Ph.D. in School Psychology

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The Doctoral Program in School Psychology

Our Ph.D. curriculum is designed to prepare students for leadership positions in school psychology and related disciplines. Graduates of this program are prepared to assume roles that may involve research, scholarship, or practice. For example, they may function as academic school psychologists, licensed psychologists who work in schools, certified school psychologists, educational consultants, or private practitioners. Graduates of the Ph.D. will be qualified to pursue becoming credentialed as nationally certified school psychologists (NCSPs) as well as licensed psychologists in Arizona.

In general, the Ph.D. curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for positions of leadership that involve applying psychological principles to improve student outcomes. Therefore, Ph.D. students are provided with a range of training and research opportunities that aim to increase their competence in school psychology as well as their ability to function as effective professionals who collaborate well with individuals from different disciplines and celebrate diversity.

The Ph.D. program has been accredited since 1979 by the American Psychological Association (APA, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation) and since 1991 by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The Ph.D. program is known for its strong emphasis on research, scholarship, and professional practice. Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation 
American Psychological Association 
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002 
Phone: (202) 336-5979 / E-mail:

Training Model

The program philosophy is guided by the "scholar–practitioner" training model. According to this model, a psychologist is a scholar, a consumer of research, and a highly-trained professional prepared to apply extensive content knowledge and sophisticated techniques to solve clients' problems. Furthermore, the University of Arizona conceptualizes the scholar–practitioner as one who possesses considerable research competence and data analytic ability. this permits him/her to generate new knowledge as well as skillfully apply existing knowledge to problems in accordance with work setting requirements and professional interests.

The notion of the psychologist as a scholar-practitioner is consistent with the University of Arizona’s College of Education conceptual framework, which views the professional educator as a reflective decision maker. Critically, the program’s philosophy requires school psychologists to apply problem-solving skills fairly and equitably within a multicultural and diverse society. By necessity, a psychologist practicing in this manner is capable of applying many psychological principles, theories, and research findings, as well as evidence-based assessment and intervention procedures. These are often applied in school settings, but might be applied elsewhere when school-related social, emotional, and learning problems are present. In addition, the program prepares school psychologists to engage in lifelong learning and to advance the profession by conducting research, publishing or presenting scholarly papers at professional association meetings, and/or leading national, state, and local school psychology organizations.

Goals of the Ph.D. Program

  1. Prepare graduates to provide school psychological services and engage in scholarly activities within a culturally diverse society.
  2. Prepare students to use a problem-solving approach when working with children and adolescents.
  3. Prepare graduates for lifelong learning who are skilled in the interface between science, theory, and practice.
  4. Prepare graduates for supervisory, leadership, and service roles in the field of school psychology.
  5. Prepare graduates in the APA and NASP ethical principles, professional practices, and relevant laws associated with the delivery of school psychological services to children and adolescents.
  6. Prepare graduates to exhibit professional attitudes, values, effective communication, and interpersonal skills in their provision of health service activities and conduct of research.

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data


The School Psychology program prides itself on having a diverse student body. Thus, we encourage applications from individuals of diverse cultural, ethnic, and linguistic background and sexual identity status. Additionally, we encourage applications from individuals across the spectrum in terms of their socioeconomic status, geographic residence, religious affiliation, family constellation, and social/political background.

The Ph.D. program normally accepts about seven students per year. The deadline for submitting applications is December 1st. It normally takes about six weeks to complete a comprehensive review of applications because the program typically receives between 45 to 65 applications per year. Selected applicants will be invited for on campus interviews that will be held in mid-January. Following a review of applications, the Program Director will email students regarding the status of their application, to coordinate interviews, or to answer any questions that prospective students may have.
View full application information

Ph.D. Program Requirements

View Program Requirements
View Student Handbook


Tucson Faculty Group Photo

Our faculty consists of a dynamic group of individuals who are committed to the growth and development of school psychology students. We have both overlapping and disparate research interests and specializations that allow for us to accommodate the majority of students who are interested in pursuing advanced study in school psychology. Collectively, our research interests center on supporting students’ emotional wellbeing, mental and physical health, and academic outcomes. Faculty in our program also specialize in research related to neuropsychology, sleep hygiene and related impacts, school-wide behavioral assessment, supporting military families, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration, multicultural competence, and bullying and violence prevention.   Learn More


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