May 21, 2024  
2022/2023 University Catalog 
2022/2023 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School Psychology, Ed.S.

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(Major Code: 20013) (SIMS Code: 331050)

General Information

The Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in school psychology, offered in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology, is an integrated graduate-professional program designed to prepare school psychologists who apply educational, psychological, and social and cultural foundations to create and engender a vision of educational equity in the public schools. The program prepares school psychologists with (a) ecological and systems perspectives by which to consider problem situations in the schools, (b) the cultural competencies to serve the multicultural populations of public schools, (c) the knowledge and skills to serve both general and special education populations, and (d) the skills to function as data-based change agents and consultants in the schools, providing a broad range of culturally-appropriate assessment-intervention services. A scientist-practitioner training model serves as a guide to the preparation of these data-based problem-solvers who will be prepared to serve as school psychologists
in the public schools.

The Ed.S. program requires completion of an integrated sequence of coursework, supervised field experiences, and research across a minimum of four years of full-time study (or part-time study to result in no more than six years). The program is organized and aligned with the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) standards and domains of practice. During the first three semesters, students complete the requirements for the Master of Science degree in counseling with a concentration in school psychology.

At the end of the third full-time year, students stand for review and recommendation for the School Psychology Internship Credential awarded by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC). In the last year of the program, students must complete a 1,200-hour internship in the public schools, enroll in the accompanying professional development seminar, and engage in the development of a culminating professional portfolio. Satisfactory completion of all program requirements results in recommendation for the Ed.S. degree and the Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Psychology. The credential authorizes the holder to function as a school psychologist in preschool through high school settings.

Typically, students enter the program with a bachelor’s degree and complete all program requirements. Students who hold master’s or doctoral degrees in closely related fields may complete the program on a “credential only” basis (Credential Code: 00804) or may seek the Ed.S. degree. All students must follow the regular application procedures and requirements. After admission, and in consultation with the adviser, students with graduate degrees may develop petitions for waiver of comparable courses and a proposed sequence of study, which is reviewed by the governing program faculty for approval prior to implementation.


The school psychology program is accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and approved by the NASP. National accreditation facilitates eligibility for National Certification in School Psychology (NCSP), however, does not guarantee certification, licensure, or credentialing outside of California. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of other states’ requirements, and to arrange adjustment in the program accordingly if credentials are to be sought elsewhere.

Financial Assistance

The school psychology program has a long (since 1986) and successful record of obtaining federal funding for personnel preparation projects which provide financial support for selected full-time students. These projects are time-specific, applicants and students are referred to the program website and office for current information. Additionally, graduate assistantships are available to a limited number of students. The Department of Counseling and School Psychology sponsors the Gertrude Bell Scholarship and other university-wide programs, which are administered by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Other forms of financial assistance administered by the university are presented elsewhere in this bulletin. Teaching assistantships may be available.


Applications are considered only once a year with review of applications beginning on December 15. We urge applicants to submit their applications by that date. The application requires three steps that must be completed simultaneously:

  1. All applicants must apply to the university online at
  2. The following materials should be submitted as a complete package to:
    Graduate Admissions
    Enrollment Services
    San Diego State University
    San Diego, CA 92182-7416
    1. Official transcripts (in sealed envelopes) from all postsecondary institutions attended;
    2. GRE scores ( SDSU institution code 4682);
    3. If medium of instruction was in a language other than English, official notification of English language score plus Test of Written English.
  3. Applicants complete a program application and provide supporting materials with their application. A complete application submission requires the application, experience profile, scanned and uploaded GRE scores, scanned and uploaded transcripts, required essays, and at least three references with e-mail contact information included. It is incumbent upon applicants to provide materials necessary by which their academic, cross-cultural, interpersonal, and professional readiness for the program can be discerned. Applicants may also include additional materials to include undergraduate papers, written evaluations of work performance, and a professional goals statement. Each application is reviewed by at least two school psychology faculty members, who will rate the candidate in four areas of readiness.
    1. Completed program application checklist;
    2. Three letters of recommendation;
    3. Essay/personal statement;
    4. Curriculum vitae or resume;
    5. Supplemental material to enhance evaluation of your academic, cross-cultural, interpersonal, and professional readiness (e.g., course papers or projects, an evaluation from work, a brief videotape of you working with children). Applicants whose grade point averages fall below the university standard of 2.85 in the last 60 semester units or in the major MUST supply additional data in support of their academic readiness;
    6. Program Application Affidavit. Students must obtain the California Certificate of Clearance prior to beginning the field experience sequence in the fall semester of their first year.

