The Ph.D. in School Psychology is an American Psychological Association-accredited program that leads to licensure as a psychologist in North Carolina, as well as in many other states.
We offer an integrated program that provides for a sequenced and cumulative training experience. Our program is designed to be responsive to multiple sets of professional requirements, creating many career options for our graduates.
Doctoral level graduates of our program assume positions as faculty, researchers, school psychologists, administrators, state or national leaders, and clinicians. Applicants come from various fields and stages of life. Successful school psychologists bring intellectual curiosity, a sense of social responsibility, and a commitment to working with children and youth.
Individuals without a strong psychology background may need to obtain additional knowledge in the field prior to applying. Individuals without experiences in working with children and/or youth will need to obtain direct experiences prior to applying. All applicants are required to have either a B.S. or B.A. degree in Psychology or a Master’s degree in a related field, prior to their entry into the program in the fall.
What does a school psychologist do?
School psychologists are engaged in professional activities that promote the academic/cognitive and social and emotional development of children and youth. They also promote the effective functioning of families, schools, and communities in order to enhance the development of children and youth. These activities take place in a variety of settings such as schools, community centers, hospitals, and clinics.
What are the career opportunities for graduates of this program?
Numerous opportunities are available for School Psychology doctoral graduates as the job market is extremely favorable, especially for those seeking academic, school-based, or community positions.
Our graduates work in public school systems, universities, research centers, mental health agencies, medical centers, and clinics.
Among the doctoral graduates who work in schools, over time many assume administrative positions such as directing psychological services in a school district. Graduates who work in mental health or clinic settings provide various psychological services to children and families. Often, they play an important liaison role between medical/clinical facilities and the schools.
Are there extracurricular activities to support my studies?
Many School Psychology students enter graduate school wanting to learn new skills in service of participating in the larger good. Our program offers targeted training to support graduates’ agency to seek, understand and foster children and youth’s thriving across school, home and community settings.
In addition to course work on innovation development and research-based implementation practices, students can participate in programs such as the CUBE and the Certificate in Social Innovation. Some of the social innovations our students have developed include:
a program to improve pediatric oncology patients’ transition from hospital to school,
a novel CBT program to disrupt the “school to prison” pipeline for African American high school students,
and an on online platform that utilizes behavioral activation strategies to support the mental health of new teachers.
How long does the program take to complete?
The Ph.D. in School Psychology is a 64-credit-hour program that is typically completed in three to five years. Years one, two, and three typically consist of course work and field-based externships, while years four and five are typically comprised of dissertation work and an internship.
These tables provide information on the number of years from initial enrollment to graduation, for students graduating in the designated year. Most students entering since the Program revision in 2012 graduate in five to six years.