A Message from Dr. Nathaniel von der Embse, Ph.D., NCSP, Coordinator of Admissions
A Letter to Prospective Students
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.
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 Reform, 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.