Department of Psychology at Illinois State University
The doctoral program in School Psychology at Illinois State University is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and the Illinois State Board of Education. Accreditation by APA and approval by NASP and NCATE provide recognition for graduate programs meeting national standards for the education of professional service providers in school psychology. Program accreditation and approval suggests high quality training, comprehensive curricula, and properly supervised field experiences. Graduates of the doctoral program are eligible to sit for the examinations leading to the credentials of Nationally Certified School Psychologist, Certified School Psychologist in Illinois, and (with the appropriate post-doctoral experience) licensed clinical psychologist in Illinois. Accreditation and approval also allow graduates of the doctoral program the ability to transfer credentials for employment in other states.
The values and principles that underlie the doctoral program include socializing doctoral-level trainees to the full time study of the science and practice of school psychology and preparing professional school psychologists to:
Compared to the specialist program in School Psychology, the doctoral program provides more advanced training to address generalist competencies, albeit with greater emphasis on scientific inquiry. A minimum of 113 credit hours are required to receive a doctoral degree. Doctoral trainees are prepared to function effectively in a broader variety of settings as school psychologists, including schools, mental health centers, hospitals, colleges and universities, and independent practice.
The doctoral program in School Psychology emphasizes the scientist-practitioner model of training, in which the science of psychology is used as a framework for the practicing school psychologist to help children, adolescents, and their families from an evidence-based perspective. In the this training model, research and practice are mutually beneficial. While research questions arise from the experience of working with clients, conducting research improves the quality of help provided to clients. School psychology faculty serve as research colleagues with trainees. Research opportunities include volunteering on research teams, graduate assistantships, a research apprenticeship (or completing a masterís thesis), and dissertation research. In addition, the comprehensive examination provides an opportunity for advanced doctoral trainees to demonstrate their knowledge of the research literature to cases and problems presented in the exam.
Doctoral trainees receive training and experience in research that helps answer both applied and theoretical research questions. The scientist-practitioner model requires field-based work with children, adolescents, and young adults. Many graduate courses offer real-world experiences with clients, parents, and teachers in which trainees apply theories and evidence-based practice learned in the classroom. As scientist-practitioners, our graduates are able to distinguish fact from opinion in the application of psychological principles to human behavior, use existing theory and supportable techniques to develop innovative science and practice in the field of school psychology, and develop research to address practical and applied issues. Our emphasis on the value of evidence-based training is designed to ensure that our graduates will function as change agents and become leaders in the field.