About School Psychology
The School Psychology area focuses on psychological and educational principles that influence the adjustment of individuals from birth to 21 years.
The program leads to a PhD in Educational Psychology and prepares professional psychologists to use the knowledge of the behavioral sciences in ways that enhance the learning and adjustment of children, their families, and their teachers. The graduate program strongly emphasizes the preparation of psychologists for academic and scholarly careers, along with a sound and comprehensive focus on the practice of psychology in the schools and related applied settings.
The School Psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation. Questions related to the program's accredited status should be directed to the Commision on Accreditation:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
Student Admissions, Outcomes, & Other Data
School Psychology Admissions Statistics
Statement of Program Philosophy
The School Psychology Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison embraces a scientist-scholar-practitioner model of graduate education. Faculty embrace evidence-based practices (e.g., diagnosis, assessment, intervention, consultation, evaluation), and they have allegiance to a broad-based behavioral orientation in research and practice including, for example, applied behavior analysis, cognitive-behavior therapy, social-learning theory, and ecological-behavioral-systems theory. The program emphasizes a problem-solving approach to service delivery including direct intervention and consultation at the individual, family, and system levels. The graduate program strongly emphasizes the preparation of psychologists for academic and scholarly careers, along with a sound and comprehensive focus on the practice of psychology in the schools and related applied settings.
Program Goals & Objecives
The training curriculum of the School Psychology Program reflects a specific set of project objectives (referred to as competencies) that are subsumed under the following seven domains of knowledge and skills, which reflect the program's goals:
Research & Evaluation: Demonstrate knowledge and skills pertaining to research design and methodological issues, the evaluation of treatment effects, and the communication of research results.
Professional Issues & Human Relations: Demonstrate knowledge and skills pertaining to legal and ethical issues, effective communication, and one's own professional strengths and weaknesses.
Assessment: Demonstrate knowledge and skills concerning fundamentals of measurement and assessment, and the use of assessment tools in a non-biased, reliable, and valid manner.
Intervention: Demonstrate knowledge and skills concerning the theories and tactics used to guide the design and implementation of effective interventions for children, adolescents, and families.
Consultation: Demonstrate the theoretical knowledge and skills needed to engage in effective consultation and collaborative problem-solving with educator and parents.
Human Abilities & Diversity: Demonstrate knowledge and awareness of human abilities, diversity, and disability; major diagnostic systems; and skills needed to work effectively with a variety of people.
Schools & Schooling: Demonstrate knowledge of effective educational practices and the skills necessary to deliver psychological services in school settings.
The program embraces the view that a school psychologist is a scientist-scholar-practitioner who works in a variety of settings and assumes diverse roles as a doctoral-level professional. The integration of scientist, scholar, and practitioner roles provides a basis for graduates to assume leadership responsibilities in the field of school psychology.
Faculty embrace evidence-based practices (e.g., diagnosis, assessment, intervention, consultation, evaluation), and they have allegiance to a broad-based behavioral orientation in research and practice including, for example, applied behavior analysis, cognitive-behavior therapy, social-learning theory, and ecological-behavioral-systems theory.
The program emphasizes a problem-solving approach to service delivery including direct intervention and consultation at the individual, family, and system levels.
The graduate program strongly emphasizes the preparation of psychologists for academic and scholarly careers, along with a sound and comprehensive focus on the practice of psychology in the schools and related applied settings.
Because the program's emphasis is on the application of psychology in education, students are required to demonstrate competence in the substantive content areas of psychological and educational theory and practice.
To learn more about the research, teaching, and other career information of the area faculty, visit the Faculty & Staff directory page.
The School Psychology curriculum is structured to include course work in areas related to the practice of school psychology (assessment, intervention, consultation, evaluation, professional issues), as well as courses addressing broader content domains (basic and applied) in psychology and educational psychology.
Because the program’s emphasis is on the application of psychology in education, students are required to demonstrate competence in the substantive content areas of psychological and educational theory and practice.
Other related areas outside the department from which course work may be drawn include: clinical, counseling, and rehabilitative psychology, special education, curriculum and instruction, and educational administration. There is a strong emphasis on developing research competencies through course work (research design and methodology), participation in research projects, and completion of an empirical thesis and doctoral dissertation.
