Program Mission: The purpose of the Specialist in School Psychology program is to prepare competent professional school psychologists to serve children, teachers, and parents in an age of societal, educational, and professional change. Students interested in pursuing careers in school psychology are admitted into the Specialist in School Psychology program. The specialist’s degree is generally considered to be the equivalent of a master’s degree plus an additional 30 hours. It, or its equivalent, is recognized by the National Association of School Psychologists and most states, including Illinois, as the appropriate entry-level degree for the practice of school psychology.
Accreditation: The school psychology program is fully approved by the Illinois State Board of Education and National Council Accreditation of Teacher Education. Students are guaranteed state certification upon successful completion of the specialist’s degree and the state certification exam. In addition, the program has been approved by the National Association of School Psychologists.
Admission Requirements: To be eligible for degree candidacy, applicants must meet all of the requirements for admission to the Graduate School (see “Admission to Graduate Degree and Certificate Programs”). A limited number of students are accepted each year and admission to the program is competitive. Prior to consideration for acceptance, the applicant must provide evidence of admission to the graduate school and submit test scores for the GRE (general) test. In addition, the departmental application and three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s abilities and promise in the area of school psychology should be provided to the school psychology committee. A personal statement of reasons for wanting to enter the profession, related strengths and experiences, as well as long-term goals, is also required. Students may be asked to complete an interview.
If the following entrance requirements are met, the applicant may be eligible for acceptance into the School Psychology Program.
- A 3.0 (4.0 scale) grade point average in all undergraduate courses and a 3.25 in undergraduate psychology; OR
- A composite (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing) score at the 50th percentile or higher on the Graduate Record Exam - General Aptitude Test;” OR
- A score at the 50th percentile or higher on the psychology portion of the Graduate Record Exam; OR
- In an unusual situation where the above criteria are not met, the applicant may submit a petition to the school psychology committee for review. Probationary admission may be granted based upon the individual circumstances set forth in the applicant’s petition.
- Program Prerequisites: Applicants must present a transcript from an accredited institution showing completion of the following courses: introductory psychology; experimental psychology; statistics; abnormal behavior; child psychology; learning or behavior analysis/ modification; personality theory.
Deficiencies may be made up concurrently with the graduate program and will extend the length of the program. Petitions for waiver and/or substitution may be made to the departmental school psychology committee. Screening of applicants begins on March 1. Applicants should submit all materials (including GRE scores) before that date.
Study Plan Approval: Approval of the study plan for the specialist’s degree should normally come as soon as possible after acceptance into the degree program. Approval of the study plan is required for graduation.