Jun 24, 2024  
2022-2023 EIU Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 EIU Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School Psychology (Specialist)

Program Mission: The Specialist in School Psychology is the requirement for the preparation of competent professional school psychologists who serve children, teachers, and parents in an age of societal, educational, and professional change.  Candidates who successfully complete the Master of Science in School Psychology have the option of continuing and completing the Specialist in School Psychology or may consider the alternative of pursuing a doctoral degree. The Specialist 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 fully recognized by the 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, which guarantees candidates a national certification upon passing the examination for the Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP).

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”).

Step 1: School Psychology Faculty will individually review school psychology applications based on the following admission criteria: a) undergraduate academic preparation (see six prerequisite courses), GPA, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and application questions (e.g., additional languages, research interests).

Step 2: The school psychology committee will meet to collectively create a) a list of applicants to offer admission (including graduate assistantship), b) a list of applicants to offer admission, c) a list of applicants for a waitlist, and d) a list of applicants who are denied admission.

Step 3: The school psychology faculty will examine whether any of the students denied submission submitted GRE scores. If a student who was denied admission submitted GRE scores, those scores will be evaluated to determine whether the scores are inconsistent with other application materials to the extent where the committee would offer the applicant admission or a place that applicant on the waitlist.

Degree Audit: The graduate plan of study is the EIU Degree Audit, which is generated automatically at the time of degree or certificate candidacy. Modifications of the standard EIU Degree Audit are submitted by the graduate coordinator to the certification officer in the Graduate School at the time modifications are approved. The Degree Audit serves as an unofficial summary of requirements for the program. Degree and certificate candidates are advised to review the comprehensive summary of the Degree Audit process specified on the “Requirements for All Degree and Certificate Candidates” section of the Graduate Catalog. Individual programs may require candidates to submit plans of study in addition to the Degree Audit, candidates should consult with the program coordinator.



Degree Requirements

Degree requirements include those outlined for the specialist’s degree by the Graduate School (see “Requirements for the Specialist’s Degree”).  The Specialist’s Degree in School Psychology requires a minimum of 66 semester hours at the graduate level that may include 35 hours completed for the Master of Science in School Psychology and minimally 31 additional semester hours toward completion of the specialist’s degree. The plan of study leading to state certification and the specialist’s degree includes the following:

Psychological Foundations

Total Credits: 3

Professional School Psychology

Total Credits: 3

Psychological Assessment

Total Credits: 3

Research and Statistics

Total Credits: 3 to 6

Field and Clinical Experience

Total Credits: 18

Residency Requirement

The residency requirement is fulfilled by enrollment for at least eight semester hours in a single semester or at least six semester hours in each of two terms (semester or summer sessions of at least eight weeks duration).

Time limit

The final 42 semester hours of the approved program must be completed within a six-year period preceding the date of the awarding of the degree.

Academic Progress

Students must maintain a minimum of a 3.25 grade point average for retention in the program.  Failure to maintain a 3.25 average during one academic semester will result in probation during the following term. Failure to achieve a 3.25 average during the probationary term will result in immediate dismissal from the program.

Comprehensive Examination

Students must complete the Illinois State Board of Education licensure and the National Association of School Psychologists national certification examinations prior to graduation.


Four types of field/clinical experiences are built into the program.  In the student’s master of science program, a 150-clock-hour placement in a classroom is made to acquaint the student with the operations of a public school.  This is followed by a semester of clinical assessment practicum in the school system for 150-clock hours. During the final semester of course work, students are enrolled in a field practicum in which they complete 150 hours in the schools practicing their consultation and counseling skills. This practicum is taken concurrently with consultation and psychotherapy classes.  The field experience component culminates in a full school year internship (a minimum of 1,200 clock hours) in a site which meets the requirements set forth by the Illinois State Board of Education.  During this time the student works under the direct supervision of a practicing school psychologist in a school setting and receives periodic supervision from a faculty member of the school psychology program.


Each student must complete an acceptable empirical research project following departmental and University guidelines.  The final approval of the project rests with the student’s graduate committee. Regulations governing the writing of the thesis are available in the Graduate School Office.

Graduate Assistantships

Information on graduate assistantships may be obtained by contacting the Coordinator of Graduate Studies or Chair, Department of Psychology, Physical Sciences 1151, EIU