School Psychology M.A. and Certificate

Degree: Certificate of Advanced Study and Master of Arts
Program Director: Susan M. Bartels
410-704-3070
sbartels@towson.edu

The 66-unit program, in which students earn a master’s (M.A.) degree in Psychology and Certificate of Advanced Study in School Psychology, is fully approved by NASP. Students who earn both the M.A. and the C.A.S. are eligible for individual certification as Nationally Certified School Psychologists, pending successful completion of the national certification examination. Graduates of the program are also qualified for a variety of positions within the field of psychology and for entrance into doctoral programs.

The mission of the School Psychology program is to produce school psychologists who are well prepared to function independently in a growing and evolving profession. Graduate students in school psychology are trained to view themselves as part of the larger school system, and to make their contributions relevant to the goals of the institutions in which they are employed. The School Psychology master’s and C.A.S program emphasize early intervention and the use of data-driven, systematic problem solving to address the needs of children and adolescents in the school setting. Students are trained to provide consultation to teachers, parents and administrators; to provide direct counseling and intervention to children and adolescents; to complete ecological assessments of classroom environments; and to administer and interpret a variety of psychological tests to assess intellectual functioning, academic achievement, adaptive behavior, and social/emotional characteristics of students. Students are trained to complete multidimensional evaluations that address the specific reason for referral and that are directly linked to recommendations for intervention.

The program promotes the use of intervention and assessment techniques that are empirically sound and sensitive to the diverse population of students that school psychologists serve. Students are expected to display professional work characteristics that are critical to their ability to work effectively with peers, faculty and school-based personnel. These include respect for human diversity, effective communication skills, effective interpersonal skills, ethical behavior, adaptability, flexibility and independence.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

  • At least 21 undergraduate units in psychology, which include course work in each of the following areas (all of which must be completed with a grade of “C” or better)1:
    • Behavioral Statistics
    • Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology
    • Social Psychology
    • Course work selected from the following: Experimental Psychology, Experimental Design or Research Design
    • Course work selected from the following: Child Development, Adolescent Development, Human Development
    • Course work selected from the following: Educational Psychology, Behavioral Principles, Behavior Modification, Applied Behavior Management
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 is required for admission to the program. All GPA calculations for admission are based upon the last 60 units of undergraduate and post-baccalaureate study.
  • Acceptable performance on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the past five years. Competency for graduate study can also be evidenced by an earned master’s degree in psychology in lieu of the GRE.
  • The highest-ranking applicants will be required to interview with the faculty of the School Psychology program.
1

NOTE: These undergraduate prerequisites cannot be used to satisfy any part of the requirements of the master’s degree and C.A.S. They must be completed prior to initiation of course work for the degree.

Send the following admission materials to:

University Admissions
Towson University
8000 York Road
Towson, MD 21252

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A letter of intent indicating why the applicant is interested in pursuing graduate study in school psychology

Completed application and admission credentials must meet the deadline of January 15 for fall admission. Students who miss this deadline may contact the program director to inquire if space is still available. Admission is granted on a competitive, space-available basis. Applications are not accepted for spring admission.

NOTE: For candidates already possessing a master’s degree in School Psychology, courses from a previous degree in School Psychology must be required courses in the current C.A.S. program in order to be accepted toward fulfilling requirements for the C.A.S. Courses that have been taken for the previous master’s degree will be reviewed for content and currency by the program director. Additionally, students must earn a minimum of 30 units in the School Psychology program to graduate, as well as complete the culminating internship. Other requirements will be determined on an individual basis. Candidates holding a master's degree in Psychology from Towson University in another concentration cannot earn a duplicate degree in Psychology but can complete the full School Psychology program as a C.A.S. student.

Non-immigrant international students: See additional admission information in Graduate Admissions.

