Areas of Study


The Doctor of Psychology in School Psychology (Psy.D.) Program in the School of Human Services and Science provides a comprehensive plan of advanced studies that integrates respect for diversity in theory and practice, basic and advanced psychological principles, consultative and interventionist skills, data-based and problem-solving approaches, and scholarly and research-based learning that advance the field of school psychology and the practice with students who are deaf and hard of hearing. The fundamental commitment of the program is to develop competent doctoral-level school psychologists who possess a sub-specialization in working with and serving deaf and hard of hearing children, skilled in the delivery of multiple services in a variety of settings (schools, private practice, hospitals, clinics, universities, etc.). The program is anchored in the Practitioner-Model. The goal of the Practitioner-Scholar model is to develop and produce practitioners informed by research and whose training prioritizes the acquisition of practical and hands-on-experiences.

The Psy.D. program in School Psychology requires completion of 97 graduate semester hours, including extensive practicum and internship experiences. The degree awarded at completion of the full program is the Doctor in Psychology (Psy.D.). The program generally requires four years to complete. The first year includes a 31-credit sequence of courses in psychology and related areas, courses in American Sign Language (ASL), and successful completion of comprehensive examinations. Successful completion of these requirements results in the Master of Arts degree in Developmental Psychology with a Specialty in Working with Deaf Children. The post-Masters (or 2nd – 3rd years) portion of the program requires an additional 66-semester credit sequence of courses emphasizing school psychological services, content areas, extensive practicum/externship experience, and completing a yearlong applied research project. The fourth year of the program requires a 12-credit, full-time school psychology internship, served in a school or school/clinical setting anywhere in the United States, the completion of two Comprehensive Internship Case Studies, and taking the Praxis national exam. Upon successful completion of all internship year requirements, the Psy.D. in School Psychology will be awarded.

A series of “Transition Points” will guide candidates through the four-year curriculum toward Psy.D. Degree and eventual alumni status. The program identifies six Transition Points that serve as benchmarks for monitoring progress through the program. The six Transition Points are Entry into the Program, M.A. Degree in Developmental Psychology with a Specialty in Working with Deaf Children, Advancement to Practicum II, Advancement to Internship, Psy.D. Degree in School Psychology, and Alumni Status. A summary of requirements at each Transition Point is presented in Table 1. Faculty advisors will monitor candidate progress through each transition point.

Table 1. Summary of Transition Point Requirements

Transition Point


1. Entry into the Program

Recommendation for admission by the Admissions Committee based on completed application (GREs optional; Psychology Major or Equivalent Course Background; GPA minimum 3.0; recommendation letters; interview, Personal Statements/Essays on experience related to deafness sub-specialization, the rationale for entering the profession, goals, & related work experience).

2. Awarding the M.A. in Developmental Psychology with Specialty in Working with Deaf Children

Successful completion of 31 semester hours of specified graduate courses, an additional six credits in ASL required, and comprehensive examinations.

3. Advancement to

Practicum II

Completion of all previous transition points plus a prerequisite grade of B or above in Practicum I, successful ratings on Practicum I Field Supervisor/Faculty Surveys, and successful completion of the Communication Profile and ASL classes.

4. Advancement to


Successful completion of M.A. plus 85 credits, Practicum II, successful Practicum II logs, successful Field Supervisor/Faculty Surveys (Practicum II and Consultation) and Pre-Internship Intervention Binders, completing a yearlong applied research project, and successful completion of the Pre-Internship File (Individual Internship Plan, and Communication Profile).

5. Awarding the PsyD

Degree in School


Successful completion of all previous transition points plus 12 internship credits, a full-time academic year internship of at least 2000 hours, monthly Internship Logs, successful Field Supervisor/Faculty Survey, and Internship Intervention Binder (includes: Comprehensive Internship Case Studies (Assessment & Intervention), Family/Parent and Teacher Workshop Report, and Legal and Ethical Case Application Report), completion of the Candidate Exit Survey, Evaluation of Internship Site/Supervisor, and taking the Praxis II National School Psychology Test.

6. Alumni Status

Receipt of Praxis II National School Psychology Examination scores, completion of the Alumni Survey and Employer Survey (+ 3 years).

 Admissions Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree (BA, BS) minimum

  • Official Transcript of undergraduate or any graduate work

  • Required undergraduate courses: Child Psychology/Developmental Psychology, Statistics, Research Design, and Abnormal Psychology.

  • GPA 3.0 or higher

  • GRE Scores optional

  • Three letters of recommendation with one letter addressing the applicant’s potential for advanced study and research. 

  • Personal Goal Statement

  • Interview 

  • Resume

  • All applicants must be able to pass a background check to be advanced to practicum or internship (Why? All school systems require a background check before granting access to school-age children for practicum and internship field experiences), and all applicants must demonstrate scholastic ability and interpersonal skills to be an effective psychological practitioner in the schools.


First Date for Consideration of Application: No set date
Last Date for Completed Application: February 1

Courses & Requirements

Summary of Requirements

Semester 1

Provides familiarization with legal and ethical issues and the role and function of the psychologist in the school setting. Class and field experiences are designed to acquaint the student with the various roles, responsibilities and operations of multi-disciplinary teams from a multi-cultural perspective. Available school and community resources for deaf and hard of hearing people are explored.

This course provides the foundation for practitioners to create and maintain culturally supportive, equitable, and inclusive environment in the schools and communities. It explores diversity in all its forms (race, socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, linguistic, etc.) as they pertain to the practice of school psychology. The course will cover how individual differences impact the provision of psychological services in the schools and communities and examines culturally, equitable, and inclusive responsive approaches to working with diverse children, adolescents, and their families.

Discussion of the theory and applications of inferential statistics, including sampling, estimation, confidence intervals, inferences, effect sizes and hypothesis testing as well as descriptive statistics, validity and reliability. Specific statistical techniques such as t tests, Chi Square, one way and factorial analyses of variance, correlations, simple and multiple regression as well as an introduction to trend analysis will be presented. Lab experiences in using SPSS or similar computer programs for analyzing data will be provided. Evaluations of statistical methods used in published research will be discussed.

This course provides in-depth exploration of the complex interrelationships between the functioning of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and psychological, biological, and socio-cultural aspects within a human systems framework that incorporates multicultural perspectives. Psychological principles and theories related to the emotional, cognitive/linguistic, behavioral, and cultural development of deaf and hard -of-hearing individuals are considered. Also considered are factors including the influence of etiology/genetics, varying levels of hearing loss and age of onset, familial variables, linguistic and communication approaches, technology, educational settings, psychopathology, and cultural aspects.

An introduction to multiple methods of assessing behavior, abilities, and achievement. Includes the history of assessment practices and theory of intelligence. Discussion of the statistical properties of assessment instruments including reliability, validity, standard error of measurement, normal distributions, as well as factor and item analysis are included. Criteria for evaluating and selecting tests, methods and theoretical approaches to assessment are also presented. Practical study and application of the administration and interpretation of an intellectual assessment.

Semester 2

Covers principles of research design in psychology from two-group comparisons to complex multiple treatment designs. Also includes guidelines and criteria for writing research reports and articles, questionnaire and survey research, case studies and other single-subject designs, correlational studies, naturalistic observation, and ethical considerations in research.

This course examines major theories of learning with relevance to instrumental and classical conditioning, cognitive learning processes, motivation, decision, making, and memory. The students will explore relevant research on traditional and contemporary issues in learning, with an emphasis on human learning from both behavioral, and cognitive perspectives.

An intensive course designed to provide the graduate student with an integrated foundation consisting of knowledge of theory, methods, and techniques, along with applied clinical skills, in the effective appraisal of individual intelligence. Course instruction focuses primarily upon skill development in test selection, administration, and scoring; analysis and interpretation of test results; preparation of reports on findings; and application of knowledge of assessment practices, including confidentiality considerations, within a framework provided by professional, ethical, and legal standards.

Under close supervision students gain experience in multi-dimensional assessment of individuals in various settings. Emphasis is on developing skills in administering, interpreting, and reporting the results of various measures of intelligence related to educational functioning.

