School Psychology

PsyD in School Psychology

The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in School Psychology program prepares graduates for careers as professionally credentialed doctoral-level school psychologists. School psychologists typically deliver assessment, intervention, consultation, and supervision services within schools, clinics, hospitals, or related behavioral health settings to promote academic, social-emotional, and behavioral success for school-aged children.

The PsyD program of study is designed to align with the standards for professional training and credentialing established by the Maine Department of Education, the Maine Board of Examiners in Psychology, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the American Psychological Association (APA). Accordingly, the program integrates coursework and field-based experiences to promote general knowledge in the fields of education and psychology and targeted competencies in assessment, intervention, consultation, supervision, and applied research. Students also gain competencies in data-based decision-making, collaborative-problem-solving, applied behavior analysis, and ethical-legal standards.

The PsyD program requires a total of 111 graduate credits, which include 600 hours of practica, an empirically-based dissertation, and a culminating 1,500 hour predoctoral internship. Students who opt to enroll in three additional courses are eligible to earn an MS in Educational Psychology (Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration) along the way to the PsyD degree.

Graduates of PsyD program are eligible to apply for multiple professional credentials, including:

  • Certification as School Psychologist. Graduates of the PsyD program are eligible to apply for (a) state certification as a School Psychologist-Doctoral (093) through the Maine Department of Education and (b) national certification as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) through the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).
  • Licensure as a Psychologist. The PsyD program meets the education standards established by the Maine Board of Examiners of Psychologists for licensure as a Psychologist in the state of Maine. Graduates who complete an additional 1500 hour (48 week) post-doctoral training experience under the supervision of a licensed Psychologist are eligible to apply for licensure and sit for the required examinations.
  • Certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Students who enroll in select elective courses, complete 1500 hours of supervised independent fieldwork, and pass a national examination are eligible for credentialing as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree in School Psychology is awarded upon completion of the following 111 graduate credits:

  • EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques
  • HCE 605 Psychological Measurement and Evaluation
  • HCE 620 Fundamentals of Counseling Theories
  • HCE 621 Fundamentals of Counseling Skills
  • HCE 688 Human Development
  • SED 540 Learners Who are Exceptional in General Education
  • SED 682 Special Education Regulations, Procedures, and the IEP Team
  • SPY 601 Behavioral Principles of Learning
  • SPY 602 Single Case Research Methods
  • SPY 604 Functional Behavioral Assessment
  • SPY 606 Principles and Procedures for Behavior Intervention
  • SPY 607 Consultation and Collaborative Problem-Solving
  • SPY 609 Professional Ethics in Psychology
  • SPY 610 Systems-Level Services to Promote Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Health
  • SPY 620 Multi-tiered Systems of Academic Support for General and Special Education      
  • SPY 670 Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behavior
  • SPY 671 Physical Bases of Behavior
  • SPY 672 Assessments and Interventions to Develop Academic Skills
  • SPY 673 Social Foundations of Behavior
  • SPY 674 Psychopathology
  • SPY 675 Indirect Behavioral Assessment
  • SPY 677 Cognitive Assessment
  • SPY 679 Diversity in the Science and Practice of Psychology
  • SPY 693 School Psychology Practicum I
  • SPY 694 School Psychology Practicum II
  • SPY 697 Statistics
  • SPY 709 History, Systems, and the Profession of Psychology
  • SPY 727 Seminar in Academic Assessment and Intervention
  • SPY 729 Seminar in Behavioral Assessment and Intervention for Individuals with Developmental  Disabilities
  • SPY 730 Seminar in Behavioral Assessment and Intervention for Individuals with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
  • SPY 740 Supervision in School Psychology
  • SPY 751 Directed Study in Clinical Research
  • SPY 759 Dissertation in School Psychology (6 credits)
  • SPY 788 Predoctoral Internship in School Psychology (9 credits)

Elective courses required to earn the MS in Educational Psychology (Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration) “along the way” include the following:

  • SPY 606 Principles and Procedures for Instructional Intervention
  • SPY 608 Professional Ethics in Behavior Analysis
  • SPY 640 Supervision and Performance Management in Behavior Analysis

Applicant Qualifications

In addition to meeting the minimum admission requirements of the University, applicants to the PsyD program must meet the following admission requirements:

  • An earned bachelor's or graduate degree from an institution of higher learning accredited (at the time the credits were earned) by a regional and/or national accrediting body.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale) in a baccalaureate degree program OR a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.25 in a graduate degree program.
  • A minimum combined Verbal and Quantitative test score of 300 on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) completed within five years of application.
    • Note: Applicants who do not meet minimum GRE eligibility requirements may submit a letter requesting special consideration and providing evidence of an ability to complete graduate studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who do not meet minimum GRE score eligibility requirements may be denied automatically. Exceptions to this policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are at the discretion of program faculty.

