Degrees, Licensures & Certificates

Degrees, Licensures & Certificates


Professional Competence

School psychology students at UMass Boston acquire the knowledge, skills, and critical personal qualities necessary to be thoughtful and responsive practitioners. The school psychology curriculum at UMass Boston is based on a problem-solving, consultative model informed by recent research and best practices recommended by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The program addresses the knowledge bases of psychology and education. It emphasizes data-based decision-making and collaboration. Students must attain the skills necessary to deliver effective services that result in positive outcomes. Course work and field experience emphasize appreciation and sensitivity toward individual differences and cultural diversity.

The NASP Practice Model (2010) guides the curricula of the School Psychology Program at UMass Boston.  Faculty address the domains in the courses they teach and fieldwork they supervise.  They assess student growth in all 10 domains at key points in the program. Students must demonstrate themselves to be competent in the model as a requirement for graduation. 

Practices That Permeate All Aspects of Service Delivery

Domain 1: Data-Based Decision Making and Accountability
School psychologists have knowledge of varied models and methods of assessment and data collection for identifying strengths and needs, developing effective services and programs, and measuring progress and outcomes.

Domain 2: Consultation and Collaboration
School psychologists have knowledge of varied models and strategies of consultation, collaboration, and communication applicable to individuals, families, groups, and systems as well as methods to promote effective implementation of services.

Direct and Indirect Services for Children, Families, and Schools Student-Level Services

Domain 3: Interventions and Instructional Support to Develop Academic Skills
School psychologists have knowledge of biological, cultural, and social influences on academic skills; human learning, cognitive, and developmental processes; and evidence-based curricula and instructional strategies.

Domain 4: Interventions and Mental Health Services to Develop Social and Life Skills
School psychologists have knowledge of biological, cultural, developmental, and social influences on behavior and mental health, behavioral and emotional impacts on learning and life skills, and evidence-based strategies to promote social-emotional functioning and mental health.

System-Level Services

Domain 5: School-Wide Practices to Promote Learning
School psychologists have knowledge of school and systems structure, organization, and theory; general and special education; technology resources; and evidence-based school practices that promote learning and mental health.

Domain 6: Preventive and Responsive Services
School psychologists have knowledge of principles and research related to resilience and risk factors in learning in mental health, services in schools and communities to support multi-tiered prevention, and evidence-based strategies for effective crisis response.

Domain 7: Family-School Collaboration Services
School psychologists have knowledge of principles and research related to family systems, strengths, needs, and culture; evidence-based strategies to support family influences on children's learning and mental health; and strategies to develop collaboration between families and schools.

Foundations of School Psychological Service Delivery

Domain 8: Diversity in Development and Learning
School psychologists have knowledge of individual differences, abilities, disabilities, and other diverse student characteristics; principles and research related to diversity factors for children, families, and schools, including factors related to culture, context, and individual and role differences; and evidence-based strategies to enhance services and address potential influences related to diversity.

Domain 9: Research and Program Evaluation
School psychologists have knowledge of research design, statistics, measurement, varied data collection, analysis techniques, and program evaluation sufficient for understanding research and interpreting data in applied settings.

Domain 10: Legal, Ethical, and Professional Practice
School psychologists have knowledge of the history and foundations of school psychology; multiple service models and methods; ethical; legal, and professional standards; and other factors related to professional identity and effective practice as school psychologists.

Professional Behavior

Skills in professional behavior are essential to the profession. The program refers to them as Critical Personal Qualities and assesses them at key points in the training. During the final internship semester, students must earn a minimum rating of Competent on the Critical Personal Qualities. Those specific skills are:

  • Punctuality and attendance
  • Participation in class, training, and supervisory sessions
  • Professional appearance and demeanor, including speech and written language
  • Professional responsibility: Consistency, perseverance, industry, and initiative
  • Professional development and involvement: General attitude and interest in the program and the assignment
  • Understanding and acceptance of diversity
  • Respect for school rules, policies, and norms
  • Collaborative skills: Poise, tactfulness, and rapport with staff and others
  • Preparation and organization of materials
  • Emotional control
  • Self-reflection, growth, and appropriate response to constructive criticism
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Ethical behavior

Throughout their training, students are expected to comply with all legal and professional codes of ethics as well as state and national standards, including the codes of the American Psychological Association and the National Association of School Psychologists. In addition, students are expected to comply with the standards of academic propriety described in the UMass Boston Graduate Studies Catalog (see section entitled "Student Rights and Responsibilities"). Failure to do so may result in referral to the Department, College, and University Ethics Committees and ultimately in a grade of F and dismissal from the program.

Academic Excellence

The School Psychology Program adheres to the grading practices and regulations described in the UMass Boston Graduate Studies Catalog. Students must maintain a grade-point average of "B" (3.0) or better to continue in the program and to enroll in internship. Applicants who have completed graduate work at other accredited institutions may transfer up to the equivalent of 6 credits toward the completion of a graduate degree at UMass Boston. The courses must meet these specifications:

  • The applicant received a grade of B or higher
  • The courses have not been used to fulfill requirements for another degree, and
  • The applicant earned credit no more than 6 years before matriculation at UMass Boston

Undergraduate courses cannot be used for waiver or transfer credit nor can they be counted for credit for any required graduate course in the Program. They can count, however, toward the prerequisites to the program itself.  That is, toward the five psychology courses required before matriculation, including human development and statistics.

