School Psychology, PhD

Preparing future school psychologists in evidence-based practices to promote positive outcomes for children, families, and schools.

PhD Graduates


The Doctoral School Psychology Program at the University of Cincinnati is dedicated to preparing highly competent professional school psychologists according to the scientist-practitioner model. In their role, school psychologists collaborate with teachers, families, and other school and community stakeholders to support the academic, social, emotional, and behavior development of children. As a result of their broad-based training, UC doctoral graduates are prepared to make significant contributions to this challenging field through the most up-to-date professional practice, research, professional leadership, supervision, and teaching.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in School Psychology is based on a comprehensive 5-year program of study, with 3 years of sequential coursework and integrative field experiences, a year of internship (minimum 1500 hour), Doctoral Comprehensive Examination (completed as portfolio), and research and dissertation requirements. The Masters Degree (M.Ed. in Foundations in Behavior Analysis) is earned upon completion of requirements in Year 1.

Graduates are license-eligible for independent practice with state boards of psychology, following relevant state requirements for doctoral-level internships and required postdoctoral supervised experience. Doctoral graduates also complete all requirements for Ohio Department of Education certification as school psychologists, consistent with national certification standards of NASP. In addition, graduates meet the coursework requirements for pursuing credentialing as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Graduates of the Program are prepared for positions as professional school psychologists in school and clinical settings promoting positive academic and mental health outcomes for students and as teaching and research faculty. In addition, graduates are prepared for leadership and supervisory roles within these positions.

Program Philosophy

The School Psychology Program at the University of Cincinnati is founded on the core ethical principles that psychologists respect the dignity and worth of all individuals and aim to promote measurable positive outcomes in their work. These principles are articulated in the ethical, professional practice, and training standards of the National Association of School Psychologists.
The University of Cincinnati School Psychology Program, in applying these core principles, places an emphasis on the use of scientist-practitioner and ecological-behavioral models to guide practice. As scientist practitioners, students are trained to critically examine theory and practice, develop a defensible professional model of practice, and collect and use accountability data for decisions.  In applying an ecological-behavioral approach, students learn to focus on changing behaviors in important contexts, such as the school and family, and to collaborate with key individuals for affecting meaningful changes in these contexts. These core principles serve as the foundation for the Program philosophy and approach, and are translated into several interrelated training themes that together form the basis for the Program training model and activities. These Program training themes are:

  • competence enhancement perspective – accountability for improved skills and outcomes
  • promotion of positive outcomes for all students (systems-level) and each student (individual-level)  
  • development of and adherence to a defensible personal model of practice aligned with the Program model
  • legal-ethical foundations for practice
  • data-based practice and accountability
  • use of research for practice
  • contribution to practice and profession
  • ecological-behavioral, social cognitive, and systems theories
  • meaningful approach to diversity and individual differences
  • data-based decision making -  linking assessment, intervention, evaluation
  • data-based problem solving as core of practices across all tiers of services delivery
  • universal/core system-level instruction and support (district, school, class-wide) – Tier 1
  • targeted/supplemental (small group) interventions – Tier 2
  • intensive/individualized interventions – Tier 3
  • responsibility for developing, refining, adhering to, and examining model of practice
  • responsibility for continued professional development (self and others)
  • advocacy for effective services

The program provides future school psychologists with a solid professional and academic foundation reflecting depth and diversity in both psychology and education. The program fosters a special sensitivity to the social foundations and cultural diversity of all people and respect for the uniqueness and human dignity of each and all persons.  Self-awareness, positive regard for others, and respect for cultural and individual differences are actively cultivated and expected of all students.

School Psychology PhD Program Handbook  20-21(PDF)

School Psychology PhD Program Field Placement 20-21 (PDF)

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data 2020 (PDF)