School Psychology (Ed.S.) FAQ

What clearances do I need and how do I go about getting them?

To participate in certain classes you must obtain the Pennsylvania child abuse history clearance (Act 151), Pennsylvania criminal record check (Act 34), and FBI clearance (includes fingerprinting).

For the FBI clearance: pre-register online at, and then click on the department of education link and register. *Requires a $33 registration fee. Once the registration is completed print the confirmation, and bring the printed confirmation along with your photo ID to a fingerprinting center.

Act 151 Child Abuse Clearance & Pennsylvania criminal record check can be obtained online at the Pennsylvania Department of Public Works.

What materials do I need in order to be considered for the program?
  • Application
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • GPA/GRE scores
  • All undergraduate and/or graduate transcripts
  • A personal statement citing your reason for entering the profession of school psychology, including an estimate of your potential for success in the field.
How do I apply to the School Psychology program at Marywood University?

You can apply to the program by going on to the university admissions webpage, and then clicking on the graduate application tab. Once the new page is open, click on the Master's or Certification Program link, and then click on the online application. You may also print the application and send it in by mail. All required materials must be submitted by the end of January.

Master's or Certification Program Application

Will I be admitted into the school psychology program if my undergraduate major was in another field, such as English?

Although the majority of individuals are now entering the field of school psychology with undergraduate degrees in psychology, students continue to enter graduate school with a variety of degrees including English, education, sociology, and child development to name a few. Your major field is less important if you have sufficient background knowledge in areas applicable to school psychology (child development, psychology, education, etc.).

If I am already a graduate student at Marywood, do I have to resubmit an application to be accepted into the school psychology program?

Yes. You must resubmit an application to university admissions by the required deadline to be considered for the school psychology program.

What is the average class size?

When enrolled in the core curriculum classes (for all graduate psychology majors), you can expect approximately 20-24 students in each class. When enrolled in the specific certification classes for the school psychology program, expect to see approximate 8-10 students.

When do I apply for candidacy?

Students are encouraged to apply for candidacy after completing 12 graduate credits.

What classes do I need state clearances for?

State and Federal Clearances are needed to enroll in the following classes:

  • SED 507 - Characteristics and Remedial Strategies for the Mildly Impaired
  • SED 511 - Curriculum Adaptations for the Special Needs Learner
  • SED 539 - Classroom and Behavior Management
  • PSY 539 - Behavioral Management Approaches
  • PSY 549a - Practicum
  • PSY 549b - Practicum-Internship
When do I take the Psychology Comprehensive exam?

In order to take the comprehensive examination, you must first have completed all of the core requirement coursework (PSY 503 Research Methods & Statistics 1, PSY 504 Research Methods & Statistics 2, PSY 508 Biological Bases of Behavior, PSY 514 Human Development, PSY 517 Personality Psychology, PSY 521 Social Psychology, PSY 523 Contemporary Learning Theories). If all core coursework is completed you may choose to take the exam on the designated date. The dates vary, but the examination is offered once in each of the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

When do I take the Praxis?

To fulfill state certification requirements, students are required to take both the Praxis I and Praxis II standardized examinations. The Praxis I combination exam (reading, writing and math) can be completed after the fulfillment of 9 graduate credits. The Praxis II (School Psychology), is completed while you are on internship.

Do I have to complete a thesis in order to graduate?

As a graduate student you have the option of completing a thesis (research based) or a professional contribution (theoretically based). Typically when completing a thesis, students are required to collect and synthesize research data in order to develop new research. A personal contribution (PC) usually does not involve data collection, however the student is required to collect and synthesize research in order to contribute new knowledge to the field.

Can I start my thesis/professional contribution before I complete the required Psychology 503/ Psychology 504 classes?

No. Instruction in both of these classes will guide/help you in the research and writing process of either your thesis or professional contribution. Knowledge gained through these classes is essential in successfully satisfying this requirement.

What are some examples of a relevant professional contribution?

The following are examples of successful professional contributions that have been submitted:

  • Developing a Home/School Communication Program
  • Parent Involvement on Students Academic Motivation, Attitude Towards School, and Parent -Child Relationship
  • Overcoming Teacher Resistance to School-Wide Positive Behavior Support Programs
  • Job Coaching a High School Student with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Role of Paraprofessional in Mediating Student Friendships
  • De-mystifying Mindfulness for Educators


How long must my thesis/professional contribution be in order for it to be accepted?

There is not a designated length for either of these two documents. Theses and Professional Contributions are reviewed in terms of quality and contribution to the profession and/or discipline. Students are reminded that document length is typically related to document quality.

How long will it take to get my degree?

The length of time to complete degree requirements is contingent on the number of courses you complete each semester and your success in each course. Assuming enrollment in Fall (12 credits) Spring (12 credits) and Summer (12 credits) courses, students typically complete the program in 3 years. Two years of traditional coursework and supervised in-house practicum, and 1 year to complete the 1200 hour field based internship.

What type of degree will completion of the program provide?

Students entering the program post-baccalaureate, earn a Master's of Arts in Psychology and an Education Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) in School Psychology, in that order. School Psychology certification is awarded through Pennsylvania Department of Education after earning the Ed.S., successfully completing the PRAXIS I & II, and completing and submitting the standard application to the state.

Where do I complete the required internship?

Students explore internship opportunities and interview for internship positions. Internships are to be completed in a public school setting. Interns have field and university supervisors. Field-based supervisors must provide a 2 hour minimum of direct supervision per week. Field-based supervisors must also have a minimum of 3 years experience as a school psychologist and more than 1 year of experience employed in their current role. Final approval of all school psychology internships is through the program director.

While on internship, am I able to complete my coursework?

No. All coursework and thesis or professional contributions must be completed prior to the start of internship.

What is the difference between a school psychologist and a guidance counselor?

School psychology training brings together the knowledge base of several disciplines, including child psychology and development and education, with an emphasis on special education. School psychologists are specifically trained in assessment (comprehensive evaluations of disability and risk), consultation regarding instructional and behavioral interventions, and direct interventions including crisis prevention/intervention, individual and group counseling, and skill training. In most states and training programs, school counseling does not include training or work with special education populations.

What is the average salary for a school psychologist?

According to a recent (2006) membership survey conducted by members of the NASP Research Committee, the mean salary of school psychologists in the U.S. in the 2004-05 school-year was $60,581.