To obtain transfer credit, the student must submit to the Program Director

  • An official, sealed transcript indicating the course grade and
  • The Transfer Credit Approval form. 

Transfer credit is subject to the final approval of the Program Director and the Dean of Graduate Studies. 

All program students must pass the literacy portion of the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL). Students are required to complete all the coursework and other academic requirements for licensure by Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Each student must also meet the standards to be recognized as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP).  Licensure and certification standards are mandatory with no exceptions permitted. 

Coursework Requirements

The program requires a minimum of 66 credits of graduate coursework (54 in courses and 12 in fieldwork). They include graduate courses in: research in psychology, ethical standards and professional issues in school psychology, cognitive and educational assessment and intervention, social and emotional assessment and intervention, remedial and preventative interventions, behavior and classroom management, child diagnosis, biological bases of behavior, counseling theories and practice, individual counseling, group counseling, consultation, cultural competence in schools, learning and curriculum, and reading. The Program Director may approve substitutions in individual cases. Descriptions of required courses are available in the UMass Boston Graduate Studies Catalog.

Fieldwork requirements (1400 clock hours, 12 credits)

The program requires a minimum of 12 credits of graduate fieldwork. Required fieldwork includes Practicum in School Psychology I and II (100 clock hours and 3 credits each). Both practica focus on a variety of skills including assessment, prevention, and intervention. Students take an additional two semesters of School Psychology Internship (600 hours and 3 credits each) concurrently with SPY 691 Internship Seminar. Students completing the Internship on a full-time basis enroll for 600 hours of fieldwork per semester for a total of 1200 hours over two semesters (6 credits). Those doing the Internship on a part-time basis enroll for 600 fieldwork hours distributed over two semesters. They accumulate at least 1200 clock hours of fieldwork (6 credits) over four semesters. Internship is the equivalent of full-time work and students often accrue many more than 1200 hours. Both full-time and part-time students enroll for two semesters of Internship Seminar (6 credits).


Students are matriculated in one of two levels of the School Psychology program: (1) the Master of Education (MEd) level, or (2) the Education Specialist (EdS) level.  Applicants who already have an acceptable graduate degree in a related field (e.g., education or counseling) may enter the program at the EdS level. Others must earn the MEd degree before doing work at the EdS level.

Students enrolled in the Masters Degree (MEd) level of the program earn a master’s degree after completing 36 credits of approved course work in the program, passing the written comprehensive examination, and submitting the Degree Application for the master’s degree. They then complete the Change of Level Form to be officially matriculated in the EdS program.

The Education Specialist in School Psychology (EdS) level of the program consists of 30 credits of coursework. In addition, it requires the Praxis II examination in school psychology and completion of the 1200-hour internship that includes an acceptable professional portfolio. Upon completing all those requirements, the candidate completes the Degree Application for the specialist degree.  After graduation, the individual applies for licensure as a school psychologist in Massachusetts.

The EdS level of the program is also designed to enable individuals who have advanced degrees to enhance their professional competencies or satisfy state and national certification requirements. The program is particularly suited to those with a master’s or doctorate in a related field, such as counseling, special education, or clinical psychology. Those applicants who enter the program at the EdS level must complete all of the courses and fieldwork requirements for the MEd and EdS levels described above.  The program faculty as a group makes final decisions on whether to accept graduate level courses taken previously. The university requires a minimum of 30 credits for the degree, but most EdS students complete considerably more since they must meet all program requirements for the MEd (see description above) aside from the master’s comprehensive and the MEd degree application.

Graduation dates are: June, August, and December. Commencement ceremonies occur only in the spring. Students who enter the program at the MEd level graduate twice—first after earning the master’ degree (12 courses plus the comprehensive exam) and again after earning the education specialist degree (10 more courses plus Praxis II and internship).  Students who enter at the EdS level graduate only once.

Course Schedule, Load and Academic Residency Requirements

Program courses meet once a week and are offered in the late afternoon (4:00) and evening (7:00). In addition, several required courses are available online including COUNSL 601, COUNSL 617, and COUNSL 632. Fieldwork for practicum and internship meet during the school day.

Full-time students who enter the program at the MEd level and carry 12 credits per semester can complete the entire program (MEd + EdS) in six semesters and two summer sessions. The usual length of time required to complete the EdS alone is two years. The requirements and hence the time required vary according to the educational background of the student. Part-time students (i.e., those who take 8 or fewer credits per semester) progress through the program at their own pace and are given six years to complete the degree.

When extenuating circumstances prevent continuous study each semester, the student must take action to hold a place in the program. For each semester not enrolled in a course, the student must complete a Leave of Absence Application and pay a Program Continuation Fee. Failure to obtain approval and pay the fee will lead to administrative withdrawal from the program.

Program Director: Terry Bontrager, PhD at