Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in School Psychology
MSPP offers a doctoral degree (PsyD) in school psychology that prepares practitioners to assume leadership roles in the field, with an emphasis on the delivery of mental health services in schools as well as development of advanced level practice skills. The program is designed to enable practicing school psychologists to pursue doctoral level training while continuing to work in their school positions. Although numerous resources including the PsyD Program Handbook, Institutional Policies and Procedures Manual (IPPM), Doctoral Project Manual, and Information for Applicants are available to current and prospective students through links on the right hand column of this page, the following provides a brief overview of the Mission and Purpose of the PsyD Program, as well as descriptions of applicant qualifications.
Mission and Purpose
The values and programmatic focus of MSPP are reflected in the school's mission statement:
Consistent with this mission and focus, the School Psychology PsyD Program has been developed (1) to serve the public need for highly skilled school psychologists and child mental health professionals, and (2) to make doctoral level training in school psychology more accessible and feasible to capable and committed trainees.
While the curriculum has a considerable emphasis on development of clinical skills, the role and expertise of a doctoral level school psychologist is distinct from that of a clinical psychologist. Applicants should understand that the MSPP School Psychology PsyD Program prepares graduates to apply advanced expertise and clinical skills in the implementation of school psychological services. This is reflected in the program's philosophy and goals:
The Doctor of Psychology in School Psychology at MSPP prepares professional school psychologists through rigorous academic study integrated with intensive supervised clinical practice. Consistent with our practitioner-scholar model, we stress core values of experiential education, social responsibility and personal growth. Central to these core values is a commitment to appreciating and respect all aspects of diversity. Program goals, as follows, are in keeping with this philosophy:
- Students will acquire specialized and advanced skills and knowledge in order to effect positive outcomes as providers of evidence-based school psychological services;
- Students will develop leadership skills necessary to assume a systems perspective, function as change agents, and practice the comprehensive role of the school psychologist;
- Students will experience professionally relevant personal growth using self-reflection and commitment to professional integrity.
Who Should Apply
Individuals in any of the following three categories are encouraged to apply:
- The applicant holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, education, or a closely related field; and has a strong record of academic performance and relevant work. Applicants in this category would seek admission as an M.A./CAGS/PsyD student.
- If offered admission to the M.A./CAGS program but not the PsyD program, a matriculated student in good standing can apply to the PsyD in School Psychology program after transitioning from the MA to the CAGS level of the program in the fall of Year 2.
- The applicant holds a specialist level (e.g., Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study, or CAGS) degree in school psychology and seeks admission to the PsyD program as an advanced standing student. The candidate completes an individualized program that consists of all coursework and other requirements for the MSPP MA/CAGS/PsyD program not credited upon matriculation. While the program is compatible with full-time work as a school psychologist, this makes for a complicated schedule and a challenging workload. Students in the program are encouraged to consider a reduced work schedule (e.g., 3 or 4 days per week).
An individual who earns the CAGS degree in school psychology from MSPP will qualify for licensure as a school psychologist in Massachusetts and in other states in the United States.
The PsyD degree affords the graduate additional value as it (1) provides more advanced training, (2) offers the opportunity to develop areas of specialized expertise, (3) increases the capacity to supervise other professionals, (4) expands opportunities to teach in higher education and conduct research, and (5) may qualify an individual to practice independently as a psychologist.