Our Master’s / Specialist in School Psychology (MA/SSP) program uses the scientist-practitioner model to prepare school psychologists to understand and enhance the development of children and adolescents in schools while supporting families and teachers. Education and training include strong preparation in the scientific foundations of psychology, in the research skills essential to the contribution of new knowledge, and in the competent and ethical professional practice of assessment, intervention, and consultation. Our graduates are employed in school districts in Texas as well as other states across the country.
The goals that guide the program’s graduate training reflect the Standards for Graduate Preparation of School Psychologists (2010) published by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The course requirements, clinical training, and research experiences were designed to provide preparation in the areas of data-based decision-making, consultation, problem-solving, evidence-based preventive services and interventions, research, ethical practice, and interactions between family, school, and community systems. This knowledge-based foundation prepares students to develop professional skills in culturally diverse practicum and internship settings and align with the candidate performance standards model of NASP, consistent with the Program goal for all graduates to become Nationally Certified School Psychologists and licensed/certified at the state level.
Goal 1: Prepare students for future doctoral study.
Goal 2: Prepare students to work as Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (Texas) and Certified School Psychologists (other states).
Goal 3: Prepare students to translate research into practice.
Goal 4: Prepare students who are knowledgeable about research and theory in the basic domains of scientific psychology including social, cognitive, biological, developmental, and learning.
Goal 5: Prepare students with an understanding of and ability to integrate multiple theoretical perspectives that are relevant to the teaching, research, and practice of school psychology.
Goal 6: Prepare students to competently conceptualize, assess, and intervene in child and adolescent learning, behavior, and mental health with a range of culturally sensitive and empirically supported methods that target the individual, family, classroom, and larger social system.
Goal 7: Prepare students to apply relevant legal and ethical principles, as well as cultural sensitivity and self-awareness, to their professional service, and practice.
Practicum and internship training are essential components of the scientist-practitioner model and our program. Students participate in three semesters of school-based practicum beginning in the summer before the second year of study. The goals of the school-based practicum include serving the educational, health, and psychological health needs of children, adolescents, and families as well as supporting teachers and schools.
As a part of our program, students participate in research within the program, department, or associated research labs. MA/SSP students are required to participate in a minimum of 10 hours of research per week to allow for sufficient exposure to the process of research. This requirement helps students develop into empirically-minded LSSPs and school psychologists who understand the process of research and can apply these skills to clinical practice. This training will also prepare students who are interested in future doctoral-level work.
Many students are provided funding for their research work through Graduate Research Assistantships. While these assistantships are not guaranteed for students, many students are able to find funding for their first year in the program. During the first semester, MA/SSP students learn about different research opportunities including possible funding opportunities.
For more information about School Psychology program research, please view School Psychology Faculty profiles.
Students entering the program complete a minimum of 62 hours of graduate course work, making them eligible for the MA/SSP in Educational Psychology with a specialization in School Psychology. Students interested in pursuing licensures as a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) in Texas may apply for the license while completing their formal internship of at least 1200 hours (600 of which must be in a public school), complete the Praxis School Psychology Examination, and complete the Jurisprudence Examination. For additional information about the requirements to become an LSSP, please consult the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.
Our program has been approved for National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) candidacy as of July 2020 and is working towards NASP accreditation. The NASP domains and standards described above guide our course, practicum, and internship requirements. The MA/SSP curriculum at The University of Texas at Austin meets the educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) for the state of Texas.
Commitment to Diversity
The School Psychology Program is committed to supporting diversity and multicultural issues in the field. We seek to integrate multiple cultural perspectives into our coursework and practicum training experiences. Students have various opportunities to pursue a specialized diversity emphasis in their research, coursework, and practica. We are committed to a culturally and ethnically diverse student body and to building culturally competent researchers and practitioners who can contribute to enhancing diversity in the field.
We recognize funding your education is a high priority for students. Our MA/SSP students have been very successful in obtaining funding for their education through the program, department, and university. Current students often serve as Teaching Assistants (TA) and Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA), and many of these positions come with partial tuition waivers, health insurance, parking permit, and a stipend. Once accepting an offer to the program, students are included in emails regarding TA and GRA opportunities as well as information about applications for fellowships and scholarships. Some fellowships and scholarships are offered to incoming students based on their qualifications. For the 2020-2021 school year, 94% of the MA/SSP students obtained UT funding through fellowships, TAships, and/or GRAships before or during their first semester.
Students are admitted once a year with an application deadline of January 10 and a final deadline of acceptance of an offer of April 15. The program typically received 60+ applications each year and accepts 4-10 students. In January, approximately 20 applicants are notified of invitations to interview in February. While attending Interview Day is strongly encouraged, video interviews are available for students unable to travel. Admission decisions are made by consensus of the school psychology faculty. The selection of students is based on multiple factors, including letters of recommendation, fit between program goals and applicant’s career goals, the personal statement, course grades, and GRE scores. Students with a low GPA or low GRE scores should explain their performance in their personal statement and show outstanding performance in other areas. Students are usually notified of their admission decision within two weeks of the scheduled interview date.