Ph.D Psychology

School Psychology Concentration

student on campus Welcome to the School Psychology Doctoral Program!

The school psychology doctoral program provides advanced training to work as a professional psychologist in schools and other settings. The program utilizes an ecological-contextual orientation in working with children, schools and families.

The doctoral concentration in School psychology requires a minimum of sixty-six (63) semester hours. These hours include core courses in education, psychology, guided specialty electives, practicum and dissertation.

Students admitted to the Ph.D. degree program in School Psychology who have been awarded the Ed.S. degree in school psychology from accredited institutions may be granted full credit for a maximum of thirty hours if the hours are acceptable to the students program.

A student enrolled in the School Psychology concentration may take the qualifying examination for the doctoral degree only after graduate courses in the following areas have been completed: statistics, psychometrics, theories of counseling, individual intelligence testing and learning theory. Typically students complete the above graduate work in their master’s program prior to entry into the doctoral program. It is the doctoral student’s responsibility during the first semester of enrollment to meet with the assigned faculty advisor to review the student’s work to insure that such graduate work has been completed and to recommend needed courses.

This program meets the Association of State & Provincial Psychology Boards/National Register of Health Service Psychologists "Guidelines for Defining 'Doctoral Degree in Psychology.'" Therefore, graduates of this designated program who decide to apply for licensing as a psychologist typically will meet the educational requirements for licensing in the United States and Canada. However, in each jurisdiction there are additional requirements that must be satisfied. For exact information, please contact the state or provincial board in the jurisdiction in which you plan to apply. 

Once licensed, graduates are eligible to apply for credentialing as a Health Service Psychologist. Graduation from a designated program means that the program you completed typically meets the educational requirements for credentialing by thee National Register. However,  there are additional requirements that must be satisfied prior to being credentialed by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists. For further information, consult the National Register's website: 

Students interested in the PhD in School Psychology at Tennessee State University will find relevant materials here.   Topics of frequently asked questions are listed below. 

1. Time to completion:

All students entering the program have a master’s degree (most are in school psychology or a related field). Some students are required to take additional leveling courses in accordance with doctoral program requirements and to meet eligibility for licensure as a psychologist.

2. Program costs:

With total fees included, an in-state-graduate student would pay $3,137 for 9+ hours per semester. With total fees, an out-of-graduate student would pay $8,275 for 9+ hours per semester.


Student Support in Doctoral School Psychology Program

If a student has a Graduate Assistantship (GA), tuition is waived for the nine month academic year. The amount of available funding within the Department for GA’s varies by year, but priority is given to students in the first two years of their doctoral training.   Research assistantships are available to our students through grants in other departments such as the Center for Health Research. Other forms of funding include adjunct teaching within the psychology department. Faculty are encouraged to include assistantships for doctoral students in all grants written within the area.

The majority of students interested in financial support as a graduate assistant through the university take advantage of the opportunity of teaching at the undergraduate level and/or collaborating in research with the faculty as a graduate assistant or as an adjunct instructor to the undergraduate program. 

3.  Internships:

All students are required to apply for APA or APPIC accredited internships. Only in special circumstance (e.g., such hardship situations or a site soon to be approved, are special considerations for non-accredited programs allowed

The school psychology concentration seeks to prepare graduates for licensure as School Psychologists as established by the State Board of Examiners in Psychology - Division of Health Related Boards and the Tennessee Board of Education. Prior graduate course work and the student’s goals and objectives are considered in determining annual admissions and the individual student’s program of study.

4. Admissions Requirements

A master’s degree in psychology, counseling, school psychology, or a related area is required. There is a ceiling on the number of students admitted to the program in a given year. All applicants must submit the following materials to the Graduate School Office by December 1st for admission in the Fall:

           1.  An application for admission to the Graduate School.

           2.  Transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work. A minimum grade point average of 3.25 at the Master’s level is required.

           3.  Quantitative and Verbal Scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Millers Analogy Test (MAT) are required. While both the GRE and MAT are acceptable, the GRE is strongly preferred. The minimal acceptable standards for admission are 3.25 Master’s GPA and a 900 on the GRE (Verbal + Quantitative) or 402 on the MAT. Exceptions may be considered for applicants with extraordinary qualities who have demonstrated excellence in the field of work or research, and who add diversity to the program. However, a student whose combined GRE is less than 1000 or whose MAT is less than 425 is not normally considered for admission. Conditional admission is not offered at the Doctoral level.

          4.  A work history, that is, a resume that includes work experience and research experience.

          5.  Three letters of recommendation submitted on the doctoral recommendations forms distributed by the Graduate School.

Selection of students for the Doctoral Program in Psychology is highly competitive. Applicants whose materials are received by the December 1st deadline will be evaluated by the program committee that will select the applicants to be interviewed on the campus in early February. An interview is required for admission. In keeping with the Uniform Notification Date established by the American Psychological Association, if selected for admission, the applicant will be notified and must respond not later than April 15th to the offer. Admissions are based upon the following criteria:

          1.  Past academic performance as indicated by undergraduate and graduate grade point average, test scores, and course work at the undergraduate and graduate levels in Psychology.

          2.  Research and scholarly pursuits as demonstrated by research involvement, presentations, publications, and writing sample.

