2017-2018 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 25, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School Psychology, PhD

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School Psychology*


Tanya L. Eckert, Ph.D.
430 Huntington Hall


Emily B. Ansell, Kevin Antshel, Benita A. Blachman, D. Bruce Carter, Catherine A. Cornwell, Amy H. Criss, Joseph W. Ditre, Tanya L. Eckert, Joshua C. Felver, Les A. Gellis, Randall S. Jorgenson, Michael L. Kalish, Lawrence J. Lewandowski, David Kellen, Stephen A. Maisto, Brian K. Martens, Leonard Newman, Tibor Palfai, Aesoon Park, Natalie Russo, Lael Schooler, Peter A. Vanable, Laura VanderDrift, and Sarah Woolf-King.

The school psychology program at Syracuse University is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, 750 First Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20002-4242; 202-336-5979). Completion of the program satisfies the current requirements for certification and licensure in New York State. The residency requirements for the program includes at least one year in full-time residence at Syracuse University and at least two years of full-time study at Syracuse University. A minimum of three years total of full-time study is required for the doctoral degree. Full disclosure of education/training outcomes and information allowing for informed decision-making can be found at our web site http://psychology.syr.edu/graduate/School_Psychology_Program.html

The school psychology program is built on the scientist-practitioner training model. Within this model, students are encouraged to be data-based problem solvers, to seek converging information when making professional decisions, and to evaluate the outcomes of their services. Students are engaged in three strands of training throughout the program: coursework, clinical service, and research. Consistent with APA guidelines, exposure to clinical service occurs in a graded fashion beginning in the student’s first year. Students also have opportunities to assist with teaching and to teach courses of their own. Clinical placements occur in schools, hospitals, and agencies serving a broad spectrum of individuals with a wide range of school psychological services (e.g., assessment, consultation, intervention).

The program is committed to creating a supportive environment for student training and mentoring, and attempts to attract students from diverse backgrounds (i.e., locale, gender, ethnicity, culture). Graduates of the program take positions in academic and/or research institutions, public and private schools, hospitals, and mental health centers that serve the needs of children.


Applications are considered for the fall term only, and the deadline for receipt of the completed application is December 1. The program receives approximately 70 applications per year for three to four openings. There are approximately 15 students in the program. Attrition rate in the program is less than 25 percent.

Most students entering the school psychology program have had an undergraduate major in either psychology or education, but the program is not restricted to these students. However, students with an undergraduate major in other fields may need more study in psychology and education than those who already have the appropriate foundation. Only full-time students are considered for admission. Students admitted to the program typically have a grade point average exceeding 3.0 and combined verbal and quantitative above the 50th percentile. Evidence of prior involvement in independent research (e.g., paper presentations) as well as mental health or education-related service (e.g., supervisor evaluations) is usually documented. The School Psychology program is strongly committed to the recruitment of individuals from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate mastery regarding children’s development in cognitive, affective, social, academic, and adaptive domains

2. Demonstrate mastery regarding school as an organization, instructional practices, and communication that occurs in multidisciplinary systems

3. Demonstrate mastery regarding empirical research in psychology and education

4. Demonstrate mastery evaluating a variety of research methodologies

5. Demonstrate mastery regarding rigorous and creative applications of experimental design, data analysis, and interpretation skills

6. Demonstrate mastery of “best practices” in home- and school-based intervention and consultation

7. Demonstrate mastery of “best practices” in assessment and evaluation

8. Demonstrate mastery in “best practices” in counseling

9. Demonstrate mastery of diversity awareness and sensitive service delivery

10. Demonstrate mastery of how issues of diversity affect the manner and nature of interactions with others

11. Demonstrate mastery in adapting or modifying practices in response to those being served

12. Demonstrate mastery in professional skills across a wide range of settings including clinics, hospitals, and home with diverse student populations and disabilities

