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School Psychology

School Psychology

In the Department of Health & Behavior Studies


The Applied Educational Psychology: School Psychology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University offers doctoral education (PhD) with a focus on the application of psychological science to the promotion of learning and mental health in schools and other educational and mental health contexts.  Our goal is to train beginning level doctoral school psychologists to work in schools, universities, research centers, testing companies and clinics that serve the educational and mental health needs of children, youth, and their families.

Our training model is one of both formal instruction and apprenticeship. Course work provides students with a strong foundation in psychological theory and research as well as its application to (a) the instruction and learning of school related subjects, particularly reading, and (b) the understanding, promotion, and treatment of mental health problems. Practica and internship experiences provide students with the opportunity to apply this knowledge directly to their work with clients. Clients are seen in a variety of contexts from their first semester in the program, including the Dean Hope Center (our college clinic) collaborating schools (we provide school psychological services to children and youth in schools that serve children from ethnically and linguistically diverse low and middle income environments), and organized externships in public schools, hospitals, and clinics in the New York City area.  Students apprentice in teaching (labs, modules for assessment courses) and supervision (of first year students with practicum clients in the Dean Hope Center) as a key component of their training. Students also take on leadership roles in research labs, admissions, faculty searches, and in mentoring younger PhD students. Faculty research, all of which is cognitively, behaviorally, and/or developmentally oriented, provides yet another vehicle for students to develop and apply their knowledge.

*In addition to the Ph.D., the program in School Psychology also has a New York State Department of Education registered Ed.D. option. However, that degree is not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), and the program has not accepted applications or admitted students to the Ed.D. program in many years.

Program Goals:

Goal 1: Can assess and diagnose learning, behavior, and social-emotional problems and strengths; and can plan, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of psychological and educational prevention and intervention programs that promote cognitive, behavioral, and social-emotional growth of children and families.
Goal 2: Demonstrate the ability to apply theoretical knowledge and skills when consulting with teachers, parents, and other professionals. 
Goal 3: Understand and respect individual differences and differences in culture, race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation and can work effectively in multicultural and pluralistic social contexts.
Goal 4: Develop a sound theoretical foundation in psychological science psychology that can be used by scientists/practitioners to plan and conduct psychological and educational research.
Goal 5: Are actively involved in the profession, committed to professional ethics and standards, and to life-long learning.

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