FAQ for School Psychology

FAQ for School Psychology Program

Students may earn an EdS (Education Specialist) degree or a Ph.D. degree. Both programs are approved by the National Association of School Psychologists, and the Ph.D. program is accredited by the American Psychological Association.

Graduates of both programs are eligible for certification as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP), following completion of coursework, an approved internship, and passing the National School Psychology Examination (Praxis II).  The NCSP credential is accepted by many state departments of education for licensure/certification as a school psychologist. Depending upon their program of studies, students receiving a Ph.D. may be eligible for licensure as a psychologist for independent practice or as a Health Service Provider in Psychology or Health Service Psychologist in individual states.  They may also seek the Certificate of Professional Qualifications (CPQ) from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, as well as being listed in the National Register of Health Service Psychologists.

Graduates of the Ph.D. Program who become licensed psychologists may also seek specialty certification in School Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology.

The Ed.S. degree is a practitioner-oriented program that requires a minimum of 65 hours of graduate credit. The student takes course work in three primary areas: professional studies in school psychology, psychological foundations, and research/inquiry methods. The EdS program includes coursework on role/function issues, assessment, interventions, and consultation, and practicum each semester, followed by a 1200 hour full-time school-based internship. In addition, the student selects a minor, usually in special education or counseling. The majority of Ed.S. students select counseling as a minor, with the remainder selecting special education. Graduates of the Ed.S. program are eligible for certification as a School Psychologist in Indiana as well as in other states. During their two years on campus, Ed.S. students are placed in school-based practica each semester.

The Ph.D. program also prepares students to practice in the schools, as well as in clinics, hospitals, medical centers, and independent practice, depending on their program of studies and practicum and internship. Some graduates pursue academic and research careers in graduate school psychology programs. Ph.D. students are required to have at least 700 hours of practica and a 1500 hour internship, although many students complete APA accredited internships that are 2000 hours. Currently, the program requires 96 hours of graduate study, including coursework, practicum, internship, and dissertation. In contrast to the EdS program, there is a greater emphasis on developing inquiry skills and disseminating research. A minimum of 12 hours of research courses is required, in addition to dissertation credits. These courses, in addition to working with faculty on projects, provide students with a solid foundation for completing a doctoral dissertation. The Ph.D. program also allows the student to take coursework in a minor area, permitting development of skills in a subspecialty. Students must complete a minor of at least 12 semester hours. In the majority of cases, doctoral students select counseling as a minor. During the first two years on campus, Ph.D. students are placed in school-based practica each semester. Virtually all Ph.D. students take elective practice in the third and fourth years, often in clinical sites to better prepare them for non-school internships and applications to accredited internship sites.

Although we consider multiple criteria for admission, the data on admissions over the past few years may be helpful to you. Our matriculation rate is about one student for every seven to eight applicants. In the past several years, about 90% of new students have undergraduate degrees in psychology, although we consider applicants with backgrounds other than psychology.

Nearly all graduates of the Ed.S. Program in School Psychology are employed as school psychologists in public school settings and charter schools. In a few cases, graduates might work in private schools.  Nationally there is a strong demand for school psychologists to work in public school settings. Approximately 75% to 80% % of school psychologists working in public schools have master's or specialist degrees, with the remainder having doctoral degrees.

Graduates of the Ph.D. program have taken a variety of positions in public schools, clinics, and hospitals. Graduates of the doctoral program are employed as faculty members at many universities across the United States, including the University of South Carolina, University of Texas, University of Florida, University of Montana, University of Kentucky, Bucknell University, and the University of Delaware. Demographic trends indicate that there will be a large number of university faculty openings in the next decade. Among the doctoral graduates who work in public schools, some may assume administrative roles, e.g., director of school psychological services or directors of special education. Graduates who work in mental health or hospital settings provide various psychological services to children and families or may be in full or part-time private practice. Often, they play an important liaison role between medical/clinical facilities and the schools.  Some graduates of the program are working in Kuwait, Singapore, Israel, and Okinawa.

Yes. We accept students into the Ph.D. program after they have completed their undergraduate degree and we do not require that students enter the EdS program prior to starting their Ph.D. program. The vast majority of our students have undergraduate degrees in psychology and a few have undergraduate degrees in Education or other areas. Some enter directly from undergraduate programs while others enter after having had work experience in related areas. Some new students have had graduate coursework prior to entering the program. We strive to obtain a heterogeneous mix of students from varied backgrounds, including some international students. The knowledge and experiences that each individual brings enriches the quality of the classes and seminars throughout the program.