Application Procedures and Required Materials

Deadline: January 1, 2019 (Summer/Fall 2019 matriculation)

Complete application packets must be received by the admission deadline listed above. Applicants who meet the minimum requirements may be selected to participate in a formal interview with program faculty. Applicants’ academic and professional history, exam scores, writing samples, professional references, and interview performance will be considered in decision-making for admissions.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials: 

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: $65.00 paid through the online application.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
  • A current resume/curriculum vitae.
  • Two essays (see below for special essay instructions).
  • Three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's ability to succeed in graduate school and a career in school psychology. Only professional letters of recommendations will be accepted. Letters from professors, professionals in the field of school psychology, and/or supervisors from employment/internship settings are recommended. Letters from family members and friends will not be accepted.
  • Official GRE scores (see below for details)
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

International Applicants

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Applicants whose first language is not English 

Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Where to send transcripts and application materials 

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.

Special Essay Instructions

Applicants to the PsyD program are required to submit two essays with their application packets. Applicants must respond to the following prompts in two separate essays: 

  • The USM School Psychology program embraces a behavior analytic, problem-solving model of service delivery. Describe your understanding of applied behavior analysis and the problem-solving framework. How do these models align with your professional interests and goals?  
  • The USM School Psychology program endorses evidence-based practice. Describe what is meant by the term "evidence-based practice." What role should evidence-based practice play in the delivery of school psychology services?

Testing Requirements

All applicants to the PsyD in School Psychology program must submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) taken within five years of application. The minimum combined score for the Verbal and Quantitative tests is 300.

Applicants who do not meet minimum GRE score requirements must enclose a letter requesting special consideration. The letter should provide evidence of an ability to complete doctoral studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who do not meet minimum test score requirements may be automatically denied.

Transfer Policies

A maximum of two courses (6 graduate credits) comprising the program of study for the PsyD in School Psychology may be completed prior to matriculation.

Admitted students may request permission to transfer up to 45 graduate credits toward the PsyD in School Psychology degree. In order for credits to be considered for transfer, the following criteria must be met:

  • The credits must have been earned as part of a graduate course (e.g., 500 level or higher) offered at a United States institution of higher learning accredited (at the time the credits were earned) by a regional and/or national accrediting body.
  • The credits must have been earned for a course that is equivalent, in terms of content knowledge and skill requirements, to one required within USM’s PsyD program.
  • The earned grade for the course must be a B or higher (GPA equivalent of 3.0).
  • Credits must have been earned within 6 years prior to matriculation in the PsyD program (see note below for exceptions).
  • Credits for behavior analytic courses must be transferred from a program that is verified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board to meet the Fourth Edition Task List standards.

In general, only courses completed within 6 years prior to matriculation in the PsyD program will be considered for transfer credit. However, the program may, at its discretion, consider awarding transfer credit for coursework completed more than 6 years prior to matriculation when students: (a) developed initial competence in the professional practice area through coursework and (b) continued to update their competency through professional experiences (e.g., relevant professional employment, supervision, and continuing education).

For each graduate course the student wishes to have considered for transfer credit, the student must submit a course equivalency request (CER) form to the Department Chair. This request must include the following:

  • The previously completed course number and title and the USM-equivalent course number and title;
  • A brief (two- to three-sentence) rationale for why the previously completed course should be considered equivalent to the USM course;
  • A transcript (copy is acceptable) documenting the grade earned in the previously completed course;
  • The syllabus for the previously completed course; and
  • Relevant supporting documentation as needed (e.g., list of required and suggested readings, reports, papers, tests, etc.).

Course equivalency requests will be reviewed by the Department Chair and a faculty designee who has expertise in the relevant content area. The Chair or faculty designee may request additional information, such an official transcript or permanent work products from the course, or seek permission to consult with the previous instructor. After reviewing the course equivalency request, the Chair or faculty designee will make a recommendation to the school psychology program faculty, and the faculty will vote to determine whether or not to grant transfer credit. The Chair will inform the student about the faculty decision, and the result of the request will be documented in the student’s program file. If transfer credits are approved, the program will notify the USM Registrar to enter the official transfer onto the student's record. Transferred credits will be noted on the student's USM transcript and counted toward the student's degree program of study.

Note: Graduate students matriculated in an APA-accredited doctoral-level school psychology programs at another university may transfer into the PsyD program if they complete their final 45 credit hours, including two years of full time coursework, the dissertation requirement, and the predoctoral internship, at USM.

Tk20 Subscription 

All undergraduate and graduate students who matriculate into an Educator Preparation program at USM and are accepted as a candidate for their internship year are required to subscribe to Tk20 (Watermark), a comprehensive web-based, assessment management and reporting system. Students use Tk20 (Watermark) to provide evidence they have mastered state and professional standards for their profession. The subscription fee of $103 covers some of the expenses related to the administration and assessment of the program.  For loan purposes, TK20 (Watermark) is eligible for consideration as part of educational costs.  The subscription is a one-time payment and must be made by each student after they have passed their candidacy process and before the first semester of their internship year.  Subscription instructions are posted on the Office of Educator Preparation website at http://usm.maine.edu/educator-preparation.

Please note Professional Education Council Policy:  In order for USM’s Education Preparation Unit program-completers to be recommended by the institution to the state for certification or licensure, the candidate must provide evidence of meeting all certification requirements including proficiency on the standards relevant to his/her state approved professional program and this evidence must be compiled and assessed within the context of the Unit’s data management system (i.e., Tk20). 

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, practica, or internships through their USM program should be aware that their host facility may require a criminal background check, finger printing, and/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 or certification by the state or national credentialing 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.