School Psychology (PhD)


Have a positive impact on the emotional health and learning of children.

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, and hospitals).

Through coursework, research, and fieldwork experiences, students develop competencies across research, intervention, assessment, consultation and inter-professional/interdisciplinary skills, individual and cultural diversity, ethical and legal standards, supervision, professional values — attitudes, behaviors, and communication — and interpersonal skills.

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.

Graduates of our program who decide 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 website. For questions about the PhD in School Psychology as it relates to doctoral psychology licensure, please contact the Director of Clinical Training, Jessica B. Edwards George, PhD.

Quick View

Degree type:
– School Psychology PhD

– On-ground

– Full-time

Application Deadline: Dec 1

Credit Hours: 97 semester hours

Program Length: Typically 5-6 years from BA admission


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

Please see the program requirements in the university catalog

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.

Core Requirements

A grade of B or higher is required in all coursework.


Comprehensive examination
Annual review
Mentored research project
Dissertation committee
Dissertation proposal
Dissertation defense

Sample Curriculum

Sample curriculum, subject to change.

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

97 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required

Admissions Requirements

Candidates for admission are expected to meet the following requirements:

Strong undergraduate record

Strong graduate record, if applicable

TOEFL or IELTS; GRE is optional

Personal statement of prior experience and professional goals

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
  • 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 the mentored research project
  • Development/approval of dissertation proposal
  • Satisfactory completion/defense of dissertation

Got questions?

Dr. Jessica Edwards-George
Director of Clinical Training


Virtual Information Sessions

November 16, 2023
3 – 4 PM

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

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 fieldwork (600 hours each year, or approximately 20 hours/week) in a school with the possible option to be in a non-school 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 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 WorkPracticum 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 assessment
  • 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, consultation, and systems-level prevention. In all cases, the first 600-hour Advanced Fieldwork placement must occur in a K-12 school. Although it is possible for the second 600-hour Advanced Fieldwork placement to be completed in a non-school setting, students who wish to pursue this in their second year of AFW must receive approval from the program faculty prior to applying to non-school sites. Decisions regarding whether students are able to pursue AFW placements in non-school sites will be made based on the breadth and depth of the student’s prior school-based experiences.

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 (a) certified school psychologist during the practicum year and (b) licensed psychologist during the Advanced Fieldwork years. The university supervisor maintains contact with the field supervisor through two site visits and phone calls when necessary. At the end of the year, the field and university supervisors determine if the student has progressed adequately in core areas and is ready for the subsequent fieldwork experience.

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

Northeastern University’s School Psychology MS/CAGS and PhD Programs offer an optional concentration in Applied 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. Nicole Davis. Three of the courses are already part of the regular school psychology curriculum (CAEP 6206 Learning Principles, CAEP 6328 Single Case Design, and CAEP 6347 Behavior Management).

Students take four additional online courses that are part of Northeastern University’s Certificate Program in ABA (CAEP 6326 Behavioral Concepts and Principles, CAEP 6327 Behavior Assessment, 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 by the School Psychology PhD Program and are not required for the program.

None of the online courses are permitted to substitute for courses in the required PhD curriculum. If students are interested in pursuing the ABA concentration, they should inform the ABA and School Psychology program directors 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.

(i) Research

  • Demonstrate the substantially independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activities (e.g., critical literature reviews, dissertations, efficacy studies, clinical case studies, theoretical papers, program evaluation projects, and 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.
  • Apply supervision knowledge in direct or simulated practice with psychology trainees, or other health professionals. Examples of direct or simulated practice examples of supervision include, but are not limited to, role-played supervision with others, and peer supervision with other trainees.

(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.

Student Admissions Outcomes and Other Data

Accelerated Information

American Psychological Association logo

Northeastern’s School Psychology PhD Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA). 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: [email protected]


National Association of School Psychologists

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Northeastern’s school psychology programs special?

Both the MS/CAGS and PhD programs are distinct for a number of reasons, including strong faculty mentoring relationships with students, a supportive learning community, a rigorous curriculum with excellent applied training in both research and practice, an ecological and multicultural approach to learning with a focus on family, school and community systems, culture, and diversity, a strong network of practice sites for field placements in urban schools and academic medical centers, and opportunities to develop leadership skills.

Does my undergraduate major need to be psychology to apply to the program?

No. Although most applicants to the program were psychology majors in college, some are not. Our program does require the following four undergraduate psychology courses as prerequisites:
(1) Introduction to Psychology
(2) Research Methods and Statistics (in psychology or in another social science field)
(3) Developmental Psychology
(4) Abnormal Psychology.

What is a CAGS degree?

CAGS stands for Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study and is the equivalent to an Educational Specialist (EdS) or 6th year degree. Our program prepares students for National Certification in School Psychology (NCSP) and
Massachusetts licensure in school psychology.