Learn more about the Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology.

About the Program

The School Psychology PhD program follows a scientist-practitioner model, which emphasizes that a school psychologist's basic skills are derived from a thorough understanding of the science of psychology. Armed with this understanding of basic psychology, the school psychologist can adapt to changing professional demands and help determine the future of the profession. Without this background, a psychologist could only serve the role of a technician and would be poorly equipped to overcome any obstacles or lead new developments in the profession. Students who apply directly from a bachelor's degree can earn an MEd after completion of 30 credits of qualifying coursework toward the PhD.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: Students must complete one year of full-time residency. The program requires both day and evening classes.

Accreditation: The doctoral program in School Psychology is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Areas of Specialization: The program offers an optional concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis.

Job Prospects: Graduates are employed in universities, public and private schools, hospitals, research facilities, government and state agencies, and private practice.

Licensure/Certification: Certification in School Psychology is awarded after completing the internship and passing the examinations required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Some states certify without the examinations. Licensing as a psychologist in most states requires an additional post-doctoral year of supervision and passing the Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and a state licensure exam.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Students may take up to, but not more than, 9 credits of graduate study in the program before being admitted to the program. The credits transfer into the program, if the student is admitted. Students completing non-matriculated courses before being admitted to the program are NOT guaranteed admission.

Financing Opportunities: Financial support opportunities may include assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, tuition remission, graduate student employment, and other financial aid such as grants, loans and federal work study.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: December 1

Applications are accepted for the Fall term only. Applicants should submit all required admissions documents by the application deadline to receive priority consideration for admission and financial support.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained to provide insight regarding the applicant's academic competence. References from college/university faculty are recommended.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A master's degree is not required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A bachelor's degree is required. A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is expected.

International applicants should also submit an official document that validates completion and conferral of a degree, diploma and/or certificate. While not required, international applicants are encouraged to submit transcript(s) to the World Education Services (WES) for evaluation.

Statement of Goals: Using autobiographical style, explain your interest in pursuing a doctoral degree in education. The statement should address the following questions:

  • Why are interested in becoming a school psychologist?
  • What do you perceive as the role and functions of a school psychologist?
  • What is your area of research focus?
  • How does the doctoral program at Temple fit your individual interests, needs and future goals – and which faculty member’s research best matches your own interests?

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE: Submit scores from the general test taken no more than 5 years prior to application.

GRE Subject Test in Psychology: Optional.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53

Resume: Current resume required.

Interview: An interview with the faculty admissions committee may be required after a complete application is received.

Writing Sample: The academic writing sample should be a paper written for a class within the last five years. If a recent paper is not available, the applicant should compose an op-ed piece on an educational issue of their choosing. The op-ed should be 400 to 1,200 words in length and of the kind that might appear in The New York Times or Philadelphia Inquirer.

Advanced Standing: The advisor determines advanced standing during the student's first term in the program by evaluating the credits the student has taken in accordance with the relevance to and requirements of the School Psychology program. Students who have completed a master’s degree with at least 30 credits will be designated as admitted with the master’s degree; up to 30 credits of the master’s degree can be applied toward degree requirements.

Clearances: A Pennsylvania criminal background check, a federal criminal history check, a child abuse clearance, and a TB test are required upon enrollment. Students must complete and upload documentation of clearances prior to the start of their program.

Other Requirement: Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all accredited institutions attended and/or from which credit was earned must be submitted.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 99 for those who complete an internship through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC); 102 for those who complete a non-APPIC internship

Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree with the Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis: 105 for those who complete an APPIC internship; 108 for those who complete a non-APPIC internship

Required Courses:

Core Courses
ABA 5302Effective Teaching Strategies and Academic Interventions3
ABA 5303Ethical and Legal Issues3
or SPSY 5303 Ethical and Legal Issues
CPSY 5526Multicultural Counseling3
or AOD 5524 Sociocultural Dynamics
EDUC 8404Quantitative Analysis, Part I3
EDUC 8405Quantitative Analysis, Part II3
EPSY 5529Tests and Measurements3
EPSY 5561Development and Learning Over the Lifespan3
EPSY 8627Introduction to Research Design and Methods3
SPSY 5667Introduction to Cognitive Assessment3
SPSY 5671Integrative Assessment3
SPSY 5674Social and Emotional Aspects of Behavior and Assessment3
SPSY 5676Applied Behavior Analysis3
SPSY 5771Biological Aspects of Behavior3
SPSY 8773Developmental Psychopathology and Low Incidence Disabilities3
SPSY 8776History and Systems of Psychology3
SPSY 8777Theories and Techniques of Counseling for Youth3
SPSY 9487Professional Issues and Practicum (2 terms)6
SPSY 9488Advanced Practicum in School Psychology (6 terms)6
SPSY 9551Consultation3
SPSY 9687Clinical Supervision Seminar in School Psychology6
SPSY 9688Psychoeducational Clinic (2 terms)6
SPSY 9876Supervision of Psychological Services3
SPSY 9885Internship in School Psychology 16-9
Advanced Statistics Course 23
Electives OR Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration Courses 36-12
Research Courses 46
Preliminary Examination Preparation
Dissertation Proposal Design
Doctoral Dissertation
Total Credit Hours99-108

Students who undertake an internship through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) complete 6 credits of SPSY 9885, while those who complete a non-APPIC internship must take 9 credits of SPSY 9885.


