Educational Psychology - School Psychology, Doctor of Philosophy

Program Description

This 109-hour program prepares you to function as a well-rounded generalist in school psychology, a trainer of other school psychologists, and/or as a researcher. This program is fully approved by National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) through 2021 (first approved in 1998). This program also meets the criteria of the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology and the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

Application Due Date

This Ph.D. School Psychology program is only offered at our Flagstaff campus.

  • Completed application files are reviewed and admission decisions are made once each year.
  • All application materials must be received in the Educational Psychology Department by January 15 to be reviewed.
  • Admission decisions are made by the first week of March; you will receive notification of this decision electronically and by mail.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that your application file is complete. Incomplete files are not reviewed.

Program Philosophy

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There is an increasing need for the provision of school psychological services in a broad array of settings including:

  • schools
  • workplaces
  • school-based and school linked health centers
  • medical, social service, and correctional facilities

Our doctoral program reflects a training curriculum that is sequential, cumulative, and graded in complexity.

At the core of the school psychology training program at Northern Arizona University is the integration of theory, research, and practice rooted in psychology and education. We believe that this core is best realized using a scientist-practitioner training model that includes a systematic analysis of human behavior, careful applications of best practice, and a methodical evaluation of the effectiveness of these applications.

We emphasize conducting ecologically valid assessments and interventions that promote positive learning and healthy development for individuals from birth to young adulthood from diverse backgrounds. This emphasis involves working collaboratively with families, teachers, parents, other adults, and professionals from various organizations and agencies. School psychologists are trained to provide:

  • comprehensive assessment of abilities, achievement, social and emotional functioning, personality, developmental status, and eligibility status
  • primary and secondary prevention services
  • crisis intervention services
  • consultation, supervision, professional development, and designing of comprehensive and integrated services
  • educational evaluation services.


APA Division 16-Division of School Psychology. (2003). Goals and objectives. Retrieved February 28, 2003, from the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs Web site: 

National Association of School Psychologists. (2003). What is a school psychologist? Retrieved February 28, 2003, from the National Association of School Psychologists. Web site: 

American Psychological Association (APA)

Our program philosophy is consistent with the goals and objectives of Division 16-School Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association (2003) and the National Association of School Psychologists (2003).

Specialty Areas of Training

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Our school psychology training program has two unique specialty areas of training.

First, our program capitalizes on the ethnocultural diversity of Northern Arizona and its rural environment by providing you with the opportunity to participate in practica with Native American and Hispanic children within their school, family, and community contexts.

A second area of opportunity for gaining specialized expertise is working with individuals who have developmental disabilities and their families. You’ll receive specialized course work in disabilities and have opportunities to collaborate with the Institute for Human Development (IHD).

Goals and Objectives

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  1. To prepare psychologists who have a comprehensive foundation in the core and foundational areas of psychology. Students will acquire and demonstrate knowledge competencies in:
    1. biological bases of behavior
    2. cognitive and affective bases of behavior
    3. social aspects of behavior
    4. history and systems of psychology
    5. human development
  2. To prepare psychologists who use ethical decision-making and responsible professional behavior and who apply best practices in school psychology assessment, intervention, prevention, health promotion, program development, and evaluation services when working with children, youth, families, learners of all ages, and the schooling process. Students will acquire and demonstrate knowledge and skill competencies in:
    1. professional standards and ethics
    2. theories and methods of psychological measurement
    3. assessment using individual, group, and systems techniques
    4. effective interventions with children and families including evaluating their efficacy
    5. collaboration with children, family, school, and community-based personnel providing health care provision
    6. individual and cultural diversity
    7. dysfunctional behavior or psychopathology
    8. specialized assessment and intervention designed for young children with developmental disabilities and other handicapping conditions
    9. specialized assessment and intervention for Native American children within their school, family, and community contexts
  3. To prepare psychologists who have thorough knowledge and skills in analytical and quantitative methods to effectively consume and generate empirical evidence associated with school psychology theory and practices. Students will acquire and demonstrate knowledge and skill competencies in:
    1. research methodology
    2. techniques of data analysis
    3. understanding the influence of professional practice on the science of psychology
    4. program and service evaluation theory and practice
    5. the application of research methodology and techniques of data analysis during each year of training
  4. To prepare psychologists who demonstrate the ability to train others in the content and skill areas of school psychology and provide effective prevention, psycho-education, and consultation methods with individuals, families, groups, members of environmental systems, and other professionals. Students will acquire and demonstrate knowledge and skill competencies in:
    1. pedagogical theory and methods
    2. theories and techniques in prevention and psycho-education
    3. theories and practice of consultation and supervision
  5. To prepare psychologists who integrate theory, research, and practice and apply their expertise in a variety of settings with diverse persons having varied problems and needs. Students will acquire and demonstrate the knowledge and skill competencies in:
    1. applying scientific theory and methods to assessment, intervention, training, prevention, psycho-education, and consultation
    2. integrating psychological theory, research, and practice in applied settings during each year of training

Degree Requirements

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  • For this degree, you must complete 109 semester hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. Additional classes may be required to obtain the certification of Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP).
  • The degree minimally requires two years of coursework post-master’s, a preliminary examination, comprehensive examinations, a one-year internship (1,500 hours), and completion of a dissertation.
  • This is a Flagstaff-based program and most of the necessary coursework is available only on the Flagstaff campus during fall and spring semesters.
  • You must complete at least two consecutive semesters of full-time residency during fall and spring semesters.


Please review the online catalog for selected courses where prerequisites are required. Please check with the department or a faculty adviser if you have questions regarding prerequisites.

Clinical Hours

Please review the clinical hours table for the number of practicum hours and internship hours required in clinical, testing, and intervention Educational Psychology classes. 

Program of Studies

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The program of studies is the agreed-upon plan between you and your faculty adviser on completing program requirements.

It is used as a verification document when you apply for graduation. You should complete the program of studies with your adviser during the first semester of graduate work.

The original, signed program of studies should be given to the Department Chair to be placed in your file in the Educational Psychology Department and you and your adviser should both keep copies.

Amendments to your program of studies can be made with your adviser’s approval.

The timeline policy and residency policies for Doctoral degree can be viewed through the Graduate College.

Related Forms

EPS Course Offerings by Semester

Educational Psychology - School Psychology, Doctor of Philosophy Program of Studies - CURRENT

Program of Studies Work Sheet 

Professional Code of Ethics and Licensure Guidelines

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Students in this doctoral program should follow the professional code of ethics and licensure guidelines established by the following organizations:

State of Arizona Board of Psychologists Examiners
National Association of School Psychologists
American Psychological Association, Inc.
State of Arizona Department of Education 

School Psychology Program Faculty

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Dr. Lena Gaddis, Associate Professor
Phone: 928-523-1895 

Dr. Robert Horn, Department Chair and Associate Professor
Phone: 928-523-0545 

Dr. Mary McLellan, Professor
Phone: 928-523-6786 

Dr. Lisa Persinger, Assistant Clinical Professor and Program Coordinator
Phone: 928-523-6556

Academic Catalog Listing

See the NAU Academic Catalog for official details on this degree, including: 

  • Career opportunities for graduates with this degree
  • Admission requirements
  • Course listing
  • Campuses that offer this degree

Educational Psychology - School Psychology, Doctor of Philosophy