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Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study

This 60-credit hour, scholar-practitioner model training program is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The program is comprised of two years of coursework, a variety of supervised practica, and a capstone internship. Completion of this program leads to an M.S.Ed. in Child Psychology, a CAGS certificate, and certification as a School Psychologist by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The School Psychology Program at Duquesne University has adopted 10 competencies around which coursework, field experiences, and Program activities have been designed. These include the following:

  1. Legal/Ethical Practice and Professional Development: Develop a knowledge base and understanding of the various roles and functions of practicing, academic, and supervising school psychologists, and be able to selectively deliver services from a variety of alternative models. Develop a knowledge base of federal and state laws, professional ethics, and professional standards and the skills to apply them in public and private educational agencies. Develop the skills to adhere to due process guidelines in major decisions affecting all students. Develop the skills to adhere to ethical practices for conducting research in school psychology.

  2. Organization and Operation of Schools: Develop an understanding of the organization and administration of public schools as systems and the cultural, ethnic, religious and geographic diversity of the students, families and staff served by school psychologists. Develop an awareness of community resources and the roles of other professionals in helping children, parents and school personnel. Develop the skills to foster and facilitate interagency partnerships among family, school, health care, and community agencies to create and maintain safe, supportive, and effective learning environments. Develop the skills to conduct effective program evaluations of services.
  3. Assessment: Develop the skills to select, administer, score, and interpret psychoeducational tests for individuals of different ages, exceptionalities, and cultural backgrounds. Develop competence in the use of interviewing, functional behavioral assessment, and curriculum-based assessment methods for problem-solving and identifying evidenced-based interventions. Develop the skills to integrate psychological and educational assessment data to develop academic and behavioral interventions and to communicate those data in a variety of ways.
  4. Biological Basis of Behavior: Develop a knowledge to select, administer, interpret, and evaluate psychological tests of brain-behavior relationships. Develop a knowledge to integrate information derived from such tests into psychoeducational reports, recommend school-based interventions, and evaluate intervention outcome.
  5. Counseling: Develop a counseling and mental health knowledge base and the evidence-based interventions to work with students who have educational, emotional, and/or behavioral problems to mitigate the emergence of enduring, unhealthy patterns of behavior. Develop a knowledge base and skills to help students, families and schools deal with crises, such as school violence, suicide and loss. Develop the skills to evaluate the effectiveness of services.
  6. Consultation: Develop a knowledge base of behavioral, mental health, and collaborative consultation. Develop the skills to collaborate with school professionals and families to provide direct and indirect services. Collaborate in the design, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based interventions. Develop the oral and written communication and interpersonal skills necessary to communicate effectively with children, families, and school personnel from varied cultural, ethnic, religious, and geographic backgrounds. Develop the interpersonal skills to function as team leaders in school-based multidisciplinary teams. Develop the skills to conduct program evaluations of school psychological services.
  7. Intervention: Develop a knowledge base and the skills to identify controllable, causal aspects of social, emotional, and academic difficulties and design, implement, and evaluate through progress monitoring evidence-based interventions. Develop the skills to provide prevention and intervention programs that promote the mental health and physical well-being of students. Recognize the importance of implementing evidence-based interventions for primary prevention and management of academic, behavioral difficulties.
  8. Student Diversity in Development and Learning: Develop a knowledge base of individual differences, abilities, and disabilities and of the potential influence of biological, social, cultural, ethnic, experiential, socioeconomic, gender-related, and linguistic factors in development and learning. Demonstrate the sensitivity and skills needed to work with individuals and families of diverse characteristics and to implement strategies selected and/or adapted based on individual characteristics, strengths, and needs. Recognize the family as a system and its impact on student learning.
  9. Science of Psychology & Education: Develop an understanding of the value of science for the practice of psychology and education and the value of practice for the science of psychology and education. Develop the skills to utilize an empirical basis for all methods involved in psychological and educational practice. Become educated consumers of research relating to school psychology and be able to apply these research findings to the development of solutions for educational and psychological problems. Be able to disseminate information to colleagues and families from the school psychology knowledge base to promote healthy school environments. Develop competence in progress monitoring and program evaluation techniques to determine outcomes.
  10. Emerging Technology: Develop a familiarity with technical advances and the skills to identify the potential applications of these advances as they relate to the practice of school psychology. Develop competence in using technology to advance the practice and science of school psychology.
Application Requirements

The application procedures for admission are very detailed and rigorous. 

 CAGS Application Requirements

Course Sequence


Graduates of the Ph.D., Psy.D., and CAGS School Psychology Programs are prepared to earn state-level school psychology certification and may apply for the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential. Ph.D. and Psy.D. School Psychology Program graduates are prepared to apply for licensure to practice independent psychology by a State Board of Psychology.

Employment Settings

CAGS-level school psychologists are generally employed by public and private schools. In addition to schools, licensed doctoral-level (Ph.D. and Psy.D.) school psychologists commonly practice in hospitals, child agencies, and independent practice. Ph.D. School Psychologists are also prepared to work as university professors.

What Is a School Psychologist? (NASP brochure) (pdf)

School Psychology: A Career that Makes a Difference (NASP brochure) (pdf)


Admission Application Deadlines

With the exception of GRE scores, all materials should be submitted in one package. Application materials must be postmarked by January 15th.

Application for Graduation

An application for graduation must be submitted to the M.S.Ed. Program office in G3 Canevin Hall early in the semester of anticipated graduation. Graduation deadlines may be found within the University Academic Calendar.


Still have questions about our program?  Find your answers here.