sort of learning problem. What variables affect school learning? Are some influences more important than others? Which of these influences are alterable and therefore available as interventions to improve learning? What classroom strategies work best? We will examine theories of school learning and the basic psychological principles that apply to teaching and learning. This will be accomplished through the examination of the role of teachers, which includes their responsibility for teaching curriculum, classroom management, and the social and emotional growth of students. Students will learn to critically evaluate the instruction provided to a particular student in a given content area. In addition, students will learn to assess academic functioning within the learning environment, identify specific target areas for intervention, set appropriate goals and objectives, monitor student progress toward those goals and objectives, and evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention(s) in place as a result of the assessment. Students are expected to leave this course with a cursory understanding of the problem-solving process and the development and monitoring of effective interventions, and basic competence in applying this process.
Ethical and Legal Issues
This course reviews the laws and ethical principles that affect the practice of school psychologists within a school-community systems context.
Applied Psychology Methods
This course explores various types of applied research methods as well as important methodological issues and concepts in areas of applied psychology. Methodologies studied include experimentation, quasi-experimentation, content analysis, surveys, and interviews. Methodological issues cover research ethics, reliability, threats to internal and external validity, demand characteristics, volunteer participant problems, and issues in sampling.
Advanced Practicum I: Issues in Diversity
The purpose of the course is for students to continue to participate in supervised field experiences in school/clinical settings along with a didactic component emphasizing the development and application of a multicultural and contextual lens within their field experiences. Students will gain knowledge necessary to work effectively with students from a wide variety of contextual, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. Topics include but not limited to: multicultural theory, culture, cultural identity, social class, race and ethnicity, gender issues, religion and spirituality, and sexual orientation.
Advanced Practicum II: Issues in Diversity
The purpose of the course is for students to continue to participate in supervised field experiences in school/clinical settings along with a didactic component emphasizing the development and application of a multicultural and contextual lens within their field experiences. Students will begin to apply their knowledge and available resources to further develop the skills necessary to work effectively with students from a wide variety of contextual, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. Topics include but not limited to: ecological models, developmental contextualism, oppression, resilience, privilege and power, immigration and acculturation, and multicultural assessment.
This course presents a developmental-systems perspective and disorder-specific models of child and adolescent psychopathology. The course emphasizes (a) a conceptual understanding of specific psychological disorders, (b) the current literature on evidence-based assessment and intervention, (c) service delivery systems, and (d) the school psychologist's role in service delivery and in disseminating information to the schools and families.
A graduate level introduction to the field of behavioral neuroscience, the study of neurobiological basis of cognition and behavior. Topics include neuroanatomy and physiology, localization of function, brain injury, research methods in behavioral neuroscience, and biological basis of learning, language, memory, emotion, conscious states, sexual behavior, etc.
This course focuses on the development of beginning competencies in consultation that will help students assist school professionals in building capacity to deliver effective services. Contextual influences on school consultation, models of consultation, and the stages of the consultation process within a problem-solving model will be emphasized. Issues relevant to individual case and classroom consultation will be covered.
This course focuses on the refinement of counseling skills used with children and adolescents in individual and group counseling. Students will integrate theory, research and processes relative to individual and group work within cognitive-behavioral and solution-focused theoretical models. Students will consult with parents and teachers as they develop treatment plans, counseling interventions, progress monitor interventions, and write recommendations. Crisis intervention and group behavior management will also be addressed. This course is offered to second-year students matriculating in the school psychology program.
Systems and Organizational Interventions
This course will assist students in building their consultation skills, with an explicit focus on systems-level issues and interventions. Students will learn principles of population-based prevention and intervention services and family-school collaboration. An array of evidence-based schoolwide interventions will be explored in depth with a focus on the role of the school psychologist within the larger system.
Comprehensive Assessment Integration
This is an applied course in linking the diagnostic assessment of exceptional children and adolescents to recommendations for appropriate interventions. Students learn to select and develop a plan of assessment for a variety of referral questions. Students continue to learn and expand their skills in administering tests. Students primarily learn to interpret, and integrate test data and report the results and recommendations for parents, teachers and multidisciplinary evaluation teams. This course is offered to second-year students matriculating in the school psychology program.
The 1200-hour internship is the culminating experience in the school psychology program. It provides an intensive, supervised training experience in which interns put the knowledge, skills, and attitudes learned during their training program into practice while continuing to develop and expand upon those abilities. The internship year is a broad-based, individualized experience that provides an opportunity to work with a variety of children, parents, teachers, support staff, and administrators. Interns are exposed to a variety of educational meetings, programs, workshops, resources, and conferences through their internship sites. Monthly class seminars supplement the supervised training experience. (All course work completed and faculty approval)
Total Semester Credit Hours
To be considered for admission to the MS program in school psychology, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:
Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent).
Have a minimum of 18 semester hours of course work in behavioral sciences with a grade of B (3.0) or better.
Have completed prerequisite undergraduate courses in general psychology, elementary statistics, child or developmental psychology, and abnormal psychology.
Submit scores from the GRE.
Submit a personal statement outlining the candidate’s goals and related experience that shows evidence of a professional commitment and the potential for developing effective relationships with children, youth, and adults.
Complete a personal interview.
Submit two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources.
International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 100 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 7.0 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.
All credentials must be submitted and reviewed before the student completes 9 semester credit hours of graduate work in the program. Applications are due by February 1. Later applications are reviewed on a space-available basis.