School Psychology M.A. and Certificate
Degree: Certificate of Advanced Study and Master of Arts
Program Director: Bruce Mortenson
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.
- 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.
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.
Submit the online application including the following:
- 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 605||COUNSELING TECHNIQUES||3|
|PSYC 625||FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT||3|
|PSYC 651||INTERVENTIONS IN SCHOOL SETTINGS||3|
|PSYC 687||ADVANCED EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN I||3|
|PSYC 713||ROLE OF THE SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST||3|
|PSYC 720||ASSESSMENT OF INTELLIGENCE||3|
|PSYC 733||EXCEPTIONAL CHILD: ADVANCED ISSUES||3|
|PSYC 761||SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT||3|
|PSYC 790||ETHICAL, LEGAL AND PROFESSIONAL ISSUES IN PSYCHOLOGY||3|
|PSYC 611||DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY||3|
Required Courses for the Certificate of Advanced Study
|PSYC 622||ADVANCED MULTICULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY||3|
|PSYC 703||PRESCHOOL ASSESSMENT||3|
|PSYC 730||ADVANCED CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHOTHERAPY||3|
|PSYC 731||SCHOOL BASED CONSULTATION||3|
|PSYC 735||DIRECT ASSESSMENT OF ACADEMIC SKILLS||3|
|PSYC 771||SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY PRACTICUM I||3|
|PSYC 773||SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY PRACTICUM II||3|
|PSYC 796||INTERNSHIP IN SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY II (Spring term)||4.5|
|PSYC 794||INTERNSHIP IN SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY I||4.5|
|PSYC 679||SPECIAL TOPICS SEMINAR||3|
|PSYC 791||INTERNSHIP SEMINAR IN SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY||1.5|
|PSYC 792||INTERNSHIP SEMINAR IN SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY II||1.5|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Understand basic principles of psychology and human development contributing to normal and atypical development of children;
- Understand and assess the culture and norms of schools in order to optimize entry into schools and make important contributions to the school system;
- 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;
- Plan and implement empirically sound interventions, and use data to evaluate the effectiveness of those interventions;
- Address the mental health needs of students through individual, group, and crisis counseling; use data to provide evidence of the effectiveness of such counseling;
- Provide individual and systemic consultation to families, teachers and administrators with a focus on improving professional/family relationships;
- Serve as members of multidisciplinary problem-solving, special education, and crisis intervention teams and take leadership roles on those teams;
- Develop awareness of and sensitivity to cultural differences among all clients, including parents, teachers and students; provide services that demonstrate this awareness and sensitivity;
- Plan and conduct action research to answer specific questions within the school environment;
- 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;
- Serve as change agents to improve the quality of education for all students with whom they work;
- Adhere to legal and ethical guidelines for our profession throughout training and practice.
Professors: Susan Bartels, Bethany Brand, Leonie Brooks, Justin Buckingham, Maria Fracasso, M. Paz Galupo, Jonathan Mattanah, Geoffrey Munro (Chair), Kim Shifren, Jan Sinnott, Evangeline Wheeler
Associate Professors: Danice Brown, Bryan Devan, David Earnest, Kerri Goodwin, Elizabeth Katz, Bruce Mortenson, Paul Pistell, Christa Schmidt
Assistant Professors: Michal Balass, Justine Calcagno , Christina Dardis , Alexa Doerr , Candice Easton, Michael Ent , Erin Girio-Herrera, Jeffrey Kukucka, Jacqueline Leventon , Sandra Llera, Shannon McClain, Jared McGinley, Abby Mello, Matthew Mychailyszyn
Lecturers: Christopher Magalis, Jessica Stansbury, Brianna Stinebaugh
Visiting Assistant Professors: Joella Anzelc, Mark Chachich