Ph.D. School Psychology
The 111-hour PhD Program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), as well as the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and includes coursework, practica, dissertation, and internship. Completion of this Program leads to a MSEd, a PhD, Certification in School Psychology by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and prepares graduates to apply for licensure by a State Board of Psychology. In addition to practicing psychology in schools, child clinics, and child service agencies, doctoral-level school psychologists can become licensed for the independent practice of psychology and work as a university professor. PhD graduates often seek employment in settings where research skills are required. Upon completing the PhD Program and successfully passing the Praxis School Psychology Exam, graduates may be credentialed as Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP).
PhD School Psychology Program Broad Competencies
The following are the specific competencies our doctoral-level school psychology students are expected to demonstrate as a result of completing our training Program:
1. Legal/Ethical Practice and Professional Development: Develop a knowledge base and understanding of the various roles and functions of practicing, academic, and supervising school psychologists, and be able to selectively deliver services from a variety of alternative models. Develop a knowledge base of federal and state laws, professional ethics, and professional standards and the skills to apply them in public and private educational agencies. Develop the skills to adhere to due process guidelines in major decisions affecting all students. Develop the skills to adhere to ethical practices for conducting research in school psychology.
2. Organization and Operation of Schools: Develop an understanding of the organization and administration of public schools as systems and the cultural, ethnic, religious and geographic diversity of the students, families and staff served by school psychologists. Develop an awareness of community resources and the roles of other professionals in helping children, parents and school personnel. Develop the skills to foster and facilitate interagency partnerships among family, school, health care, and community agencies to create and maintain safe, supportive, and effective learning environments. Develop the skills to conduct effective Program evaluations of services.
3. Assessment: Develop the skills to select, administer, score, and interpret psychoeducational tests for individuals of different ages, exceptionalities, and cultural backgrounds. Develop competence in the use of interviewing, functional behavioral assessment, and curriculum-based assessment methods for problem-solving and identifying evidenced-based interventions. Develop the skills to integrate psychological and educational assessment data to develop academic and behavioral interventions and to communicate those data in a variety of ways.
4. Biological Basis of Behavior: Develop knowledge to select, administer, interpret, and evaluate psychological tests of brain-behavior relationships. Develop knowledge to integrate information derived from such tests into psychoeducational reports, recommend school-based interventions, and evaluate intervention outcome.
5. Counseling: Develop a counseling and mental health knowledge base and the evidence-based interventions to work with students who have educational, emotional, and/or behavioral problems to mitigate the emergence of enduring, unhealthy patterns of behavior. Develop a knowledge base and skills to help students, families and schools deal with crises, such as school violence, suicide and loss. Develop the skills to evaluate the effectiveness of services.
6. Consultation: Develop a knowledge base of behavioral, mental health, and collaborative consultation. Develop the skills to collaborate with school professionals and families to provide direct and indirect services. Collaborate in the design, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based interventions. Develop the oral and written communication and interpersonal skills necessary to communicate effectively with children, families, and school personnel from varied cultural, ethnic, religious, and geographic backgrounds. Develop the interpersonal skills to function as team leaders in school-based multidisciplinary teams. Develop the skills to conduct Program evaluations of school psychological services.
7. Intervention: Develop a knowledge base and the skills to identify controllable, causal aspects of social, emotional, and academic difficulties and design, implement, and evaluate through progress monitoring evidence-based interventions. Develop the skills to provide prevention and intervention Programs that promote the mental health and physical well-being of students. Recognize the importance of implementing evidence-based interventions for primary prevention and management of academic, behavioral difficulties.
8. Student Diversity in Development and Learning: Develop a knowledge base of individual differences, abilities, and disabilities and of the potential influence of biological, social, cultural, ethnic, experiential, socioeconomic, gender-related, and linguistic factors in development and learning. Demonstrate the sensitivity and skills needed to work with individuals and families of diverse characteristics and to implement strategies selected and/or adapted based on individual characteristics, strengths, and needs. Recognize the family as a system and its impact on student learning.
