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.
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.
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:
- Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Assesment
- Counseling Children and Adolescents in School
- Intermediate Statistics
- Practicum Seminar
*Fall Course-Based Requirements
- 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
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 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.
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
Dr. Amy Briesch