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Master of Science Degree in Counseling Option in School Psychology

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Program Information

The School Psychology Program at Cal State LA is a graduate program within the Division of Special Education and Counseling in the College of Education. Students have the opportunity to earn a Master of Science degree in Counseling, option in School Psychology

The mission of the School Psychology Program at Cal State LA is to facilitate complete access to the schooling process for ALL children, youth, and their families with recognition of their diverse, multicultural and linguistic backgrounds. The Master of Science Degree in Counseling, Option in School Psychology is designed for graduate students who plan to work as school psychologists who will focus on the psychoeducational development of individuals from birth to age 21, their abilities and potentialities, biological, emotional, behavioral, and cultural factors that influence the learning process. Candidates who earn the master’s degree with this option also qualify for the Pupil Personnel Services credential with Advanced Specialization in School Psychology and Advanced Specialization in Child Welfare and Attendance Services.

We offer a 3-year, full time program of study. Part time study options are not available. Students should expect most classes to be completed in the evening hours and to be on campus 2-4 days/week.

Accreditation

The M.S. in Counseling, option in School Psychology is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists and accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

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Admission Requirements

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The school psychology program accepts one new cohort of 24 students every year to begin in the Fall semester. No specific undergraduate major is required, nor is a standardized test, such as the GRE. The applicant must complete and submit the university application (CalStateAPPLY). Applications are screened by the Program Admissions Committee and in-person interviews are scheduled for qualified applicants. Every qualified applicant will be required to participate in an in-person interview with the Program Admissions Committee.

In addition to University requirements for admission to graduate study, students:

  • must have a 2.75 GPA in the last 60 semester units or 90 quarter units attempted
  • must complete an undergraduate level inferential statistics class (must be completed prior to students' second year in the program)

Application Process

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The School Psychology Program accepts one new cohort of students every year to begin in the Fall semester. Typically, we receive approximately 250-300 applications every year for 24 positions. No specific undergraduate major is required, nor is a standardized test (e.g., GRE) required. The applicant must be accepted by the School Psychology Program through the Division of Special Education and Counseling application process. The online application portal can be accessed via our main program website beginning October 2021. The applicant must also complete and submit the university application (CalStateApply). Applications are screened by the School Psychology Program Admission Committee and in-person interviews are scheduled for selected applicants. Every selected applicant is required to participate in a half-day campus interview in February.

For further information, please contact the Program Coordinator, Dr. Gopaul-Knights at kgopaul2@calstatela.edu

FAQ

What are you looking for in a candidate for your program?

We are looking for candidates with a strong commitment to become a school psychologist, a willingness and readiness to study on a full-time basis, an appreciation for cultural and linguistic diversity, excellent communication skills (oral and written), a desire to work with children and adolescents - including youth with special needs, good interpersonal skills, and shared values with the College of Education and Division of Special Education & Counseling.

I've already taken graduate courses at another university. Will I be able to transfer those courses?

Depending on the course content and year the course was taken, some graduate level courses may be transferred to your Cal State LA school psychology program plan. Generally, equivalent courses taken within 7 years of degree conferral (i.e., your anticipated graduation year) are eligible for transfer. We recommend meeting with the program coordinator or a program advisor. Bring your transcripts and course descriptions for the courses in question.

My undergraduate major is in an unrelated field. Do I still have a chance of being admitted to the program?

Absolutely. We do not have a major requirement and we welcome all majors to apply. Students who majored in an unrelated field who are successful in our program typically have at least some prior field experience in the helping profession (e.g., working or volunteering at a school setting or community youth agency, tutoring, ABA therapy).

Do you require the GRE or CBEST for admission?

No, we do not require the GRE or CBEST for admission. Students who are admitted and enrolled in our program are required to pass the CBEST by the end of their first year of the program.

On the CalStateApply application, I can't find the school psychology program on the list of available degrees. What should I select?

We offer the Master of Science in Counseling degree, with four different options within this degree (applied behavior analysis, rehabilitation counseling, school-based family counseling, and school psychology). The CalStateApply application will ask you which degree you are applying to, and the program application will ask you which option you are applying to. Therefore, on the CalStateApply application, you should select the M.S. in Counseling degree.

When are classes held and how often should I expect to be on campus?

Students have classes 2-3 days a week. All of our courses are scheduled in the early afternoon or evening (starting at 4:30 PM).

Can students work while they attend the program?

Many of our students work part- or full-time during their first year in the program. During the second year, most students only work part time due to practicum requirements, in which students complete 10-15 hours per week of field-based experiences in school settings. This requires students to be available at least 1-2 days a week for practicum. During the third year, students do not work and are encouraged to focus on completing their full time internship (40 hours per week).

I'm also interested in becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Can I do that in this program?

The Division of Special Education and Counseling offers the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) certificate, which is designed to provide practitioners, such as school psychologists or school psychology trainees, the opportunity to develop specialized skills in applied behavior analysis. The ABA certificate also helps to prepare students for the National Certification Exam in Behavior Analysis. Individuals who are interested in becoming a BCBA may pursue the ABA certificate while they are in the school psychology program, complete supervised fieldwork experiences in ABA, and must pass the national certification exam. Approximately half of the students in our program pursue the ABA certificate. For more information, see: http://www.calstatela.edu/academic/ccoe/programs/cert_aba

I want to become a school counselor, will your program prepare me for this?

No, our program does not prepare candidates to become school counselors. If you are interested in becoming a school counselor, please refer to the School-Based Family Counseling program: http://www.calstatela.edu/academic/ccoe/programs/ms_mftpps

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