          3.  Counseling and interpersonal skills as demonstrated by work experiences including practicum and internships as well as work in the fields of counseling, school psychology, other professional activities, and supervised experiences.

          4.  Goodness of fit between the goals of the applicant and the goals of the program.

          5.  Commitment to the field as evidenced by licensure or certification in Psychology or Education as well as involvement in professional associations.

          6.  Experience with diverse populations.

5. General Departmental Requirements

In order to obtain the Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology in School Psychology a student must successfully complete the following:

          1.  A minimum of sixty-three (63) semester hours of approved course work for School Psychology concentration beyond the master’s degree.

          2.  A residency consisting of two (2) consecutive semesters of full-time enrollment (a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester).

          3.  A written qualifying examination.

          4.  A written comprehensive examination.

          5.  An approved internship (explained below).

          6.  A dissertation (explained below).

6. Internship

A 2000 hour (minimum) pre -doctoral internship is required of the Ph. D. in the School Psychology concentration. Placement of our students in acceptable internships has traditionally occurred, however, obtaining an internship is based upon a national selection process and the University does not guarantee the availability of or selection for an internship. APA or APPIC approved internships are mandatory. It is highly likely that in order to fulfill the internship requirement, out-of-state relocation may be necessary.

7. Dissertation

A student may not enroll in Dissertation until the semester after s/he has successfully completed the comprehensive examination. Once enrolled, the student must continuously re- enroll each semester until the dissertation is successfully completed and defended. Only research that is of an original nature will be accepted. It is required that the dissertation proposal be approved prior to application for internship.

8. Program Of Study

Required graduate subject areas (must be taken prior to Doctoral Qualifying Exams)

1. Statistics
2. Psychometrics
3. Theories of Counseling
4. Individual Intelligence Testing
5. Learning Theory
6. Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior
7. Biological Bases of Behavior
8. Personality Theory 
9. Life Span Development

Typically students complete the above graduate work prior to admission into the doctoral program. It is the doctoral student's responsibility during the first semester of enrollment to meet with the assigned faculty advisor to review the student's work to insure that such graduate work has been completed and to recommend needed courses.

EDCI 6300 Multi -cultural Education 3 hours
PSYC 6130 Social Bases of Behavior 3 hours
PSYC 6430 History & Systems of Psychology 3 hours
PSYC 6900 Role and Function of the School Psychologist 3 hours
PSYC 7050 Ethics and Professional Issues in Counseling Psychology 3 hours
PSYC 7136 Statistics & Computer Applications 3 hours
PSYC 7137 Advanced Statistics & Research Methods 3 hours
PSYC 7150 Change Processes - Theory, Research & Efficacy 3 hours
PSYC 7160 Pre -Practicum 1 hour
PSYC 7255 Psychopathology 3 hours
PSYC 7256 Assessment of Psychopathology 3 hours
PSYC 7260 Practicum 1 hour
PSYC 7465 Doctoral Practicum in School Psychology 2 hours
PSYC 7466 Doctoral Practicum in School Psychology 2 hours
PSYC 7555 Individuals: Assessment, Theory & Intervention 3 hours
PSYC 7557 Supervision: Assessment, Theory, & Intervention 3 hours
PSYC 7535 Consultation and Program Evaluation
(previously listed as PSYC 7530)
3 hours
PSYC 7730 Qualitative Research 3 hours
PSYC 7710 Psychoeducational Assessment 3 hours
PSYC 8110 Dissertation 6-15 hours
  Electives -Specialty-guided electives 6 hours
  (As approved by Advisor)  

PSYC 6390   Alternative to Standardized Assessment                                3 hours
PSYC 6470   Individual Assessment and Report Writing                             3 hours
PSYC 6490   Consultation in Schools                                                        3 hours

Prior to enrolling in PSYC 8110, students must have successfully completed comprehensive examinations. Once students begin the dissertation, they must register for PSYC 8110 every semester until the dissertation is complete. After the fifth registration for dissertation, students register in “Dissertation Continuation” at a reduced fee.

Doctoral Internship                                                            3 – 3 – 3                                                                       

PSYC 8105, 8106, 8107 Internship (School Psychology)

The successful completion of one year, full-time internship or a two year half-time internship (minimum 2000 hours) in Psychology at a site approved by the Program Coordinator of School Psychology is required for the awarding of the degree. Students must enroll in PSYC 8105, 8106, 8107 during the internship year.

A student enrolled in the School Psychology concentration may take the qualifying examination for the doctoral  degree only after graduate courses in the following areas have been completed: statistics (including research methods), psychometrics, theories of  counseling, individual intelligence testing, learning theory, cognitive and affective bases of behavior, biological bases of behavior, personality theory, and life span development. Typically students complete the above graduate work  prior to admission into the doctoral program. It is the doctoral student‘s responsibility during  the first semester of enrollment to meet with the assigned faculty advisor to review the student‘s work to insure that  such graduate work has been completed and to recommend needed courses.


School Psychology Practicum and Internship Manual

Ph. D. School Psychology Program of Study

Ph. D. School Psychology Procedure Timeline

Ph. D. School Psychology - Frequently Asked Questions

School Psychology Student Organization



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