13. Demonstrate mastery of data-based problem solving in all professional decisions

14. Demonstrate independence and responsibility in research participation and clinical work throughout graduate training

15. Maintain certification or licensure while attending continuing education functions as necessary and required by profession

16. Demonstrate mastery of problem-solving, interpersonal influence, and implementation support skills in all consultation cases

17. Demonstrate mastery working effectively and collaboratively with people and agencies

18. Demonstrate mastery of knowledge and understanding of professional, ethical, and legal standards

19. Demonstrate mastery of upholding these standards in professional decision making to enhance the quality of services and protect the rights of all parties

20. Demonstrate mastery of sound principles of behavior change in order to design and implement prevention and intervention programs to promote positive changes in children’s learning and behavior

21. Demonstrate mastery in helping parents, caregivers, and schools develop goals for children, taking into account the need to adjust expectations for individual children

Program Requirements

The program focuses on the integration of behavioral science and the application of psychological principles, with emphasis on direct and indirect service to children in the schools. Each semester students participate in a research group, a small informal seminar relating to the development and conduct of their research, progressing to the formulation and completion of the master’s thesis (for those entering without a master’s degree), and culminating in the doctoral dissertation.

The school psychology program is committed to providing high-quality doctoral training that prepares students to meet the needs of children in schools, hospitals, and other child-related settings. Students are trained to meet these needs directly through the assessment of learning and adjustment problems, individual and group counseling, and the design of school-and home-based intervention programs. Nine program goals guide training:

a.) demonstrate a thorough knowledge of psychology and educational theory and research;
b.) contribute to scholarship by applying research methods and tools of inquiry;
c.) demonstrate skills in the foundations of school psychology practice;
d.) provide a full range of psychological services in diverse and inclusive settings;
e.) use assessment data on student learning to adapt instruction and design treatment;
f.) engage in continuing professional growth;
g.) provide collaborative consultation with school personnel, families and caregivers, and direct care staff;
h.) adhere to professional, ethical, and legal standards governing the profession; and contribute to improve student learning and behavior.

The program incorporates a continuously integrated practicum-internship in the schools. Supervision of field experiences is provided by local psychologists, University faculty in the program, and adjunct faculty. All doctoral students are required to complete a full-time, one-year internship in a school system or in a combination of school systems and a clinic, institutional setting, or community agency. These are paid internships, with primary supervision (within jointly agreed upon guidelines) from the school system or agency involved.

The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 90 credits, including up to 18 thesis/dissertation credits, as well as 6 credits of internship described above. Students usually take three courses in both the fall and spring semesters and two during the summer term. Consistent with the American Psychological Association’s Standards of Accredication for Health Service Psychology and New York State’s Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, students must successfully complete coursework required for the doctoral degree under three categories: (a) the School Psychology Core (foundation courses, assessment, consultation and supervision, and practica) (33 credits); (b) Intervention Models (principles of applied behavio analysis and one counseling course) (6 credits); and (c) the Psychology Core (statistics and research design, human development, history and systems, biological bases, individual differences, cognitive and affective bases, social bases, and diversity) (27 credits). After completing coursework requirements, students become candidates for the doctoral degree. Formal advancement to candidacy is based on successful completion of the master’s thesis (or its equivalent) and the comprehensive qualifying examination. This examination involves a written critical review of theory and research literature and a related research proposal in an approved area, an oral presentation of both the research and proposal, and an oral defense of the written and oral presentations. The student’s written dissertation proposal must be defended before a dissertation committee. Following the research, the student must defend the completed dissertation in an oral examination. Student progress is reviewed each semester by the faculty, and written feedback is provided to students.

Financial Assistance

All students are eligible for four years of funding which may include a stipend and a tuition scholarship for appointments as teaching or research assistantships; university fellowships, or clinical externships and internships. The department makes a determined effort to offer financial support to all graduate students.


*The official designation required by the New York State Board of Regents is School Psychologist.

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