Frequently Asked Questions about the School Psychology program
Is it possible to enter the School Psychology PhD program after only completing my undergraduate degree?
Yes! Many students are accepted who have recently completed their undergraduate degrees. Most admitted students have degrees in psychology or a psychology-related field.
What type of financial aid is available?
The School Psychology Program at UC Riverside makes it a priority to offer financial support to its students. Multiple forms of financial assistance are offered to students and include stipends, fellowships, loans, graduate student research (GSR) assignments, and teaching assistant (TA) assignments. For the most part, students who need and request financial assistance will receive it in some form.
What separates this program from others?
UCR’s program is the only doctoral-level school psychology program in Southern California proper that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA)*and approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). UCR is considered the most diverse campus in the entire 10 campus University of California system, with students of color representing more than 83% of the undergraduate population. Southern California offers a rich atmosphere in which students can obtain valuable field experiences and conduct meaningful research with diverse populations. Along with being a recognized program with diverse surroundings, the faculty are dedicated to equipping students with extensive knowledge that will allow them to become leaders in the field. The experiences and knowledge gained by graduates allow for a multitude of career options, centering mainly on practitioner and academic/researcher roles. Overall, UCR’s doctoral program in School Psychology offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for scholars passionate about making a difference in lives of children, youth, families, and schools.
What types of certification or licensure will this program prepare me for?
Upon course, practica, and internship completion, along with a passing score on the Praxis II Exam, all requirements to become a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) will be fulfilled. Graduates also qualify for the Pupil Personnel Services credential (PPS; the California credential to practice school psychology) and California’s Licensed Educational Psychologist credential. Graduates also are eligible to apply for licensure by a state board of psychology, pending completion of post-doctoral requirements (which vary by state). State licensure allows one to independently practice psychology in a variety of settings.
What happens after my application is submitted?
The admissions committee begins to review applications following the application deadline of December 15. All applicants are carefully considered across multiple domains to assess their qualifications and match for the program. Highly qualified applicants will be invited to our Interview Day, which is usually held on the last Friday in January. This is a day-long event during which applicants interview with current faculty, talk with current students, learn about the program and the Graduate School of Education, and tour the university. If an applicant cannot attend Interview Day, other forms of interviews may be arranged. After all interviews are completed, decision letters are sent out via email.
Can I just apply to the MA program in School Psychology?
No. The program at UCR only offers admission at the PhD level. Only those applicants who are interested in pursuing the PhD degree will be considered for admission. Students admitted to the UCR doctoral program typically earn an MA in the process but they are expected to finish the PhD.
Does this program follow a cohort model?
Yes. A student will enroll in courses with the rest of the students accepted in the same year. Moreover, it is expected that students within a cohort will progress through the program at a similar rate. The majority of students complete training in about 5.5 years.
Does this program accept candidates with Ed.S./MS/MA in School Psychology for advanced standing?
Applicants are welcome to apply as entering students and proceed through the entire program. Primarily due to our cohort training model and the need to operate in line with APA’s Standards of Accreditation, as a general practice we do not accept students with advanced standing. We also do not waive supervised field experience hours for students who have completed similar training elsewhere. Some course waivers/equivalencies are possible but are granted conservatively in accordance with APA standards.
Can I work full-time while completing the program?
It is not recommended that students attempt to dedicate a significant amount of time to outside employment. Upon accepting a fellowship, students agree to guidelines that specify how many hours they may work outside of the program, and only with approval from the Graduate Dean. The program is designed for full-time students and dedicating a significant amount of time to outside employment will likely hinder performance.
I’m getting my degree from another university and wish to complete my internship in Southern California. Would UCR recommend me for a California internship credential and/or supervise my hours for licensure?
No. Due to the responsibilities involved, we are unable to recommend prospective interns for the California internship credential or supervise students we have not trained.
*Questions related to the program's accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation: