School Psychology MEd/EdS
Please note: Those who hold a master’s degree in a closely related area (e.g., special education, counseling) should apply to the program at the EdS level. All others should apply to the program at the MEd level.
The School Psychology Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston is designed to prepare professionals whose primary interests involve children, families, and the educational process. Training goals are founded on a respect for the dignity and worth of all people, with a commitment to appreciating and responding to human diversity. Coursework integrates theory and research in child and adolescent development. It emphasizes evidence-based intervention approaches for psychological services in schools. An important mission of the School Psychology Program is the development of attitudes essential for professional problem-solving and life-long learning. The School Psychology Program is committed to a philosophy of social justice and inclusion compatible with the mission of the College of Education and Human Development at UMass Boston.
The primary goal of the School Psychology Program at UMass Boston is to prepare practitioners to provide psychological and educational services to children, adolescents, and their families as part of a school-based multi-disciplinary team. The role of a school psychologist is complex. School psychologists are called upon to perform a variety of tasks and assume many responsibilities, including that of assessment specialist, consultant, counselor, administrator, researcher, educational programmer, trainer of school staff, preventive mental health agent, and liaison to community organizations. The UMass Boston School Psychology Program is competency based, using a problem-solving, consultative model to train students to be effective in these multiple roles. The program emphasizes a holistic approach, requiring the consideration of multiple factors starting with biological and neuropsychological bases, individual strengths and needs, as well as consideration of family, teacher, classroom, school, neighborhood, community, and culture. Students learn to support the development of children and adolescents by assessment and intervention at the individual and systems (family, school, and community) levels. This program fosters collaboration with other professionals and the integration of multiple perspectives.
Why Apply to UMass Boston’s School Psychology MEd/EdS Program?
Because times have changed. While academic matters are still an important focus of schools, school psychologists have emerged as advocates for children, providing compassionate guidance to ensure that student social-emotional issues are being addressed in schools. School psychologists play various roles in school systems, including that of crisis interventionist, counselor, assessment expert, community outreach coordinator, and mental health expert.
Letters of Recommendation
Minimum of five psychology classes (including general psychology, statistics for social sciences, and human development); statement of purpose; transcripts; interview
Visit https://www.umb.edu/bursar/tuition_and_fees for cost information. Note that online courses are typically billed at the CAPS course fee rate. Contact the program representative with any further questions.
Applying to the School Psychology Program
The School Psychology Program consists of approximately 50 students with about 18 students admitted each fall into either the Master of Education (MEd) or the Education Specialist (EdS) level of the program. Admission is competitive since far more candidates apply than can be admitted. The faculty make a concerted effort to attract and recruit a student body that reflects diversity in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, socio-economic background, and ability. Many students are already professionals in related fields of mental health services when they enter the School Psychology Program. As service providers, they bring an array of backgrounds and experiences that enrich classroom discussions and activities.
The application process is as follows:
1. The candidate ensures that a completed application is submitted by January 2. This includes:
- Completed application form with accompanying fee.
- A statement of purpose describing your understanding of school psychology practice and detailing personal career objectives. Please answer this question and not the one from the Office of Graduate Admissions.
- Transcripts of all previous college work, undergraduate and graduate. Transcripts must be official (bear the college seal) and be from regionally accredited colleges or universities. Applicants must have completed at least a baccalaureate degree. Undergraduate and graduate cumulative grade point averages (GPA) should be at least 3.0 overall, and 3.0 in psychology courses as well.
- Prerequisite course work includes a minimum of five (5) psychology courses including introductory psychology, human development, and statistics.
- Two letters of recommendation. At least one letter should address academic promise and ability to succeed in advanced graduate training, and at least one letter should address the ability to work with children and adolescents and develop into a thoughtful and responsive practitioner.
- Scores from the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Scores at the 50 percentile or above on those tests are expected. Candidates already possessing earned Master's, CAGS, EdS, or doctoral degrees are exempt from taking the general GRE test if such degrees are in social sciences or a related field.
- International applicants are required to take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System exam (IELTS). Applicants who have received at least 4 years of education (including an undergraduate program) in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), England, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, United States, or Wales are exempt from submitting a TOEFL or IELTS score report. All others are required to submit official score reports.
- Scores for the Communication & Literacy Skills (reading and writing) portions of the Massachusetts Educator Licensure Test (MTEL; see here). Students may be admitted provisionally without having taken the MTEL, but will be required to take the tests during the first semester of attendance and pass them prior to the internship.
2. In March, selected candidates are invited for interviews with the Graduate Admissions Committee, scheduled by the Department of Counseling and School Psychology. The interview takes about two hours and is composed of a group interview, an individual interview, a writing session, and an opportunity to meet with current students.
3. After a successful interview, selected applicants will be asked to sign, and to have employers sign when relevant, the “Employer Agreement Form." This indicates that the applicant and employer both agree to release from the applicants current job for field work one day per week during the Practicum and full time during the internship.
4. Applicants to the EdS program, who already have a master's or higher degree in a related field, are eligible for waivers of requirements for comparable courses already completed at the graduate level. Their individual plan of study will be tentatively determined at the interview and formally determined after matriculation, following a review of course descriptions and syllabi.
5. Accepted applicants will be informed of that decision by both email and USPS mail by April 1. In agreement with other programs, accepted students are asked to confirm their program selection by April 15.