Finally, students receive supervised clinical training through the clinical practicum, field work, and internship sequence.
School Psychology students have an option to minor in a Prevention and Intervention Science Program.
View the School Psychology Program Handbook
Visit the Course Information page for details on course requirements, course announcements, and other resources.
Visit the Course Syllabi page to view our archive of Department syllabi.
Professional Training Model
The School Psychology program embraces a scientist-scholar-practitioner model of training. The primary mission of the program is to develop professionals whose activities increase the educational and psychological well-being of children and youth. The program prepares professional psychologists to use knowledge of the behavioral sciences in ways that enhance the learning and adjustment of children, families, and teachers.
The doctoral-level school psychologist is expected to have competencies underlying three interrelated roles - scientist, scholar, and practitioner. The program is dedicated to training graduates who are competent in each of these areas:
Scientist: To understand and advance basic knowledge in School Psychology, students must have a firm foundation in scientific methodology. Students are educated to be highly skilled consumers of research, as well as researchers capable of examining relevant problems of both an applied and basic nature.
Scholar: The scholar is able to draw from many different theories and knowledge bases and apply this information to the issues and problems with which he/she is presented.
Practitioner: The practitioner is expected to demonstrate a high level of expertise in the professional practice of School Psychology. This expertise includes consulting with educators and parents, conducting comprehensive assessments, designing appropriate treatments, monitoring client progress, and evaluating treatment efficacy.
Focus on Diversity
The mission of the program is to work actively toward inculcating issues of diversity in every aspect of its training program. The students and faculty in the program recognize an obligation to be aware of, sensitive to, and responsive to forms of diversity in professional activities. We work toward meeting this obligation by integrating and increasing attention given to diversity through several activities and mechanisms, including:
Active recruitment of students and faculty with diverse backgrounds.
Commitment to conducting research that generates new knowledge reflecting a diverse society.
Integration of diversity issues into assessment and intervention courses.
Encouragement and facilitation of students' participation in practicum, field work, and/or internship experiences with diverse populations.
Development of a School Psychology colloquium series that focuses on issues of diversity.
Maintaining an active School Psychology Diversity Committee including faculty, staff, and student members.
Participation by faculty and students in an ongoing diversity book group.
Program History & Reputation
The School Psychology program has developed since 1940 when Samuel A. Kirk identified a need for a Wisconsin university to focus on training individuals in school psychological service delivery. In 1958, Wisconsin established licensing requirements for school psychologists and psychometrists, and the number of school psychologists in the state rose steadily from 1965 to 1978.
The following table summarizes key events in the program's history:
UW-Madison Psychoeducational Clinic founded by T.L. Torgerson to provide services for children experiencing school-related problems.
Clinic developed as a training facility initially for school psychometrists, and later for school psychologists.
Several students received masters degrees with specializations in school psychology. In the late 1950s, two students identified as school psychologists received PhDs from UW-Madison.
Formal School Psychology Program was established in 1960, and P. Whiteman hired as Director. In 1965, the Department of Educational Psychology assumed administrative responsibility for the program, and additional faculty joined the program.
By 1970, the program included five faculty and approximately 50 graduate students. The program considered APA accreditation and underwent informal evaluation. In 1975, the program forged a partnership with Madison schools, which allowed for coordination and supervision of field work practicum.
Several new faculty joined the program in the early 1980s, including current faculty members Maribeth Gettinger (1980) and Thomas Kratochwill (1984). In 1986, the program received APA accreditation.
In 1990, Julia McGivern joined the program as a Clinical Professor. The program received approval from NASP (1992); awarded Alfred M. Wellner Award (1994); named best school psychology program in the nation by U.S. News and World Report (1995). In 1995, Psychoeducational Clinic was expanded and restructured as the Educational and Psychological Training Center. In 1996, Stephen Quintana joined the faculty.
Craig Albers joined the program as an Assistant Professor in Aug. 2004; Jennifer Asmus joined the program as an Associate Professor in Aug. 2005. In 2005, the program received APA accreditation.