Center for Psychological Studies

School Psychology

Doctoral Program (Psy.D.) in School Psychology

Program Description

The Doctoral Program in School Psychology builds upon the Center's specialist program in school psychology and is approved by the Florida Department of Education (DOE). The doctoral curriculum meets the Florida state licensure requirements as both a school psychologist and a psychologist under Chapter 490, Florida Statutes. Moreover, the curriculum is consistent with the APA Accreditation Guidelines and Principles of the American Psychological Association (APA) and APA accreditation will be sought for the doctoral program following the enrollment of sufficient students at each level of matriculation, including candidacy status. School psychology doctoral programs that earn APA accreditation are eligible for NASP program approval and will be sought by the program faculty.

The program is committed to a practitioner-informed-by-science training model. Students are prepared as highly competent problem-solvers who draw upon a strong foundation in core knowledge areas of school psychology to promote the educational and social-emotional competence of children. Moreover, students are prepared to offer the continuum of empirically supported services, including prevention, assessment, consultation, and intervention. Training builds upon the crucial base of scientific knowledge and develops the skills necessary for professional competence. It prepares students to be lifelong interpreters, utilizers, and producers of research through a mentorship in the process of scientific investigation. Students develop a capstone, Professional Research Project that demonstrates their research proficiency.  Intensive, sequential practica and course-specific tasks are designed to provide students with opportunities for the application and integration of methods of psychological assessment and intervention, under close supervision. Internship provides the culminating training experience in preparing the student as a school psychology practitioner.

The program recognizes the importance of delivering school psychological services from a collaborative framework. Students learn to view problems from a systems perspective, focusing on the roles of the child, family, school, and community. Training emphasizes an awareness of, sensitivity to, and respect for multicultural and individual differences within the context of each of these diverse systems. Technological resources and competencies are similarly woven throughout the curriculum to train school psychologists to deliver services in the most efficient manner by utilizing contemporary tools.

Students benefit from the expertise of full-time faculty whose primary interests and expertise are in the field of school psychology including two previous presidents of NASP.  The Center has over 30 other full-time faculty members that include nationally renowned professionals, and several core part-time and adjunct faculty that work as practitioners or administrators in the schools. Moreover, the School Psychology Assessment and Consultation Center (SPACC), a clinic within the Psychology Services Center (PSC), serves the training needs of school psychology students. Individuals within the community regularly seek out the services delivered by this clinic for psycho-educational assessment, consultation, and intervention for individuals across the lifespan.  In addition to their regular practica experiences, graduate students in the program will have the opportunity to link theory to practice by observing, consulting, assessing, and intervening with children, teachers, and parents at the Mailman Segal Center (MSC) for Human Development and the University School of NSU (USchool) both of which are part of the NSU community.

Who should enroll?

The doctoral program welcomes individuals with a bachelor's or master's degree in psychology or a specialist degree in school psychology.  Those who hold the bachelor’s degree must have completed a minimum of 18 credit hours in psychology.  All applicants must demonstrate scholastic ability and interpersonal skills to be an effective psychological practitioner in the schools.

School psychology is consistently ranked among the top careers.  The 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor, projects psychology job growth to increase by 11%.  Moreover, according to US News 50 Best Careers of 2010, it is projected that school psychologists will have an above average growth from 2008-2018, indicating that school psychology is a promising occupation (Wolgemuth, 2009). 

Required Courses : 118 total credits
  Development: Child and Adolescent 1.5 credits
  Development: Adult and Older Adult 1.5 credits
  History & Systems of Psychology 3 credits
  Psychobiology 3 credits
  Psychology of Exceptional and At-Risk Children 3 credits
  Cognitive/Affective Bases of Behavior 3 credits
  Social and Cultural Bases of Assessment and Counseling 3 credits
  Instructional Strategies for Students with Diverse Learning Needs 3 credits
  Organization and Operation of Schools 3 credits
  Curriculum Evaluation & Instructional Strategies: The Scientific Bases 4 credits
  Counseling Theories and Techniques 3 credits
  Case Conceptualization: Academic 1.5 credits
  Case Conceptualization: Social-Emotional & Behavioral 1.5 credits
  Applied Behavioral Assessment 3 credits
  School Consultation Skills 3 credits
  Contemporary Clinical Interventions for the School Psychologist 3 credits
  Theories & Research in Reading Instruction, Assessment, & Intervention 3 credits
  Seminar in Professional School Psychology: Introduction 1.5 credits
  Seminar in Professional School Psychology: Current Topics 1.5 credits
  Ethical, Legal, & Professional Issues for School Psychologists 3 credits
  Public Policy, Advocacy, & Ethical Decision Making 3 credits
  Cognitive Assessment I: Theory, Research, & Practice With Lab 4 credits
  Cognitive Assessment II: Linking Assessment to Intervention 3 credits
  Academic Assessment for Intervention 3 credits
  Social Emotional Assessment for Intervention 3 credits
  Comprehensive Data-Based Assessment (Integrated Report) 3 credits
  Statistical Foundations for Educational Research 3 credits
  Issues & Techniques in Research Design, Program Evaluation, & Test Construction 3 credits
  Research Seminar in School Psychology (I-IX) 0 credit
  Professional Research Project (Proposal) 1 credit
  Supervision I-V 5 credits
  Practicum in School Psychology: Foundations I 3 credits
  Practicum in School Psychology: Foundations II 2 credits
  Practicum in School Psychology: Advanced Interventions I, II 6 credits
  Practicum in School Psychology: Advanced Data-Based Decision Making I, II, III 9 credits
  Advanced Professional Skills: Supervision, Administration, & Teaching with Practicum 3 credits
  Internship 6 credits
Program Format

