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Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology & Special Education

School Psychology PhD

Application Process

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 in expanded roles as doctoral-levle school psychologists that include research, consultation, counseling, and evidence-based interventions concerned with school-based problems. We prefer applicants who have experience working with children, youth or families in schools or community agencies, as well as those who have evidence of research experience.

In selecting students for the program, we attempt to bring together a richly diverse group of students, representing women and men of varied cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds, life experiences and physical abilities and challenges. We particularly encourage applications from individuals of racial and ethnic minority groups and individuals with prior work experience.

In addition to meeting the university and college requirements for admission, applicants must also satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Have professional goals and interests that are compatible with program objectives and philosophy as evidenced in a "Statement of Professional Goals and Experiences."
  2. Have completed of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in psychology, education or a closely related field. Individuals with master's degrees in psychology or a related field or an educational specialist degree may also apply for admission.
  3. Supply evidence of previous successful academic performance, including a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the last two years of undergraduate coursework and a minimum grade-point average of 3.5 in coursework taken at the master's level or beyond.
  4. Have satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination. This typically means that scores fall within the above average range—the college requires that the GRE must have been taken no longer than five (5) years prior to the application for admission.
  5. 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, presentation at a professional conference).
  6. Supply strong personal recommendations from individuals who are knowledgeable about your academic performance and ability to work effectively with people.
  7. Present a writing sample.
  8. Interview on-campus.*
  9. A teaching certificate is not required, however evidence of experience working with children, youth and families in school, community or agency settings is desirable.

Applicants should also include a resume or curriculum vita.

Faculty Members Accepting New Doctoral Advisees Beginning Fall 2020

List will be updated shortly. Please check back soon!


Applying to the Ph.D. Program

Applicants are required to follow the all of the steps outlined by the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education. The deadline for admission to the Ph.D. Program is December 1 of each year (next business day when this falls on a weekend).  There is a $65 application fee.  Applications are reviewed only once each year, and students are admitted to the program for the following fall semester only.


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


Applicants who receive a waiver for the graduate application fee must notify the CEPSE Department's Admissions Secretary at to be sure your application is sent to the program admissions committee for review.

Admissions and Funding Information

All doctoral students are considered for funding via fellowships or assistantships at the time of application for admission. No separate application is required. Applicants who would like to be considered for multi-year university and college fellowships are encouraged to submit their applications earlier than the December 1 deadline, preferably by November 15.