Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology


The School Psychology Doctoral Program at TWU embraces a scientist-practitioner model of training in which practice, theory, and research are integrated. A balanced emphasis is placed on developing professional competencies necessary for functioning in various applied practice settings, such as school systems, mental health and child guidance centers, medical centers and hospitals, independent clinical practice, and in academic or research positions in institutions of higher education. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines Health Service Psychology as the integration of psychological science and practice in order to facilitate human development and functioning. Health Service Psychologists are prepared to work in diverse settings.  The Texas Woman’s University School Psychology Doctoral Program prepares health service psychologists across the diverse practice areas of school psychology.

Our program strives to provide broad and general training in the science and practice of school psychology within the broader definition of health service psychology. The theoretical philosophy of the program is grounded in an integration of the biopsychosocial perspective in combination with the application of a data-based problem-solving approach. The biopsychosocial perspective posits that biological, psychological, and social factors play a significant role in an individual’s functioning. The biological system emphasizes genetics, diseases, anatomical and structural components of the individual. The psychological system incorporates developmental factors, personality, and motivation of the individual. The social system includes cultural background, environmental, and familial influences. This comprehensive perspective encompasses and integrates the variety of systems that are influential in the lives of children and posits that each component system affects and is affected by all other systems.

The biopsychosocial perspective is complemented by a data-based, problem-solving framework for the practice of school psychology.  Problem-solving methods are consistent with the experimental tradition in psychology where the problem is defined, directly measured, interventions are designed based on the measurement data, and progress on the intervention is monitored and revisions occur as needed.  Additionally, problem-solving is viewed as a collaborative process involving the child, family, and professionals representing various education and community institutions.  TWU’s School Psychology Doctoral Program assumes that the functions of a school psychologist involve problem-solving whether service or research-oriented, and that problem solving will be most effective when approached from a data-based framework supported by a biopsychosocial perspective. The broad overall aim of this program is to produce school psychologists who can employ scientific knowledge and methods of problem-solving in the delivery of direct or indirect services to children, families, schools, and communities.  It is our intent to produce competent, skillful, ethical school psychologists who integrate the principles of scientific inquiry into service delivery functions with respect for diversity and individual differences.

In order to achieve these broad philosophical goals and translate them into marketable, workplace-practitioner skills, the School Psychology doctoral program has been designed to be sequential, with foundational skills developed first; cumulative, with skills building upon previously learned skills and knowledge; and increasingly complex, wherein knowledge must be integrated and applied. The program has been designed to prepare students with entry-level skills required for internship and to provide the foundation for post-doctoral experiences to further their skills.  Thus, all students take a core set of courses covering the foundations of psychology, then specialized coursework in the field of school psychology with experiential activities in practice-oriented settings, culminating in the capstone experiences of dissertation and internship.

Marketable Skills

Defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's 60x30 Strategic Plan as, "Those skills valued by employers that can be applied in a variety of work settings, including interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skills areas. These skills can be either primary or complementary to a major and are acquired by students through education, including curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities."

  1. Communicate with persons inside and outside the organization. Graduates are trained to be effective communicators in both written and verbal formats.
  2. Plan, organize, and prioritize work. Graduates are trained to be effective leaders and managers, making effective decisions and solving problems as they arise.
  3. Analyze quantitative and qualitative data. Graduates are trained in research methodology allowing them to be able to analyze data in a variety of formats.


All students must meet the University requirements as outlined in the Admission to the TWU Graduate School section of the catalog.

This academic program may have additional admission criteria that must also be completed as outlined on the program's website.

Degree Requirements

Total Semester Credit Hours Required

The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the doctoral program depends upon the individual degree program. The applicant should contact the director of the appropriate doctoral program for details. In general, students entering with a bachelor’s degree will complete 112 semester credit hours.

