Department of Psychology at Illinois State University


Specialist Program Application Information

Application Deadline for FALL 2017: December 1
Applications for the Specialist Program in School Psychology will be accepted after September 15

Admission is offered for the fall semester and is very competitive. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Only applicants who intend to enroll full time will be considered for admission. A complete specialist program application includes the following, which are also explained in detail below:

All application materials must be received by by the University by December 1. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed by the department. The specialist application process includes a mandatory interview with the School Psychology faculty.

Ineligible for Admission: Individuals who have been convicted of a felony are not eligible to complete professional practice (a specialist program requirement) and are not eligible for licensure as a school psychologist in Illinois. Applicants who are convicted felons will not be considered for admission.

Program Requirements: Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework and a bachelor's degree conferred before the start of the fall semester. Applicants should have completed at least 21 hours of psychology courses that include general psychology or an equivalent course, experimental psychology or research methods or equivalent, and psychological statistics or equivalent. Applicants should have a proficiency in math, which may be demonstrated with a passing grade in finite math or precalculus (MAT 120 or 144 or equivalent) , a grade of B or higher in psychological statistics (PSY 340 or equivalent) or a score of 144 or higher on the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE General Test. Applicants who have not completed required courses may be admitted, but will have the missing course(s) added to the specialist program degree requirements. Any missing courses must be completed during the first year of graduate study.

Problems with the Online Application: Please contact the Admissions Office at or call 1-800-366-2478.

Information about Application Materials

Graduate Application

Applicants must log in and create an account in order to access a graduate application. Applications from international students require additional time to process. International applicants should have all application materials submitted to the University at least four weeks (by November 1) prior to the application deadline.


Applicants must have every institution where they received higher education credit send an official transcript to Illinois State, including transcripts for transferred credits. Copies of transcripts will not be accepted. Illinois State students and alumni should not submit an ISU transcript. Transcripts must be sent to:
Illinois State University
Campus Box 2200
Normal, IL 61790-2200

GRE General Test Scores

Applicants must take the GRE General Test scores. The General Test includes Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The test scores must be reported to the University by Educational Testing Services. Applicant should use the school code 1319 to have their test scores reported to Illinois State.

Personal Statement

A personal statement must be uploaded to the online application. The statement should address the following topics:

  • Your professional and career goals
  • The factors that influenced your decision to enter a helping profession
  • What are your expectations for professional training in the field of school psychology?
  • Why did you select the specialist program in School Psychology at Illinois State?
  • Why should you be admitted to the specialist program?

Writing Sample

A writing sample must be uploaded to the online application. The writing sample should be scholarly work (i.e., a research paper, an independent study project, a literature review, etc.) that is approximately 5-15 pages long.

Required Recommendations

Three letters of recommendation must be uploaded to the online application by the recommenders. Applicants must identify three recommenders in the application and provide a valid email address for each recommender. At least one recommendation should be from an individual who is familiar with the applicant's research experiences.

The University will notify each recommender that a recommendation was requested along with instructions for how to upload the recommendation. The recommender will be given a link and a password for the applicant's online application. Recommendations should be printed on school or business letterhead and signed by the recommender. The recommendation should be scanned as a PDF document and uploaded to the online application.

Processing Applications and Admission Procedures

Processing Complete Applications

When an application is submitted, it is not immediately available for review by the department. It takes the University approximately 7 days to process an application after all of the application materials have been received. This processing time will increase during the two weeks before the application deadline.

Required Interviews

Applicants being considered for admission must complete the specialist program interview process. Selected applicants will be notified about the campus interview schedule, which is usually held on a Friday in February. Travel and lodging expenses are the responsibility of the applicant. Interviews by Skype may be possible in some circumstances with the approval of the School Psychology program coordinator.
Specialist Interview Day: To Be Determined

Admission Offers

The department generally notifies specialist applicants of its admission offers in early March. The admission offer includes information about any course deficiencies and a graduate assistantship or tuition waiver, if applicable. The American Psychological Association stipulates that an applicant has until April 15 to accept or decline an admission offer.

Some admission offers may be delayed until applicants notify the department that they are declining our admission offers. We will continue to offer admission until we have a full class admitted for the fall semester.

Applicants who accept admission at another institution should notify the School Psychology graduate coordinator, in writing, that they will not be attending Illinois State. Applicants may contact the Graduate Programs Office by email to inquire about their admission status, if they have not received an admission offer by May 1.

Graduate Assistantships

The department awards graduate assistantships to applicants who accept admission to Illinois State. The availability of graduate assistantships are subject to the following factors:

  • receipt of anticipated funding from the state of Illinois
  • verification of employment eligibility based on U.S. immigration laws
  • University employment policies that may require a criminal background check with fingerprinting
  • eligibility requirements as stated in the Graduate Assistant Handbook
  • specific needs of the department

Students who accept graduate assistantships at Illinois State are employees of the University and the state of Illinois. State employees are required to complete the Mandatory Governmental Ethics Online Training under the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (5 ILCS 430/5-10). The ethics training must be completed each year of an assistantship.

Admission Statistics

Statistical data are available for all of the applicants admitted to our psychology graduate programs. The information is based on grade point averages and GRE General Test scores.