What are the differences between the Ed.S. and Ph.D. programs?
There are many key differences between the Ed.S. and Ph.D. programs in School Psychology at MSU. The Ed.S. program typically takes 3 years to complete, including 2 years of course work and 1 year of internship. The Ed.S. program is designed to train school psychologists according to the guidelines of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The Ed.S. program is approved by NASP. Graduates of the Ed.S. Program go on to work in schools in Michigan and around the country.
In contrast, the Ph.D. program typically takes 5-6 years to complete, including 4-5 years of course work and a 1-year predoctoral internship. The Ph.D. program is designed to train psychologists with a specialization in school psychology, according to the guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA) and NASP. The Ph.D. is approved by NASP and is accredited by APA. Questions related to our program's APA 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 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-5979 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduates of the Ph.D. program go on to work in schools, universities, hospitals, clinics, private practice, and other settings. The table below outlines some key differences between the programs' missions and goals.
Is a teaching certificate required for admission into the program?
A teaching certificate is not required, however we strongly recommend experiences working with children, youth, and families in educational, community, or clinical settings.
Do I need to have a graduate degree (M.A. or Ed.S.) to apply to the Ph.D. program?
No. In fact, the majority of students who have enrolled in the past few years have entered with only a bachelor's degree. If you enter with a masters degree, you may be able to waive selected courses.
Does MSU require the Psychology GRE subject test for consideration for admission?
No. We do not require the subject matter test in Psychology for admission to either our Ed.S. or Ph.D. programs in School Psychology.
What is a typical GRE score and GPA of an applicant to the School Psychology program?
Applicants typically score in the above average range (e.g., above the 65th percentile) on the GRE and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Does the program make exceptions to the policy of needing 15 undergraduate credits in Education and Psychology?
While applicants without such course work may still be considered, these students would probably need to take some additional courses in psychology to meet the prerequisites for some of the courses in our program. Contact the program directors with specific questions about the adequacy of your preparation for graduate study in School Psychology at MSU.
Do you offer a terminal master's program in School Psychology, in addition to the Ed.S. and Ph.D. programs?
We do not offer a terminal master's degree at MSU. The Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree is the entry-level degree for School Psychology in the State of Michigan. Students are able to obtain a non-terminal MA in School Psychology as part of their Ed.S. or Ph.D. program. The MA does not enable students to practice as a school psychologist. Students must complete the Ed.S. or Ph.D. to be eligible for certification.
Approximately how many people are accepted to the School Psychology Program each year?
Annually we receive approximately 40 applications for the Ed.S. program and 40 for the Ph.D. program. We enroll 4-6 students into the Ed.S. program and 8-10 students into the Ph.D. program.
Can I successfully complete the Ed.S. program on a part-time basis?
Students who take 4 courses each semester complete the Ed.S. degree in three years, including a year-long internship. Because of the high number of courses required to complete the program, we strongly encourage students to be full-time. (Keep in mind that the university requires that the Ed.S. program be completed in 5 years.) We do have a few students who have completed the program on a part-time basis, taking two courses each semester. Most have entered the program with a master's degree and have been able to waive selected courses, therefore they have had to take fewer courses overall. Students must also complete practicum experiences for which they are in the schools for a minimum of 2-8 hours per week (depending on the number of practice-based courses that semester) in addition to the semester-long integrated practicum (400 hours total). Finally, the most challenging aspect in attempting to complete the program on a part-time basis is completing the internship, as you would have to be able to complete 1,200 hours on a full-time basis. At this time, we do not have financial support for Ed.S. students, so this should figure into your decision.
Are any courses in the School Psychology program offered at MSU's extension sites or are all courses completed in Lansing?
Nearly all of the coursework for the Ed.S. and Ph.D. in School Psychology needs to be completed on campus. A few courses, such as CEP 883, are taken online.
Can other courses outside of the School Psychology program be taken to supplement course requirements?
Ed.S. students have the opportunity to choose two electives to fulfill Ed.S. program credit requirements. Ph.D. students, in order to meet the requirements of the American Psychological Association, have little flexibility in their course schedules. Ph.D. students wanting to take additional courses would need to take them during summer semesters or take an additional year of course work. Students should consult their advisors when choosing electives or taking additional courses.
When will I know if I've been offered an interview and/or if I've been accepted?
See Application Timeline for target dates.
What might I expect from a financial package?
In the past, Ph.D. students have received half-time assistantships for 4 years. Additional supports via training grants have been provided to both Ph.D. and Ed.S. students.
On average, how long does it take to complete the degree?
Students in the Ed.S. program take about 3 years to complete their degrees, including internship. Students in the Ph.D. program typically take 5 or 6 years to complete their degrees, including internship.
What resources are available to support graduate students?
There are many resources available on the MSU campus to support graduate students’ physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, occupational and social wellness (grad.msu.edu/wellness). There are also graduate workshops available and many graduate student events (grad.msu.edu/calendar). The Olin Health Center and the Counseling Center are also available for students (olin.msu.edu/services/couns_psych.htm).
What are typical practicum placements like for students?
During the first year in the program, students are placed in general education classrooms where they work with individual students with academic or behavioral difficulties and assist with classwide learning activities. During the second year (and third year for Ph.D. students), students are assigned to a supervising school psychologist. Students initially shadow their supervisors and then later engage in more independent activities related to the supervisors' responsibilities. Students have specific course work assignments and projects to be completed in relation to their practicum assignment. Fourth year doctoral students complete at least one semester of advanced practicum in a placement of their choosing that is not school-based. For more information about advanced practicum, check out our additional frequently asked questions.
Are Ed.S. students assigned to internship sites by the School Psychology program?
No, the faculty will provide Ed.S. students with support in finding internship sites, but ultimately the Ed.S. students are responsible for finding their own internship placements.
Are internships for Ed.S. students guaranteed to be paid?
No, typically internships secured outside of Michigan are paid. Internships within Michigan, depending on the location, are less likely to be paid. This varies district to district, depending on the availability of funding in their special education departments.
What positions have graduates gone on to hold?
You can read more about what are alumni are doing here and our student group's alumni page.