Based on the Practitioner-Scholar model of training, students are involved in a systematic sequence of didactic courses, applied courses, and filed experiences. Designed as a sequential plan of study, the program of study prepares students for the professional practice of school psychology as health service providers by developing foundational knowledge, skills, and dispositions and ethical behavior required for independence practice. A brief, narrative overview of the Psy.D. program of study follows.

During the first year of the Program, students are enrolled in several foundational courses designed to offer knowledge in the areas of learning theory, child development, scientific methods of data analysis, assessment, psychometrics, legal and ethical standards, and individual and cultural diversity. Students are engaged in practica in assessment (supervised by a licensed psychologist), and they are immersed in a sign language environment where they are also required to take ASL courses. Upon completing the first 31 credits in the Psy.D. Program, successfully passing the comprehensive examination, and obtaining positive field supervisor survey, students will be awarded the M.A. in Developmental Psychology with Specialty in Working with Deaf Children.

The second year of the Program builds on the students’ knowledge in psychology by providing advanced assessment and intervention courses, mental health and therapeutic interventions, child psychopathology, and biology psychology with emphasis on brain and behavior. In addition, students are engaged in a pre-advanced doctoral practicum field experiences where learning activities and skill building experiences tied to course objectives are emphasized (assessment, counseling, interventions). These field experiences are supervised by practicing school psychologists in the local partner schools and by a licensed faculty. Students also start building their Intervention Binder based on their experiences and learning activities in the field.

The third year in the Program focuses upon the consultation, mental health interventions, and aspects of professional practice of school psychology. In addition, students are engaged in advanced doctoral practicum experiences where the Applied Research Project (program evaluation) is completed, under the supervision of the field supervisor and two program faculty members. Taking and passing the Praxis at the end of this year is another program milestones and transition point.

The fourth year of the doctoral program involves the culminating experience of a supervised internship in school psychology. The internship is typically a full-time experience, although a two-year half-time internship is permissible. The internship can be completed fully in a school setting (the most selected) or half year in a school and the other half in a clinical setting with school age children. Students also have the option to seek an APA accredited or approved internship through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Center (APPIC).