2014-2015 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jun 14, 2024  
2014-2015 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School Psychology, PhD

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Arts and Sciences

School Psychology*


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

The school psychology program at Syracuse University is fully 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.

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 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 Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional 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) Educational bases (psychoeducational practicum and either special education, counseling, or program evaluation) (6 credits); and (c) the Psychology Core (statistics and research design, human development, history and systems, biological bases, individual differences, learning and cognition, and social bases) (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.


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.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Arts and Sciences