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The required courses for school psychology students are:
- SPY 601 – Issues and Ethics in School Psychology
- SPY 602 – Standardized Assessment & Report Writing
- SPY 603 – Foundations of Educational Assessment and Data-Based Decision Making (Prereq: SPY 602; 25 pre-prac hours)
- SPY 604 – Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Assessment and Intervention (Recommended prior: SPY 601, SPY 602, COUNSL 614)
- SPY 607 – School-Based Interventions & Data-Based Decision Making (Prereq: SPY 603, SPY 604, SPY 635, COUNSL 614, COUNSL 632)
- SPY 608 – Systems Consultation, Prevention & Organizational Change (Prereq: SPY 603, SPY 604, SPY 635, COU 614, COU 632)
- SPY 612 – Learning and the Curriculum
- COUNSL 601 – Research and Evaluation in Psychology
- COUNSL 608 – Abnormal Psychology
- COUNSL 614 – Counseling Theory and Practice I
- COUNSL 617 – Child and Adolescent Therapy (Prereq: COUNSL 614)
- COUNSL 632 – Collaborative Consultation in Schools
- COUNSL 650 – Group Counseling of Children and Adolescents (Prereq: COUNSL 614 and 617)
- COUNSL 653 – Cultural Diversity in Counseling (Prereq: COUNSL 614 and 617)
- SPY 635 – Behavioral Counseling (Prereq: COUNSL 614 and 617)
- SPY 610 – Neuropsychological Theory and Practice in Education (Prereq: COUNSL 608 and SPY 602)
- SPY 685 – Practicum in School Psychology (Prereq: SPY 601 and SPY 602 and COUNSL 61)
- SPY 686 – Practicum in School Psychology (Prereq: SPY 601 and SPY 602 and COUNSL 61)
- SPY 688 – Internship in School Psychology 1st semester (Prereq: MTEL pass; Faculty approval)
- SPY 691 – Seminar in School Psychology 1st semester (Prereq: MTEL pass; Faculty approval)
- SPY 688 – Internship in School Psychology 2nd semester (Prereq: Grade of B or better in SPY 688)
- SPY 691 – Seminar in School Psychology 2nd semester (Prereq: Grade of B or better in SPY 691)
- MEd Capstone Comprehensive Exam – Taken after SPY 601, SPY 602, SPY 603, SPY 604, SPY 607, COUNSL 601 COUNSL, 608, COUNSL 614, COUNSL 632, COUNSL 653, and two more) (required for the master's degree)
- EdS Capstone – Nationally Certified School Psychologist Exam (PRAXIS)
The school psychology program (MEd and EdS levels) has full accreditation approval from both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Both levels of the program have learning outcomes organized to meet the training standards of these accrediting agencies. Students are expected to demonstrate competency in the NASP domains of school psychology training and practice. Graduates satisfy the Coursework, Internship, and Examination requirements to become Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP). At graduation they are also eligible for licensure as school psychologists by DESE. With additional work experience, program graduates are eligible for licensure as educational psychologists by the Massachusetts Allied Mental Health Professions. One or both of these credentials make program graduates eligible for licensure or certification as school psychologists in many other states as well.
These are the top five ways school psychology differs from other disciplines:
- School psychologists have extensive training in child development. Their expertise is helpful in addressing the needs of children to make sure they thrive in the classroom setting.
- School psychologists are trained for crisis intervention situations. They are always ready to provide counseling and emotional support to children and adolescents affected by tragedies or catastrophic events.
- School psychologists help to create safe schools and positive environments that are conducive to learning. They evaluate the climate of schools and recommend strategies to identify at-risk students, areas of school vulnerability, and prevention programs. They design interventions that consider various social and cultural factors.
- School psychologists play a role in strengthening family/school partnerships and community outreach. They help families navigate the special education process, as well as understand their children’s learning, emotional, and mental health needs and connect them with service providers if needed.
- School psychologists are experts in assessment and learning. They conduct and communicate assessment results to parents, teachers, and others so that they understand the nature of a student’s challenges and how to better serve the student’s needs.
The job outlook is very promising for school psychologists. The majority of school psychologists work in public school settings, but other places of employment include private schools, community agencies, hospitals and clinics, and universities. School psychologists generally work as practitioners, administrators, consultants, or faculty/researchers. Employment is projected to grow in the next several years, and one of the groups with the best job prospects will be those with specialist degrees in school psychology. Graduates are supported in finding employment through job postings announced via distribution lists, the state school psychology association, and the department of elementary and secondary education.
If you’re having difficulty completing or submitting any application requirements because of disruptions related to COVID-19, contact firstname.lastname@example.org before the application deadline to discuss potential submission extensions or exceptions for transcripts, GRE scores, and other materials.
- Stacy Bender, Assistant Professor of Counseling and School Psychology, College of Education and Human Development
- Melissa Collier-Meek, Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director of the School Psychology PhD Program, Department of Counseling and School Psychology, College of Education and Human Development
- Brian Daniels, Assistant Professor of Counseling and School Psychology, College of Education and Human Development
- Lindsay Fallon, Assistant Professor of Counseling and School Psychology, College of Education of Human Development
- Tracy Paskiewicz, Lecturer I and Graduate Program Director of the School Psychology MEd/EdS Program, Department of Counseling and School Psychology, College of Education and Human Development
- Melissa Pearrow, Associate Professor of Counseling and School Psychology, College of Education and Human Development