The School Psychology Program at Mississippi State University offers two degrees that allow for the practice of school psychology, the Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in education with a concentration in School Psychology and the Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Psychology with a concentration in School Psychology. Additionally, a non-terminal Master of Science (M.S.) in psychometry is obtained along the way to both the Ed.S. and Ph.D. degrees.
Both degrees have a course sequence approved by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board allowing for graduates’ course work to count toward the Board Certified Behavior Analysis (BCBA) credential.
All programs are located within the College of Education in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Foundations. Applications for all three programs are due by January 15 of each year. To learn more about each degree option, please read below.
- The Master of Science program in psychometry is a non-terminal degree designed to begin in the fall semester and requires two full years of study (i.e., fall, spring, and summer semesters). The M.S. in psychometry allows individuals to obtain AA licensure from the Mississippi State Department of Education. This degree is currently a 43-hour program with a 300 hour practicum primarily in assessment. All students in this program must pass the Praxis core examination en route to the degree and pass the master’s comprehensive examination. Students in the M.S. in psychometry program are expected to continue their education at MSU in pursuit of either the Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) or Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.) in School Psychology. MSU does NOT offer an add-on certificate in psychometry.
- The Ed.S. program, a major in Education with a concentration in School Psychology, is accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) through 2019. This degree qualifies students to become Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP) and allows individuals to obtain AAA licensure from the Mississippi State Department of Education. This degree begins in the fall semester and requires at least three years of full time course work (i.e., fall, spring, and summer semesters). This degree is currently an 84-hour program with required practica experiences and a minimum of a 1500-hour school-based internship (as required by NASP for the NCSP credential) to be completed during the individual’s last year in the program. Ed.S. students are required to complete a graded portfolio of profession work and pass the Praxis specialty examination in School Psychology.
- The Ph.D. program in Educational Psychology with a concentration in School Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) through 2021 and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) through 2019. 2021 and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) through 2019. This degree qualifies students to become licensed psychologists and Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP). It also allows individuals to obtain AAAA licensure from the Mississippi State Department of Education. Students accepted into the PhD program in School Psychology should either hold a master’s degree in school psychology/psychometry or obtain AA licensure in school psychometry within the first three years in the program. For students entering with a baccalaureate degree, the program requires at least five years of full time study (i.e., fall, spring, and summer semesters), which begins in the fall semester and culminates in a full year internship experience. A minimum of 120 hours beyond the baccalaureate degree is required to earn a doctorate from the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology. In addition to required coursework, students are required to present a minimum of one refereed presentation at a regional or national conference and submit at least one publication to a refereed journal. Students must pass three comprehensive examinations which include 1) the master’s exam, 2) written doctoral comprehensive exam, 3) oral doctoral comprehensive exam, and 4) the Praxis specialty exam for school psychology. Students must also successfully propose and defend the dissertation. Finally, students must successfully complete a 2000-hour pre-doctoral internship (APA accredited is preferred).
School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connection between home, school, and the community for all students. School Psychologists are highly training in both psychology and education, completing a minimum of a specialist-level degree programs (at least 60 graduate semester hours) that includes a year-long supervised internship. This training emphasizes preparation in mental health and educational interventions, child development, learning behavior, motivation, curriculum and instruction, assessment, consultation, collaboration, school law, and systems. School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they work. They also may be nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB). The Association of School Psychologists sets ethical and training standards for practice of service delivery.
Accreditation is important because it means your degree is recognized as meeting the standards of the school psychology profession. The Ph.D., AAA Certification, and M.S. degree programs in School Psychology all meet some National and/or State certification standards. Currently the School Psychology Program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) until 2021. The accreditation site visit is scheduled for Spring 2014. The Doctoral and Educational Specialist Programs are accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) through a partnership with the National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) through 2021 and 2019, respectively. The Masters program in school psychometry is not accredited by APA or NASP; however, students are allowed to apply for licensure in the state of Mississippi as a school psychometrist after completing the program. The masters program is considered to be a non-terminal program as the faculty expect students to complete either the doctoral or educational specialist degree.
Beginning in 1997, students who do not graduate from APA accredited programs will not be eligible to apply for the professional licensure exam in Mississippi as a psychologist.
The MSU school psychology curriculum has been approved by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB). The BACB requires 270 hours of approved coursework to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination. Click here to access the BACB website.
American Psychological Association
Commission on Accreditation
c/o Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
National Association of School Psychologists
NASP Program Approval Board
4340 East West Highway, Ste 402
Bethesda, MD 20814
Mississippi Department of Education
P.O. Box 771
359 North West St.
Jackson, MS 39205
Behavior Analyst Certification Board
8051 Shaffer Parkway
Littleton, CO 80127