School Psychology (PhD)

Program Overview

 

The aim of Northeastern University’s School Psychology Doctoral Program (SPDP) is to train health service psychologists in the specialty of school psychology who are prepared to work within a variety of settings (e.g., schools, universities, clinics, hospitals). Through coursework, research, and fieldwork experiences, students develop competencies across research, intervention, assessment, consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills, individual and cultural diversity, ethical and legal standards, supervision, professional-values, -attitudes, and -behaviors, and communication- and interpersonal-skills. (See below)

Profession-Wide Competencies
(i) Research

  • Demonstrate the substantially independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activities (e.g., critical literature reviews, dissertation, efficacy studies, clinical case studies, theoretical papers, program evaluation projects, program development projects) that are of sufficient quality and rigor to have the potential to contribute to the scientific, psychological, or professional knowledge base.
  • Conduct research or other scholarly activities.
  • Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activity via professional publication and presentation at the local (including the host institution), regional, or national level.

(ii) Ethical and legal standards

  • Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with each of the following: (1) The current version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, (2) Relevant laws, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, local, state, regional, and federal levels, (3) and Relevant professional standards and guidelines.
  • Recognize ethical dilemmas as they arise, and apply ethical decision-making processes in order to resolve the dilemmas.
  • Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities.

(iii) Individual and cultural diversity

  • An understanding of how their own personal/cultural history, attitudes, and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves.
  • Knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities including research, training, supervision/consultation, and service.
  • The ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, services, and other professional activities). This includes the ability to apply a framework for working effectively with areas of individual and cultural diversity not previously encountered over the course of their careers. Also included is the ability to work effectively with individuals whose group membership, demographic characteristics, or worldviews create conflict with their own.
  • Demonstrate the requisite knowledge base, ability to articulate an approach to working effectively with diverse individuals and groups, and apply this approach effectively in their professional work.

(iv) Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors

  • Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning, and concern for the welfare of others
  • Engage in self-reflection regarding one’s personal and professional functioning; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being, and professional effectiveness.
  • Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision.
  • Respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence as they progress across levels of training.

(v) Communications and interpersonal skills

  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees, and those receiving professional services.
  • Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal, and written communications that are informative and well-integrated; demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts.
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well.

(vi) Assessment

  • Demonstrate current knowledge of diagnostic classification systems, functional and dysfunctional behaviors, including consideration of client strengths and psychopathology.
  • Demonstrate understanding of human behavior within its context (e.g., family, social, societal and cultural).
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge of functional and dysfunctional behaviors including context to the assessment and/or diagnostic process.
  • Demonstrate understanding of human behavior within its context (e.g., family, social, societal and cultural).
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge of functional and dysfunctional behaviors including context to the assessment and/or diagnostic process.
  • Select and apply assessment methods that draw from the best available empirical literature and that reflect the science of measurement and psychometrics; collect relevant data using multiple sources and methods appropriate to the identified goals and questions of the assessment as well as relevant diversity characteristics of the service recipient.
  • Interpret assessment results, following current research and professional standards and guidelines, to inform case conceptualization, classification, and recommendations, while guarding against decision-making biases, distinguishing the aspects of assessment that are subjective from those that are objective.
  • Communicate orally and in written documents the findings and implications of the assessment in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a range of audiences.

(vii) Intervention

  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services.
  • Develop evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service delivery goals.
  • Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the relevant research literature to clinical decision making.
  • Modify and adapt evidence-based approaches effectively when a clear evidence-base is lacking.
  • Evaluate intervention effectiveness, and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation.

(viii) Supervision

  • Demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices.

(ix) Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills

  • Demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of consultation models and practices.

Information
Accreditation Info
APA Accreditation

Northeastern’s School Psychology PhD Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA). The next APA accreditation site visit will be held in 2020. Students who graduate from an accredited program are eligible for licensure.

Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979/E-mail: apaaccred@apa.org

Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

nasp logo

Northeastern’s School Psychology PhD Program is also fully accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists. For more information click on the following link: NASP Approved Programs

Application Due Date

December 1

Contact Information
Amy Briesch

Dr. Amy Briesch 
Program Director
404  Int’l Village
Tel: 617.373.8291
a.briesch@northeastern.edu

Program Faculty

Highlights

The Ecological Framework

We prepare school psychologists who think systemically and who are aware of the profound effect culture and the environment have on the learning and emotional health of children.

Professional Identity and Social Conscience

Our students have a strong professional identity and social conscience. In addition, many of our alumni have assumed leadership roles in state and national organizations.

Practice-Oriented Education

Consistent with the mission of the university, real-world projects and work experiences are integrated into coursework throughout the program.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Our students learn how to work on teams in delivering services, and how to draw upon the rich resources of professionals from related disciplines.

Supportive Learning Environment

We view ongoing support and feedback as critical for students’ learning and professional development. Faculty members take pride in mentoring and advising students and incoming students receive peer mentorship from advanced students.

Sample Curriculum

The PhD program in school psychology requires a total of 97 semester hours, including a full-year internship. Students entering with a Bachelor’s degree typically complete the program in 5-6 years.

Please see the program requirements in the university catalog here: Course Catalog

Eligibility for Licensure

The PhD in School Psychology at Northeastern University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association and meets the “Guidelines for Defining ‘Doctoral Degree in Psychology’” as implemented by the ASPPB/National Register Designation Project. Therefore, a graduate of this designated program who decides to apply for licensure as a psychologist typically will meet the jurisdictional educational requirements for licensing. However, individual circumstances vary, and, there may be additional requirements that must be satisfied prior to being licensed as a psychologist, potentially including specific clinical practice supervision requirements at the advanced practicum, internship and post-doctoral level. Students should contact the state / provincial / territorial licensing board in the jurisdiction in which they plan to apply for exact information. Additional information including links to jurisdictions is available on the ASPPB’s web site: www.asppb.org. For questions about the PhD in School Psychology as it relates to doctoral psychology licensure, please contact Director of Clinical Training, Jessica B. Edwards George, PhD at j.george@northeastern.edu

Admission Requirements

Candidates for admission are expected to meet the following requirements:

  • Strong undergraduate record
  • Strong graduate record, if applicable
  • GRE and TOEFL or IELTS

  • Personal statement of prior experience and professional goals
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal interview with faculty and current students

It is preferable for prospective students to have an undergraduate major or minor in psychology. At a minimum prospective students should have taken the following undergraduate courses: (1) Introduction to Psychology; (2) Child Development; (3) Abnormal Psychology; and (4) Research Methods and Statistics. Prospective students should have prior experience working with children and conducting research.

The program faculty reviews your credentials to assess the likelihood of your successful completion of the program and your potential for contribution to the field of school psychology and the community at large.

Admission is based on the evaluation of demonstrated academic performance, quality of recommendations, previous relevant experience, and your fit within our program.

Students are accepted into the program based on undergraduate grades and GRE or MAT scores, which are reviewed by the program director. Applicants who do not hold an undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution and whose native language is not english must also take the TOEFL or IELTS.

Important Information

Prospective Student Information
Program Facts

Credit Hours

97 semester hours

Program Length

Typically 5-6 years from BA admission

Admission Requirements

  • Strong undergraduate record
  • Strong graduate record, if applicable
  • GRE and TOEFL or IELTS
  • Personal statement of prior experience and professional
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal interview with faculty and current students

Graduation Requirements

  • GPA 3.00 or better;
  • Mentored research project;
  • Passing grades on all comprehensive portfolio Sections;
  • Completed internship; and
  • Completed dissertation.

