School Psychology faculty, back row from left to right: Dr. Robin Rumph, Dr. Glen McCuller, Dr. David Lawson, Dr. Chris Ninness. Front row from left to right: Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey, Dr. Judy Lauter, Dr. Ginger Kelso.
Doctoral Program for School Psychologists:
The Ph.D. program has been developed to meet the standards set forth by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists for this level of certification. The program includes the following major areas of professional competence:
- Behavior Assessment and Intervention
- Psychological Foundations
- Educational Foundations
- Assessment (Pyschoeducational, Emotional/Behavioral)
- Research Design & Statistics
- Professional School Psychology
- Professional Issues & Ethics
- Practicum & Internship
Program Description and Educational Objectives
A major educational objective is for students in the School Psychology program to be eligible to pursue licensure through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (TSBEP) as Licensed Psychologists and Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSP). Students will be Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) under the auspices of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and certified as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).In addition, students in the School Psychology program will be able to register for the National Register of Health Service Providers of Psychology. Licensure as a psychologist and registry in the National Register of Health Service Providers of Psychology are unique to the Ph.D. level of training.
Additional educational objectives for the Ph.D. in School Psychology are to prepare students to become educators, researchers, and/or practitioners in public schools, higher education, community mental health facilities, and hospital/medical settings. Students will be trained to work with diverse special needs populations with a primary focus on children and families.
Coursework consists of didactic and one-on-one instruction as well as clinic and field-based experiences. Coursework prepares graduates from this program for employment as university professors, or as psychologists in schools, colleges, community service agencies, state and/or federal agencies.
The curricula of the program is based on a scientist-practitioner model of training. Students will learn to employ empirically supported treatments for a wide range of children and families who have special needs, as well as to conduct research that has direct relevance to their unique educational objectives and future employment.
Graduate School and Applications
An appropriate Master's degree in school psychology or closely related discipline will serve as a prerequisite to admission to the Doctoral School Psychology Program. Admission to the program will require a graduate GPA of 3.5. There is no absolute minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score. However, competitive scores will approximate acombined score of 1000 or greater on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the GRE. In addition, admission will be based on personal characteristics beyond acceptable GRE scores and GPAs, such as professional interests/goals and personal suitability. This information will be reviewed and assessed in conjunction with related application materials by the School Psychology Applicant Review Committee.
School Psychology Admission: School Psychology Departmental Application
Additionally, candidates are considered for admission based on three letters of recommendation, a statement of professional goals, a completed information sheet, and an interview conducted by program faculty. All applicants will be interviewed and their materials reviewed by School Psychology Applicant Review Committee prior to formal acceptance into the program. Unconditional acceptance will entail meeting all the above requirements prior to admission to the program. A student may be conditionally accepted to the doctoral program who possesses a Masters degree in a school psychology or a related field but who has some limited deficits in course work as determined by the faculty, or who is close to meeting the GRE or GPA requirements. Such students will be given a specified period of time to meet the requirements for unconditional admissions status. The above admissions standards are consistent with NASP and APA standards. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Kennedy Kreiger Institute and Louisiana State University for their contributions to the development of these materials. Please see our page on Frequently Asked Questions for related details on admission to the program.
The following required courses consist of 69 credit hours beyond a masters degree
Research Courses (12 Credit Hours)
EPS 652 Single Subject Research Methods
EPS 651 Multivariate Statistics·
MTH 525 Non-parametric Statistics
EPS 650 Research Methods
Core Courses (24 Credit Hours)
EPS 623 Professional, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Psychology
EPS 665 School Psychology
EPS 602 Applied Behavior Analysis
EPS 629 Child & Adolescent Therapy
EPS 671 Severe Dev. Disabilities & Autism
EPS 666 Verbal Behavior
EPS 653 Advanced Single Subject Research Methods
EPS 685 Child/Adolescent Psychopathology
Dissertation (9 Credit Hours)
EPS 699 Dissertation
Elective Cognate Courses (example courses -- 9 Credit Hours)
EPS 667 Adv. Family Therapy
EPS 668 Child & Family Assessment
EPS 669 C# Computer Language for School Psychologists
EPS 670 Adv. Child and Adolescent Therapy
EPS 675 Adv. Special Problems.
Practicum and Internship (15 Credit Hours)
EPS 655 Practicum (9 hours)
EPS 695 Internship (6 hours)
Students will complete 9 hours of cognate elective courses that will be chosen in consultation with their committee chairperson.
Selected courses in the school psychology degree requires students to participate in clinical learning and to complete independent projects while placed in various educational settings. Students will be required to participate in ongoing faculty/student research teams for the first two years of the program.
Students receive close supervision from program faculty and on-site professionals (school psychologists or psychologists) during practicum and internship experiences. Practica and internships will be adapted to the specific instructional objectives of the program as specified by BACB, APA, TSBEP, NASP, and National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards.
Up to 6 hours from another doctoral program may transfer into the SFASU doctoral program sequence.