The Ed S program requires two years of coursework and practicum plus an additional year to complete the internship. The Ph.D. program takes about three years to complete the coursework and practica plus a year for the dissertation and another year for internship.

Therefore, the doctoral student should plan on taking at least five years to complete the program if there are no prior graduate transfer credits. For the first two years, the Ed.S. and Ph.D. programs are nearly identical, and students normally enjoy small classes in an atmosphere of camaraderie and collaboration. A full-time, nine-month, 1200-hour internship is the minimal requirement for the EdS degree. Doctoral students must complete a1500-hour internship over at least 10 months. Doctoral students who wish to become licensed as psychologists are advised to seek an APA accredited internship, which most often is 2,000 hours over 12 months. Most interns receive a stipend from the site. Typically, Ph.D. students stay on campus for four years prior to the internship in the fifth year, so that they may make significant progress on the dissertation and take advanced practica. Most Ph.D. students finish the program in five to six years. In all cases, program faculty work closely with the student to tailor a program that best meets that student's individual goals. The Ed.S. degree is conferred by the School of Education and the Ph.D. degree is conferred by the University Graduate School.

Admission to both the EdS and Ph.D. programs is based on multiple criteria. Factors that influence the decision are: undergraduate GPA of greater than 3.0 (graduate GPA of greater than 3.5, if available); strong letters of recommendation; a combined Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of 1100 for Verbal and Quantitative and 4.0 for Analytical if taken before August 1, 2011. In the new GRE format, it is expected that doctoral applicants will have combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 302 and an Analytical Writing score of at least 4.0. Education Specialist applicants are expected to have a combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 291 and Analytical Writing score of 3.5 (prior to August 1, 2011, expected minimums are Verbal + Quantitative of 900 and Analytical score of 3.5). In addition, we consider work experience with children and/or persons with disabilities; and your statement of professional objectives. If you do not have experience with children and can obtain it before applying, we highly recommend that you get some experience. It should be emphasized that the above listed criteria are not absolute, as we look at all information. The School Psychology faculty encourages individuals from traditionally under-represented groups to apply.

Many prospective students have asked how to prepare their application and what the faculty are "looking for" in the materials. As stated earlier, we do not base admissions decisions on any one factor, but consider the total profile presented by the applicant. We use the application materials to help us make a determination whether each applicant will be a successful student and a committed and competent professional, and whether our program can meet personal and professional goals.

We generally do not grant admission for less than full-time study. The scheduling of courses, practica, and assistantships makes part-time enrollment particularly difficult. Also, part-time students often miss out on the benefits of interacting with faculty and students. Under certain conditions, exceptions to this policy may be made, but you should expect to be a full-time student. You are welcome to talk to us about this.

No. We admit students for matriculation only in the Fall of each academic year. The program structure is such that if students were to enter at any other time, they would not be in a proper sequence for the coordinated coursework and practica. Applications may be submitted online at any time, but will not be reviewed until after December 1 of each year. In a few cases, students may take courses prior to applying that may be counted toward a degree if they are admitted.

After learning more about the programs, an EdS student may seek enroll in the Ph.D. program. Likewise, an individual admitted to the Ph.D. program may change his or her plan to the EdS degree. If an EdS student wishes to transfer to the Ph.D. program, the student must write to the Director of the School Psychology program and submit a revised statement of professional goals. The faculty consider the individual's performance in the program, research interests, and availability of an advisor in making a decision on admission to the doctoral program. It is not an automatic process, but most students who wish to transfer have demonstrated the ability to do doctoral work and are permitted to pursue the Ph.D.

Yes, in many cases. Currently, Indiana University permits transferring credit of up to 30 semester hours from other universities or colleges. The number of credits that can be counted depends upon the specific courses and their relevance to the requirements of the program. Students with graduate coursework in psychology typically can expect to transfer several hours toward their degree, decreasing the amount of hours needed to complete the program. Students entering with a master’s or EdS degree in School Psychology can expect to transfer more hours.

You should prepare your application in such a way as to increase your chances of being invited for an interview. You likely will not be able to have a significant effect on your GRE scores, grades, or academic record when you apply to the program. However, there are two requirements that you should consider carefully: Letters of Recommendation and Personal Goal Statement.

