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Specialist (Psy.S.) in School Psychology

Dr. Tania Thomas-Presswood, Program Director
Hall Memorial Building, Room W312E

The Department of Psychology offers a specialist degree program in school psychology (Psy.S.) with a subspecialization in deafness. The program provides a comprehensive plan of studies that integrates respect for diversity, basic psychology, practitioner skills, and educational planning. The faculty is committed to developing competent school psychologists who serve diverse students, including specialization in the area of deafness. The program has a solid core of academic and applied courses supplemented by extensive practica and a one-year internship.

The school psychology program is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and is part of Gallaudet's Educator Preparation Provider Unit which is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); therefore, graduates of the Gallaudet program may receive certification as school psychologists in the many states that recognize NASP/NCATE accredited training programs. The program identifies six NCATE Transition Points that serve as benchmarks for monitoring progress through the program: Entrance Into the Program, Awarding the M.A. in Developmental Psychology, Advancement to Practicum II, Advancement to Internship, Awarding the Specialist Degree in School Psychology, and Alumni Status. In keeping with national accreditation practices, school psychology students participate in the university TK20 Assessment System which requires a one-time fee. The completion of the specified school psychology program satisfies the training requirements for school psychology certification in the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Admissions Procedures

Applicants for the Psy.S. in School Psychology must complete the application procedures and meet the requirements for graduate study at Gallaudet University. Visit the Graduate Admissions web site for more information and a checklist of application requirements. Detailed program information and course descriptions are also available under the 'Courses' and 'Requirements' tab. 

First Date for Consideration of Application: No set date
Last Date for Completed Application: February 1

Program Specific Requirements

Three Letters of Reference

Required Undergraduate Major

Psychology Major or Minor, or Related Field

Prerequisite Coursework

Child Development
Abnormal Psychology

Program of Study

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum consists of credit hour requirements in all professional areas required by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The School Psychology Specialist Program is fully approved by NASP and as such maintains a core curriculum consistent with current NASP training standards.

Additional Objectives

The additional program objective of training students with an expertise in deafness is framed within the following five special competency areas:

  1. Communication and meeting the communication needs of all individuals whom one serves, which includes the development of American Sign Language (ASL) skill, as well as the ability to assess one's communication skills and adapt communication modalities to meet the specific needs of each child (ASL, manually coded English, oral/aural approaches, etc.).

  2. Knowledge of deafness issues, including research, technological innovations, deaf culture, diversity within the Deaf community, and resources for families and the professional.

  3. Psychoeducational considerations for children who are Deaf or hard of hearing, including modifications needed in use of standardized and non-standardized test instruments, interpretation of results, socialization issues, family issues, and the impact of additional disabilities.

  4. Specialized psychological assessment and observational strategies for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing across diverse cultural, economic, linguistic, and personal developmental domains.

  5. Knowledge of educational intervention techniques and curriculum adaptations for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

Practicum and Internships

Supervised practicum and internship experiences are available at school and educational programs for deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing children in the metropolitan Washington area and across the United States. A background check is frequently a requirement of practicum and internship sites and will be the financial responsibility of the student before placement is made.

Typical Program of Study and Core Courses

The graduate program in school psychology requires the completion of 72 graduate hours including practicum and internship experiences. The program generally takes three years: two years of course study (including practicum experiences) and a one-year internship.  

The first year of the program includes a 30-credit sequence of courses in psychology and related areas, additional sign communication courses, and successful completion of comprehensive examinations in two areas (cognition and behavior disorders). Successful completion of these requirements results in a master of arts degree in developmental psychology. The master's degree is usually awarded at the end of the first year of study.

The second year includes an additional 30-credit sequence of courses emphasizing school psychological services, successful completion of a comprehensive examination case study and an extensive practicum experience.

The third program year is a full-time school psychology internship placement (12 credits), which may be served in a school or school/clinical setting anywhere in the United States. During the internship year, students must complete two comprehensive internship intervention case studies. Upon successful completion of the internship year the specialist degree in school psychology is awarded.


Courses that must be taken at Gallaudet in the school psychology program:

PSY 701Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues in School Psychology3
PSY 743Assessment I: History and Theory of Assessment3
PSY 746Assessment II: Intellectual Assessment3
PSY 765Assessment III: Social, Emotional and Behavioral Assessment3
PSY 770Practicum in School Psychology3
PSY 771Practicum in School Psychology II3
PSY 772Psychological Consultation:Externship1
PSY 790Internship: Individual Case Study3
PSY 791Internship: Teacher Consultation and Counseling3
PSY 792Internship: System Consultation and In-Service3
PSY 793Internship: Advanced Case Conference3

Required Courses

PSY 732Child Psychopathology and Behavior Disorders3
PSY 748Psychoeducational Assessment and Programming for Exceptional Children3
PSY 754Biological Psychology: Brain & Behavior3
PSY 766School Psychology and Prevention Services3
PSY 767Psychological Consultation: Theory and Practice3

PSY 701 - Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues in School Psychology (3)

Provides familiarization with legal and ethical issues and the role and function of the psychologist in the school setting. Class and field experiences are designed to acquaint the student with the various roles, responsibilities and operations of multi-disciplinary teams from a multi-cultural perspective. Available school and community resources for deaf and hard of hearing people are explored.

  • Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

PSY 732 - Child Psychopathology and Behavior Disorders (3)

A study of child behavior disorders and other psycho-pathologies of childhood, including types of disorders, etiology, and intervention and prevention strategies. Psychological, developmental, biological, cultural, and educational factors are included.

  • Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

PSY 743 - Assessment I: History and Theory of Assessment (3)

An introduction to multiple methods of assessing behavior, abilities, and achievement. Includes the history of assessment practices and theory and a discussion of the statistical properties of assessment instruments including reliability, validity, standard error of measurement and normal distributions. Criteria for evaluating and selecting tests, methods and theoretical approaches to assessment are also presented.

  • Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

PSY 746 - Assessment II: Intellectual Assessment (3)

An intensive course designed to provide the graduate student with an integrated foundation consisting of knowledge of theory, methods, and techniques, along with applied clinical skills, in the effective appraisal of individual intelligence. Course instruction focuses primarily upon skill development in test selection, administration, and scoring; analysis and interpretation of test results; preparation of reports on findings; and application of knowledge of assessment practices, including confidentiality considerations, within a framework provided by professional, ethical, and legal standards.

  • Prerequisites: School Psychology Majors: PSY 743, PSY 770.

PSY 748 - Psychoeducational Assessment and Programming for Exceptional Children (3)

An overview of formal and informal assessment procedures used in identifying exceptional children, including cognitive, social-emotional, and perceptual-motor functioning as well as achievement measures. Assessment procedures used in developing and evaluating intervention strategies and Individualized Education Plans will be discussed, using an interdisciplinary model and a multicultural and/or bilingual perspective. The collection and use of data for the purpose of evaluating program effectiveness will also be included.

  • Pre- or Corequisite: PSY 743 and PSY 746 or Permission of Instructor.

PSY 754 - Biological Psychology: Brain & Behavior (3)

Addresses brain-behavior relationships with an emphasis upon school age children. Anatomy of the brain as well as neurodevelopmental and acquired neurophysiological disorders that affect children will be discussed. Students will be introduced to neuropsychological tests and test batteries used in the evaluation of this age group.

  • Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

PSY 765 - Assessment III: Social, Emotional and Behavioral Assessment (3)

Training with techniques and instruments used in social, emotional and behavioral assessment. Projective and descriptive techniques are discussed in addition to the use of adaptive behavior instruments. The use of assessment data for educational and vocational planning and decision-making is emphasized from a multi-cultural perspective..

  • Pre- or Corequisite: PSY 711, PSY 743, and PSY 746 or Permission of Instructor.

PSY 766 - School Psychology and Prevention Services (3)

Course will include the conceptual basis and discuss the techniques used in delivering mental health services to non-identified populations in the school. Types of interventions studied will include the use of group techniques, social skill development procedures, enrichment programs, teaching of parenting skills, development of vocational or school transitional services and methods for delivering in-service to professional staff members. Particular emphasis will be given to the role of the psychologist on crisis intervention teams.

  • Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

PSY 767 - Psychological Consultation: Theory and Practice (3)

Survey of major theoretical models of psychological consultation with professional peers, parents, administrators and organizations as they are applied to school settings, mental health settings, medical settings, natural communities and workplaces. Methods for achieving individual or system-wide change are reviewed through literature, class discussion, simulation, and role-playing activities.

  • Prerequisite: Second Year Graduate Status or Permission of the Instructor.

PSY 770 - Practicum in School Psychology (3)

Under close supervision students gain experience in multi-dimensional assessment of individuals in various settings. Emphasis is on developing skills in administering, interpreting, and reporting the results of various measures of intelligence related to educational functioning.

  • Pre- or Corequisite: PSY 746 and Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

PSY 771 - Practicum in School Psychology II (3)

Under the close supervision of a certified or licensed psychologist, students work in a school or clinic setting providing psychological and educational assessments, preparing reports, counseling with clients, and developing and implementing intervention programs. In addition, students attend a weekly seminar emphasizing major issues in the professional practice of school psychology.

  • Prerequisites: PSY 701, PSY 743, PSY 746, PSY 748, PSY 770 and Permission of the instructor.

PSY 772 - Psychological Consultation:Externship (1)

A supervised practicum in which the student is responsible for designing, implementing, and evaluating a psychological consultation experience in a school or educational program.

  • Prerequisites: PSY 767 and PSY 771.

PSY 790 - Internship: Individual Case Study (3)

Field experience in an approved setting provides supervised experience in identification and description of school-related problems, formulation of diagnostic plans, selection and use of appropriate evaluation tools, referral to appropriate specialists, integration of findings, and recommendation of appropriate action and follow-up.

  • Prerequisite: Advanced program status and permission of instructor.

PSY 791 - Internship: Teacher Consultation and Counseling (3)

Field experience in an approved setting provides supervised experience in conferences with teachers to interpret results of child diagnostic study; conferences with parents to interpret plan of action for child or youth; short term and group counseling with students.

  • Prerequisite: Advanced program status and permission of instructor.

PSY 792 - Internship: System Consultation and In-Service (3)

Field experience in an approved setting provides supervised experience at an advanced level in conferences with teachers, parents, administrators, and other specialists in the school and community concerning planning, referrals, and in-school interventions and experience in developing and implementing in-service programs for teachers, administrators, and staff.

  • Prerequisite: Advanced program status and permission of instructor.

PSY 793 - Internship: Advanced Case Conference (3)

Field experience in an approved setting provides supervised experience at an advanced level in conferences with teachers, parents, administrators, and other specialists to interpret the results of child diagnostic study; active participation in multidisciplinary staffings; and design and development of interventions for the remediation of student learning and behavior problems in the classroom.

  • Prerequisite: Advanced program status and permission of instructor.
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