School Psychology, Ph.D.

Frequently Asked Questions -
Program Characteristics

Is the School Psychology program accredited?

The UNC School Psychology Program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

How long does the program take to complete?

The standard progression through the master’s program requires three years of full-time study in addition to a full-time internship (minimum 1200 hours). Doctoral students typically complete the program in 4 years. In rare cases students may complete their degree in 3 years, with advanced standing.

How many school psychology students are in the program?

We enroll approximately 8 to 10 students each year. This number helps ensure a faculty-student ratio that complies with recommended training standards. We have approximately 25 doctoral students across 4 years of study.

What is the student-to-faculty ratio?

The faculty student ratio for doctoral students is 5/6 doctoral students for each faculty member.

Are classes taught in the summer?

The core program courses are taught during the fall and spring semesters, however students may find courses such as statistics, and some foundation or elective courses, which they may wish to take during the summer.

Is financial aid available for enrolled students?

Various forms of financial aid are available to students to help offset the costs of graduate school, including research assistantships, teaching assistantships, graduate assistantships, loans, scholarships, awards, and campus employment. The availability of research assistantships varies depending on which faculty and researchers have grants in a particular year, and the Program cannot guarantee that every student will receive funding.

Other forms of financial assistance are available through the University's Office of Scholarships & Student Aid. These include grants, loans, and campus employment. School Psychology students are often successful in winning competitive scholarships and awards. The majority of students seeking financial support have received some amount of funding, including graduate assistantships, grants, or educational loans from private financial institutions.

Typically, one or two admitted students in the School Psychology program each year receive a Graduate School Merit Award. These awards are based upon review by three different committees and all students are considered. The awards include full tuition coverage.

Other awards include research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and graduate assistantships. Not all assistantships provide the same level of support. The assistantships that provide a minimum level of funding (currently over $7500 per semester for doctoral students) and provide instate tuition coverage and health benefits, make an out-of-state student eligible to be recommended for a reduction from out-of-state tuition to instate tuition. The funds to cover this reduction are provided by the state legislature and thus their availability from year to year cannot be confirmed. Decisions take place at the beginning of the fall semester.

How and where are externships and internships arranged for students?

Externship experiences for first academic year are selected by the program and take place in surrounding school districts, systems level placement, and clinical settings. Advanced doctoral students have flexibility in choosing among a set of field sites for their second and third year externships. Doctoral students select the internship sites they wish to apply to from among ones that meet Program requirements for high training standards and that are consistent with program goals and objectives. For further information on these sites please refer to the School Partnerships and Externship Partnerships pages.

With a degree from the UNC School Psychology program, can I be licensed as a school psychologist or as a psychologist?

In most states, the state’s department of education regulates psychologists' practice in schools, whereas a different state agency regulates psychologists' practice in non-school settings.

In North Carolina, one must be licensed by the North Carolina Department of Instruction to be employed as a school psychologist by a public school district. Doctoral level graduates are licensed at Level III for practice in the NC public schools, and many states have reciprocity agreements.

One must be licensed by the North Carolina Psychology Board to practice as a school psychologist outside of schools. North Carolina requires additional standards regarding training in the provision of health services. Psychologists who meet all these standards at the doctoral level are designated as Licensed Psychologists and Certified Health Service Providers/Psychologists.

All students need to be knowledgeable of and prepare for practice requirements in states where they anticipate practicing.

What resources are available for students from diverse backgrounds?

UNC has extensive resources available for enrolled students from diverse backgrounds.

The Graduate School policy includes the following:

The Graduate School offers our minority students many types of support from helping arrange campus visits and orientation programs, to workshops on topics from professional development to finding funding. We also offer fellowship opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds. Many services, such as childcare, health care, and job search assistance, are offered by the University. The Graduate School also sponsors social events for our multi-cultural student body. These gatherings offer graduate students from diverse disciplines, backgrounds, and culture the opportunity to socialize, network, and establish lasting relationships.

Will I need a car?  Will I need a North Carolina driver's license?

Yes. You will need a car to drive to field sites. All new residents of North Carolina who plan to operate a motor vehicle in this state must obtain a driver's license within 60 days of establishing a permanent residence. See details at NC Division of Motor Vehicles.