Summer 1

This online course is designed for students who are preparing for Service Providers and careers working with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Based upon the World Health Organization International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), this course explores the biopsychosocial implications of both congenital and acquired hearing differences and their possible impacts on communication, education, participation, and quality of life. A special emphasis is placed on the diversity of communication needs and choices among deaf and hard of hearing people. Areas examined include interprofessional practice among counselors and audiologists, sound and hearing, the anatomy and physiology of the hearing mechanism, etiologies of hearing difference, hearing measurement, audiometric interpretation, auditory (re)habilitation, and multisensory communication technologies including hearing aids, cochlear implants, group listening systems, telecommunication devices, captioning and alerting systems. Practical applications of these topics for service providers and professionals are emphasized.

Semester 3

A study of child behavior disorders and other psycho-pathologies of childhood, including types of disorders, etiology, and intervention and prevention strategies. Psychological, developmental, biological, cultural, and educational factors are included.

Addresses brain-behavior relationships with an emphasis upon school age children. Anatomy of the brain as well as neurodevelopmental and acquired neurophysiological disorders that affect children will be discussed. Students will be introduced to neuropsychological tests and test batteries used in the evaluation of this age group.

Course will include the conceptual basis and discuss the techniques used in delivering mental health services to non-identified populations in the school. Types of interventions studied will include the use of group techniques, social skill development procedures, enrichment programs, teaching of parenting skills, development of vocational or school transitional services and methods for delivering in-service to professional staff members. Particular emphasis will be given to the role of the psychologist on crisis intervention teams.

Review of theoretical approaches in the historical development of psychology as a discipline, including the emergence of clinical and experimental psychology from philosophical and physiological perspectives. The principal systems and schools of thought in the history of psychology will be surveyed, including psychophysics, structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism, gestalt theory, psychoanalysis, and cognitive theories. These systems and schools of thought will be analyzed as they relate to contemporary psychology.

Semester 4

An overview of formal and informal assessment procedures used in identifying learning disabilities and providing individual and system level support to children and youth. Formal and informal academic, cognitive, and social emotional assessment procedures used in developing and evaluating intervention strategies such as progress monitoring approaches will be discussed using an interdisciplinary model and a multicultural and/or bilingual perspective. Multiple-tiered system of support and the collection and use of data for the purpose of evaluating program effectiveness and accommodations will also be included.

The course focuses upon the theoretical and applied use of interventions used with children exhibiting behavioral and/or emotional difficulties. Emphasis is placed upon the use of Applied Behavioral Analysis, functional analysis, behavior modification techniques and psycho-educational interventions used with individuals, small groups, and family constellations.

This course introduces the uses, neurophysiological mode of action, and physiological and behavioral effects of various categories of psychoactive medications, including antipsychotic, anxiolytic, and antidepressant medications. Basic psychopharmacological research and the psychomimetic effects of drugs used for the treatment of medical and behavioral disorders will be discussed. Discussion of the use and effects of recreational substances and herbal medicines also will be explored during this course.

Summer 2

Semester 5

The course provides a focus on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). While wide application of ABA principles is possible, the application of ABA to the field of education is highlighted.

This course is a survey of major theoretical models of psychological consultation and collaboration with professional peers, parents, administrators, and organizations as they are applied to school settings, mental health settings, medical settings, natural communities, and workplaces. Methods for achieving individual or system-wide change are reviewed through literature, class discussion, simulation, and role-playing activities. Students are required to master the theoretical, research, and applied foundations of consultation that will enable them to serve teachers, administrators, parents, and others who are caretakers and supervisors of children and youth. In addition to the didactic aspects of the course, an experiential aspect will help students examine their own behaviors, motives, and feelings in consultation and collaboration experiences and make appropriate changes with supportive direction from the instructor and peers.

Under the close supervision of a certified or licensed psychologist, students work in a school or clinic setting providing psychological and educational assessments, preparing reports, counseling with clients, and developing and implementing intervention programs. In addition, students attend a weekly seminar emphasizing major issues in the professional practice of school psychology.

The course provides advanced training and clinical application of therapeutic methods with children and adolescents. Students will learn evidence-based approaches that can be applied in school and clinical settings with specific focus on the needs of Deaf/Hard of Hearing and hearing individuals who have language and learning challenges. Students will learn to develop and implement a comprehensive therapeutic plan including case conceptualization, goal development, session/module planning, documentation of progress, and measurement of effectiveness through application of previously learned research and practice techniques.