The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) is required by the State of California prior to consideration for the award of a credential and must be passed by the third year of the program. The program does not require passing the CBEST for admission.

Admission is a two-phase process: (1) completion of the online application portfolio and (2) small group interviews using authentic assessment activities. Successful applicants will demonstrate academic, professional, interpersonal, and cross-cultural readiness for this demanding graduate-professional program. It is strongly recommended  that applicants have an undergraduate major or substantial coursework in behavioral sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, social work), education (or liberal studies), child development, and/or ethnic studies prior to entering the program. The following courses are especially recommended: general psychology, developmental psychology, research and statistics in behavioral sciences, learning or cognition, social psychology or sociology, multicultural or culture-focused studies, and psychological or educational testing and measurement. There is one prerequisite course in development.

Application materials become the property of the program and will not be returned to the applicant. No minimum set of qualifications in any way guarantees admission. Additional information about the program can be found at

Advancement to Candidacy

All students must meet the general requirements for advancement to candidacy, as described in Requirements for Master’s Degrees  and be recommended by the faculty. A student who holds classified standing may be advanced to candidacy for the M.S. degree with Concentration in Counseling after completing at least 12 units of coursework on the official M.S. program of study with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B). Advancement to candidacy for the Ed.S. degree occurs when general requirements have been met and the student has earned a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) in at least 30 units listed on the official Ed.S. program of study.

Specific Requirements

In addition to meeting the requirements for admission to the university with classified graduate standing, the student must satisfy the basic requirements for the master’s degree described in Requirements for Master’s Degrees . In addition, the student must demonstrate and document, in a comprehensive culminating portfolio, the integration and application of theory, research, and skills appropriate to the practice of school psychology.

Curricular Requirements for the Ed.S. in School Psychology

The school psychology program requires a specific sequence of courses and supervised experiences that align with the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) domains of practice, which is the program’s accrediting agency. The student, in collaboration with the adviser, must file a program of study prior to taking courses to ensure all requirements are fulfilled. The student entering with a bachelor’s degree must complete a minimum of 93 units of the M.S. and Ed.S. school psychology program, with courses selected in collaboration with the adviser. Students admitted to the Ed.S. or credential-only programs, with a previously earned graduate degree in a closely-related field, may have completed graduate coursework consistent with the school psychology program. Such students may petition for course waiver(s) by presenting documentation of successful completion of comparable courses and attainment of associated knowledge and competencies; however, (a) the student must complete a minimum of 47 units in the SDSU Ed.S. program and (b) the full-complement of knowledge and skills must be demonstrated prior to recommendation for the Ed.S. degree.

M.S. in Counseling with Concentration in School Psychology (46 Units)

Students are not directly admitted to the Master of Science degree in counseling with a concentration in school psychology.

Courses may be applied to the Master of Science degree in counseling with a concentration in school psychology (Major Code: 08261) (SIMS Code: 331046). Students are not directly admitted to the Master of Science degree in counseling with a concentration in school psychology.

Requirements for the Mandatory School Psychology Credential

This is a combined program that includes a M.S. in Counseling, an Ed.S. degree, and PPS credential. The PPS credential is not a degree. Students in this program will complete coursework towards a California Pupil Personnel Services credential with a focus area in school psychology. PPS credential requirements include the coursework for the M.S. and Ed.S., a 1,200-hour internship in the public schools as the culminating supervised field experience, and demonstrated competency in each of the NASP standards within the program. Upon completion of the credential, students receive the formal recommendation of the school psychology faculty. The internship is a full-time, year-long experience; under special circumstances, it may be possible to extend the internship on a half-time basis across two years. Interns enroll in CSP 760  and CSP 780  throughout the duration of their internship and complete a portfolio with concurrent enrollment in both classes.

Performance Expectations

Students must maintain the university minimum 3.0 grade point average with no grade lower than B-. Falling below a minimum 3.0 GPA automatically places a student on administrative academic probation. Such academic probation for two semesters or three grades of B- or lower (including NC), regardless of GPA, are grounds for dismissal from the program and a faculty review will ensue.

Adherence to the National Association of School Psychologists Principles for Professional Ethics is a mandatory requirement. Academic honesty is expected in all courses and supervised experiences (see University Policies ). Students who knowingly or unknowingly violate any part of the  ethical code or engage in academic dishonesty may be dismissed from the program without further qualification regardless of coursework or other academic achievement.

Career Options

After receiving the school psychology credential and completing two years of post-internship, full-time service as a school psychologist in the public schools, the school psychologist is eligible to take the standardized examination for licensure as an educational psychologist in California. Interested candidates should inquire with the California Board of Behavioral Examiners.

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