Ph.D. School Psychology

Enhance your commitment to improving the well-being of youth and the systems that serve them by becoming a leader in a high-demand industry.

Program Info

This 111-credit Ph.D. in School Psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The program curriculum includes coursework, practicum, internship, and dissertation. Completion of this program leads to a M.S.Ed., a Ph.D., Certification in School Psychology by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), and prepares graduates to apply for licensure through Pennsylvania's State Board of Psychology. In addition to practicing psychology in schools, child clinics, and child service agencies, Ph.D. School Psychology graduates can become licensed for the independent practice of psychology and work as university faculty. Graduates often seek employment in settings where research skills are required. Upon completing the degree program and successfully passing of the Praxis School Psychology Exam, graduates may be credentialed as Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP).

The Ph.D. School Psychology program at Duquesne University is designed to be consistent with the scientist-practitioner model of training. This training model and curriculum encourages future school psychologists to be both producers and consumers of science, allowing empirical research to drive one's professional practice, and allowing ongoing clinical experiences to shape future research questions. Our students are also trained to become professional psychologists with foundational knowledge and skills regarding psychological research, theory, and evidence-based practices. From the very first semester of study, our students are involved in both on-campus research teams and real-world practicum experiences allowing for the opportunities to engage in both the scientist and practitioner roles throughout the program.

Ph.D. Student Handbook

Learn about the Ph.D. School Psychology Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data.


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Admission

Students are admitted into the Ph.D. Program once per year with an annual application deadline of January 15.

Admission Requirements

  • Duquesne University Application
  • Letter of interest
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • GRE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • 3.0 GPA*
  • Curriculum vitae/resume.

*Applicants are customarily expected to have a 3.0 grade point average, based on a four-point scale, in their undergraduate work. However, exceptions may be granted on a limited basis, in which there is substantial additional evidence of a student's academic competency.

Faculty members review all Ph.D. application materials and identify applicants who are judged to have a high likelihood of success in graduate studies, and have professional goals and interests that align with obtaining a doctoral degree in school psychology, the Ph.D. as a research-oriented degree, and the scientist-practitioner model of training. Successful applicants are invited to an on campus interview.

Faculty members then consider all application materials and interview information to make admission offers. With an admissions offer, the student will then enroll in classes for the upcoming fall semester. The Program does not engage in "rolling admissions."

To be considered for admission, applicants must complete the following steps. By following this procedure, there will be no application fee.

  1. Prepare a letter of interest to upload into the online application. A letter of intent describes educational, professional, research, and personal experiences that have resulted in an applicant's interests to pursue a career in school psychology, specifically pursue a Ph.D. in school psychology, and consider the Duquesne University Ph.D. School Psychology Program in particular. The letter of interest should also outline an applicant's career goals so that the faculty may judge the match between the applicant's goals and the stated goals and competencies of the Ph.D. Program. Applicants should be certain to cover his or her research experience and research interests as these are carefully evaluated by the Program faculty when reviewing applications for the Ph.D. program as it is in part a research-oriented degree.
  2. Prepare a curriculum vita/resume to upload into the online application.
  3. All official undergraduate and graduate transcripts should be sent by your university to the Office of Graduate Admissions (address below).
  4. GRE scores obtained within 5 years of the date of application are required and should be sent to Duquesne University. The online application will ask you to enter your Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing scores. The Program will verify the scores you insert.
  5. Duquesne University requires submission of TOEFL or IELTS scores for all non-native English speaking applicants. Additionally, the English as a Second Language Program conducts a review of each matriculated student upon arrival to determine individual needs for English instruction to support success in his/her degree program. The University requires the following minimum scores in each area to be considered for admission: TOEFL minimum of 80 (internet based) with no sub-score less than 17, or 550 on the paper-based test; IELTS minimum score of 6.5 with no sub-score below 6.5 for Reading, 5.5 for Writing, 5.5 for Speaking, and 6.0 for Listening. Have these scores ready to insert into the online application.
  6. The online application will ask the applicant to supply the names and email addresses of three persons who are willing to write a letter of reference. The online application process will then email each letter writer and ask them to upload a letter of reference regarding your application to the Program. Please inform your letter writers to expect an automated email.
  7. When all of the above are ready, applicants must complete Duquesne University's online application. This application requires you to upload the documents above.

