M.S.Ed. Child Psychology

Child looking up against backdrop of books

Enhance your understanding of advocacy and make a difference in children's lives.

Program Info

The M.S.Ed. in Child Psychology program will prepare you to pursue a rewarding career as an educational advocate for children. This 30-credit program includes curriculum to enhance paraprofessional mental health services provided to children in community and school settings. While the Child Psychology degree does not lead to the professional practice of school psychology, other options to advance your career are available to you through this program.

Students in the Child Psychology program who hold certain certificates through the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) can meet Autism Endorsement criteria through the selection of electives.

Students of the Child Psychology program can also meet the Pennsylvania Behavior Specialist License criteria. Child Psychology students can take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Exam preparation course sequence.
As a Behavioral Specialist you can:

  • Develop and implement functional behavior intervention plans for identified students.
  • Establish intervention plans for the purpose of providing safe and effective environments for individuals with challenging behaviors.
  • Become an expert in coordinating child abuse and neglect cases while complying with mandated reporting requirements.
  • Become a leader in the protocols of the Individualized Education Programs (IEP) for students with disabilities.

Also, graduates of the 30-credit Master's of Science in Education in Child Psychology program have the option to apply for the School of Education's Psy.D. School Psychology and Ph.D. School Psychology programs. The first 30 credits of these doctoral programs consists of the M.S.Ed. Child Psychology curriculum. Depending on eligibility, applicants who are accepted into one of these doctoral programs, who have completed the M.S.Ed. Child Psychology program at Duquesne, and who are within the Statute of Limitations, might be able have the 30 credits from their M.S.Ed. Child Psychology program transferred to their doctoral degree.

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Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester Admission: August 1
  • Spring Semester Admission: December 1 
  • Summer Semester Admission: May 1.

Admission Requirements

  • A 3.0 GPA*
    *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.
  • Undergraduate and/or graduate transcripts

  • International Students: Transcript Credential Evaluation

    If your undergraduate and/or graduate degrees are from an institution located outside of the United States, you must use a transcript credential evaluation service to obtain a course-by-course report. The official reports must be sent directly to Duquesne University from the organization you order through and will qualify as official transcripts. Please review our Transcript Credential Evaluation Directions.
  • International Students: TOEFL/IELTS
    • Duquesne University requires submission of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores for all non-native English-speaking applicants.
    • Score Requirements
      The University requires the following minimum scores in each area to be considered for admission: TOEFL minimum of 80 (iBT - 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.

When all of the above are ready, all applicants to the University must complete Duquesne University's Online Application

Each application will then be reviewed to determine if minimum GPA standards have been met. Admissions decisions are mailed to applicants.

Submission of Admission Materials

Send official transcripts and all admissions materials to:



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

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Tuition and Aid

A Duquesne degree is an investment in your future. 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. 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, graduate 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 in many forms including:

  • University-offered graduate assistantships are available for competitive applications.
  • Current full-time lay teachers of pre-K through high school or school administrators in a Roman Catholic school in the Pittsburgh, Greensburg, or Altoona-Johnstown Dioceses pursuing a non-doctoral degree or certificate in the School of Education may be eligible to receive a 60% tuition award. This Lay Teacher award does not apply to the doctoral programs. Only one Duquesne University degree may be earned under this reduced tuition program. The Catholic School Lay Teacher & Administrator Award Form details information pertaining to this award.

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

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Kara McGoey

Kara McGoey, Ph.D.

Program Director of School Psychology
Department of Counselor Education & School Psychology

209 A Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.4105
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Kara McGoey (Ph.D., School Psychology, Lehigh University, 1998) is currently a professor of and program director 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.

Department of Counselor Education & School Psychology

409 C Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.1409
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 Counselor Education & School Psychology. 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 Counselor Education & School Psychology

G3 B Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.1078
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 Counselor Education & School Psychology, 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 L. Hughes, Ph.D.

Duquesne Professor
Department of Counselor Education & School Psychology

102 C Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.5191
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Tammy L. Hughes (Ph.D., School Psychology, Arizona State University, 2000) is a Duquesne professor in the Department of Counselor Education & School Psychology 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.

Department Chair 
Associate Professor
Department of Counselor Education & School Psychology

209 B Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.1874
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Elizabeth McCallum (Ph.D., School Psychology, University of Tennessee, 2006) is an associate professor and the Chair of Department of Counselor Education & School Psychology 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
Department of Counselor Education & School Psychology

106 B Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.5081
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.

Ara Schmitt

Ara Schmitt, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Research & Faculty Advancement
Department of Counselor Education & School Psychology

413 Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.1057
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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