2022-2023 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jun 14, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School Psychology, PhD

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


Tanya L. Eckert, Ph.D., Meredith Martin, Ph.D., Natalie Russo, Ph.D., Linda Sun, Ph.D., and Shannon Sweeney, Ph.D.

Program Description:

The school psychology program prepares students to engage in research and practice to meet the needs of children and youth in schools and other related settings.  The program is committed to providing high-quality doctoral training that prepares students to meet the needs of children and youth both directly and indirectly by working with parents, teachers, and other direct care providers.  In addition, the program offers broad and general doctoral education and training that includes preparation in health service psychology (HSP).  The program adheres to the scientist-practitioner training model.  A primary goal of the program is for students to understand the principles of scientific inquiry and to apply these principles to their professional decision making.  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, while engaging in actions that indicate respect for and understanding of cultural and individual differences and diversity.


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

Questions related to the program’s accreditation status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, Phone: (202)336-5979; Email: apaacred@apa.org; Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation.

Student Learning Outcomes

The student learning outcomes are to demonstrate profession-wide competence. There are three primary aims that guide the program’s education and training:

1) to prepare psychologists who are knowledgeable and competent in research;

 2) to prepare psychologists who are knowledgeable and competent in the delivery of health service psychology; and

3) to prepare psychologists who are knowledgeable and competent in the specialty area of school psychology. 

To ensure that all students acquire a general knowledge base in science and practice preparation (Aim 1), the field of psychology and health service psychology (i.e., Aim 2) and the specialty area of school psychology (i.e., Aim 3), profession-wide competencies were established.  The program believes that these competencies are integrated and dynamic.  As program graduates enter professional practice, continuous input and improvement will occur, which requires all program graduates to engage in life-long learning.

Program Requirements

The education and training offered in the School Psychology Program is sequential, cumulative, graded in complexity, and designed to prepare students for further education and professional practice in health service psychology.

The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 90 credits of coursework and a series of Milestones. Seven course areas are mandated by NYSED and students do not have the option of substituting courses in place of mandated courses (PSY 614, 677, 617, 682, 653, 894, 655, and 756).

Required Course Work

1) School Psychology Core (33 credit hours)

Consultation Services


PSY 600: Special Topics: Theories and Methods of Assessment and Diagnosis

2) Intervention Models (6 credits)

3) Psychology Core (27 credits)

Human Development

History & Systems

Cognition & Affective Basis

Social Basis


4) Research (18 credits)

(18 credits from the following)

5) Internship in School Psychology (6 credits)

Total Credits Required (90 credits)


In addition to the required coursework, all students must complete the following milestones:

Master’s Thesis

All students are required to complete a Master’s thesis upon completion of approximately 30 hours of graduate work unless they enter the program with a completed thesis or a Master’s degree.  Students who completed a Master’s thesis elsewhere will be required to complete a pre-doctoral project instead of the Master’s thesis. 

Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive exam includes two levels: 1) professional examination assessing broad and general preparation for entry-level practice; and 2) integrative program examination assessing research preparation and broad and general preparation for the recognized specialty practice. 


All students are required to complete a doctoral dissertation, and their doctoral dissertation proposal must be defended prior to beginning the pre-doctoral internship.


The internship is a year-long, organized training program that is designed to provide students with a planned, programmed, sequence of training experiences associated with the practice of psychology and is satisfactory in quality, breadth, scope, and nature.

Optional Concentrations

Please keep the “triple dipping rule” in mind as you consider the following optional programs to complement your MA and PhD programs.

The triple dipping rule- Per university policy (link: http://coursecatalog.syr.edu/content.php?catoid=25&navoid=3251#34-0), specific courses/credits can be counted toward up to two (but no more than two) graduate programs or degree. The courses listed in the Program of Study for the Master’s in Psychology count towards the PhD in School Psychology.

Concentration in Neuroscience (optional)

In addition, students are expected to:

Present at least one special seminar and participate in other research days organized or sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program during your tenure as a student.

Attend program-sponsored seminars given by outside speakers, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty.

Concentration in Advanced Quantitative Methods in Psychology (optional)

The program has two goals. First, students will receive training in a wide range of advanced statistics or quantitative methods. Such breadth assures that students have maximum flexibility in designing a curriculum that best fits their individual career goals. Second, the program emphasizes competence in the application of knowledge and analytic skills acquired through coursework to students’ own research.  Together these will help promote the pursuit of high-quality research and research-focused careers in academic and non-academic settings.

Requirements (part a)

12 credit hours of coursework focusing on statistical or quantitative methods at the 500-level or above. Select from these courses:

Requirements (part b)

An approved empirical research product demonstrating competence in the use of an advanced statistical or quantitative method:

A research product that demonstrates competence in the use of an advanced statistical or quantitative method may include one of the following options:

(b-1) submitting a manuscript based on empirical research using an advanced statistical or quantitative method for peer review, or

(b-2) successfully defending a thesis, qualifying exam, or dissertation using an advanced statistical or quantitative method. Specific statistical or quantitative methods on which the product is based may be different from those in the student’s elective coursework or desired specialization areas in psychology.

To confirm that this requirement is met, the student must:

  1. Submit to the committee a two-paragraph description about at the initiation of the project or proposal of the milestone: indicate the advanced statistical or quantitative method to be used in their project, along with a statement that the student alone will conduct the advanced statistical or quantitative method analysis. The committee will indicate if the proposal is sufficient for this requirement. ​​​​​​​
  2. After the completion of the project, the committee must review and approve the final product along with a short statement confirming that they conducted the advanced statistical or quantitative method.


The program is strongly committed to the recruitment of individuals from diverse backgrounds.  Applications are considered for the fall term only, and the deadline for receipt of the completed application is December 1. Only full-time students are considered for admission. 

The program receives approximately 70 applications per year for three to four openings. There are approximately 20 students in the program.  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 majors. 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.  Prior involvement in independent research (e.g., paper presentations) as well as mental health or education-related services (e.g., supervisor evaluations) is recommended.

Financial Support

The department makes a determined effort to offer each student who is in good standing financial support in the form of a stipend and tuition remission. Stipends may stem from several sources including, clinical assistantships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships, or clinical internships and externships. Outstanding students are placed into competition for University-wide fellowships. In addition, students are encouraged to apply for available external funding.

Satisfactory Progress

As part of scientist-practitioner training, students must demonstrate satisfactory clinical and interpersonal skills, actively participate in a research group, demonstrate the ability to function independently in all phases of the research process, and make timely progress toward completion of research requirements.

All students who receive department funding as a Teaching Assistant will be evaluated each semester by the faculty member assigned to the course. Each student’s overall performance will be assessed (e.g., teaching effort and performance, attendance, meeting deadlines, following course guidelines and policies, professionalism, etc.). In addition, if the TA assignment includes teaching, the faculty member may conduct an in-class observation to evaluate each student’s teaching skills and individualized feedback will be provided. It is expected that a student’s overall performance each semester, as assessed by the faculty member assigned to the course, will meet or exceed expectations in order for a student to remain in good standing in the program. 


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

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