- What is a Specialist in School Psychology degree (SSP)?
- How is the WCU School Psychology Graduate Program accredited?
- What is required for a student to be accepted into the program and how difficult is it to get into the program?
- What financial assistance is available for students accepted into the program?
- What unique experiences can the students in this program expect?
- What are the research requirements for this program?
- What Practicum experiences can a student expect?
- What are the Internship expectations?
- How are School Psychology Graduate students provided with feedback?
The SSP degree clearly reflects the fact that the requirements for graduation from the School Psychology Program at WCU are more intensive than would be expected for a Masters degree. The program is 72 hours long and requires 3 years of course work, thesis work, practicum experiences, and internship experiences. The SSP is a terminal degree which means that the students do not earn a Masters degree on the way to getting the SSP. <back>
The WCU School Psychology Graduate Program is accredited by NCATE and by the NC Department of Public Instruction. In addition, the program has received Full Approval by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) through the year 2013. <back>
The School Psychology Application Committee accepts applications from students with a variety of different undergraduate degrees including psychology and education. The Committee looks for applicants who show strong potential for success in the program both academically and behaviorally. While GRE scores and undergraduate GPA are both very important they are not the only criteria considered. Personal statements and letters of reference are also important. Approximately twenty of the top applicants are invited to interview with the Committee and from that group approximately 8 to 10 are invited to enroll in the program. The deadline to apply is February 1st. . <back>
The Psychology Department is very aggressive at seeking out Graduate Assistantships for students entering the psychology graduate programs. As a result, for the last 5 years at least, 100% of the graduate students who are eligible through full acceptance into the program have been provided with an Assistantship. Every year the Graduate school also offers a limited number of in-state and out-of-state tuition waivers that are distributed based on GRE and undergraduate GPA scores. In the past few years, most of the out-of-state graduate students in the psychology department have received some sort of tuition waiver. Our students are also very competitive for scholarship funds available through the Graduate School. <back>
Students in the WCU School Psychology Program are given many opportunities for diverse community experiences. This includes involvement with school systems in the region including four Charter Schools. The public schools in this region provide a unique picture of rural Appalachian communities but also reflect changes related to the increase in Hispanic populations within these communities. In addition, the Cherokee Indian Reservation is located close by and there is one school system that provides a more inner city perspective. The students in this program also complete service learning activities with the Jackson county Family Center where they are able to onnect wit families and develop a gronger understanding of actors impacting the childern in those families. <back>
All students accepted into this program are expected to complete a Thesis project (pdf) as part of their graduation requirements. They begin work on this during their first semester in the program and are walked through the prospectus development process in their Research and Statistics classes. Students are encouraged to engage in Thesis projects that involve more applied research that would be more consistent with research conducted by School Psychologists in the field. <back>
Two different Practicum experiences are provided for each student during their second year in the program. During their second year in the program, each student spends one semester working two days a week in one of the local schools working with a school psychologist. In that setting, the students complete psychological assessments, counseling projects, and intervention case studies. The other semester is spent working in the Psychological Services Clinic. In that setting, the students are supervised by University faculty and provide comprehensive assessments for children referred by various community agencies, parents, and two Charter Schools. <back>
Students spend their third year in the program working full time under the supervision of a school psychologist. They are allowed to work anywhere in the United States as long as the school system or other setting chosen can meet the internship requirements established by the program. The students engage in activities similar to those required for the practicum but at a higher level of expectation. University supervision is provided through on-line programs and there is no requirement for any face-to-face meetings. <back>
Each student who enters the WCU School Psychology Graduate Program is provided with a TaskStream account. This is an electronic portfolio system that allows the students to maintain a portfolio of required activities as well as yearly goals and reflections. The assessment process was developed to not only provide the program with student performance data but also to provide the student with consistent ongoing feedback to assist them in evaluating and improving their own skills and professional behaviors. <back>