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School Psychology

Master of Science – Credits: 36  (program code: 0310)

Post-Master's Certification – Credits: 33 (program code: 0410)

Program Description

School psychology brings together the knowledge base of several disciplines, including child psychology, human development and education with an emphasis on special education. While school psychologists work wtih all children, their first responsibility is to the population of students at risk for failure and who have identified disabilities. With these populations, school psychologists' roles include assessment (comprehensive evaluations of disability and risk), consultation with parents and teachers regarding instructional and behavioral interventions, direct interventions, including crisis prevention/intervention, individual and group counseling, skill training, and training staff, parents and students to be more effective problem-solvers and to better understand disability and risk issues.

School psychologists typically work in public school settings, but can also be found in private schools, mental health centers, hospitals, state education agencies, private practice and universities. There is currently a nationwide shortage of school psychologists; hence the job market is very promising.

In order to practice as a school psychologist, candidates must earn a master's degree (36 credits) plus state certification (33 additional credits of certification preparation coursework) in school psychology. Full-time school psychology candidates typically complete the master’s plus certification program in three years. The first year begins by taking three courses in the summer. At the end of the second summer, successful candidates are awarded a Master of Science in School Psychology. Candidates interested in pursuing certification in school psychology continue with full-time coursework through the following summer, then complete a 1,200 clock hour internship in the third year of study. Once the internship requirements have been fulfilled, candidates may then apply for state certification in school psychology. Courses are offered in the evenings, although a small number of master’s-level course are offered online. Full-time school psychology candidates can expect to enroll in three courses each semester. Part-time students are also encouraged to apply; individual programs of part-time study are developed together with the program coordinator.

Program Objectives

Upon program completion, candidates will demonstrate competency in the following domains from the National Association of School Psychologists:

  • Domain 1: Data-Based Decision-making and Accountability
    School psychologists have knowledge of varied models and methods of assessment and data collection for identifying strengths and needs, developing effective services and programs, and measuring progress and outcomes.
  • Domain 2: Consultation and Collaboration
    School psychologists have knowledge of varied models and strategies of consultation, collaboration and communication applicable to individuals, families, groups and systems and methods to promote effective implementation of services.
  • Domain 3: Interventions and Instructional Support to Develop Academic Skills
    School psychologists have knowledge of biological, cultural and social influences on academic skills; human learning, cognitive, and developmental processes; and evidence-based curricula and instructional strategies.
  • Domain 4: Interventions and Mental Health Services to Develop Social and Life Skills
    School psychologists have knowledge of biological, cultural, developmental and social influences on behavior and mental health, behavioral and emotional impacts on learning and life skills, and evidence-based strategies to promote social-emotional functioning and mental health.
  • Domain 5: School-wide Practices to Promote Learning
    School psychologists have knowledge of school and systems structure, organization, and theory; general and special education; technology resources; and evidence-based school practices that promote learning and mental health.
  • Domain 6: Preventive and Responsive Services
    School psychologists have knowledge of principles and research related to resilience and risk factors in learning and mental health, services in schools and communities to support multitiered prevention, and evidence-based strategies for effective crisis response.
  • Domain 7: Family-School Collaboration Services
    School psychologists have knowledge of principles and research related to family systems, strengths, needs and culture; evidence-based strategies to support family influences on children’s learning and mental health; and strategies to develop collaboration between families and schools.
  • Domain 8: Diversity in Development and Learning
    School psychologists have knowledge of individual differences, abilities, disabilities and other diverse student characteristics; principles and research related to diversity factors for children, families and schools, including factors related to culture, context and individual and role difference; and evidence-based strategies to enhance services and address potential influences related to diversity.
  • Domain 9: Research and Program Evaluation
    School psychologists have knowledge of research design, statistics, measurement, varied data collection and analysis techniques, and program evaluation sufficient for understanding research and interpreting data in applied settings.
  • Domain 10: Legal, Ethical and Professional Practice
    School psychologists have knowledge of the history and foundations of school psychology; multiple service models and methods; ethical, legal and professional standards; and other factors related to professional identity and effective practice as school psychologists.

Delivery Mode

Traditional (on-campus, face-to-face delivery with some online/distance elements). Face-to-face courses are offered exclusively in the evenings.

Minimum of 350 clock hours of practicum, typically obtained within the first two years of coursework via course assignments

Minimum of 1,200 clock hours of internship, typically completed in the third year of study, in a public school setting and in our on-site school psychology clinic


Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation  (CAEP, formerly NCATE)

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) (SLFull, 2006)

Admissions Criteria

  • Baccalaureate degree in psychology or at least 15 credits in psychology coursework with a minimum 3.00 GPA verified with official transcripts from an accredited institution
  • Autobiographical essay focusing on the applicant's motivation to become a school psychologist
  • Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or GRE scores
  • Two professional letters of recommendation
  • Graduate School Application plus $25 nonrefundable application fee

Note: If the applicant is not a psychology major, a minimum of 15 credits of undergraduate coursework in psychology is required, including a course in statistics. The applicant must have a 3.00 GPA in all psychology courses and have earned a B or better in one statistics course.

