School Psychology

PsyD in School Psychology

The doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) in school psychology provides school psychology practitioners with advanced training in the areas of psychological assessment, interventions, and applied research in an evidence-based, behavior analytic perspective. The focus of the Psy.D. includes advanced training in school psychology that goes beyond what a student typically acquires during master's-level training. Psy.D. students are expected to demonstrate their research and scholarship through the completion of a dissertation. The Psy.D. course of study includes a range of 66-111 credit hours, based on a student's standing at time of admission. During the final portion of the program, students complete a minimum of 2,000 clock hour, pre-doctoral internship. Following completion of the Psy.D. program, graduates will be eligible for state certification as a School Psychological Service Provider, and national certification as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. Following completion of a 1,500 clock-hour post-doctoral training experience, graduates will also be eligible to apply for licensure as a psychologist.

School Psychology Program

Those students admitted to the Psy.D. with a bachelor's degree are required to complete at least 111 credit hours. After admission to the Psy.D., all students with a prior graduate degree may request a transcript review to determine if any courses can be transferred or waived. Transfer credits will be applied to the Psy.D. program. Waived courses must be substituted with courses of the same number of graduate credits from the School of Education and Human Development graduate catalog.

Total Required Credits: 111

Biological Aspects of Behavior
     SPY 671 Physical Bases of Behavior

Cognitive and Affective Aspects of Behavior
     SPY 670 Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior

Social Aspects of Behavior
     SPY 673 Social Foundations of Behavior

History and Systems of Psychology
     SPY 709 History and Systems of Psychology

Psychological Measurement
     HCE 605 Psychological Measurement and Evaluation

Research Methodology
     EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques
     SPY 751 Advanced Research Seminar
     SPY 759 Psy.D. Dissertation

Techniques of Data Analysis
     SPY 697 Statistics I
     SPY 698 Statistics II

Individual Differences in Behavior
     SPY 620 Introduction to Multi-Tier Systems of Student Support for General and Special Education
     SPY 679 Diversity in the Science and Practice of Psychology

Human Development
     HRD 668 Human Development

Dysfunctional Behavior/Psychopathology
     SPY 674 Psychopathology

Professional Standards and Ethics
     SED 540 Learners Who are Exceptional in General Education
     SPY 609 Professional Ethics in Psychology

Theories and Methods of Assessment and Diagnosis
     SPY 672 Assessment of Academic Achievement
     SPY 675 Indirect Behavioral Assessment
     SPY 677 Cognitive Assessment
     SPY 678 Functional Behavioral Assessment

Effective Interventions
     HCE 620 Fundamentals of Counseling Theories
     SPY 628 Behavior Therapy
     SPY 676 Behavioral Principles of Learning
     SPY 684 Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis
     SPY 727 Advanced Academic Intervention Methods
     SPY 729 Advanced Interventions for Individuals with Behavioral and/or Developmental Disabilities
     SPY 730 Advanced Behavior Therapy

Consultation and Supervision
     HCE 681 Clinical Supervision
     SPY 603 Consultation in School Psychology

Evaluation of the Efficacy of Interventions
     SPY 659 Clinical Research Methods

     SPY 693 School Psychology Practicum I
     SPY 694 School Psychology Practicum II

     SPY 788 Pre-doctoral Internship in School Psychology

     Chosen from the graduate catalog

For course descriptions, please click here:

Minimum Requirements: In addition to meeting the minimum admission requirements of the University, to be eligible for admission to the Psy.D. program, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution;
  • Have earned a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) in a baccalaureate degree program; or have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) in a master's/graduate degree program

The Psy.D. admissions process requires a date-specific formal interview. Candidates to be interviewed will be selected on the basis of the above information.

Students may also apply to the PsyD at the post-master's level. Students seeking only a master's degree should apply for admission to the M.S. in educational psychology degree program.

Application Deadline

December 1.

  • Candidates should submit all application materials to the USM Office of Graduate Admissions, P.O. Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300 by the application deadline.
Application must include:
  • A submitted online graduate admission application;
  • The application fee of $65.00;
  • Two sets of official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, including USM;
  • Three recommendations must be received either directly from the recommender or forwarded by the applicant in sealed envelopes with the recommender's signature over the seal. The recommendations should be from persons able to comment from direct knowledge of the applicant's potential for success as a psychologist;
  • Essay (see below);
  • Documentation of professional experiences;
  • Submission of GRE score (see below);
  • Submission of official TOEFL or IELTS scores (if English is not first language); and
  • Current resume.
Special Essay Instructions

Psy.D. in School Psychology program applicants are required to complete two essays and both should be submitted as part of your application. For Question 17 of "Application for Admission to Graduate Study" all Psy.D. applicants must answer both of the following questions with separate essays for each question:

The USM School Psychology Program embraces a behaviorally-based model for assessment and intervention. Briefly describe your understanding of behavioral theory and how comfortable you are working with that model.

Describe what is meant by the term "evidence-based practice." What role should evidence-based practice play in the delivery of school psychological services?

Documentation of Professional Experiences

In addition, applicants must submit a Documentation of Professional Experiences in table form as shown via this link:

Testing Requirements

Applicant must have earned a score of 1,000 points or above on the combined verbal and quantitative scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), or equivalent for students taking the GRE after August 31, 2011. Please note: Starting August 1, 2011, the GRE® revised General Test will replace the current GRE General Test. Please consult program Web site for score requirements for the GRE revised test.