Measures of Satisfactory Progress

  • GPA 3.00 or better;
  • Satisfactory progress in field placements (Practicum, Advanced Field Work, Internship);
  • Satisfactory progress on Comprehensive portfolio;
  • Satisfactory completion of mentored research project;
  • Development/approval of dissertation proposal; and
  • Satisfactory completion/defense of dissertation.
Fieldwork at-a-Glance

Fieldwork training for the PhD Program in School Psychology consists of a 75-hour pre-practicum, a 200-hour practicum in a school, two years of advanced field work (600 hours each year, or approximately 20 hours/week) in a school and mental health/health care setting, and one year of an approved full-time, pre-doctoral internship, all with corresponding on-campus seminars where they receive university supervision and benefit from the experiences of their peers.

PRE-PRACTICUM

As its name denotes, the pre-practicum occurs prior to the practicum. Students complete the 75-hour pre-practicum in May and June in their first year of study. The purpose of the pre-practicum is for students to gain observational experiences and to learn about school ecology. In addition to school- based observational experiences, students participate in a one-semester hour pre-practicum seminar on campus, which is taught by one of the core school psychology faculty members.

PRACTICUM

Students complete 200 hours of field experience in school psychology during their second year in the program. Prior to beginning practicum, students must have a contract signed by their site and Northeastern University. Practicum begins in September and continues until the end of the public school year in June. Practicum supervision and mentoring must be provided by a state credentialed school psychologist with a minimum of three years of experience.

Students should receive at least one hour of face-to-face supervision per week during their practicum. Students should complete between 3-6 assessments during their practicum year with at least two comprehensive psycho-educational assessments. The comprehensive assessments should include multiple reliable and valid methods that assess multiple domains of functioning, and the choice of instruments should be derived from the presenting concerns / referral questions.

Note: the second-year practicum experience for doctoral students involves less than half of the hours completed by students in our C.A.G.S. program in their second year. Doctoral students should not exceed the 200-hour guideline as this will have a negative impact on their research development and the demands placed on them by their challenging coursework.

Course Work: Practicum students in the PhD program will have already taken the following courses:

  • Learning Principles
  • Infant, Child & Adolescent Development
  • Seminar in School Psychology
  • Understanding Culture and Diversity
  • Behavior Management
  • Research, Data Analysis, and Evaluation
  • Cognitive Assessment
  • Clinical Skills in Counseling Psychology
  • Pre-practicum Seminar
  • Advanced Psychometric Principles
  • Biological Basis of Behavior

During the practicum year students will take the following courses, some of which have associated fieldwork (see requirements below*) that must be completed in a school-based field site:

Fall Semester

  • Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Assesment
  • Counseling Children and Adolescents in School
  • Intermediate Statistics
  • Practicum Seminar

*Fall Course-Based Requirements

Spring Semester

  • Advanced Research and Data Analysis
  • Consultation and Program Evaluation
  • Counseling Children and Adolescents in School
  • Practicum Seminar

For the Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Assesment Course, students are required to complete a comprehensive assessment including (a) systematic direct observations (b) teacher, student, and parent interviews, and (c) broad and narrow band rating scales.

For the Counseling Children and Adolescents course sequence, students (a) must be able to
counsel an individual and group for the semester and (b) write two comprehensive case
summaries (“treatment plans”) for each (See Portfolio Guidelines for details of the requirement).

For the Consultation course, students (a) must identify a teacher who would be willing to meet
four times and (b) implement strategies in the classroom

ADVANCED FIELDWORK

Students complete 600 hours of Advanced Fieldwork during years 3 and 4 of the program. Students typically meet the requirement by completing 20 hours of fieldwork over the course of the academic year (September-June). Fieldwork sites typically offer the opportunity for several different types of psychological services including assessment, intervention and systems-level prevention. Sites may include schools, hospitals, and outpatient community mental health centers. At least 600 hours must occur in a K-12 school. School-based advanced fieldwork sites are required to provide at least one hour/week of individual supervision by a licensed (professional level) school psychologist. Non-school advanced fieldwork sites are required to provide at least one hour/week of individual supervision by a licensed doctoral-level supervisor, in addition to supervision by other staff, such as for group or family work, or psycho-diagnostic assessments.

