Because the focus of our program at USM is the preparation of doctoral level students, students should be aware that the doctoral degree is not viewed as a "coursework" program; that is, completion of a specified number of course hours will not automatically lead to the degree. Rather, coursework is planned to provide a background of training and knowledge that will enable a student to meet competency standards expected of the scientist-practitioner in psychology. During early planning/advisement periods, students prepare not only to meet University requirements but also to meet professional standards adopted by the psychology profession.
During the first semester of doctoral study, a course planning sheet based on the program curriculum sequence is shared with the student. Modifications in the student's coursework are made when deemed necessary by the Director of Training and/or by recommendation of the School Psychology Faculty Committee. Such changes are sometimes recommended following the qualifying examination or when a student's evaluation reflects the need for additional training.
The curriculum sequence for students entering at the baccalaureate level with no deficiencies is illustrated here: curriculum.pdf. The School Psychology Program is designed to take 4 years of on-campus study plus the internship year for students entering at the baccalaureate level with no deficiencies. The fourth year of training primarily focuses on dissertation research and provides some opportunity to develop a subspecialty emphasis through guided electives. The fifth year of training for doctoral students focuses on a one-year supervised internship experience. Students desiring to exit the program prior to completion of the Ph.D., and who wish endorsement by the program for certification as a nondoctoral school psychologist, must complete a program of academic study approved by the program director (usually including two to three years of on-campus study as well as summer sessions), all master’s degree requirements, and a one-year internship upon completion of required coursework and other requirements for the specialist level of training. The specific course sequence for students entering with deficiencies and students entering with prior graduate study may vary from the sequence presented. In all cases, however, despite whatever advanced degree a student may hold (i.e., M.S., M.A., Specialist), students must remain on campus for a minimum of three years for coursework, practicum, and research involvement.