Program Requirements

The UW-La Crosse graduate program in School Psychology offers an Education Specialist degree. The degree requires two years of full-time study, one summer of study, a one-year internship during the third year, completion of an Education Specialist thesis, and the passing of either the national school psychology test or UW-L comprehensive examinations. Successful completion of all requirements for the 66-semester credit program leads to full licensure as a School Psychologist in Wisconsin and most other states. Students earn a 30-credit Master of Science in Education degree before completing the remaining Education Specialist degree requirements.

The UW-La Crosse school psychology program is part of the Psychology Department and the College of Liberal Studies. The program is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI),  and has full approval from the National Association of School Psychology (NASP). Upon completion of all program requirements, students are eligible for certification as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP). Graduates of the program are employed in public schools or in educational agencies that serve public schools.

The school psychology program prepares graduate students for licensure as school psychologists through academic course work, 700 hours of supervised school practica, and a one year, 1,200 hour school internship. The school psychology knowledge base includes areas of professional school psychology, educational psychology, psychological foundations, educational foundations, and mental health. To provide psychological services in educational settings, graduates of the school psychology program also must have considerable knowledge of curriculum, special education and pupil services.

The school psychology program adheres to state and national training standards for school psychology. Graduate students must develop professional competencies for each of the 11 DPI/NASP training standards: data-based decision making and accountability; consultation and collaboration; effective instruction and development of cognitive/academic skills; socialization and development of life skills; student diversity in development and learning; school and systems organization, policy development, and climate; prevention, crisis intervention and mental health; home/school/community collaboration; research and program evaluation; school psychology practice and development; and information technology. Over the course of their UW-L training, graduate students will maintain an evolving portfolio that documents professional growth and achieved competence in each of the 11 areas.

The emphasis of this program is to train school psychologists who are effective teacher, parent and school consultants. The program also emphasizes a pupil services model that addresses the educational and mental health needs of all children, from early childhood through high school.

Graduate students are placed in local schools as early and as intensively as possible. During their second, third and fourth semesters, students spend two days per week working in local schools under the direct supervision of experienced school psychologists. During these school practica, students develop professional skills in assessment, consultation, intervention, counseling, case management, and in each of the NASP standards. Many of the core courses require projects that are completed in the schools during practica.

An information and application packet can be obtained through the Web or by writing the school psychology program director, Psychology Department, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 1725 State Street, La Crosse, WI 54601, or by sending an e-mail to In addition to meeting all the requirements established for general graduate admissions, students must also meet school psychology program requirements before admission to the program. These additional requirements include: three letters of recommendation; scores from the GRE Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing sections; a score from the GRE psychology subject test (optional); a writing sample; resume of educational and work experience; and a statement of purpose.


General Requirements:

  1. Complete the following requirements for a Master of Science in Education degree in School Psychology:
    1. Complete 30 graduate credits
    2. A minimum of 15 of the 30 credits need to be completed at the 700 level.
    3. Complete the following courses: PSY 420/520, 451/551, SPY 700, 752, 757, 758, 762 and 775.
  2. Complete a minimum of 66 graduate credits (includes thesis and credits completed for the Master of Science in Education degree), with at least two thirds of these at the 700 or 800 level.
  3. Complete an Education Specialist thesis within seven years of beginning the program.
  4. Obtain a passing score (set by the National Association of School Psychology for NCSP certification) on the National School Psychology Examination or a passing score on the comprehensive examinations written by UW-L psychology and school psychology faculty. The UW-L written comprehensive examinations cover the same areas assessed by the National School Psychology Examination. The areas are: assessment; prevention and intervention; evaluation and research; professional practice; applied psychological foundations; and applied educational foundations. UW-L comprehensive examinations are offered during the spring semester of each year. Students must pass either the National School Psychology Examination or the UW-L comprehensive exams before being allowed to begin an internship, to obtain a school psychology position, or to apply for initial school psychology licensure.
  5. Complete a professional portfolio that demonstrates achieved competence for each of the 11 NASP training standards.