During each year of advanced fieldwork a minimum of two face-to-face meetings will be conducted with the university supervisor, the field supervisor, and the graduate student to discuss the student’s progress. Advanced fieldwork sites are required to be within a 50-mile radius of the university. After each meeting, the university supervisor, the field supervisor, and the graduate student will sign the MA DOE Initial License as a School Psychology form that documents the occurrence of the meeting. In addition, university supervisors, field supervisors, and students will communicate via email and telephone on an ongoing basis to address needs as they arise.

Students participating in an Advanced Fieldwork placement are required to attend the Advanced Fieldwork Seminar, which is led by a faculty member who provides university-based group supervision. The seminar leader is the official liaison between the doctoral program and the field site. The seminar meets regularly during the fieldwork experience, and students are expected to present cases and participate in discussions. Fieldwork site supervisors will be asked to complete an evaluation of the student’s performance at the end of each semester. At the end of the year, students submit an evaluation of their site to the seminar leader.

Field Supervision:

Field supervisors in school sites must have a Massachusetts educator’s license (certification) as a school psychologist and a minimum of three years of experience as a school psychologist. Practicum and Advanced Fieldwork supervision consists of a minimum of one hour per week, in a face-to-face format. In non-school sites, supervisors must be licensed health providers in the state of Massachusetts and a minimum of three years experience as a psychologist.

University Supervision:

Students are enrolled in a seminar course, instructed by a certified school psychologist during the practicum year. The university supervisor maintains contact with the field supervisor through two site visits and phone calls when necessary. At the end of the practicum year, the field and university supervisors determine if the student has progressed adequately in core areas and is ready for internship.

Faculty Contact Information:

Director of Clinical Training:
Dr. Jessica Edwards-George
(j.george@northeastern.edu; 617-373-3681)

Program Director:
Dr. Amy Briesch
(a.briesch@northeastern.edu; 617-373-8291)

Pre-doctoral Internships

Pre-Doctoral Internship Placements:

The following list includes examples of where current and former students have done their pre-doctoral internship.

    • AHRC New York City, NY
    • Center for Effective Child Therapy at Judge Baker Children’s Center, Boston, MA
    • Devereux, Villanova, PA
    • Franciscan Hospital for Children, Boston, MA
    • Hawaii Psychology Internship Consortium (Kauai School District), Kauai, HI
    • Mailman Center for Child Development
    • May Institute, Randolph, MA
    • Milton Hershey School, Hershey, PA
    • Newton Public Schools, Newton MA
    • Primary Children’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT
    • University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM
    • Washburn Center for Children, Minneapolis, MN
Optional Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis

Northeastern University’s School Psychology MS/CAGS and PhD Programs are now offering an optional concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Behavior Analysis (ABA) that provides students with the opportunity to apply to sit for the BCBA exam upon completion of the concentration. This optional sequence includes additional coursework from Northeastern University’s Certificate Program in ABA under the direction of Dr. Laura Dudley (http://www.northeastern.edu/bouve/caep/programs/aba.html). Two of the courses are already part of the regular school psychology curriculum (CAEP 6206 Learning Principles and CAEP 6347 Behavior Management). Students take five additional on-line courses that are part of Northeastern University’s Certificate Program in ABA (CAEP 6326 Behavioral Concepts and Principles, CAEP 6327 Behavior Assessment, CAEP 6328 Research Design and Methods, CAEP 6329 Service Administration, CAEP 6336 Systematic Inquiry in Applied Research). In addition, students have the opportunity to gain supervised experience hours by taking CAEP 8417 Intensive Practicum in ABA I and CAEP 8418 Intensive Practicum in ABA II. These two courses fulfill 50% of the required supervised experience hours. The ABA courses are independently offered from the School Psychology PhD Program and are not required for the program. None of the on-line courses are permitted to substitute for courses in the required PhD curriculum. If students are interested in pursuing the ABA concentration, they should inform Drs. Briesch and Dudley of their interest at the start of the program because this choice will have implications for their coursework and fieldwork in year 1 of the program.

School Psychology Program FAQs
Current Student Information

Advanced Fieldwork Manual

Apply to the School Psychology PhD Program.