University of Wisconsin-La Crosse | uwlax.edu

School Psychology
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  • FAQs

     What degree will I be working toward?

    UW-L offers a 72-semester hour graduate program, which awards an Education Specialist (EdS) degree upon completion of all program requirements. Students first complete a 30-hour program, which meets the requirements of a Master of Science in Education (MSEd) degree. They then complete the remainder of the 72-hour program, which leads to the Education Specialist degree and certification as a School Psychologist in Wisconsin. The Education Specialist degree qualifies individuals for certification in most other states.

    How long will the program take to complete?

    Students typically finish the program after three years. The first two years are focused on academic coursework, 700 hours of supervised practica, and thesis development. Students complete their 1200-hour internship during their third year. Students typically earn full pay during their internships in states such as Wisconsin and Minnesota.

    What are expectations of the students over the summer?

    Students only have requirements over summer between their first and second years. Students take two, three-week classes in June and July; there is a one week break between the classes. It is highly recommended that students begin developing their capstone activity/thesis over the summer as they have more free time. Some students work part-time over the summer and increase hours when the classes aren't in session.

    What is the environment like in the UW-L School Psych program?

    UW-L is a great place to be a graduate student. The faculty members are welcoming and supportive and they encourage collaboration and learning in all areas of life. The faculty encourage a cooperative rather than competitive environment. The students in the program form close collaborative relationships that often last for years after graduation.

    2nd yr summer

     

    How closely do students work with professors?

    Students work very closely with the core School Psychology professors. Their doors are always open and welcoming to students. While each student will have an official advisor, students are more than welcome to consult and work with all of the faculty members.

    professor

    What if I did not major in psychology? Can I still apply?

    Yes! However, students are expected to enter the program with a good understanding of psychological principles. This can be achieved through completing an undergraduate psychology major or completing psychology content classes through elective course offerings. Regardless of background, students are required to have an undergraduate statistics course. We find that most students will find the following classes helpful and would form a good foundation for School Psychology graduate work:

    • Psychological Tests and Measurements
    • Developmental Psychology
    • Personality Theories
    • Educational Psychology
    • Behavior Modification
    • Abnormal/Psychopathology
    • Research Methods 

    If these were not available through a specific course or across several courses, it would be advised to take a class to gain the content through distance education or online course options.

    Are there research opportunities available?

    A practitioner-scholar model is the foundation of the program. Therefore we spend more time working on how to apply research to the school setting to solve problems. There is an education specialist capstone activity requirement for all students; however, additional research opportunities are available. These can include collecting data in the schools or assisting with faculty projects. Most students find they have limited time for research projects beyond their theses.

    Can I work and go to school?

    It is possible to balance work and school. The faculty feels that in order to educate you to be the best possible professional to meet the needs of children, your education needs to be your priority. Please remember that graduate courses are very demanding and time consuming.

    Is it possible to enroll as a part-time student?

    UW-L's School Psychology Program is a sequenced full-time program. It is not possible to enroll as a first year graduate part-time student. It is sometimes possible to enroll part-time to update certification or take classes for continuing education if arranged with the program director. 

    When do we start working in the schools?

    Students begin visiting schools and practicing a variety of assessments during their first semester. Students spend two full days a week working side by side with a site supervisor in practicum during their second, third, and fourth semesters in the program.

    What is the difference between a school psychologist and other school professionals?

    Click here for a detailed description of the similarities and differences between School Psychologists, School Counselors, and School Social Workers.

    Will I have time to have a life outside of grad school?

    It is important to maintain a balance of school and recreation time. Although there is much more work required in our graduate program than there is in most undergraduate programs, there is still some time for climbing the bluffs, taking in a movie or enjoying a bike ride.

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    What kind of living accommodations are there for new students?

    After acceptance into the program, the program assistant provides students with one another's contact information and a list of popular rental options.

    What factors are considered for the admission decision?

    Our admissions committee takes a holistic view across all the materials. We look at strengths, experiences, and diversity. We look for evidence of a strong academic foundation (e.g., undergraduate performance, GRE, letters of reference, etc) and for experiences working with children, teachers, and parents (e.g., diverse populations such as children with and without disabilities across the age span.) Letters of reference and your personal statement offer evidence of how you see the fit between your learning goals and the factors of the program that can support that goal. Finally, we look for a strong interpersonal presentation in the interview to solidify our decision.

    How do I apply?

    Application involves:

    • applying to the University of Wisconsin Graduate School system
    • sending GRE scores to UW-L through ETS
    • sending transcripts to UW-L Graduate Admissions
    • sending statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, sample of writing, and current résumé to UW-L School Psychology at schoolpsych@uwlax.edu

    Please refer to the link "How to Apply" for detailed instructions.

    Is there financial aid available?

    Financial aid in the form of grants and assistantships are available, yet limited. We highly encourage students to apply for Federal Perkins Loans, which have loan forgiveness for individuals who work in the field of education, particularly with students in special education. 

    How do I become a GA?

    See the following page: Financial Aid