Center for Psychological Studies

School Psychology

Doctoral Program (Psy.D.) in School Psychology

Program Description

The Psy.D. program in School Psychology is based on a practitioner-informed-by-science training model, which prepares graduates to address the educational, behavioral, social, and emotional needs of the children, youth, and families. Accordingly, the four primary goals of the program are to prepare future psychologists as follows:

  1. Candidates will demonstrate competency in assessment, consultation, and intervention utilizing evidence-based and innovative techniques matched with diverse populations.
  2. Candidates will demonstrate competency in the ability to evaluate and to utilize relevant scientific findings to inform professional practice.
  3. Candidates will demonstrate a professional identity as a school psychologist through leadership, advocacy, ethical practice, and service in meeting the needs of diverse populations.
  4. Candidates will demonstrate knowledge, understanding, and competency regarding the behavioral science foundations of the discipline of psychology and the specialty area of school psychology.

During the completion of their required practicum experiences, candidates have the opportunity to link theory to practice by engaging in assessment, consultation, and intervention at the Mailman Segal Center (MSC) for Human Development and the University School of NSU (USchool), both of which are part of the NSU community.  Also on the NSU campus at the Psychology Services Center (PSC), the School-related Psychological Assessments and Clinical Interventions (SPACI) Clinic serves many of the practice-related training needs of the school psychology candidates.  In addition, during the summer of their first and second years, candidates participate in the Summer Reading Explorers program, a grant funded research and service project to support reading acquisition among at-risk young children in Miami-Dade County.  Finally, candidates have the opportunity to complete applied practica within the tri-county public school district of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties as well as private schools and mental health agencies within the community. Internship provides the culminating training experience in preparing the candidate as a health service provider.

The Directed Study, the capstone research project, reflects each candidate's individual interests and provides an opportunity for the consolidation of knowledge, as well as an emerging area of expertise in a specific area of inquiry.  Supervised training and mentorship in the consumption of research sets the stage for life-long learning and subsequent interpretation and utilization of research to guide psychological practice.

The Doctoral Program in School Psychology is approved by the Florida Department of Education (DOE). The doctoral curriculum is designed to be consistent with the Florida state licensure requirements as both a school psychologist and a psychologist under Chapter 490, Florida Statutes.

Candidates benefit from the expertise of full-time faculty who have experience as school psychology practitioners, and are actively involved in leadership activities at the state and national level, including two previous presidents of NASP. The Center has approximately 50   full-time faculty members that include nationally renowned professionals, and several core part-time and adjunct faculty that work as practitioners or administrators in the schools.

Who should enroll?

The doctoral program welcomes individuals with a bachelor's or master's degree in psychology. Those who hold the bachelor's degree must have completed a minimum of 18 credit hours in psychology. All applicants must demonstrate scholastic ability and interpersonal skills to be an effective psychological practitioner in the schools.

School psychology is consistently ranked among the top careers. The 2012-2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor, projects psychology job growth to increase by 12%. Moreover, according to US News 25 Best Jobs of 2013, school psychology is the 14th best job and is projected to grow by 22% by the year 2020 with an unemployment rate of 1.4%, indicating that school psychology is a promising occupation (Graves, 2013).

Course # Course Title Credits
PSY 8100 Development: Child and Adolescent 1.5
PSY 8105 Development: Adult and Older Adult 1.5
PSY 8110 Psychology of Exceptional and At-Risk Children 3
PSY 8115 Child and Adolescent Psychopathology 3
PSY 8117 Adult Psychopathology  1.5
PSY 8120 Cognitive/Affective Aspects of Behavior 3
PSY 8125 History & Systems of Psychology 3
PSY 8220 Psychobiology 3
PSY 8225 Social Aspects of Behavior 3
PSY 8305 Social and Cultural Bases of Assessment and Counseling 3
PSY 8135 Organization and Operation of Schools 3
PSY 8230 Instructional Strategies for Students with Diverse Learning Needs 3
RED 550 Foundations of Reading for the Content Area Specialist 3
PSY 4442 Evidence-Based Treatment of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders in Children and Adolescents 3
PSY 8150 Counseling Theories and Techniques 3
PSY 8165 Applied Behavioral Assessment and Intervention 3
PSY 8255 School Consultation Skills 3
PSY 8360 Contemporary Clinical Interventions for the School Psychologist 3
PSY 8190 Practicum in School Psychology: Foundations I
(160 practicum hours + 30 hour Seminar)
PSY 8270 Ethical, Legal, & Professional Issues for School Psychologists 3
PSY 8350 Advanced Professional Skills: Supervision, Administration & Teaching with Practicum 3
PSY 8182 Cognitive Assessment I: Theory, Research, & Practice with Lab 4
PSY 8184 Cognitive Assessment II: Linking Assessment to Intervention 3
PSY 8280 Academic Assessment for Intervention 3
PSY 8286 Assessment of Personality and Social-emotional Functioning for Intervention 3
PSY 8292 Comprehensive Data-Based Assessment: Integrated Report 3
PSY 8140 Intermediate Statistics with Lab 3
PSY 8145 Issues & Techniques in Research Design and Evaluation 3
PSY 8147 Theories of Measurement 3
PSY 8206 Directed Study 1.5
PSY 8195 Practicum in School Psychology: Foundations II (160 hours) 2
PSY 8197 Practicum in School Psychology: Foundations III (160 hours) 2
PSY 8290 Practicum in School Psychology: School-Based I (225 hours) 3
PSY 8295 Practicum in School Psychology: School-Based II (225 hours) 3
PSY 8390 Practicum in School Psychology: Advanced Assessment and Interventions I (240 hours) 3
PSY 8392 Practicum in School Psychology: Advanced Assessment and Interventions II (240 hours) 3
PSY 8394 Practicum in School Psychology: Advanced Assessment and Interventions III (240 hours) 3
PSY 8400 Internship (2000 hours) 6
  Elective I  3
  Elective II  3
  Elective III 3
Total Credits Required for Degree 118
Program Format

