Graduate School of Education


School Psychology Ph.D. Program

Students in our American Psychological Association-accredited and National Association of School Psychologists-approved Ph.D. program benefit from our nationally recognized rigorous course of study and desirable location in the heart of the economically vibrant and demographically diverse Inland Empire.

We train students as scientist-practitioners who contribute to the body of accumulated knowledge in the field as well as address problems affecting K-12 pupils’ learning, behavior, and cognition. The program promotes an eco-behavioral theoretical model emphasizing skill development using evidence-based practice derived from applied behavior analytic, cognitive-behavioral, and social learning theory and research.

Graduates have in-demand skills that create ample opportunity for employment mainly as practitioners in the public K-12 education sector or as faculty at postsecondary institutions. Students graduate having earned the Ph.D. and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing credential in School Psychology. Graduates also have the opportunity to become Nationally Certified School Psychologists, Licensed Educational Psychologists (a California credential), and, upon completion of post-doctoral requirements (which vary by state), licensed psychologists.

Beginning in fall 2018, matriculating students also have the option of completing additional course work within a Verified Course Sequence that prepares them for the BCBA, a professional certification in applied behavior analysis issued by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Frequently Asked Questions

Students Admissions, Outcomes, and Data

years to complete
unit minimum
students receive multi-year fellowships

Program Overview

UCR Bell Tower

Some of the courses you may take include:

EDUC 254C: Social, Emotional, Behavioral Assessment
EDUC 255B: Principles of Academic Behavior Intervention  
EDUC 255C: Child Behavior Therapy
EDUC 265D: Practicum: Behavioral Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

The School Psychology program is traditional, full-time doctoral program. Students must complete a minimum of three full-time academic years of graduate study plus internship prior to receiving the Ph.D. At least two of the three years must be at UCR. The program is designed for completion of all program requirements, including internship and dissertation within five years, but about 30% take an additional year. Continuous enrollment is required. 

See our full curriculum overview.

Students in the program follow these steps to degree completion:

  1. Complete coursework
  2. Written qualifying exam
  3. Oral qualifying exam/pre-proposal
  4. Proposal approved by dissertation committee
  5. Internship, dissertation and final defense

Approximately 75% of our graduates take school-based positions:

SELPA directors
Program specialists
School psychologists
District trainers/leaders in MTSS

Approximately 25% take faculty/research positions:

Program directors
Faculty members
Post-doctoral researchers

Meet the School Psychology Faculty

We encourage prospective students to reach out to faculty whose research interests align with their own.

Related Research

Faculty research areas include:

  • Applied behavior analysis
  • Positive behavior support
  • Response to intervention/multi-tiered systems of support
  • School-based consultation