School Psychology


The USM School Psychology Program offers the following two degrees and one certificate program:

Completion of USM’s School Psychology programs prepare graduates for certification as School Psychologists through the Maine Department of Education and as Nationally Certified School Psychologists through the National Association of School Psychologists. Within the state of Maine, the MS program leads to certification as a School Psychologist-Specialist and the PsyD program leads to certification as a School Psychologist-Doctoral. Completion of the PsyD program also meets the academic standards established by the Maine Board of Examiners of Psychologists for licensure as a Psychologist in the state of Maine.

Program Mission

USM’s School Psychology Program seeks to prepare future school psychologists who evidence the core competencies endorsed by the National Association of School Psychologists (see the NASP Model for Comprehensive and Integrated School Psychological Services, 2010). The practitioner-scientist training model is applied to facilitate students’ acquisition of the knowledge and skills necessary to provide collaborative, evidence-based school psychology services that help children and adolescents succeed academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.

Program Philosophy

The USM School Psychology Program endorses four primary practice models and philosophical approaches:

  1. Evidence-based practice. This is the organizing theme that permeates the training program and defines a best practices approach to service delivery. Within this model, school psychology graduates utilize assessment methods and interventions that are empirically-based. This means that the assessments and interventions they use have been demonstrated to be reliable, valid, and accurate. Moreover, school psychology graduates use and endorse only those interventions that have been subjected to scientific analysis and have yielded socially meaningful outcomes.

  2. Problem-solving. USM graduates utilize a collaborative problem-solving approach as the basis for all professional activities. The problem-solving framework is applied to a continuum of services that include assessment, intervention (e.g., consultation, instructional support, counseling, social skills training, and positive behavioral supports), and outcomes evaluation.

  3. Data-based decision-making. USM graduates utilize reliable and valid assessment data to (a) determine students’ eligibility for services, (b) design student and systems-level interventions, and (c) monitor students’ progress and evaluate program outcomes. Emphasis is placed on the use of criterion-referenced, curriculum-based, and behavioral assessments to address the academic, social-emotional, and behavioral issues of referred students.

  4. Applied behavior analysis. USM graduates conduct Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBA) to identify and accurately measure those variables that occasion, elicit, motivate, and reinforce behaviors that interfere with and/or contribute to students’ acquisition of academic, social-emotional, and behavioral skills. The results of assessments are used as the basis for designing individually tailored, behavior analytic interventions that promote the development of socially meaningful skills. School psychologists collaborate with team members in the design, implementation, and documentation of these interventions using single case design methodologies.