Faculty members will review all completed applications and rate each according to the quality of submitted materials (letter of intent, transcripts, test scores and references) and match with the stated goals and competencies associated with the Ph.D. Program. Successful applicants will then be selected for an on-campus interview. Applicants will be notified by email or telephone of an interview invitation, as well as the time and place of the interview. Although an on-campus interview is strongly preferred, if an applicant is unable to attend an on-campus interview, a videoconference interview will be arranged. After final admissions decisions have been made, letters of acceptance, rejection, or wait list status will be emailed and then air/ground mailed to all of the applicants. Final decisions are made after April 15 of each year.

Send official transcripts to:

soegrad@duq.edu

or

School of Education
Office of Graduate Admissions
Duquesne University
214 Canevin Hall
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282

Change of Degree Programs

If a student would like to change degree sequences, the student must complete a new application and follow all application guidelines for the desired degree program. It is not permissible for students simply to elect to change or migrate between School Psychology Program degree sequences without making a formal application. In the case where a current student is accepted into a new degree program, the student's program of study will be reviewed with the student's advisor to ensure that the future course of study will meet the requirements of the new degree sequence.


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Tuition and Aid

A Duquesne degree is an investment in your future and increases in value over time. Join one of the nation's top-tier universities with the best value, considering cost and academic quality, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. By making this investment in yourself, you will receive the highest level of academic quality from our highly regarded, diverse faculty who are at the forefront of the field of education. At Duquesne, you'll become part of a community of nearly 9,500 students studying at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.

In addition to graduate tuition rates, students may also incur fees for administrative services, room, and meals, if applicable. At Duquesne University, we believe that financing your education is a partnership between the student and the university. As part of that partnership, the School of Education offers financial assistance.

University-offered graduate assistantships are available for competitive applications. For graduate assistantships offered by the School of Education, please contact the Program Director or Chair of the Department for your desired program.

For further assistance, please contact the Duquesne University Office of Financial Aid.

Federal government financial aid options:

In addition to awards and scholarships, you may be eligible for financial aid with the federal government. The federal government has loan options that can cover education and living costs. Loan forgiveness options are also available for those working inside and outside of the classroom, these include:

  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

For further assistance, please contact FedLoan Servicing.


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Faculty

Kara McGoey

Kara McGoey, Ph.D.

Program Director
Professor
Department of Counseling, Psychology, and Special Education

209A Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.4105
mcgoeyk@duq.edu
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Kara McGoey (Ph.D., School Psychology, Lehigh University, 1998) is currently a Professor of School Psychology at Duquesne University where she teaches courses on behavioral assessment and intervention, child and adolescent development and early childhood assessment and intervention. Her research interests include translating scientifically sound interventions into the school setting to improve the social-emotional functioning of children, reducing the barriers to intervention fidelity, and preschool mental health.


Laura Crothers

Laura Crothers, Ed.D.

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research
Fr. Martin A. Hehir Endowed Chair
Professor
Department of Counseling, Psychology, and Special Education

409C Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.1409
crothersl@duq.edu
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Laura Crothers (Ed.D., School Psychology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2001) is a professor in the School Psychology program in the Department of Counseling, Psychology, and Special Education, and holds the Rev. Martin A. Hehir, C.S.Sp. Endowed Chair in Scholarly Excellence. Dr. Crothers is a former school psychologist who conducts research on childhood bullying, and particularly, regarding indirect bullying in children and adolescents.


