Jun 23, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Counseling and School Psychology, PhD (School Psychology track)

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The University of Massachusetts Boston PhD in School Psychology prepares doctoral-level professional school psychologists for careers in school psychology where they are prepared to contribute to the community through research, teaching, and practice. Our program utilizes a scientist-practitioner model that emphasizes practice to support school staff, families and community members that is grounded in rigorous research and science. In adhering to this model, our School Psychology PhD program of study is designed to:

  1. Develop scientist-practitioners who deliver evidence-based, prevention, assessment, consultation and intervention services in school and community settings.
  2. Prepare doctoral level school psychologists to apply advanced research skills exploring and evaluating educational and psychological issues, and conduct independent research.
  3. Promote culturally responsive graduates and leaders who understand contextual, policy, and social justice issues related to diversity and educational disparities at local and transnational levels.

The program is designed to take at least five years of full-time study post-bachelor’s, plus a full-time internship. We accept students both post-bachelor or post-masters level. The program requires 91 graduate credits. Those who enter with a master’s degree in school psychology or a related field will have a reduction in required course credits to the extent their master’s level courses match required courses.
Our courses and required activities address:

  • Social Justice and Systems Change
  • Research and Statistics
  • Applied Practice
  • Psychological Foundations

In addition to coursework, students are expected to engage in the following activities:

Field work

Students must participate in at least two semesters of practicum and complete a full year of Internship. Four semesters of practicum are strongly encouraged. Advanced field placements include local urban school districts, alternative education agencies, as well as state agencies, and are based on student experience and interest as well as site availability. The internship, typically completed during the fifth or sixth year after having met all course requirements, provides preparation for functioning as an independent school psychologist. We prepare and support our students to apply and obtain an APA accredited internship through the APPIC process.  

Research Team

Students participate in faculty-led research team for five semesters. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in research teams led by multiple faculty members to obtain diverse experiences and hone research skills. Research teams are composed of faculty mentors and other graduate students who collaborate on research projects, presentations, and papers. Through these activities, students are expected to contribute to scholarly presentations and publications.


Students co-teach at least one semester to build skills in disseminating research and practice and delivering university instruction. To prepare for this experience, students complete the course Teaching in Counseling and School Psychology in addition to an opportunity to serve as a Teaching Assistant and when available a course instructor.

The Qualifying Paper

Students write a qualifying paper, a critical and synthetic review of a focused body of literature in the area in which each student plans to complete his or her dissertation. Successful completion results in admission to doctoral candidacy.


The dissertation is an original empirical research project that makes a substantive contribution to the knowledge base in school psychology. It is usually completed by the end of the fifth or sixth year, although students are strongly encourage to complete the dissertation prior to the internship year.

Accreditation & Licensure

The program is designed in accordance with the guidelines put forward by the Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs. It is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) of the American Psychological Association (APA) until the next site visit in 2023. The program is currently being considered for National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) accreditation.

For more information, visit the Counseling and School Psychology web pages.

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