What is the program format?
The program involves online classes and face-to-face classes. The online classes are asynchronous (self-paced) or synchronous in the evenings (nearly always on Tuesdays). The face-to-face classes are always on Tuesdays on the East Lansing campus. Over the past two years, students have had face-to-face classes for 3 semesters (Y1 spring, Y2 fall, and Y2 spring). Summer classes are typically online.
If you enjoy blended learning, small class sizes, and a program that allows time for professional employment, this program may be a good fit for you! If you dislike online learning or driving to campus 1x/week, this program may not be a good fit.
Are there many online classes? What do you mean when you say “hybrid”?
Yes! The hybrid program designation means that at least 50% of the coursework is online.
Schedule and Timeline
About how many hours a week does the program take?
During year one, students should expect to spend roughly 20 to 30 hours per week completing coursework, fieldwork and assignments.
During year two, students should expect to spend 30 to 40 hours per week completing their coursework, fieldwork, and assignments.
Is it possible to enroll in the program and work full time?
It depends. Program faculty strongly encourage students to work one to three days a week in outside employment to give themselves time to engage fully in their work and studies. Some students opt to work four days a week during the first two years of the program.
While it’s possible, working that much requires exceptional time management skills. During the internship, students work full-time in a school to complete their 1,200 hour internship.
Can I participate in the Ed.S. program part time?
The program was designed to be completed full time in three years. Under certain circumstances, and at faculty discretion, the course schedule and timeline may be amended on a case-by-case basis.
How long does it typically take to complete the Ed.S. program?
The program requires three years to complete. Students take courses in summer, fall and spring semesters in years one and two and then complete a full-time, nine-month internship of at least 1,200 hours in year three.
Students take courses year round, with a condensed/shortened summer semester that leaves roughly four (4) weeks of time off each summer.
Does the Ed.S. program have a time limit?
Yes, it is five (5) to seven (7) years. Per MSU policy, the time limit for the completion of the master’s degree is five calendar years from the start of the first semester in the program. A student who does not apply for a master’s degree is allowed seven years to complete the EdS requirements.
Where can I complete my internship?
The internship may be completed anywhere in the United States. As long as MSU faculty determine that an internship is well-aligned with our program training and goals, then faculty are happy to support internship across the country. We’ve had students go everywhere from Arizona, to Florida, to New York for the internship.
Is the internship typically paid?
Yes! Internships are paid and range from a small stipend of $15,000 to a first-year educator salary of around $40,000.
Are Ed.S. students assigned to internship sites by the School Psychology program?
No. The faculty support Ed.S. students in finding internship sites aligned with their individual goals and with the NASP practice model.
Does MSU offer graduate assistantships to educational specialist students?
Graduate assistantships are very rare for educational specialist students. The college prioritizes doctoral student funding, and so these positions rarely become available. Some students have successfully funded their graduate training through positions with Residence Education and Housing Services. These positions require one to live on campus.
How much does tuition cost?
Tuition costs $1,000 per credit for 60 credits. That rate is the same for in-state students and out-of-state students. In addition, university fees of roughly $225 per year for 3 years are also required. (Last updated 10/25/22)
Does the program offer any grants or assistantships?
Yes! Faculty are delighted to report that we have a training grant: Project Hi2LD. Please see the Project Hi2LD website for more information. One or two students will be selected to participate in Project Hi2LD during this winter’s admission cycle (summer 2023 cohort). Participating scholars receive funding to alleviate tuition and supply costs and attend in-state professional conferences in-person during years one and two.
How do most Ed.S. students fund their training?
Faculty encourage students to fund their graduate training through school psychology apprentice positions with local school districts. These positions are offered by school districts across Michigan, and most have been developed according to guidelines established by program faculty. In these positions, students work in schools and complete activities that are well aligned with their coursework and training. The student benefits from great synergy between their fieldwork and their training and the district benefits from having someone complete additional school psychology-related tasks in the district.
I am a teacher consultant, school counselor, special education teacher, etc. Will my previous graduate credits count toward the School Psychology Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree?
Perhaps. First, per college policy, a maximum of eight (8) graduate credits can be applied to the Ed.S. degree. Second, program faculty decide whether or not to accept previous coursework as a substitution for program requirement. Finally, all course work, including potential transfer and/or previous MSU coursework, must be no older than five years at the time of graduation.
I have a master’s degree in psychology or education. Is there an accelerated program option?
Unfortunately, the program does not offer an accelerated program for people who have school mental health experience or degrees in related fields. The National Association of School Psychologists has clear standards for training experiences and faculty can’t deviate from those standards in offering graduate training.
As noted above, up to eight (8) graduate credits may count towards the 60-credit Ed.S. degree. Further, the degree timeline starts with the date of the first course included in the degree and taken anywhere. So, students with a recent master’s in psychology or education may find that some of their coursework is waived.
My undergraduate degree was in something other than psychology or education. Am I still a good candidate for the program?
Program faculty welcome students with majors other than psychology or education. We love the diverse perspectives that people with different knowledge and experience bring to the program. Students may find that they must do some additional work to master basic psychological or educational concepts, but we have had students from other fields successfully complete our program.
How do I apply?
For our Ed.S. program, you should use your application materials to indicate that you’re ready to provide culturally appropriate assessment, intervention and consultation services to youth, families and educators in schools. We look for applicants with a clear understanding of the profession. Specifically, program faculty expect that applicants have worked or volunteered in schools prior to applying.
We also suggest that applicants gain direct knowledge of the profession through job shadowing, interviewing a school psychologist or interacting with a school psychologist.
Please email Dr. Aupperlee if you’d like to talk to a current student about the program, applying or the field in general.
What is the most important part of my application?
The Personal Statement is the most important part of the application. Use that document to make a case for what school psychology is and why you’d be a good fit for our profession. Describe your previous experiences with children, adolescents, and/or families, your psychology-related experiences and your commitment to school-based work.
Your letters of recommendation, grades and transcripts are also important.