Required Research Courses
PSY 5304Advanced Psychological Statistics I4
PSY 5353Research Design3
PSY 6204Advanced Psychological Statistics II4
PSY 6961Research Team (to be taken one time)1
PSY 6983Dissertation3
PSY 6993Dissertation3
Psychological Foundations
PSY 6104Cognition and Emotion4
PSY 6113Measurement and Psychometric Theory3
PSY 6133Advanced Behavioral Neuroscience3
PSY 6613Advanced Developmental Psychology3
PSY 6743Seminar in Social Psychology3
PSY 6773Advanced Multicultural Psychology3
PSY 6833Ethics in Psychology3
Professional Competencies
PSY 5423Cognitive Assessment3
PSY 5463Academic Assessment3
PSY 5473Social-Emotional Assessment of Children3
PSY 5533Evidence-Based Intervention: Academic3
PSY 5803Introduction to School Psychology3
PSY 6143Neurodevelopmental and Genetic Disorders In Children3
PSY 6253Autism Spectrum Disorders3
PSY 6423Psychopathology and Exceptionalities in Childhood and Adolescence3
PSY 6444Theory and Practice of Counseling with Children and Adolescents4
PSY 6523Neuropsychological Assessment Techniques I3
PSY 6533Neuropsychological Assessment Techniques II3
PSY 6583Neuropsychopharmacology3
PSY 6673Therapeutic and Crisis Interventions for Children and Adolescents3
PSY 6693Advanced Therapy Intervention for Children and Adolescents3
PSY 6703Direct Behavioral Interventions3
PSY 6853Supervision and Consultation Psychology3
PSY 6931Practicum in Applied Psychology (to be taken twice)2
Doctoral Required Applied Practice
PSY 6923Supervised Practicum (School Based I)3
PSY 6923Supervised Practicum (School Based II)3
PSY 6933Internship in Psychology (to be taken two times)6
Neuropsychology/Counseling Practicum6
Supervised Practicum (Counseling; students must take an additional semester of Counseling OR Neuropsychology Practicum)
Supervised Practicum (Neuropsychology; students must take an additional semester of Neuropsychology OR Counseling Practicum)
Total SCHs109


School Psychology doctoral students spend a minimum of four semesters in practicum placements. Students will consult with the Practicum Coordinator to arrange for appropriate placements.


School Psychology doctoral students must complete a full-time, 1500 hour internship over a period of one year or 10 consecutive months. At least 600 hours must be in a school setting. A full year, full-time APA or APPIC accredited internship is recommended. The student will consult with the Internship Coordinator in order to arrange for appropriate placement. The internship cannot begin until the student has been admitted to candidacy, which requires the successful completion of all required coursework and comprehensive exams.

Research Tools

Required research tools include the following:

PSY 5304Advanced Psychological Statistics I4
PSY 5353Research Design3
PSY 6204Advanced Psychological Statistics II4
PSY 6961Research Team (to be taken one time)1

Special Requirements

Grade requirements are specified by both the graduate school and the School of Social Work, Psychology, and Philosophy (online graduate catalog available at ( The School of Social Work, Psychology, and Philosophy requires that a doctoral student maintain a 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. Be advised that the School’s higher GPA requirement supersedes the Graduate School's GPA requirement of 3.0. When a student's cumulative grade point average falls below 3.5 during any one semester or full summer session of ten weeks, the School Psychology Program Committee places the student on academic probation. Students have one year to raise their cumulative GPA to above 3.5. Failure to do so may result in dismissal from the program.

In no case may a course with a grade of "C" or lower apply towards the doctoral degree plan. A grade of "C" or lower must be made up by retaking the same course with the same instructor unless the instructor grants the student permission to retake the course elsewhere. If a grade of "C" or less is earned, the student will be required to meet with the SPPC, which shall determine appropriate steps for remediation. At any point during the program, if the student receives a grade of "C" or lower in six or more credit hours, this will result in dismissal from the program.

Residence Requirement

A one year full-time pre-doctoral internship is required to meet the requirements for graduation and licensure. 

Comprehensive Examinations

Comprehensive evaluation includes the following: a written integrative essay that is orally defended over core psychological foundations; a theoretical philosophy paper; a clinical skills oral presentation and defense of both the theoretical philosophy paper; an assessment case study; and an intervention study. The content, format, administration, and evaluation of the comprehensive exam will be the responsibility of the core faculty. Students who fail any portion of the comprehensive exam process will be provided with remediation plans and subsequent measures for reevaluation of student progress. A student may be dismissed from the program if remediation is not completed in a satisfactory manner. Upon successful completion of all coursework and the comprehensive competency evaluation, the doctoral student is recommended for candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

Dissertation and Final Examination

All students must complete an empirical dissertation. An oral defense of the dissertation is required. The defense may be repeated once.

Course Electives

Students are allowed to take additional elective coursework that is not a part of the required doctoral program.  Elective coursework is offered on a rotating basis.  PSY 6233 and PSY 6923 may be taken.

Additional courses offered through the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology or other departments within the University may be taken as elective credit (not part of the required doctoral program).