The School Psychology Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) is designed to prepare professionals whose primary interests involve children, families, and the educational process. Training goals are founded on a respect for the dignity and worth of all people, with a commitment to appreciating and responding to human diversity. Coursework integrates theory and research in child and adolescent development. It emphasizes evidence-based intervention approaches for psychological services in schools. An important mission of the School Psychology Program is the development of attitudes essential for professional problem-solving and life-long learning.
The School Psychology Program is committed to a philosophy of social justice and inclusion compatible with the mission of the College of Education and Human Development at UMass Boston.
The primary goal of the School Psychology Program at UMass Boston is to prepare practitioners who are able to provide psychological and educational services to children, adolescents, and their families as part of a school-based multi-disciplinary team. The role of a school psychologist is complex. School psychologists are called upon to perform a variety of tasks and assume many responsibilities, including that of assessment specialist, consultant, counselor, administrator, researcher, educational programmer, trainer of school staff personnel, preventive mental health agent, and liaison to community organizations. The UMass Boston School Psychology Program is competency based, using a problem-solving, consultative model to train students to be effective in these multiple roles. The program places emphasis on a holistic approach, requiring the consideration of multiple factors starting with biological and neuropsychological bases, individual strengths and needs, as well as consideration of family, teacher, classroom, school, neighborhood, community, social, and culture. Students learn to support the development of children and adolescents by assessment and intervention at the systems levels (relational, family, school, and community) as well as at the individual level. The interdisciplinary program fosters collaboration with other professionals and the integration of multiple perspectives.
The School Psychology Program consists of approximately 50 students with about 18 students admitted each fall into either the Master of Education (MEd) or the Education Specialist (EdS) level of the program. Admission is competitive since far more candidates apply than can be admitted. The faculty make a concerted effort to attract and recruit a student body that reflects diversity in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, socio-economic background, and ability. Many students are already professionals in related fields of mental health services when they enter the School Psychology Program. As service providers, they bring an array of backgrounds and experiences that enrich classroom discussions and activities.
Licensure and Certification
The school psychology program (encompassing both the MEd and EdS levels) has full accreditation approval from both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Both levels of the program have learning outcomes organized to meet the training standards of these accrediting agencies. Students are expected to demonstrate competency in the NASP 2010 domains of school psychology training and practice. Graduates satisfy the Coursework, Internship, and Examination requirements to become Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP). At graduation they are also eligible for licensure as school psychologists by DESE. With additional work experience, program graduates are eligible for licensure as educational psychologists by the Massachusetts Allied Mental Health Professions. One or both of these credentials make program graduates eligible for licensure or certification as school psychologists in many other states as well.
Employment prospects for school psychologists are excellent. Although there is no formal placement office, faculty actively support students in their search for employment, and employment prospects are strong. Furthermore, the Department of Counseling and School Psychology frequently receives notices of available positions. These are posted on distribution lists that go out to current students and recent graduates. In addition, MSPA, the state school psychology association, posts job openings as does DESE .