Program Overview

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

A Letter to Prospective Students

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 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 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 USF are offered through the College of Education's Department of Educational and Psychological Studies. 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.

Project TIERS funding for Ed.S. Students

project Tiers logo

Full funding is available to Ed.S. applicants via Project TIERS!

Project TIERS is a collaborative project between USF’s School Psychology program and a Tampa Bay area school district that is funded by a 5-year U.S. Department of Education grant. The primary aims of this project are to increase access to quality school-based mental health services for children attending high-needs elementary schools, address the shortage of school psychologists in high-needs school districts in Florida, and increase the presence of school psychologists with marginalized identities in local schools to better reflect the identities and experiences of the students and families they serve. To accomplish these aims, the USF School Psychology Program will be increasing our enrollment of Ed.S. students. We welcome and encourage applications from individuals with identities that are marginalized based on race, ethnicity, culture, languages spoken, income background, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or national origin (not meant to be an exhaustive list).

In addition to participating in our core EdS Program, Project TIERS graduate students will receive:

  • Specialized training and direct applied experience in the provision of school-based mental health supports via multi-tiered systems of support
  • Two years of paid tuition toward an Ed.S. degree in School Psychology, plus generous stipend for living expenses each year*
  • Stipends for additional program expenses (e.g., textbooks, childcare, computer purchase, professional association membership fees, background checks, and conference travel)*
  • Practicum placement in an elementary school in a large, diverse district
  • Mentorship from School Psychology faculty matched on shared interests
  • Mentorship from a practicing school psychologist, matched on shared interests
  • Regular supervision of Project TIERS activities by a credentialed school psychologist
  • Assistance in procuring 3rd year internship in a high-needs school district
  • Job placement in a high-needs Florida school district after graduation*

If you are interested in being part of Project TIERS, complete an application to our school psychology Ed.S. program and indicate in your personal statement that you are interested in Project TIERS. 

For more information, please contact Dr. Stacy-Ann January, Principal Investigator, at

*Acceptance of 2 years of funding requires a commitment to work in a high-needs Florida school district for 4 years following graduation.

program history

The USF School Psychology Program is more than 40 years old and has approximately 55 full-time graduate students in residence. Earning more than $50 million in Federal and State grants since 1990, the program includes a faculty team of seven school psychologists as well as an "extended" faculty that includes affiliated, emeritus, and contributing faculty as well as school district partners.

USF's School Psychology Program has strong ties with school districts in the four counties surrounding 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-Community Partnerships, Integrated Services, and Child Mental Health and Educational Policy, a nationally recognized research and training center that provides technical assistance to school districts and other service delivery leaders throughout the U.S., and the School Mental Health Collaborative, a national research and technical assistance center for supporting school districts with preventative mental health services.