Students select their statistics course in consultation with their academic advisor.


If students opt to take electives for a total of 6 credits, they select their two electives in consultation with their academic advisor. If students opt to pursue a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis, they complete the 12 credits of coursework identified below.


Of the 6 credits overall, a minimum of 2 credits of SPSY 9999 must be taken.

Optional Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis

The optional 12-credit concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis allows students to meet the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s educational requirements to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA):

ABA 5304Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis3
ABA 5305Single Subject Research Design3
ABA 5306Organizational Behavior Management - OBM3
or PSY 8610 Topical Seminar in Organizational-Social
ABA 8787Seminar on Verbal Behavior3

Internship: An internship with a minimum of 1,500 hours must be completed in an approved setting. A minimum of 600 hours must be in a school setting. The internship can be full-time for a year or half-time over two years.

Culminating Events:
Portfolio Review:
During the internship year, students must submit a portfolio of professional work for review by the advisor.

Preliminary Examination:
The preliminary examination is an essay examination that covers key areas of Psychology and School Psychology to determine the student's competence and ability to explain key concepts. Four areas are covered:

  1. Scientific Psychology
  2. Consultation and Intervention
  3. Diagnosis and Remediation
  4. Role/Function and Ethical/Legal Considerations

The preliminary examination is taken after completion of all academic subjects except for the internship. It is offered over two days, with each section of the examination requiring three hours. The exam is administered and proctored at a time determined by the College of Education and Human Development.

All School Psychology faculty participate in writing the exam by submitting questions and by evaluating the written exam. A passing grade in all four areas is required to pass the exam.

Proposal with Oral Defense:
The dissertation proposal demonstrates the student's knowledge of and ability to conduct the proposed research. Minimally, the proposal should contain the context and background surrounding a particular research problem; a survey and review of the literature to a sufficient degree to provide the reader with enough information to understand why the research is being conducted; a detailed methodological plan for investigating the problem; and a proposed timeline for completing the dissertation. The Doctoral Advisory Committee must approve the student's proposal, which is presented at a formal proposal defense.

Internship Evaluation:
The internship experience is evaluated for successful completion.

Dissertation with Oral Defense:
The doctoral dissertation is an original piece of scholarship that makes a significant contribution to the field of School Psychology. A majority of the dissertations in the program are empirical, typically using statistical analysis as the means of completing the data collection process. Other types of scholarship (e.g., those utilizing more qualitative approaches or those employing theoretical or philosophical analysis of educational issues) may be acceptable. A successful dissertation will be publishable in a refereed journal.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee oversees all aspects of the student's dissertation from the proposal to the oral defense. It is composed of three members of the Graduate Faculty. A member of the School Psychology faculty typically chairs the committee. At least one faculty member from outside the program must be on the committee. The student chooses their committee in consultation with the selected chair. A student may petition for a change of chairperson or member of the Doctoral Advisory Committee. This petition must be approved by the Department Chair and by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies. Complete details about the dissertation process are available in the College of Education and Human Development Dissertation Handbook, which is available from the Dean's office.

The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense. It is composed of the three members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee plus one additional faculty member, i.e., an outside examiner. One member may be assigned by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies. The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the dissertation and the student's ability to defend it. The committee votes to pass or fail the dissertation. The outcome of the defense is determined by majority vote.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation must confirm a date and time with the Dissertation Examining Committee. Notification of the date and time must then be submitted on the appropriate College form to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies no less than 3 weeks prior to the oral defense. The announcement of the oral defense is sent by the Associate Dean to the Graduate School no less than 10 days prior to the defense. A copy of the announcement is also sent to each member of the Dissertation Examining Committee and is posted on the bulletin board in the Office of Student Services of the College of Education and Human Development.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

School Psychology Program

College of Education and Human Development

1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6091


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


Office of Enrollment Management


Graduate Advising:

College of Education and Human Development

Program Coordinator:

Dr. Jessica Reinhardt

Psychological Studies in Education Department Chair:

Dr. Shanta Hattikudur