School Psychology


Why study School Psychology?

The University of Cincinnati’s Ph.D. in School Psychology program is dedicated to preparing highly competent school psychologists utilizing a scientist-practitioner model. Doctoral-level graduates are prepared to serve as psychologists in schools, clinics, hospitals, and other agencies, as well as for academic and research positions.

In addition to foundational competencies of school psychology practice, doctoral-level graduates are trained in research, supervision, and leadership. Both theoretical and empirical bases of professional practice are emphasized, and a diverse range of practical field experiences are provided throughout the preparation. Doctoral trainees receive advanced training in the psychological foundations of professional practice, as well as theoretical foundations of applied behavior analysis and a social justice orientation to service delivery.

The Ph.D. program includes five years of full-time study. Years 1-4 include coursework, field experiences, and research. Students earn a M.Ed. in Foundations in Behavior Analysis after the first year in the program. Students complete a pre-dissertation research project in Year 1 and a dissertation in Year 4. Students participate in the APPI Match process to obtain a full-year internship for Year 5.

Admission Requirements

  1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
  2. Transcripts and a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  3. CV or Resume
  4. Goal Statement
  5. One (1) Letter of Recommendation (3 is strongly recommended)
  6. 18 credit hours in psychological foundations is suggested, but not required. Here are the areas:
    • History and Systems of Psychology
    • Research and Statistics
    • Child Development
    • Social Psychology
    • Biological Bases
    • Learning Theory

This program prepares students for research and faculty positions at universities, as well as practice in schools, clinics, hospitals, and community settings.

We have a verified course sequence for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), so students may pursue BCBA positions after obtaining supervised hours and securing the credential.

Students are assigned a faculty advisor upon admission to the program. The advisor is one of the core faculty members in the School Psychology program. Students meet at least once per semester with their advisor in formal meetings, although all faculty are available for ongoing support.

The program uses a cohort model for doctoral admissions. As such, students are not admitted under a faculty member or assigned a research advisor at the beginning of the program. Students have the opportunity to work on research teams with various faculty. Students develop their research interests and the idea for their pre-dissertation, and a research advisor is selected at the end of the 2nd year.

Why choose our Ph.D. in School Psychology program?

  • The program is accredited by the American Psychological Association
  • Students obtain a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Foundations in Behavior Analysis after year one as part of the program
  • Strong ecological-behavioral orientation with a social justice focus
  • Students are involved in field experiences starting their first semester
  • Experiences are available across urban, suburban, and rural sites, as well as schools, clinics, and hospitals
  • All students receive some level of financial support, and the program has a history of full funding for doctoral students
  • Opportunities to collaborate with faculty and students on different research teams and develop students’ own research interests

Each student who has successfully completed all requirements for the Ph.D. in School Psychology must apply online to the Graduate School for graduation. According to University policy, before a student can graduate, they must meet the following requirements (a) be registered for at least one graduate credit in their program in an academic year, after having met minimum degree course/candidacy requirements to be considered a graduate student throughout the academic year, (b) complete requirements for any grades of NG, N, I, UP, SP, and F before the Program can certify graduation, (c) receive satisfactory grades for the graduation semester, and (d) complete all Program requirements. The Program certifies that candidates meet all Program requirements, but it is the individual student’s responsibility to complete the online application and ensure that all requirements for graduation are fulfilled. The University strictly adheres to published deadlines. Graduation deadlines and policies are posted on the Graduate School website.

The Program Coordinator and Program faculty review students’ requests and submit potential transfer credits to the Graduate School for approval. We follow all Graduate School guidelines around transfer credits. Students may be asked to provide syllabi for courses to demonstrate course equivalency.


The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all applicants whose native language is not English - including those with F-1 visas, J-1 visas, and green cards. This test must be taken in the applicant’s own country before admission is granted. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 520; for the electronic version, it is 190. 40

The TOEFL requirement may be waived for students with a degree from an accredited American college or university in which coursework was taught in English and for students who can document a score of at least 520 in a TOEFL taken in the five years immediately prior to their application to the School Psychology Program at the University of Cincinnati. Waivers may also be granted for students who earned at least a 6.5 on the international English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam or at least a B in the Cambridge CPE exam. Requests to waive the TOEFL requirement should be sent with the appropriate documentation to the Assistant University Dean for Advanced Studies for consideration.

Application Deadlines

The program admits students once per year for the Fall semester. Applications are due December 1 for the following Fall.

To apply to our School Psychology Ph.D. program, complete our online application.  Learn more about our School Psychology doctoral program by visiting our website or by contacting the program directly for information about application requirements.

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

UC's PhD in School Psychology program is:

  • Accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Fully approved by National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
  • Verified Course sequence by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)
  • The College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services (CECH) is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

Contact Information

CECH Office of Recruitment
2610 University Circle
PO Box 210014
Cincinnati, OH 45221
(513) 556-6308

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Program Code: 18DOC-SPSY-PHD