Course Requirements:
A. Psychological Foundations

Complete at least two credits in each of the following areas. Course work completed at the undergraduate level need not be repeated. At least nine credits must be completed at the graduate level:

Developmental Psychology Credits
PSY 410/510 Advanced Developmental Psychology 3
PSY 710 Educational Psychology: Human Development 3
Cognitive Psychology
PSY 435/535 Cognitive Processes 3
  An undergraduate statistics course 3
EFN 735 Interpretation of Statistical Data 3
Childhood Behavior Disorders
PSY 717 Behavior Disorders in Children 3
Research Methods
PSY 420/520 Research Foundations in Psychology 3
Personality Theories
PSY 402/502 Personality Theories 3
Psychological Measurement
PSY 451/551 Psychological Measurement 3
Or electives approved by the school psychology program director.

B. Educational Foundations

Complete three credits in each of the following areas. Course work completed at the undergraduate level need not be repeated. At least six credits must be completed at the graduate level.

Human Relations Credits
EFN 705 Human Relations in School and Community 3
Special Education Methods
SPE 401/501 Learners with Exceptional Needs and Abilities 3
Educational Foundations
EFN 716 Teachers and the Law 3
RDG 730 Assessment and Instruction of Students with Reading Difficulties 3
Electives approved by the school psychology program director 3

C. Core Professional Training

Complete each of the following courses. Several courses have course fees of at least $25.00.

SPY 700 School Psychology: Role and Function 3
PSY 752 Academic and Behavioral Interventions 3
PSY 756 Early Childhood Assessment 3
SPY 757 Psychoeducational Assessment 3
SPY 758 Psychoeducational Assessment II 3
*SPY 759 Assessment of Personality and Emotional/Behavioral Disorders 3
SPY 762 Supervised Practicum I in School Psychology 3
SPY 763 Supervised Practicum II in School Psychology 3
SPY 764410/510 Supervised Practicum III in School Psychology 3
PSY 772 Counseling and Therapy Methods 3
SPY 775 Behavioral Assessment and Management 3
PSY 776 Psychoeducational Consultation and Collaboration 3
SPY 797 Internship in School Psychology 3
SPY 800 Thesis Proposal 3
SPY 801 Specialist Thesis 6
Or electives approved by the school psychology program director 6-10

Licensure, Practicum, Internship, and Thesis Requirements:

Provisional licensure in Wisconsin is granted after completion of all Education Specialist degree requirements, excepting the school psychology internship and the education specialist thesis. Students are eligible for full Wisconsin licensure upon completion of an internship and an education specialist thesis. Students who complete only the master's degree are not eligible for licensure as a school psychologist.

Students must complete three semesters of a supervised school psychology practicum. During practicum experiences students develop school psychology professional knowledge, skills, and behavior. Core professional skills, as well as professional behavior, are critical to effective school psychology functioning. Thus, only students who have successfully completed all prerequisite course work (no incompletes) are allowed to enroll for practica. In addition, appropriate professional behavior and personal effectiveness are required for continued enrollment in practica.

Students must have their thesis proposals approved prior to starting their internships. Students are aided in developing thesis proposals in SPY 800 starting in the summer after their first year.

Internships must be in a school setting, total 1,200 hours, and be supervised by a certified school psychologist and a UW-L school psychology instructor. A site visit from the university supervisor is required each semester. All interns must pay all actual costs associated with each semester's site visit, including travel, lodging, and meals.

Beginning the first semester of their third year in graduate school, students must register for at least 1 credit of SPY 801: Specialist Thesis each semester until their thesis is approved. A minimum of 6 thesis credits are required. A maximum of 10 credits can be earned but only 6 apply toward the degree.

For additional school psychology program policies, students should refer to the School Psychology Graduate Student Handbook available in the School Psychology office, 341 Graff Main Hall.