Program Overview

Welcome to the School Psychology Program at Michigan State University (MSU). The MSU School Psychology Program prepares school psychologists to work with educators, children, youth, and families to promote individuals’ learning and development particularly in relation to schooling.

Our vision for training and practice in school psychology is informed by the standards of the profession including the Specialty Definition of School Psychology by APA Division 16 and the Blueprint for School Psychology published by NASP. Our vision emanates from a set of five fundamental commitments that define our program:

  • Commitment to a Developmental and Contextual Perspective
  • Commitment to Scholarship and Inquiry
  • Commitment to Collaborative Problem-Solving
  • Commitment to Participating in Communities of Practice
  • Commitment to Schools and Educational Issues

The Program offers two degrees, a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and an educational specialist (Ed.S.) degree in School Psychology. Students obtain a Master of Arts (M.A.) in School Psychology as part of their Ed.S. or Ph.D. programs; enrollment in the Ed.S. or Ph.D. program is required to obtain the M.A.

Educational Specialist Degree
The Educational Specialist Program prepares individuals to work as school psychologists in school settings and leads to Michigan certification as a School Psychologist. The program includes a planned sequence of coursework in educational psychology and supporting disciplines, complemented by practica and internship experiences. We are a NASP-approved program and the scope and sequence of the Ed.S. Program is aligned with NASP standards. Read more.

Doctoral Degree
The fundamental goal of the MSU School Psychology Program is to prepare school psychologists as data-based, system-wide problem-solvers in the educational domain who work with learners of all ages. Our goal is to prepare psychologists for a wide range of practice that is consistent with contemporary models of school psychological services. These go beyond the traditional diagnostician-tester role from which the profession evolved. Read more.

Accreditation and Certification

The MSU Ph.D. Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA) and approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (through 2011). The Ph.D. program is currently under review for re-accreditation. Renewal of approval by the National Association of School Psychologists for the Ph.D. program occurs in conjunction with renewal of accreditation by APA. The Ed.S. program is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (through 2016). Both programs are approved by the Michigan Department of Education.

Students are expected to abide by the ethical principles of the National Association of School Psychologists and the American Psychological Association. Graduates of the program are eligible for certification in Michigan as a school psychologist. To be eligible for employment in states other than Michigan or for psychology licensure, a greater number of courses and internship hours may be required.

Defining Features of MSU’s School Psychology Program

The MSU School Psychology program brings a developmental and systems approach to learning that focuses on the developmental needs of learners in the context of families, schools, communities, organizations, and cultures. We view the science and practice of school psychology as grounded in the knowledge of psychological development as well as an understanding of the social contexts in which development occurs. A developmental perspective provides an understanding of the limits and the potential of individuals, as well as the risks and opportunities in development.

We view research and practice in school psychology as being inextricably related. We consider these to be reciprocal processes where research serves as the basis for practice and practice informs research. The program is committed to preparing school psychologists who can contribute to the knowledge base as researchers and whose practices are empirically supported. We strive to develop future leaders committed to equitable and just schools that promote the development and well-being of all children and their families.

Our commitments are evident in several distinguishing features of our program:

  • Students participate in authentic communities of practice through practicum placements in each semester, beginning in the first year. The majority of school psychology courses involve field-based assignments so that students experience the interplay between theory or research and practice in authentic settings.
  • The curriculum is carefully structured to support an ecological approach to school psychology, in which students learn theory, research, and practices of population-based (school- and classroom-wide) and prevention-oriented services prior to learning individually-oriented ones.
  • We employ an apprenticeship model of research training in which doctoral students engage actively in authentic research activities, most often in conjunction with their mentor’s research team. We have a rigorous program of research training that develops leaders in psychological and educational research. This training occurs within the context of the one of the best Colleges of Education in the country.

The School Psychology Program is one of seven graduate programs in the department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education (CEPSE) in the College of Education. The MSU doctoral program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

The Program faculty and students engage collaboratively in many research projects. Each year research is presented to national audiences at professional meetings, such as the American Psychological Association and the National Association of School Psychologists. To read about some of these projects and presentations click on the Research & Projects link.

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation

750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-5979