The program is offered on the main campus in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in a face-to-face format. All candidates must complete a minimum of at least two of the three years of residency within the program to be eligible for the doctoral degree. Completion of the program is expected to occur in four years; however, candidates are required to complete the program within seven years. In order to maintain enrollment in the Psy.D. program, the candidate must be registered continuously until all program requirements are met.

En Route Master of Science in Psychology

Candidates enrolled in the Psy.D. program in school psychology may earn as an intermediate degree, the master of science in psychology. The curriculum for this degree consists of all courses (or their equivalents) including practicum and supervision in the first two years of the model doctoral curriculum (minimum of 73 credit hours). Courses transferred into Nova Southeastern University’s doctoral program do not count toward this degree.

Graduates with this degree will not have met the educational requirements for certification or licensure in the State of Florida and should not expect to provide psychological services as an independent practitioner. Rather, this degree should be utilized by the Psy.D. candidate to demonstrate master’s level achievement in psychology or to qualify for a master’s level of employment. Candidates completing the above requirements may complete a degree application form and pay the required fee; however, they may not participate in the master’s graduation ceremony.

En-Route Specialist Degree in School Psychology

Candidates admitted to and enrolled in the Psy.D. program in school psychology who have completed 73 credit hours in the Specialist Program in School Psychology (Psy.S.) at Nova Southeastern University may earn, as an intermediate degree, the specialist degree in school psychology. The curriculum for this degree consists of all courses (or their equivalents), additional requirements as listed in the Specialist Program in School Psychology Policies and Procedures Handbook, and the successful completion of six (6) school psychology internship credits and a minimum of 1200 hours in a PK-12 school setting.

Graduate Requirements

Candidates are admitted to the Doctor of Psychology program in School Psychology annually, with cohorts beginning in the fall semester. All candidates are expected to complete their doctoral program and graduate within seven years from the date of first enrollment. Candidates must complete the 118 credits of graduate curriculum, which includes applied practicum experiences, the Directed Study, and a doctoral internship. In addition, candidates are required to sit for and to pass the three assessments required for Florida Teacher Certification, which include the General Knowledge Test (GK), the Professional Education Test (PEd), and the Subject Area Examination (SAE) in School Psychology.  During the internship year, candidates are required to site for and to pass the Praxis Examination in School Psychology (5402), administered by the Educational Testing Services (ETS). Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

Licensure and certification requirements vary from state-to-state. Candidates are advised to research those requirements in advance of completion of their degree to ensure that they have completed the appropriate coursework for licensure and certification in the state in which intend to seek employment.


School psychologists holding the doctoral degree in psychology are eligible for licensure as a psychologist. Requirements include a doctoral degree in psychology, two years of supervised experience as a psychologist (half of which may be satisfied by the completion of a doctoral internship), a passing score on the National Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), and completion of specific requirements designated within each state. Licensure allows for employment in private practice, hospitals and community agencies.

Licensure requirements in school psychology vary from state-to-state. Florida is one of approximately 10 states that credentials school psychologists for independent practice at the specialist level. Licensure requirements include three years of supervised experience as a school psychologist and a passing score of 147 on the Praxis (5402) Subject Area Exam in School Psychology.

School psychologists are also eligible for certification in 43 of the 50 states by the Department of Education (DOE) as a professional educator to provide school psychological services in public, private, or charter schools. Certification in school psychology can occur at either the specialist or doctoral level.