Admission to the Certification Program

Individuals who have earned a master's degree in school psychology or a related area may apply for direct admission to the certification phase of the school psychology program.

  • Master's degree in educational or school psychology verified with official transcripts from an accredited institution
  • Two professional letters of recommendation from professors or employers
  • Minimum overall graduate 3.00 GPA verified with official transcripts
  • Autobiographical essay focusing on student's motivation to become a school psychologist
  • Graduate School Application plus $25 nonrefundable application fee

Special Program Requirements

  • Act 24, 34, 114 and 151 clearances are not required for admission, but are required prior to practicum or internships.
  • It is recommended that students obtain liability insurance through the National Association of School Psychologists prior to practicum or internships.
  •  Master’s Comprehensive Examination – the master’s degree coursework is assessed in three sections. Students must meet the minimum qualifying score of 70 percent on each of the three sections.

    Additional requirements for school psychology certification in Pennsylvania:

  •  PAPA examination – must meet Pennsylvania qualifying scores on all required exams

  •  Praxis II in school psychology – must meet the Pennsylvania qualifying score


Master of Science Courses (36 credits)

Area I – Psychological and Educational Foundations
Course NameCredits
PSY 702* Psychopathology of Childhood3
PSY 713 Psychology of Growth and Development3
PSY 712 Advanced Psychology of Learning3
PSY 741 Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy3
PSY 720 Neuropsychology3

Area II – Psychological Methods and Techniques
Course NameCredits
PSY 721 Advanced Tests and Measurements3
PSY 795* Seminar in Behavior Modification3

Area III – School Programs and Organization
Course NameCredits
PSY 752 Fundamentals of School Psychology3
PSY 710* Principles of Instruction and Intervention3

Area IV – Research
Course NameCredits
PSY 761 Statistics and Research Methods in Psychology I: Univariate3
PSY 762 Statistics and Research Methods in Psychology II: Multivariate3
PSY 796 Seminar in Analysis of Research in School Psych (non-thesis option) OR3
PSY 849 Thesis Option (see student manual)3

Specialist Certification Courses (33 credits)

Area II – Psychological Methods and Techniques
Course NameCredits
PSY 722 Individual Psychological Evaluation I3
PSY 723 Individual Psychological Evaluation II3
PSY 724 Practicum in School Psychology3
PSY 734 Assessment of Personality and Behavior I3
PSY 742 Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Practicum3
PSY 756 Consultation and Group Processes3
EDU 650* Supporting English Language Learners3

Area V – Professional School Psychology
Course NameCredits
PSY 773/774 Internship in School Psychology9
PSY 798 Seminar in Professional School Psychology3

For the educational specialist certification in school psychology in Pennsylvania, candidates must attain the qualifying scores in these exams:

PAPA examination

Master's Comprehensive Examination

Praxis II in school psychology

*These courses meet the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Chapter 49 requirements of 9 credits addressing accommodations and adaptations for diverse learners in inclusive settings (PSY 702, PSY 710 and PSY 795) and 3 credits of meeting the needs of English language learners (EDU 650).


Students in the school psychology program receive academic and professional advisement from the program coordinator. Each student is assigned to the graduate academic adviser from the time he/she is accepted into the program of study. Program faculty collaborates with the program coordinator, who then works with students to discuss, monitor and provide advisement as it relates to their program of study.

Application Questions

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Eberly 202B
250 University Ave.
California, PA 15419

Program Coordinator

Angela J. Bloomquist, Ed.D., Ed.S., M.Ed. (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), B.S. (University of Pittsburgh), Certified School Psychologist, Professor; Specializations: school psychology, assessment, curriculum-based measurement, human development; Research Interests: school psychology job satisfaction, cyberschool and special education
Web Page:
Phone: 724-938-4488

Graduate Faculty

For faculty bios, visit:

Holiday Adair, Ph.D., M.A., B.A. (University of Akron), Professor
Justin D. Hackett, M.A., Ph.D. (Claremont Graduate University), B.S. (Northern Kentucky University), Assistant Professor
Kirk R. John, Ed.D., M.Ed. (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), B.A. (California University of Pennsylvania), Professor, Pennsylvania Certified School Psychologist, Pennsylvania Licensed Psychologist
Elizabeth Mason, Ph.D. (Ball State University), M.Ed., B.S. (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), Professor,  Pennsylvania and West Virginia Certified School Psychologist, Licensed Psychologist
Rebecca Regeth, Ph.D. (University of New Hampshire), M.S., B.A. (Western Washington University), Professor
Carrie Rosengart, Ph.D. (University of Georgia), M.A., M.S. (University of Georgia), B.S. (Tufts University of Medford), Associate Professor
Dana Schneider, M.Ed., Ph.D. (Duquesne University), B.A. (California University of Pennsylvania), A.S. (Community College of Allegheny County), Assistant Professor
Linda Toth, Ed.D. (West Virginia University), M.S. (Duquesne University),  B.S., (California University of Pennsylvania), Associate Professor, Pennsylvania Licensed Psychologist