What is School Psychology?  

School Psychology is a dynamic branch of applied professional psychology concerned with learning and behavior. School Psychologists are uniquely trained school-based clinicians who merge principles of psychology and education to facilitate students’ academic, social, emotional and behavioral growth and development. School Psychologists provide assessments, counseling and consultative services in a variety of educational settings such as elementary schools, high school, alternative and therapeutic schools, early childhood programs, juvenile detention facilities, and adult transitional programs. School Psychologists play an essential role in promoting student learning and helping teachers teach in both general education and special education settings. 

For information about the School Psychology Training Program at GSU, please contact the Program Coordinator, Dr. Dan Koonce

Meet the Program Faculty

Program Description

School Psychology at GSU 

The School Psychology Training Program at GSU is a dual degree program. Students earn both a Master of Arts (MA) and Educational Specialist (EdS) degrees in School Psychology upon completion of the course of study. The program is designed to equip professionals to deliver a continuum of direct and indirect services to children, families, educators and administrators which enhance student learning and promote safe, healthy school climates. The program is grounded in the scientist-practitioner model with an emphasize on school-based service delivery that is empirically supported, data driven, and culturally competent.

The School Psychology Training Program is a four-year, part-time, cohort-based model providing future School Psychologists with both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to be effective school-based practitioners. The program provides students with experiential learning in both psychology and education. Graduates of the program earn a total of 66 credit hours resulting in both the Master of Arts (MA) and the Educational Specialist (EdS) degrees in School Psychology. Student who successfully complete the program will also be eligible to apply for practice in Illinois. 

Degree Requirements: 

Phase I: Years 1 and 2

I. Educational and Psychological Foundations (12 Hours)   

PSYC 6606 Cognitive/Educational Psychology (3)

PSYC 6221 Psychopathology (3)

PSYC 6629 Seminar in Human Development (3)

PSYC 6635 Seminar in School Psychology (3)  

II. Data Based Decision Making and Assessment (18 Hours)    

PSYC 7620 Psychoeducational Lab (3)

PSYC 7625 Psychoeducational Assessment and Intervention (3)

PSYC 7630 Diagnostic Lab I (3)

PSYC 7635 Psychodiagnostics I: Intelligence (3)

PSYC 7640 Diagnostic Lab II (3)

PSYC 7645 Psychodiagnostics II: Psychobehavioral (3)

III. Intervention, Consultation, and Program Evaluation (3 Hours)    

PSYC 7320 Theories of Psychotherapy (3)    

IV. Field Experiences (3 Hours)    

PSYC 8965 Practicum in School Psychology (3)

Phase I: 36 Hours - Culminates with the earning of the Master of Arts (MA) in School Psychology  


Phase II: Years 3 and 4:  

l. Educational and Psychological Foundations (6 Hours)       

PSYC 7240 Topics in Multicultural Psychology (3)

PSYC 8635 Neuropsychology: Brain and Behavior (3) 

II. Data Based Decision Making and Assessment (3 Hours) 

STAT 8260 Advanced Statistics in Behavioral Science (3)    

III. Intervention, Consultation, and Program Evaluation (12 Hours)      

COUN 7725 Family Systems: Theory and Practice (3)  

PSYC 7650 Crisis and Intervention Strategies for Schools (3)

PSYC 8858 Advanced Assessment and Intervention (3)  

PSYC 8930 Consultation and Program Evaluation (3) 

IV. Field Experiences (9 Hours)      

PSYC 8866 Advanced Practicum in School Psychology (3)

PSYC 8960 Internship in School Psychology I (3)  

PSYC 8961 Internship in School Psychology II (3) 

Phase II: 30 Hours - Culminates with the earning of the Educational Specialist Degree (EdS) in School Psychology   


School Psychology Program: 66 Hours Total  

Admission Process

Prerequisite Coursework:

To ensure that students are prepared for advanced coursework, the following prerequisites must be completed with a grade of "B" or better prior to admission (GSU courses are in parentheses):

  • Developmental Psychology (PSYC 2201)
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSYC 3430) 
  • Cognitive, Behavioral, or Educational Psychology (PSYC 3520, PSYCH 4524, or EDUC 4440) 
  • Research Methods (PSYC 4750)
  • Statistics for the Social Sciences (STAT 2100, STAT 4720, or MATH 2100) 
  • Foundations of Education (EDUC 2310) 
  • Foundations of Special Education (SPED 4100, or SPED 2100)
  • Writing for Psychology (PSYC 3102, evaluation, or 4.5 on analytical writing section of GRE)


Admission Requirements: 

Admission to the program occurs annually (Fall only). Complete admissions packets are accepted February 1st through April 1st. Meeting or exceeding the minimum admission criteria does not guarantee admission to the program. Incomplete application packets will NOT be reviewed for admission. The minimum criteria for admission are as follows: 

1. University Application for Admission. Click here to apply online. 

2. $50 application fee.

3. One set of official (unopened) transcripts from all colleges/universities attended. Applicants must have a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework.  

4. Proof of having taken the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) within five years of intended admission. Applicants are recommended to have GRE combined scores of 316 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections (or a combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 1050 if taken prior to August 2011); and 4.5 on the analytical writing section. 

5. Evidence of satisfactory professional writing and analysis by one of the following:

    a. A grade of "B" or higher in PSYC 3102 (Thinking and Writing in Psychology) or its equivalent; or

    b. A score of 4.5 or higher on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE General test.

     Note: Applicants not meeting this criterion may have to complete PSYC 3102 or its equivalent prior to or upon admission to the program.