This course provides an introduction to theoretical and research foundations in social psychology, particularly as related to clinical/personality psychology and to the study of cultural minorities and the diversities of human experience.

Semester 6

This seminar discusses topics and issues related to practices that permeates all aspects of service delivery; direct and indirect services for children, families; and schools, and foundations of school psychologists' service delivery. These topics include legal and ethical issues in professional practice, research and program evaluation, interventions (systems and individual levels), diversity, data-based decision making, and consultation. The course helps prepare students for national licensure or certification.

This course will introduce students to methods of conducting single subject designs for research and practice in the behavioral science including school psychology. Students will learn the salient features of common single subject designs as well as the advantages and disadvantages of these methodologies. Students will learn to analyze and critique published research based on single subject methods and will have opportunities to explore how these methods can be used to answer applied and basic research questions pertaining to school psychology.

This course provides training with techniques and instruments used in social, emotional, and behavioral assessment. Projective and descriptive techniques are discussed in addition to the use of adaptive behavior instruments. The course describes evaluation techniques of emotional, social, and behavioral states consistent with the terminology in the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act (IDEIA). It follows the best practice model that suggests that the assessment must consist of multiple sources of data. Best practices recommend a model of assessment based on five components: (a) interviews with parents, teachers, and students; (b) standardized rating scales administered to the parent and teacher; (c) standardized self-report measures administered to the student; (d) observations of the student in multiple settings; and (e) review of child's relevant background and history.

This course combines three knowledge areas relevant to providing psychological services to children: family, exceptionality, and schools. It provides a study of family development and family systems to analyze how these influence children's cognitive, motivational and academic performance, and social and behavioral characteristics. This course will also discuss the impact of having an exceptional child on family, parents, siblings; diversity; and it will explore frameworks of the provision of comprehensive psychological services to children in schools and the development of more effective relationships between home, school and community.

Under the close supervision of a certified and/or licensed psychologist, students work in a school or clinic setting providing psychological and educational assessments, preparing reports, counseling with clients, and developing and implementing intervention programs. In addition, students attend a weekly seminar emphasizing ethical and other major issues in the professional practice of school psychology.

Semester 7

Field experience in an approved setting provides supervised experience in identification and description of school-related problems, formulation of diagnostic plans, selection and use of appropriate evaluation tools, referral to appropriate specialists, integration of findings, and recommendation of appropriate action and follow-up.

Field experience in an approved setting provides supervised experience in conferences with teachers to interpret results of child diagnostic study; conferences with parents to interpret plan of action for child or youth; short term and group counseling with students.

Semester 8

Field experience in an approved setting provides supervised experience at an advanced level in conferences with teachers, parents, administrators, and other specialists in the school and community concerning planning, referrals, and in-school interventions and experience in developing and implementing in-service programs for teachers, administrators, and staff.

Field experience in an approved setting provides supervised experience at an advanced level in conferences with teachers, parents, administrators, and other specialists to interpret the results of child diagnostic study; active participation in multidisciplinary staffings; and design and development of interventions for the remediation of student learning and behavior problems in the classroom.

Program Outcomes

School psychologists who demonstrate cultural competencies across multicultural, multiethnic, bilingual (ASL/English) contexts who have a subspecialty in working with children who are deaf, hard of hearing, and children and families of diverse backgrounds.


School psychologists who can demonstrate skills and apply scientifically based knowledge or theoretical and empirically-based data to conceptualize and solve increasingly complex academic or behavioral problems and who can design, implement, and appraise individual, group, family, or community mental health interventions and educational services to support and create safe and healthy environments.


School psychologists who demonstrate an understanding of mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and families, and develop psychological assessment and intervention plans to address these challenges while acknowledging the impact of biological, social, cultural, socioeconomic, and linguistic factors on the learning and behavior of children and their families.


School psychologists who can perform professional duties in accordance with NASP and APA ethical principles.


Licensure Pass Rate

Our PsyD School Psychology Program is conditionally accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists. Learn more about Program Annual Report and Student Outcomes Data.


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Psy.D. in School Psychology

Tania Thomas-Presswood

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