DEGREE AND CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS

Required Courses for the Master’s Degree

PSYC 605COUNSELING TECHNIQUES3
PSYC 625FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT3
PSYC 651INTERVENTIONS IN SCHOOL SETTINGS3
PSYC 687ADVANCED EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN I3
PSYC 713ROLE OF THE SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST3
PSYC 720ASSESSMENT OF INTELLIGENCE3
PSYC 733EXCEPTIONAL CHILD: ADVANCED ISSUES3
PSYC 761SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT3
PSYC 790ETHICAL, LEGAL AND PROFESSIONAL ISSUES IN PSYCHOLOGY3
PSYC 611DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY3
Total Units30

Required Courses for the Certificate of Advanced Study

PSYC 622ADVANCED MULTICULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY3
PSYC 703PRESCHOOL ASSESSMENT3
PSYC 730ADVANCED CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHOTHERAPY3
PSYC 731SCHOOL BASED CONSULTATION3
PSYC 735DIRECT ASSESSMENT OF ACADEMIC SKILLS3
PSYC 771SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY PRACTICUM I3
PSYC 773SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY PRACTICUM II3
PSYC 796INTERNSHIP IN SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY II (Spring term)4.5
PSYC 794INTERNSHIP IN SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY I4.5
PSYC 679SPECIAL TOPICS SEMINAR3
PSYC 791INTERNSHIP SEMINAR IN SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY1.5
PSYC 792INTERNSHIP SEMINAR IN SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY II1.5
Total Units36

NOTE: Students may elect to earn a Graduate Certificate in Family-Professional Collaboration by completing additional courses. See the Family-Professional Collaboration heading in the College of Liberal Arts section of this catalog for more information.

FIELD EXPERIENCES

Practicum

During the second year of the program, concurrent with other course work, students enroll in a full-year practicum course (fall and spring terms). The course includes a two-day per week placement in a local school system under the supervision of a certified school psychologist (arranged by the program faculty) and a weekly seminar on campus. During practicum, students engage in a carefully sequenced series of experiences suited to their level of professional training.

Internship

Following successful completion of the practicum and comprehensive examination, students are eligible to apply for internships. The 1,200-hour internship is considered a capstone experience and occurs after the completion of all course work. Internships are completed on a full-time basis over one year or on a part-time basis over two years. Students in local placements (approximately 75 percent of our students) attend a biweekly seminar on campus taught by the internship coordinator, who is a full-time school psychology faculty member.

EXAMINATIONS

Comprehensive Examination

The written comprehensive exam must be completed successfully before a student begins the internship. Students have one opportunity to retake the comprehensive exam if it is not passed the first time. For candidates already possessing a master’s degree in School Psychology from another university, the requirement for the Comprehensive Exam will be determined by faculty.

Portfolio Evaluation

All C.A.S. candidates are required to submit a professional portfolio during the last term of their internship. Specific contents and standards for portfolios are provided to students by their advisers.

Praxis II Examination

Praxis II Examination in School Psychology must be taken prior to the conclusion of the internship year.

Skills and Competencies of Graduates: It is our expectation that, upon graduation, students will demonstrate the following skills and competencies:

  1. Understand basic principles of psychology and human development contributing to normal and atypical development of children;
  2. Understand and assess the culture and norms of schools in order to optimize entry into schools and make important contributions to the school system;
  3. Conduct ecological evaluations of classroom and school environments as well as psychological evaluations of children and adolescents who present with academic, behavioral, social and/or emotional difficulties to assist in placement decisions and to provide recommendations that address the reason for referral;
  4. Plan and implement empirically sound interventions, and use data to evaluate the effectiveness of those interventions;
  5. Address the mental health needs of students through individual, group, and crisis counseling;  use data to provide evidence of the effectiveness of such counseling;
  6. Provide individual and systemic consultation to families, teachers and administrators with a focus on improving professional/family relationships;
  7. Serve as members of multidisciplinary problem-solving, special education, and crisis intervention teams and take leadership roles on those teams;
  8. Develop awareness of and sensitivity to cultural differences among all clients, including parents, teachers and students; provide services that demonstrate this awareness and sensitivity;
  9. Plan and conduct action research to answer specific questions within the school environment;
  10. Provide in-service programs to assist school staff in understanding and applying psychological principles and techniques to improve the academic and behavioral functioning of students;
  11. Serve as change agents to improve the quality of education for all students with whom they work;
  12. Adhere to legal and ethical guidelines for our profession throughout training and practice.