Letters of Recommendation:

We place considerable importance on the three letters of recommendation that you arrange to have sent. At least two of these letters should be from current or former college instructors and/or advisors who know you well enough to comment on your past performance and potential for graduate study. We want to know not only of your potential as a school psychologist, but also as a student. If you ask former employers/supervisors to write letters for you, the content should address topics such as skills, competence, responsibility, quality of work, interpersonal relationships, and work habits. We realize that some applicants have been away from college for an extended period of time, and that letters from former instructors may not be feasible, which we consider when reviewing applications.

Professional Goal Statement:

Of all the materials you send, the Professional Goal Statement helps the faculty to determine your projected career path and whether your interests are compatible with our program. The statement essentially is a written picture of you, and tells why you wish to become a school psychologist and attend Indiana University. We encourage you to be as specific as possible about your career goals and what you intend to do when you graduate. A statement that is general or maudlin may not give us enough information about your career directions. If you have experience with children or youth, even on a volunteer basis, we suggest you include that on your resume. You also should indicate any specific research interests, especially doctoral applicants, and whether you have interests in the research of specific faculty members.

We realize that funding for graduate study is a major concern and that it is a significant factor in choosing a graduate program. Various forms of financial aid may be available to graduate students. A limited number of School and University fellowships and scholarships are awarded to doctoral students on the basis of scholastic aptitude and financial need, which typically include fee remission scholarships, an annual stipend, and basic health insurance. Examples include minority fellowships, McNair scholarships, and School of Education awards. Fellowships and scholarships are highly competitive and are not available every year. Fellowships and scholarships through the University are not available to nondoctoral students. In general, doctoral students receive priority for funding through research or teaching assistantships, which typically include a stipend, tuition remission, and basic health insurance. The amount of stipend and tuition remission varies, depending on the position and whether it continues into the summer sessions. EdS students may receive some support, often as an administrative graduate assistantship. The type and number of positions varies from year to year, so that more opportunities are available in some years than others. In the majority of cases, we cannot guarantee financial support at the time we offer admission. Other sources of financial support may include loans, personal resources, and part-time employment. We try to help students find support, but students must be proactive and be aware that funding needs may exceed available positions.

Immediately after December 1, the School Psychology faculty begin reviewing all applications. All applications are given careful consideration, using multiple criteria of your personal statement, grades, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, research experience, and other factors (e.g., experience with children, volunteer experiences) to determine which applicants will be invited for interviews. No single factor is used to make a decision about offering an interview; rather, we look at the applicant’s entire record.  Specific dates will be established and applicants invited for interviews will be given a choice of dates to come to the campus, usually in late January or early February. As a general practice, we do not do telephone or Skype interviews, unless coming to campus poses a particular hardship, such as being out of the country.  We believe that personal interviews increase our knowledge of you and your goals, and allow you to learn more about us. The on-campus interview process will take approximately half a day, and you will meet with two to three professors in individual interviews and a few current students. After the interviews are completed, offers of admission will be made to the most promising of the applicants, who will be notified in writing. Some applicants may be put on an alternate list for admission if some offers are declined.

Final comments about the application process

Please note that the deadline for receipt of applications and supporting materials is December 1. It is important that you start the application process early to assure that all materials arrive on time. If you wait too long to take the GRE, the scores may not be available when the application is reviewed. An incomplete application will not be considered. Please be sure that persons who write your letters of recommendation are aware of the December 1 date.  If you are an international applicant, you should start the process sooner, because the application materials must be reviewed by the International Studies Office of the Graduate School and you may be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  For information on international applications, go to http://ois.iu.edu/admissions/index.shtml.  For information for U.S. residents go to http://graduate.indiana.edu/admissions/index.shtml.

Thank you for your interest in the School Psychology Program at Indiana University.  We believe that we have a strong program that prepares graduates to be effective psychologists who advocate for social justice and enhance the growth and development of children of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. 

If you join us, you will develop professional skills that will prepare you for a long career as a psychologist, as well as enhancing your personal growth.  You will also develop friendships that will last a lifetime.  The program is relatively small, so interactions with fellow students and faculty are frequent, which helps to create an environment of collegiality and camaraderie. 

If you have questions or would like to visit the campus, we would be happy to talk with you and share our perspectives and visions for school psychology. We look forward to reviewing your application.