The program will be offered on the main campus in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in a face-to-face format. Blackboard, Elluminate, and Tegrity will be utilized to enhance the delivery of the curriculum and the program will include the opportunity for synchronous and asynchronous communication between and among faculty and students. 

All students must complete a minimum of three full-time years of study within the program to be eligible for the doctoral degree. Completion of the program is expected to occur in four years; however, students are required to complete the program within eight years. This requirement is independent of the number of transfer credits the student may receive.  In order to maintain enrollment in the Psy.D. program, the student must be registered continuously until all program requirements are met.  While fulfilling the three-year residency requirement, students are considered to be full-time if they complete at least 9 credit hours during both the fall and winter semesters.  Completing less than 9 credit hours in either the fall or winter semesters requires special permission from the Director of Academic Affairs.  Continuous registration for a minimum of 1 credit hour must be maintained until the degree is awarded. If only the capstone research project remains to be completed, the student must enroll for 1 credit hour of continuing advisement. 

Routes to Admission and Transfer of Credits

There are two routes for admission to the proposed program, Traditional and Advanced Standing. The Traditional route is for students who hold a bachelor’s degree and requires the completion of 118 credit hours for conferral of the doctoral degree. This program of study will include coursework, practica, research, and internship requirements as outlined in the proposed model curriculum. While students who enter the program under this classification may transfer into the program a maximum of 15 graduate credits, no credit will be awarded for previous practicum, internship, or research experiences. 

The second route to admission, Advanced Standing, is for students who graduated from a regionally accredited institution with a specialist degree or its equivalent in school psychology and are either licensed or certified at the state or national level as a school psychologist. Students who hold the specialist degree will be required to complete a minimum of 50 credit hours which will consist of coursework, practica, research, and internship requirements as outlined in the proposed model curriculum. Students who hold the NCSP (National Certification in School Psychology), the nationally recognized standard for credentialing school psychologists conferred by the National Association of School Psychologists, will be given priority for admission among applicants pursuing admission via the Advanced Standing route.

It is important to note that the curriculum of the existing specialist program is in support of the doctoral program.  As such, current specialist students may apply for admission to the doctoral program in the fall of their third year. If granted admission, these students will be approved to complete the doctoral level internship requirements, upon completion in good standing of the remaining curricular requirements.

En Route Master of Science in Psychology

Students enrolled in the Psy.D. program in school psychology who enter with a bachelor’s degree may earn, as an en route degree, a Master of Science in Psychology. The curriculum for this degree consists of the completion of 51 credit hours in the model doctoral curriculum. Graduate students who earn this degree will not have met the educational requirements for certification or licensure in the state of Florida and should not expect to provide psychological services as an independent practitioner. Rather, this degree demonstrates master's-level achievement and enhances employment opportunities.

Graduate Requirements

Students are admitted to the Doctor of Psychology program in School Psychology annually, with classes beginning each fall semester. All students are expected to complete their doctoral program and graduate within eight years from the date of first enrollment. Students must complete the 118 credits of graduate curriculum, which includes applied practicum experiences, a professional research project, and a pre-doctoral internship. In addition, a comprehensive case study, the Praxis II National School Psychology Specialty Examination, and the Florida Department of Education Professional Examination in School Psychology are additional assessments which will be required.  Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0. Licensure and certification requirements vary from state to state. Students are advised to research those requirements in advance of completion of their degree to ensure that they have completed the appropriate coursework for licensure in the state in which intend to seek employment.


School psychologists are certified in 43 of the 50 states by the Department of Education (DOE) as a professional educator to provide school psychological services in public, private, or charter schools. Certification in school psychology can occur at either the specialist or doctoral level. Licensure requirements in school psychology vary from state to state. Florida is one of approximately 10 states that credentials school psychologists for independent practice at the specialist level. Licensure requirements include three years of supervised experience as a school psychologist and a passing score of 165 on the School Psychology specialty area exam on the Praxis II National School Psychology Specialty Examination. School psychologists holding the doctoral degree in psychology are eligible for the general psychology licensure available in every state.  Requirements for this licensure include a doctoral degree in psychology, 2 years of supervised experience as a psychologist (half of which may be satisfied by the completion of a predoctoral internship), a passing score on the National Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), and completion of specific requirements designated within each state.  Licensure allows for employment in private practice, hospitals and community agencies.