6. An essay outlining the applicant’s purpose in seeking a specialist degree in School Psychology and long-term goals.

7. Personal Reference Forms from three professionals/professors who can attest to the applicant’s academic and/or professional capabilities. (click here to download the form)

8. Completed Statement of Character Form. (click here to download the form)

9. Proof of basic competency met by one of the following:

    a. Official evidence of having passed the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) of the Illinois Certification Testing System;

    b. Official ACT Plus Writing score report demonstrating a composite score of at least 22;  

    c. Official SAT score report demonstrating a composite (mathematics and critical reading) score of at least 1030;  

    Note: The writing subtest must have been taken for the ACT or SAT; however, the writing score is not included in the composite score requirement for either test. To verify and submit your ACT/SAT score report to the State of Illinois, please contact Renee Zdych, Certification Officer at GSU, at rzdych@govst.edu.

    d. Official evidence of having passed the previous Illinois Basic Skills Test (300, 400 or 096) within 10 years.

    Note: If the applicant holds a valid Illinois Educator Certificate or License and the Illinois Basic Skills test was previously passed for this issuance, the TAP/ACT/SAT test will not be required. In this case, the applicant would need to supply an official copy of their Illinois Educator Certificate or License as verification.  


Additional Admission Requirements:

In addition to submitting the elements above for admissions consideration, applicants must:

1. Complete the specified prerequisite coursework (see below) with a grade of "B" or better. If these are not completed at the time of admission, they must be completed prior to attaining candidacy or taking courses for which they are prerequisite;

2. Complete an admission’s interview (if selected); and

3. Pass an Illinois State Criminal Background check (only applicants approved to interview will need to complete this step).


Application Deadline:

Prospective students can apply for admission between February 1 – April 1. The program will not review any application for admission consideration until all required documentation is received. Please carefully review admission requirements or contact the Program Coordinator to ensure your admission packet is complete. Applicants are also notified by email if admission items are missing.

The application deadline for Fall 2017 admission is April 1, 2017. Please submit admission materials to:  

Governors State University 
School Psychology Training Program (G-313) 
1 University Parkway 
University Park, Illinois 60484



Information Sessions

Information Sessions:

 Saturday, March 11, 2017
 Time: noon
Location: GSU Main Campus Room G-261 

Please join us to learn more about the School Psychology Training Program at GSU including program highlights, admission requirements, and career possibilities.  

 For more information, or to RSVP, please email schoolpsych@govst.edu

Student Testimonies

Why study School Psychology at GSU?


“I decided to pursue a degree in School Psychology because it was the perfect way for me to combine my love for psychology and passion for education. I also chose it because it will afford me the opportunity to fulfill my ministry in helping children in need.”

“What I have enjoyed most about my program is learning more about the field in general. I truly enjoyed practicum. Being able to see what it is like to be in the schools was very rewarding and motivating for me. Now, I certainly feel more confident in my ability to become a School Psychologist.”

~ Alexis, EdS Candidate 

“My favorite part of the School Psychology Training Program at GSU includes the caring and knowledgeable professors. I also enjoy the close knit relationships built within the cohort. [With a small cohort], it was easy to build relationships and we grew as a family!” 

“I interviewed a few professionals within the field of School Psychology before pursuing my dream of graduate school. When speaking with the School Psychologists, I realized that each one of them had something in common, they loved their jobs and that every day was a new journey. Their enthusiasm and love of the kids on their caseload made me need to pursue a career in School Psychology.” 

 ~ Jordan S., EdS Candidate 


 I love the blend of education and psychology.  I am passionate about working with children and I want to be able to collaborate with teachers and parents to support kids with diverse learning needs in a school setting.” 

“I love the diversity of both the students and faculty. It creates such a well-rounded learning experience that has prepared and excited me for my future as a School Psychologist.” 

I enjoy "the flexibility of the program; evening classes allowed me to work during the day. I also love the small class sizes, which creates supportive learning environments and really maximizes the students’ experiences.”  

 ~ Cecelia, EdS Candidate


"I honestly didn't know that a School Psychologist was a position until exploring my graduate options. I had always wanted to work with [individuals who had] some sort of disability, but I had no idea what I wanted to do with it. When I was approached with this program in 2013, I fell in love with the idea of what a School Psychologist does, the independence and flexibility the job offers, and the rewards that come from it.”

“I love my cohort. Without them, I would not be where I am in the program. They keep me grounded, on my toes, and successful. They have become my best friends and most beneficial networking web.”

 ~ Rachel, EdS Candidate  


When I became familiar with the work of a School Psychologist, and spoke to some practicing School Psychologists, I was really impressed with the concept of a position that offered the opportunity to take on such a wide variety of roles. Collaborating with other professionals, researching and providing evidence-based solutions, providing counseling and support, behavior management, the opportunity to work with students from a wide variety of populations - these are just some of the roles played by the School Psychologist. I was excited by the idea of a profession that combines science and math with support services and collaboration. Practicing School Psychologists told me that they are often able to incorporate their own interests and passions into their work and this also appealed to me. Finally, the future job market appeared strong and, of course, the school schedule is a definite attraction.”  

~ Yvonne, EdS Candidate


"There was never any doubt about whether or not I was going to further my education at GSU. However, deciding on which program I wanted to get into was most difficult. I was torn between applying to the Clinical Psychology or School Psychology program. I took the time to research each field before applying, but also asking professors who taught the courses and students that were currently enrolled. To my surprise, School Psychology turned out to be the perfect fit for what I wanted to do. The field wasn’t only “assessments” like I originally thought but a melting pot of many positions and responsibilities. I knew not only was I going to get a valuable education but also incredible support along the way." 

Even though I am still in the beginning stages, I know this is exactly where I want to be. My cohort is filled with incredible and passionate students as well as professors that, not only teach but, share their words of wisdom. I am honestly excited to be a part of the School Psychology program and can’t wait to see where it takes me.”  

~ Nicole, EdS Candidate