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M.S. Degree—Major: School Psychology with Clinical Child Counseling Specialization (30 credits)
Post-M.S. Sixth-Year Certificate/Certification (39 credits)
The School Psychology program is an integrated, 66-credit program of study designed to lead to both the M.S. degree in school psychology, with a specialization in clinical child counseling, and a sixth-year certificate and endorsement for professional certification as a school psychologist.
The School Psychology program is designed to prepare highly qualified school psychologists with particular competencies working with children, families, and educational programs for service within public and private schools or similar human service settings. The School Psychology program is nationally approved through the National Association of School Psychologists and National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education partnership (NASP/NCATE).
The school psychologist is a professional member of the educational system whose primary role is to maximize the learning and developmental opportunities for children and adolescents. Thus, such a person must be a specialist with children and their development, education, and mental health. In many settings, this involves a three-part role description: (1) assessment and diagnosis, (2) counseling and psychotherapy, and (3) consultation and collaboration.
The traditional diagnostic role of intellectual, personality, and learning assessments is still important in many cases. As the field of school psychology has evolved, however, more emphasis has been placed on direct services to children and families, through individual, group, or family counseling.
In addition, the value of the school psychologist is often maximized through the consultation role in which assistance is offered to teachers, administrators, parents, and outside agencies in the areas of behavior and learning. It is also expected that the school psychologist will serve as an integral member of the interdisciplinary child study or planning and placement teams as they develop, and implement programs for students. An emergent role has been that of child and family advocate through facilitation of adequate programs, fair treatment, and public information.
To prepare students for these roles the School Psychology program at the University of Hartford offers a planned program of study designed to meet individual student needs as well as the requirements of the State of Connecticut Board of Education.
Because of the high level of training required for certification, it is anticipated but not guaranteed that many other states will recognize the training as meeting their individual requirements. Students are responsible for checking individual state requirements for certification.
It is the goal of the program to enable its graduates to emerge with a broad background in all relevant areas. The specific minimal objectives of the program are the following:
- An understanding of conditions that inhibit the learning process, including physical, emotional, or intellectual disabilities
- An understanding of the functioning of the school in terms of
- the regular classroom
- the curriculum
- specialized programs and services
- the school as a psychosocial system
- A basic knowledge of research and research techniques as related to school and the application of psychology in the school
- Skills in administration of generally accepted tests of intelligence, personality, and learning; interpreting the results; and communicating them in a useful manner to appropriate individuals
- Basic individual and group counseling skills
- A demonstration to the faculty of personal and professional attributes necessary to the successful performance of the duties of a school psychologist
- Acquaintance with basic theories and models concerning personality and its developmental antecedents
- Knowledge of various approaches toward the understanding of abnormal behavior in children emanating from psychological, physiological, and community conditions
- Completion of a yearlong, half-time practicum involving 600 hours of site-based exposure providing school psychological services complemented by weekly University professional group supervision
- Completion of a yearlong, 1,200-hour internship in school psychology completed either full time in one year or half time in two years, with weekly supervision in the school by a certified school psychologist complemented by weekly University professional group supervision
Certification as a school psychologist requires the completion of a 66-credit program of study. The M.S. degree, earned en route, requires that all students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 30 credits with a grade point average of at least 3.0 in the course requirements below, have no more than two grades below B–, and successfully perform on a comprehensive examination.
A student who has more than two grades below B– will be dismissed from the program.
(four required/12 credits)
(one required/3 credits)
(one required/3 credits)
(two required/6 credits)
(two required/6 credits)
A written comprehensive examination is given to the candidate at the end of the first year. An oral examination may also be required. Satisfactory completion of the first-year comprehensive examination is a prerequisite for the practicum sequence. Further information may be obtained from the director of the program.
In order to be recommended for the initial certification in school psychology, the student must complete the requirements for the M.S. degree as well as the certification program. While the program is intended to meet the professional needs of the student, recommendation for certification is not automatic. Instead, it emanates from a total assessment of the student’s mastery of the necessary skills and theoretical background, and from his or her personal suitability to serve in the capacity of school psychologist. Successful completion of academic requirements constitutes, therefore, a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite for recommendation for certification. The faculty will endeavor to apprise the student throughout his/her program as to his/her professional and personal progress. Students are urged to seek consultations with the faculty.
In addition to the academic course work and field practice, Connecticut certification requires an internship consisting of one full school year or its equivalent, in a period not to exceed two years, of supervised experience in a school setting under the supervision of a certified school psychologist, the local school system, and the preparing institution.
In order to be eligible for the professional certificate, individuals must provide evidence of three years of satisfactory service as a school psychologist as attested to by an employing superintendent of schools.
Each semester, the student’s progress is reviewed by the program faculty. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 at all times throughout the program. A GPA below a 3.0 during any semester will result in a remedial plan or dismissal from the program. Because of the sensitive nature of the work that students are qualified to do during and upon graduation from the program, the review will focus on factors other than course work, as well as formal academic progress. Nonacademic factors may include personality, interpersonal, and/or ethical issues that may impact the student’s judgment and/or ability to function appropriately in a school setting. The director of the program will discuss any program faculty concerns with the student promptly and, where possible, will work with the student toward remediation of the problem. In extreme cases, it may be necessary for the student to delay further course work and/or practicum/internship placement during such remediation. In the event that a remedial plan is not possible or does not prove effective, the student may be removed from the program.
A completed application for consideration for admission consists of
- transcripts of all past educational experiences and documentation of the award of the bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education;
- an overall undergraduate grade average of B;
- an undergraduate major or concentration in psychology*;
- official scores for the General Aptitude (Verbal, Quantitative, Analytic) and the GRE Subject Test in Psychology;
- Official scores for the Praxis I computer-based tests (CBT): Academic skills. For the Praxis I CBT and Praxis I Waiver click here for further details.
- a personal statement of academic objectives and professional goals; and
- three letters of reference, preferably by three psychologists, evaluating academic abilities and fieldwork experience.
*Students may be admitted to the program from a variety of previous academic and experiential backgrounds. It is expected, however, that an appropriate amount of psychological course work will be either presented upon admission or taken during the beginning phases of training. The faculty reserves the right to require specific background courses to be taken without being directly applicable to the certification of academic degree requirements.
With the approval of the program director, students may transfer up to 6 credits of course work that are applicable to the program requirements.