Brief Descriptions of Required Courses
MTH 525 Applied Nonparametric Statistics: An introduction to nonparametric analysis of the following: dichotomous data problems, one and two sample location problems, dispersion problems, and the one and two way layout. Nonparametric measures of association and basic nonparametric methods in regression.
EPS 602 Applied Behavior Analysis: Functional assessment and data-based treatment for students with disabilities. Prerequisite: EPS 560
EPS 623 Professional, Legal & Ethical Issues in Psychology: Advanced study of professional, legal, and ethical issues related to school psychology, children, and families.
EPS 629 Child and Adolescent Therapy: Specialized training in techniques and strategies utilized in child and adolescent therapy.
EPS 650 Research Methods: Advanced study of research procedures. This includes Bayesian probability theory, regression analysis, confidence intervals, analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, a discussion of neural networking/data mining strategies, and post hoc tests.
EPS 651 Multivariate Statistics and Neural Network Data Analysis: Advanced study of multivariate statistical methods including discriminate analysis, repeated measures analysis, a priori and ad-hoc procedures. Advanced neural networking procedures will address non-linear data modeling and identifying complex patterns among diversified data types.
EPS 652 Single Case Research Methods: Characteristics and implementation of traditional single-subject research designs. This course will provide students with the knowledge to conduct research utilizing single subject and single case study designs, with emphasis on causal inference.
EPS 653 Advanced Single Subject Research Methods: This course will place a special emphasis on individualized teaching strategies and personalized systems of instruction. Students will participate in critiquing and analyzing published research utilizing single subject methodologies.
EPS 655 Practicum: Supervised experience in the administration and interpretation of various psycho-educational instruments resulting in written diagnostic evaluation reports and/or supervised practicum experiences providing instruction or therapy to children and families.
EPS 665 School Psychology: Advanced study of consultation, assessments and intervention strategies in the school system. Preparation for National Certification as a school psychologist.
EPS 666 Verbal Behavior and Cognition: A functional/analytic account of elementary language relations and complex private cognitive behaviors and emotional events that include thinking, verbal psychopathologic processes, anxiety, rule formation, and perspective taking. Course concepts apply to educational, psychotherapeutic and social interventions.
EPS 667 Advanced Family Therapy: In-depth study of the methods and strategies used in working with families, based on relevant empirical research. Includes laboratory practice.
EPS 668 Child and Family Assessment: Review and practice of standard observational and self-report assessment methods for children and families. Includes laboratory practice.
EPS 669 C# Computer Language for School Psychologists: Provides students with structured lessons and step-by-step guidance in computer programming while they learn to develop and deploy applications using object-oriented programming in the visual C# 2008 language.
EPS 670 Advanced Child & Adolescent Therapy: In-depth study of the methods and strategies used in working with children and adolescents, based on relevant empirical research. Includes laboratory practice.
EPS 671 Severe Developmental Disabilities and Autism: Etiology, research, characteristics, and program components related to children and youth with severe developmental disabilities and autism. Traditional and current causation will be discussed with subsequent implications drawn for providing appropriate educational interventions.
EPS 675 Advanced Special Problems: Independent instruction. In-depth analysis of selected developments in psychology. This course is offered to advanced students who wish to study individual problems in psychological, social, or philosophical foundations of school psychology and/or counseling strategies under faculty guidance. May be repeated under different topics.
EPS 685 Child and Adolescent Psychopathology: Comprehensive overview of etiology, identification (e.g., diagnostic nomenclature, DSM), and interventions for the emotional and behavioral disorders of children and adolescents.
EPS 695 Internship: A post-practicum field placement requiring a minimum of 1500 to 2000 hours of supervised experience.
EPS 699 Dissertation: A doctoral dissertation is required for partial fulfillment of the degree. This reflects an original, scholarly contribution to the research literature relevant to school psychology and child and family issues. Students will work closely with the chair of their supervisory committee to formulate dissertation ideas. Students will register for this course a minimum of four times.
Interested individuals should call or write:
Chris Ninness, Ph.D.
Director of Training
Stephen F. Austin State University
P.O. Box 13019 - SFA Station
Nacogdoches, TX 75962
Tel: (936) 468-1072 & (936) 468-1079
Doctoral Core Faculty
About the University:
Stephen F. Austin State University is a regional university located in Nacogdoches, a thriving historic community nestled in the beautiful piney woods of East Texas, only 132 miles from Houston and 165 miles from Dallas. With a student population of approximately of 12,000, SFA has a strong reputation for excellence and is on the cutting edge of new developments in Behavior Analysis, Child and Family Therapy and Behavioral Software Development Nacogdoches: The Oldest Town in Texas: http://www.visitnacogdoches.org/
Students planning to enter the university for the first time, or those who plan to transfer from another college and need information about admission procedures, should write to:
Graduate School and Applications
Graduate Admissions Office
Stephen F. Austin State University
Box 13051 SFA Station
Nacogdoches, TX 75962-3051
The School Psychology Program is committed to training professionals who have expertise in both psychology and education. This is accomplished by using a scientist-practitioner model that emphasizes comprehensive psychological services using an Eco-behavioral-problem solving orientation that recognizes the importance of children's individual differences. The goals of the program are specified below.
