Future Students – Doctoral Program in School Psychology (Ph.D.)

Read letter regarding phasing out of School Psychology track of UCA’s PhD in Psychology

Program Description

School Psychology Faculty and Students, Fall, 2016School Psychology is the application of the principles of psychology to the learning and developmental processes of children and adolescents. School psychologists conduct psychological and educational evaluations in order to plan remedial programs for students, counsel students with learning and school adjustment problems, consult with school personnel and parents, develop and implement educational and psychological programs for schools, and evaluate school programs.

The Ph.D. program in School Psychology is grounded in the scientist-practitioner model of training. The APA-accredited* Ph.D. program in School Psychology is grounded in the scientist-practitioner model of training. The program adheres to the idea that practice and research should reciprocally influence and strengthen each other. The program prepares students to integrate scientific knowledge and skills into all professional activities, to promote empirically established practices on behalf of those being served, and to exemplify the legal and ethical standards of the psychology profession.

The program is typically a five-year, 120 credit hour program. Four years are spent in full-time coursework at UCA, and the fifth year is a full-time internship in a school or other appropriate setting. Strong emphasis is placed on child mental health promotion, primary prevention, and intervention with a broad range of community related problems involving children, families, and schools. In this and other ways, the program is responsive to on-going societal concerns facing children. It prepares its graduates to work in schools, clinics, community agencies, and hospitals.

The primary purpose of the program is to prepare students to provide and promote empirically-supported psychological services for children, youth, families, and schools. The program is founded on the central belief that school psychologists offer a unique and valuable contribution to society through the provision of scientifically sound prevention and intervention services. The need for quality school psychological services has been strongly felt throughout the state of Arkansas, the United States, and beyond. The Ph.D. program responds to this need in a pragmatic manner by emphasizing mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention at the individual, group, and systemic/programmatic levels.

Housed within the Department of Psychology and Counseling in the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, the program emphasizes the professional identity of school psychologists within the broader field of psychology, a breadth and depth of professional training that prepares candidates to competently perform a variety of school psychology functions, and an education that values and respects cultural diversity among candidates, faculty, and service recipients.

APA Accreditation

The doctoral program in School Psychology began in 2000 and is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

  • Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
  • American Psychological Association
  • 750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
  • Phone: (202) 336-5979 / Email: apaaccred@apa.org
  • Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

Why We Need School Psychologists

School psychologists work with students, educators, families, school support staff (e.g., speech language pathologists, nurses, school counselors…etc.) and administrators, and other mental health professionals. School Psychologists engage in a variety of roles inside and outside school systems including consultation, assessment, intervention, prevention, education, and research and planning.  They are leaders of child mental health promotion and preventative care. They are active in examining effective instruction and school-based programs to stimulate successful learning. School Psychologists are employed across a variety of settings including public and private schools, community and state agencies, clinics and hospitals, private practice, and universities. Regardless of setting, school psychologists are dedicated to supporting students in any manner which offers them their best chance of success.

Highlights of our program include:

  • 120-credit-hour program including dissertation research and 2,000 hour internship
  • Research Assistantship & Teaching Assistantship  positions available
  • Close working relationships with School Psychology faculty members
  • Opportunities for leadership in departmental graduate student association and as student representatives to Arkansas School Psychology Association, National Association of School Psychologists, and American Psychological Association
  • Funding available for conference travel to present research
  • Typically, 4-6 students admitted each year

Program Goals, Curriculum, Licensure, and Other Data


Admissions Requirements

All applicants for the doctoral program in School Psychology must meet the general requirements of the Graduate School and specific requirements of the doctoral program. In order to be considered for Summer and/or Fall admission into the program, all completed application materials must be submitted to the UCA Graduate School office by January 15. 

Complete and submit the following by January 15:

  • Materials should be sent to the following address:


  • An Online Graduate School Admission application (Graduate School Admissions)
  • Official transcripts of all completed college course work to the Graduate School Office
  • Official Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores on the General Section to the Graduate School Office
  • School Psychology Program application by completing the online application form.
  • Three letters of recommendation from former college professors or individuals otherwise qualified to comment on the applicant’s professional and academic potential.
  • Essay: Statement of Career Path and Aspirations – a 500-word essay focusing on your career aspirations as a school psychologist and research interests. This may include: a) significant people or events that have led you to pursue a career in psychology, b) strengthens and limitations and c) impact you would like to make (for others, the field, etc).
  • Current resume or vita.

In addition to the above, please be aware that the following are also required by January 15:

  • Twelve hours of undergraduate prerequisite coursework including:
    • General psychology
    • Statistics
    • 2 other psychology courses

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all materials are received by the admissions deadline.

Transfer of Graduate Credit

For students who have completed some graduate work at other universities, the School Psychology Program may allow the transfer of some graduate credit applicable to the student’s doctoral work at UCA. Requests to transfer graduate-level coursework will only be accepted after the student has been accepted into the program. Requests for transfer of credit must be made in writing by the student and his/her faculty advisor to the School Psychology Director of Training. The School Psychology Committee and Department Chair will consider inquiries regarding transfer of credit on an individual basis, and only those courses that essentially duplicate a UCA course will be considered for transfer. All course transfers must be approved by the School Psychology Committee and the Department Chair.

 Financial Considerations

 Program Faculty