9. Science of Psychology & Education: Develop an understanding of the value of science for the practice of psychology and education and the value of practice for the science of psychology and education. Develop the skills to utilize an empirical basis for all methods involved in psychological and educational practice. Become educated consumers of research relating to school psychology and be able to apply these research findings to the development of solutions for educational and psychological problems. Be able to disseminate information to colleagues and families from the school psychology knowledge base to promote healthy school environments. Develop competence in progress monitoring and Program evaluation techniques to determine outcomes.
10. Emerging Technology: Develop a familiarity with technical advances and the skills to identify the potential applications of these advances as they relate to the practice of school psychology. Develop competence in using technology to advance the practice and science of school psychology.
PhD School Psychology Program Goals and Objectives
The goals, objectives, and outcomes of the Duquesne University School Psychology Program are tightly linked to the Program's philosophy and training model, the substantive areas of professional psychology, and the current professional issues of the field including ethical, legal and performance based accountability. The following outlines specific PhD Program goals, objectives and competencies:
Goal 1: To develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to be ethical practicing, academic, and supervising school psychologists
Objectives (Competencies 1, 2, 8)
a. Students will develop a knowledge base of the history of the profession; roles and functions of practicing, academic, and supervising school psychologists; public policy applicable to children and families; and ethical, professional and legal standards to be able to deliver services from a variety of models.
b. Students will develop a knowledge base of individual differences, abilities, and disabilities and of the potential influence of biological, social, cultural, ethnic, experiential, socioeconomic, gender-related, and linguistic factors in development and learning.
c. Students will develop an understanding that the organization and administration of public schools is a system that includes diverse students, families and school personnel and develop the dispositions and skills to implement problem-solving strategies based on the characteristics, strengths and needs of these diverse constituencies.
d. Students will develop the knowledge and skills in prevention, health promotion, and Program development to create and maintain safe, supportive, and effective learning environments for children and youth.
Goal 2: To train students in the scientist-practitioner model who are competent in the production, dissemination, and critical evaluation of research.
Objectives (Competencies 9, 10)
a. Students will develop an understanding that professional practice is based on the science of psychology, which in turn is influenced by the professional practice of psychology.
b. Students will develop the skills to utilize an empirical, research basis for all methods involved in psychological and educational practice.
c. Students will develop the skills to perform basic and applied research in school psychology including research design, data analysis and interpretation.
d. Students will disseminate their research to local and national consumers.
Goal 3: To train students in direct and indirect psychological services.
Objectives (Competencies 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
a. Students will develop the knowledge and skills to select, administer, score, and interpret curriculum based assessment, functional behavioral assessment, psychoeducational, social-emotional, and personality tests, and tests of brain-behavior relationships for individuals of different ages, exceptionalities, and cultural backgrounds.
b. Students will develop the skills to integrate psychological and educational assessment data for problem-solving and identifying evidence-based interventions.
c. Students will develop the knowledge and skills to implement evidence-based interventions to promote the mental health and well-being of students; to provide or contribute to prevention Programs; and to help students, families and school personnel cope with crises.
d. Students will develop competence in systematic data collection from students, families and school personnel to evaluate intervention outcome through progress monitoring, and to communicate those data in a variety of ways.
The Program faculty is committed to meeting the learning, professional, and socialization needs of its students. As a result, Program faculty members commit to the following:
• Strive to maintain positive faculty-student professional relationships by all reasonable means.
• Socialize students to the field by considering students to be future colleagues.
• Maintain a contemporary curriculum to meet the learning and professional needs of its students.
• Serve as professional mentors and Program advisors.
• Support the needs of the local SASP chapter, as a student organization that socializes future school psychologists.
• Provide a formal mechanism of feedback to the Program faculty by maintaining a "Student-Raised Concerns" item on each faculty meeting agenda.
• Consider student concerns through other informal means, such as course feedback and meetings with individual faculty members.
• Provide timely and fair evaluations of student performance.
• Enact timely and just student remediation procedures, if necessary.
• Implement timely and just due process procedures.
• Promote student attendance and resulting interaction with faculty at local, regional, and national conferences.
• Mentor students to produce peer-reviewed posters, papers, and other presentations at local, regional, and national conferences.
• Provide continued guidance and support of Program graduates.