1. The student will develop competence in understanding and addressing individual differences in their practice as a school psychologist.
2. The student will develop skills and ability to deliver a full range of school psychological practice from pre-referral interventions, to standardized and curriculum based assessment, to indirect and direct interventions, to evaluation of programs and services.
3. The student will develop an understanding of and the ability to function using the scientist-practitioner model.
4. The student will develop skills and the ability to approach practice using an ecological, problem-solving model.
5. The student will adhere to legal and ethical practices in their professional practice.
The school psychology program is designed to prepare school psychologists who have a strong and broad-based knowledge of psychology, educational psychology, and child development, and are prepared to apply that knowledge to school settings. There is a well-confirmed knowledge base for the practice of psychology in the schools. This knowledge base is outlined in the document School Psychology: A Blueprint for Training and Practice as well as the Standards for Training and Field Placement Program in School Psychology. The 11 domains, recognized nationally as domains for training and practice, are (with minor modifications) the foundation of the school psychology program. They are described here:
Data based decision-making and accountability. School psychologists must be able to define current problem areas, strengths, and needs (at the individual, group, and systems level) through assessment, and measure the effects of the decisions that result from the problem solving process.
Interpersonal communication, collaboration, and consultation. School psychologists must have the ability to listen well, participate in discussions, convey information, and work together with others at an individual, group, and systems level.
Effective instruction and development of cognitive/academic skills. School psychologists must be able to develop challenging but achievable cognitive and academic goals for all students, provide information about ways in which students can achieve these goals, and monitor student progress towards these goals.
Socialization and development of life competencies. School psychologists must be able to develop challenging but achievable behavioral, affective, or adaptive goals for all students, provide information about ways in which students can achieve these goals, and monitor student progress towards these goals.
Student diversity in development and learning. School psychologists must be aware of, appreciate, and work with individuals and groups with a variety of strengths and needs from a variety of racial, cultural, ethnic, experiential, and linguistic backgrounds.
School structure, organization, and climate. School psychologists must have the ability to understand the school as a system and work with individuals and groups to facilitate structure and policies that create and maintain schools as safe, caring, and inviting places for members of the school community.
Prevention, wellness promotion, and crisis intervention. School psychologists must have knowledge of child development and psychopathology in order to develop and implement prevention and intervention programs for students with a wide range of needs and disorders.
Home/school/community collaboration. School psychologists must have knowledge of family influences that affect students' wellness, learning, and achievement, and be able to form partnerships among parents, educators, and the community.
Research and program evaluation. School psychologists must know current literature on various aspects of education and child development, be able to translate research into practice, and understand research design and statistics in sufficient depth to conduct investigations relevant to their own work.
Legal, ethical practice and professional development. School psychologists must take responsibility for developing as professionals and practice in ways which meet all appropriate ethical, professional, and legal standards to enhance the quality of services, and to protect the rights of all parties.
Information Technology. School psychologists have knowledge of information sources and technology relevant to their work. School psychologists access, evaluate, and utilize information sources and technology in ways that safeguard or enhance the quality of services.
No person shall, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, or veteran status, be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in employment, recruitment, consideration, or selection thereof, under any of Stephen F. Austin State University's educational programs.
Current Student Faculty Research Homepage:
NASP Approved Programs
The School Psychology Program's philosophy holds that one learns best by engaging in evidence-based intervention. The program mission is to apply behavioral scientific knowledge and methods to the assessment and treatment of learning, behavior, and psychosocial problems in regular and special education populations in the public schools. Our program emphasizes functional analytic, collaborative, and data-based decision making expressed in the following themes:
An appreciation and respect for the special attributes, dignity, diversity, and unique characteristics of each student as a contributor to our culture;
A commitment to support the best interests of students over and above bureaucratic and procedural demands of institutions;
An emphasis on the scientist-practitioner model of problem solving directed at behavioral assessment, intervention, follow-up treatment, consultation, applied and basic research, and on-going program evaluation.
Our training model assumes that the primary functions of a school psychologist are relevant to both academic and social issues within the public school system. An additional tenet of this training model is that the school psychologist's service is most effective when it is approached from a data-based decision making orientation.
These goals and the manner in which they are operationalized are consistent with the Stephen F. Austin State University mission, which states that the University is a comprehensive institution dedicated to excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, creative work, and service. These goals also reflect the mission of the James I. Perkins College of Education, which is to prepare competent, successful, caring and enthusiastic professionals dedicated to responsible service, leadership, and continued professional and intellectual development.
Through the personal attention of our faculty and staff, we engage our students in a learner-centered environment and offer opportunities to prepare for the challenges of living in the global community.
Graduates will be qualified to contribute substantially to the following needs and service trends:
- provision of scientific research-based intervention services to children for academic
- behavioral and emotional problems within the schools, where they can be delivered most immediately and effectively
- provision of prevention services through assessment screenings, systems analysis, and data analysis
School Psychology Graduate School Application