School Psychology Ph.D. Program
UC Riverside's Graduate School of Education School Psychology program is the only American Psychological Association-accredited* doctoral program in Southern California. Students in our APA-accredited and National Association of School Psychologists-approved 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 region of Southern California.
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 School Psychology 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.
Students have the option of completing additional course work in our Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s Verified Course Sequence that prepares them for the BCBA, a professional certification in applied behavior analysis issued by the BACB.
*Questions related to the program's accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:
The UCR School Psychology Program promotes an eco-behavioral theoretical training model that emphasizes skill development using evidence-based practices derived mainly from applied behavior analytic, cognitive-behavioral, and social learning theory and research. The Program also endorses the scientist-practitioner model of doctoral training, including its emphasis on producing problem-solving psychologists who can apply their skills in schools and related settings. The Program is specifically designed to provide students with the research-based applied skills needed to be effective change agents in the contemporary practice of multi-tiered systems of support. 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. Close working relationships with students and faculty in allied program areas in the Graduate School of Education (particularly Educational Psychology and Special Education) are encouraged and expected.
More specifically, through a comprehensive sequence of coursework, students acquire a broad discipline-specific knowledge base in the areas of cognitive, social, affective, developmental, and biological aspects of behavior. They also acquire specific knowledge about cultural and individual diversity. Students also become highly knowledgeable about statistics, research methodology, and measurement. Taken together, knowledge in these areas form the intellectual bases for training in doctoral-level professional psychology.
Students develop profession-wide competencies through participation in a well-designed series of practicum and internship experiences. The ultimate goal of practica (i.e., pre-internship field experience) is to provide students with opportunities to acquire, apply, and consolidate course competencies in school and community/clinical settings using best practice in the ethical and legal delivery of psychological services. Program aims and competencies are outlined below.
Program Aim #1 – To produce scientists for the field of school psychology
• Program Competency #1: Research
Program Aim #2 – To produce problem-solving practitioners for the field of school psychology
• Program Competency #2: Professional Values and Attitudes
• Program Competency #3: Individual and Cultural Diversity
• Program Competency #4: Ethical and Legal Standards
• Program Competency #5: Communication and Interpersonal Skills
• Program Competency #6: Assessment
• Program Competency #7: Intervention
• Program Competency #8: Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills
• Program Competency #9: Supervision
The UCR School Psychology Program engages students in practica for four full years prior to the fifth year predoctoral internship. Students complete practica in diverse settings that include elementary school, middle/junior high school, and high school. Additionally, some students choose to complete advanced practica in clinic and/or nonpublic school settings. Many prospective interns participate in the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) match and have been placed in desirable settings located throughout the U.S.
The UCR School Psychology Program is a 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.
Graduates of the UCR School Psychology Program are well prepared and have in-demand skills to promote positive outcomes for students, their families, educators, and school systems. Approximately 75% of graduates work in various applied settings and the remainder work as faculty in postsecondary institutions. Upon graduation, students earn their Ph.D. as well as the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing credential in School Psychology (PPS credential). Graduates also are eligible 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. Once licensed by a state-level psychology board, an individual has the option to seek other credentials such as board certification in psychology (ABPP) or listing in the National Register of Health Service Psychologists.
Since Fall 2018, matriculating students have had the option of completing additional course work in our Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s Verified Course Sequence that prepares them for the BCBA, a professional certification in applied behavior analysis issued by the BACB. More information regarding that track of training at UCR may be on found on our M.Ed. Applied Behavior Analysis program page.
The Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association requires APA-accredited programs to update key outcomes of training on an annual basis. Current outcomes may be found here.
Meet the School Psychology Faculty
We encourage prospective students to reach out to faculty whose research interests align with their own.
Faculty research areas include:
- Applied behavior analysis
- Positive behavior support
- Response to intervention/multi-tiered systems of support
- School-based consultation