Applicants whose native language in not English must have earned a score of at least 550 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), 79 or higher on the Internet-based test, or 213 on the computer-based test, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher.

Transfer Policies

Students admitted to the school psychology program can request permission to transfer up to 45 graduate credits toward the Psy.D. in school psychology. For each graduate course the student wishes to have considered for transfer credit the student must:

  • Have obtained a grade higher than a B-,
  • Have completed the course in question no more than six years prior to beginning doctoral study in school psychology at USM. (When students have developed initial competence in a professional practice area through coursework completed more than six years prior to entry into the program, and when students have continued to update their competency through professional experience (which may include, but not be limited to, relevant professional employment, supervision and continuing education) the Program may, at its discretion, consider coursework for waiver that was completed more than six years prior to entry into the Program. )
  • Submit a course equivalency request to the student's advisor. This request must include the following:
    • a brief (two- to three-sentence) rationale for why the course should be considered equivalent,
    • a transcript (copy is acceptable) documenting the student's grade for the course in question and the semester it was taken,
    • the prior graduate course number and name and the USM course number and the name of the USM course that the student wishes to be considered as equivalent,
    • the syllabus for the graduate course and relevant supporting documentation (list of required and suggested readings, reports, papers, tests, etc.),

The request will be reviewed by the advisor and referred to the faculty designee who has expertise in the area of instruction. The advisor or faculty designee may ask for additional information from the student, including an official transcript, or consult with the previous instructor or other sources.

The designee will then make a recommendation to the school psychology faculty and the faculty will vote to determine whether the course is considered equivalent.

The student will be informed about the faculty's decision by the advisor.

The result of the request will be documented in the students local program file.

For students seeking accompanying certification as BCBA, the applicable transfer course(s) must be transferred from a program that is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Transferred credits will be noted on the student's USM transcript and counted toward the student's degree. Once approved, the program will notify the USM Registrar to enter the official transfer onto the student's record.

Graduate students in APA-accredited doctoral-level school psychology programs at other universities may transfer into the program if they take their final 45 hours, or two years full time, and not including the internship or dissertation requirement, in USM's school psychology program.

Course Waivers

Students who have extensive prior graduate-level training in areas covered in the school psychology program courses can request to waive up to 5 courses or 15 credits of the required program of study. Waived courses are NOT transferred to the student's transcript. Students must replace waived courses with electives. Students are required to take enough electives to cover the number of credits or courses waived. In order for a course to be waived, the student must demonstrate the following:

The credits must have been earned as part of a graduate course (e.g., 500 level or higher) offered at a U.S. institution of higher learning accredited at the time the credits were earned by a regional and/or national accrediting body and recognized as accredited by the U.S. Department of Education.

The credits must have been earned for a course which is equivalent in content covered and skills developed to one required in the student's USM program of study.

The earned grade for the course must be a B or higher (GPA equivalent of 3.0).

The student can demonstrate ongoing competency in the knowledge and skills covered in the course for which a waiver is requested.

Requests for course waivers follow the same procedure as requests for credit transfer. To request a course waiver, a student must submit the course syllabus and official transcript(s) showing the course grade(s) to the school psychology program coordinator.

The coordinator will refer the request to the program faculty with expertise in the content area to determine if the credit waiver is approved. Once approved, the program coordinator will notify the student in writing and a copy of the waiver agreement will be placed in the student's file.

Note: Course waivers are not available for those courses that are required for certification in behavior analysis.

Professional Licensure and Certification Notice

Students who are pursuing degrees leading to application for professional licensure or certification, and/or who will be participating in clinical placements, internships, or practica through their USM program should be aware that their host facility may require a criminal background check, finger printing, or drug screening. In such situations, each student is responsible for obtaining and paying for the background check or other screening process and for delivering required documentation to the facility. Although the University will make reasonable efforts to place admitted students in field experiences and internships, it will be up to the host facility to determine whether a student will be allowed to work at that facility. Students should further be aware that a criminal record may jeopardize licensure by the state certification body. Students may consult the certification body corresponding to their intended occupation for more details. Successful completion of a program of study at USM does not guarantee licensure, certification, or employment in the relevant occupation.

Master's in School Psychology (terminal)

In extreme circumstances if a Psy.D. student is unable or chooses not to complete all program requirements, the student may be eligible for the M.S. in school psychology degree. Psy.D. students seeking to earn the M.S. instead of the Psy.D. in school psychology may apply to transfer into the M.S. program by completing the following steps:

  • Complete an application for the M.S. program that includes the same GRE scores, transcript(s), and letters of recommendation submitted for the Psy.D.;
  • Submit a letter with the M.S. application requesting admission to the M.S. that summarizes the reasons why the student wishes to obtain the M.S. instead of the Psy.D. as the terminal degree;
  • Pay a $15.00 re-application fee with the M.S. application.
  • Provide the above information to the Office of Graduate Admissions no later than December 1 of the year preceding the requested transfer.

Master's Along the Way

Students who enter the Psy.D. at the post-baccalaureate level can earn a master's degree along the way to the doctoral degree. These students who wish to obtain the M.S. in Educational Psychology with concentration in applied behavior analysis "along the way" to the Psy.D. need to do and understand the following:

  • Understand that once the M.S. degree is awarded no changes to the transcript of the courses for that degree can be made.
  • Complete an Application for Degree form and submit it to the Registrar's Office.