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School Psychology: PhD Program

Mission and Values

The primary mission of the University of Oregon School Psychology Program is to prepare our students to become leaders and innovators in the field of school psychology. Our program is intervention-focused, with an emphasis on prevention and early intervention. We seek to recruit and train students who have the desire to make a substantial impact in the fields of school psychology and education at the state, national, and international levels. We are particularly known for and seek to maintain our strong emphasis on state-of-the-art applied research and development efforts in the field of education. Through these efforts, our faculty, students, and alumni help to improve systems of service in schools, and to improve outcomes for children, youth, and their families. Our scientist-practitioner program values linkages across disciplines and systems, and opportunities for such linkages are built into the program requirements. We value the diversity of backgrounds and characteristics that our students bring to the training program, and we actively seek to maintain and increase this diversity. We also value the empowerment of our students, and the perpetuation of a highly collegial program environment, where we strive for positive and cooperative professional relationships among faculty, among students, and between faculty and students.

Program Philosophy

We are behaviorally-influenced in our theoretical and philosophical orientations, meaning we focus on observable relations that require low-level inferences. Within this general framework, our individual theoretical orientations range from behavior analytic to social-interactional theory. From these perspectives we strive to train school psychologists as scientist-practitioners, with a data-oriented problem-solving emphasis. Our program is intervention-focused, training graduate students to conduct and evaluate research and to deliver evidence-based interventions to children and youth in schools and in related settings within a behaviorally-oriented perspective and at a variety of levels. These levels of service delivery and intervention include (a) with individuals, (b) within small groups and classrooms, and (c) across entire schools and systems. Although the program prepares graduates to provide effective evidence-based services to individuals and groups who have a wide variety of needs, problems, or deficits, we particularly value primary prevention and early intervention approaches, which seek to provide universal screening and prevention services to all students in school settings, and to detect and intervene early before problems become severe. This emphasis supports an outcomes-driven model of service delivery, which is focused on health rather than pathology, and is focused on desired outcomes rather than on problems.

PhD Program Overview

The doctoral program in School Psychology at the University of Oregon includes an individualized plan of study with 157 quarter credits minimum, culminating in an original research dissertation, a pre-doctoral internship, and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. This program prepares students to qualify for state board of psychology examiner’s licensure as a professional psychologist, as well as state department of education certification or licensure as a school psychologist in Oregon and most other states. Students who complete this program are automatically eligible to sit for the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (N.C.S.P.) examination and credential, offered by the National Association of School Psychologists. It should be noted that students must complete a minimum of 600 school-based internship hours in order to be eligible for sitting for the N.C.S.P. examination and credential.

Students are not required to earn a master’s degree as they progress toward their PhD, but may elect to do so through completion of a MS degree in Special Education. Students interested in pursuing a concurrent MS degree in Special Education should work with their SPSY Advisor and the SPED Program Director to develop a program plan. Please be aware that additional coursework in special education is required. The MS degree in Special Education is designed to assist students in meeting the requirements of the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practice Commission for an initial license as a school psychologist. This program does not necessarily satisfy state department of education certification/licensure requirements outside of Oregon.

 

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