Jessica Dirsmith

Jessica Dirsmith, NCSP

Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Counseling, Psychology, & Special Education

G3A Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.1340
dirsmithj@duq.edu
Full Profile

Dr. Jessica Dirsmith (D.Ed., NCSP, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2013) is a Clinical Assistant Professor of School Psychology in the Department of Counseling, Psychology, & Special Education, as well as a nationally certified school psychologist and a licensed psychologist. She has served as both a school psychologist practitioner for over a decade and a trainer of future school psychologists. Dr. Dirsmith is the 2017 recipient of the School Psychologist of the Year Award in Pennsylvania. Active in advocacy for school psychologists, she is on the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania board and serves as the ASPP Membership Chair. Her research interests include school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (SWPBIS) with a focus on underserved populations including racially and culturally diverse students, English Learners, and students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. She also researches school-based mental health, emotional and behavioral disability case law, legally defensible assessment practices, and identification of underserved gifted learners. Dr. Dirsmith focuses on disseminating systems-level efforts that are efficient, effective, and evidence-based in order to improve prevention, intervention, and identification practices in schools. She is passionate about a problem-solving approach, incorporating strengths-based methods to best support academic, social, emotional, and behavioral learning for all students.


Tammy Hughes

Tammy Hughes, Ph.D.

Professor
Department of Counseling, Psychology, and Special Education

102C Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.5191
hughest@duq.edu
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Tammy Hughes (Ph.D., School Psychology, Arizona State University, 2000) is a Professor in the Department of Counseling, Psychology and Special Education at Duquesne University. She is a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist. Her writing is in the area of emotional dysregulation and conduct problems in children. Her clinical experience includes assessment, counseling and consultation services in alternative education and juvenile justice settings focusing on parent‐school‐interagency treatment planning and integrity monitoring.


Elizabeth McCallum

Elizabeth McCallum, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Counseling, Psychology, and Special Education

102B Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.1874
mccallume@duq.edu
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Elizabeth McCallum (Ph.D., School Psychology, University of Tennessee, 2006) is an Associate Professor in the School Psychology Program at Duquesne University. Her areas of research interest include academic interventions and accommodations, behavior interventions, and empirically validating mobile applications aimed at increasing children's academic and behavioral skills.


Jeff Miller

Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Vice Provost
Professor
Department of Counseling, Psychology, and Special Education

106B Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.5081
millerjeff@duq.edu
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Jeff Miller (Ph.D., School Psychology, Arizona State University, 1995) has been and currently serves as the Vice Provost for Administration. He continues to serve as a Professor of School Psychology and previously served as the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the School of Education. He was a practicing school psychologist (1995-1998). Dr. Miller is a board certified school psychologist, fellow of the American Psychological Association, licensed psychologist, and a certified school psychologist. Research foci are the translation of neuropsychological knowledge to improve teaching and learning and professional issues in school psychology.


Susan Rattan

Susan Rattan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Counseling, Psychology, and Special Education

G9A Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.4477
rattans@duq.edu
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Susan Rattan Susan Rattan (Ph.D., School Psychology, University of Connecticut, 2008) is an assistant professor of School Psychology. Her teaching and research interests include academic assessment, language development, vocabulary instruction in the early grades, learning disabilities, and multi-tiered systems of support. She has worked on several projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences that have resulted in peer-reviewed journal articles and numerous national and international presentations.


Ara Schmitt

Ara Schmitt, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Counseling, Psychology, and Special Education

G3B Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.1057
schmitta2106@duq.edu
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Ara Schmitt (Ph.D., School Psychology Illinois State University, 2001) completed his doctoral internship and post-doctoral residency at Phoenix Children's Hospital, and then worked for several years as a school psychologist within Tempe (AZ) Union High School District. Dr. Schmitt's research interests include the neuropsychological assessment/intervention of learning problems and pediatric chronic illnesses, cognitive styles associated with childhood bullying, and professional issues in school psychology.


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