Program Overview

A Message from Dr. Nathaniel von der Embse, Ph.D., NCSP, Coordinator of Admissions

Program Description

The School Psychology Program at the University of South Florida offers two programs that qualify students for the professional practice of school psychology. 

The Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a concentration in School Psychology consists of approximately 92 graduate semester hours and includes a full-year, full-time internship and a thesis. A Master of Arts (MA) degree is earned by most students at the end of the first year of their Ed.S. program. However, the Master’s program is not considered a terminal degree and is not sufficient for state of Florida certification in school psychology.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree consists of approximately 70 semester hours beyond the Ed.S. degree. The Ph.D. program includes advanced leadership coursework, specialization and courses in an area of emphasis in school psychology, an advanced practicum, a 2,000-clock hour internship, and the dissertation. 

The programs in School Psychology at the University of South Florida are offered through the College of Education's Department of Educational and Psychological Studies in cooperation with the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychology. The programs have been designed specifically for training in school psychology and developed to meet all relevant national accreditation standards — most notably, the Council for Accreditation of Teacher Preparation (CAEP, formerly NCATE), and the American Psychological Association (APA). 

The School Psychology Program is accredited by CAEP at both the Ed.S. and Ph.D. levels, and is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) at those same levels. Thus, our programs meet NASP's training criteria for the National School Psychology Certification System. The School Psychology Program is also accredited by the APA at the Ph.D. level.

Beyond national accreditation, the School Psychology Program is approved by the Florida Department of Education. Therefore, graduates of the program at the Ed.S. level and beyond are eligible for provisional certification as school psychologists in the state of Florida. While Florida-certified school psychologists often are certifiable as school psychologists in other states, professional reciprocity is not always immediate or guaranteed. Program faculty at USF will help students plan programs that result in certification from other states wherever possible. In most cases, the USF program will satisfy the certification requirements of other states; however, for some states, additional coursework may be necessary.

History of the School Psychology Program

The USF School Psychology Program is more than 25 years old and has approximately 55 full-time graduate students in residence. Having earned more than $30 million since 1990 in Federal and State grants, the program includes a faculty team of five school psychologists as well as an "extended" faculty that includes three to four additional colleagues. 

The School Psychology Program has strong ties with local school districts in the four counties in the USF area (Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, and Hillsborough), and our students participate in practicum and internship placements in each. The School Psychology Program also administers the Institute for School Reform, a nationally recognized research and training center that provides technical assistance to school districts and other service delivery leaders throughout the United States.