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Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education

School Psychology PhD

Doctoral Application Process

Admissions Deadline for Fall 2020: December 1

We are glad to see you are interested in the MSU School Psychology Ph.D. Program! We encourage you to learn about our student group and our faculty, or take a tour of the MSU campus.

We invite you to reach out to a current PhD Student or contact a faculty member with any questions about the program or the admissions process.

Admissions Criteria for Ph.D. Program

We seek applicants who are interested in working as doctoral-level school psychologists. Professional activities include research, assessment, intervention, and consultation with the school-aged population, their caregivers, educators, and other professionals.

We believe our profession benefits from the perspectives of those who differ by gender, ethnicity, race, culture, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, socioeconomic class, and varying abilities. We encourage diverse individuals to apply to our program and to seek out opportunities to serve divers clients and systems.

Faculty Members Accepting New Doctoral Advisees Beginning Fall 2020

  1. Dr. Courtenay Barrett
  2. Dr. Dante Dixson
  3. Dr. John Carlson
  4. Dr. Adrea Truckenmiller
  5. Dr. Kristin Rispoli
  6. Dr. Martin Volker
  7. Dr. Sara Witmer

Checklist of Application Steps (Details can be found below)

  1. Complete the University Application
  2. Submit your fee of $65 OR e-mail to explain your fee waiver
  3. Provide contact information for three recommendation letter writers
  4. Upload your Statement of Professional Goals and Experiences
  5. Upload your Writing Sample
  6. Upload your Curriculum Vita or Resume
  7. Upload a brief Written Statement indicating that you can complete an internship of 2000, full-time, clock hours
  8. Have one official copy of your Transcripts sent from each pervious institution attended
  9. Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  10. For International students only: Complete Step 4 outlined below

Step 1: University Application and Fee

  • Complete the University Application
    • All applicants should be for Fall Semester (FS)
    • In this application, please leave the Personal Statement, Academic Statement blank but please answer all other questions on application.
  • Submit your fee of $65
    • Applicants whose graduate application fee is waived MUST notify the School Psychology Program Assistant at to ensure your application is reviewed by the admissions committee.

Step 2: MSU Graduate Education Application (GEA) Portal

After completing the University Application AND payment, you will receive an mail offering you access to the Graduate Education Application (GEA) Portal. The GEA portal allows you to upload documents, request letters of recommendation, and check the status of your application. Log into the GEA portal using your Applicant ID and password (provided by e-mail) to continue the application process and monitor your application status.

  • Provide contact information for three recommendation letter writers in the GEA portal
    • For each recommender, include: Title (e.g., Dr. or Ms.), first and last name, job title, employer, and e-mail address. Ensure you have a mutual agreement with your recommender prior to submitting their information into the system. You may need to follow up with your recommenders regarding missing letters to complete your application. Seek recommendations from individuals who are knowledgable about your academic performance and ability to work effectively with people.
  • Upload your Statement of Professional Goals and Experiences to GEA portal (specify "Academic Statement" as document type)
    • This document is a key component of your application. See description of content and formatting of this statement. Use this statement to make a case for why you're a good fit with the research team of one or two of the school psychology faculty.
  • Upload your Writing Sample to the GEA portal
    • Submit an example of academic or professional writing. Present evidence of previous research experience (e.g., a Master's thesis or scholarly paper, work on a research project, publication in a professional journal, or a presentation at a professional conference).
  • Upload your Curriculum Vita or Resume to the GEA portal (specify "Resume" as the document type)
    • A teaching certificate is not required, however evidence of experience working with children, youth and families in school, community or agency settings is desirable.
  • Upload a brief written statement indicating you can complete an internship of 2000, full-time, clock hours.

Step 3: Other Application Materials

  • Have one official copy of your Transcript sent to our program from each previous institution attended.
    • These transcripts must be sent directly from the institution; please contact the registrar's office at your institution for the procedures. Transcripts must indicate a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution either conferred or in progress. Individuals with advanced degrees (e.g., MA, ME, EdS) are encouraged to apply; students entering the program with an advanced degree may have some requirements waived.
    • Supply evidence of previous successful academic performance, including a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the last two years on undergraduate coursework and a minimum grade point average of 3.5 in graduate coursework.
    • Have your institution send the transcripts directly to:

      Dawn Therrian-Taylor, School Psychology Program Assistant
      620 Farm Lane, Rm 435
      East Lansing, MI 48824-1034, USA

    • Applicants from Chinese Universities: Please see the link provided below.
  • Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Designate Michigan State University (1465) as an official recipient of your scores.
    • The verbal, quantitative and analytical portions of the GRE should be submitted. Typical scores for students admitted into our program fall within the above average range. The college requires that the GRE must have been taken no longer than five years prior to the application for admission.
    • Information on testing may be obtained from:
      • MSU Testing office, 207 Student Services Building, East Lansing, MI 48824 517-355-8385

Step 4: (For INTERNATIONAL students only)

International students must meet additional university-level requirements for admissions.

  • Demonstrate proficiency in English
  • Upload Proof of Financial Support to the GEA portal
    • International applicants are required to submit an Affidavit of Support and financial proof. This statement, which is found on the Grad School's International Applicants information page, must originate from your source of support and must be a certified, original statement with stamp and original signature.

Interview Day

  • The admissions committee review all applications and select a group of approximately 10-15 applicants to invite to campus for a day-long interview. Invited applicants are expected to participate in the on-campus interview with current faculty and students. If a campus visit is not feasible, program staff work with applicants to make other arrangements.