Ph.D. in School Psychology

The School Psychology Doctoral Program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and fully approved by the National Association of School Psychologists and follows the scientist-practitioner model in which an understanding of empirical research and theory influences the clinician’s best practice in service delivery. Students in the program obtain extensive background knowledge in psychology through a variety of coursework that introduces them to the myriad reasons for human behavior, coursework and practical exposure to evidence-based interventions, as well statistics and research methodology.  

The School Psychology Doctoral Program relies on a mentorship model of training. We seek students who are interested in areas of research related to those of the faculty. Upon acceptance, a student enters the program with the opportunity to begin working immediately with his or her faculty mentor. Typically, this faculty member chairs the student's Master’s project and dissertation committees, encourages professional growth, and helps prepare the student to continue his or her training on internship. However, students are free to work with other faculty as their interests develop over the course of their graduate training.

Through our strong commitment to a scientist-practitioner model, the School Psychology Doctoral Program provides a number of experiences related to applied research and clinical opportunities. Course offerings in statistics and research methodology focus on the development of a strong working knowledge of these subjects that can be brought to bear on the continually developing field of psychology through the design, execution, and evaluation of clinical research. The master's thesis and dissertation provide opportunities for students to further develop and demonstrate their independent research skills. Students work collaboratively with their faculty mentor to develop an idea, design and conduct an empirical study, and report the findings. Additional information about research opportunities and the research interests and projects currently underway can be found in our Research Projects page and individual research interests in our School Psychology Faculty webpages.

Students in the School Psychology Program also have a number of opportunities to develop their clinical skills with children and their families. Practicum course seminars focus on professional and ethical issues, as well as skills and knowledge of assessment, treatment/intervention, and consultation. The program emphasizes the development of cultural competence skills to effectively work with children and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Emphasis is also placed on promoting a student’s strengths and supporting all students through the problem solving model and Response to Intervention (RTI). Through both school-based and clinic-based practica, school psychology doctoral students have the skills and knowledge to work with children and their families, school professionals, and school systems. Further information about the clinical training can be found on our Clinical Training page.

The School Psychology training program has been approved by the Education and Training Board of the American Psychological Association (see website for more information on accreditation) as well as by the National Association of School Psychologists (see website for more information).  Questions related to our program's APA accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

         Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation

         American Psychological Association

         750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
         Phone: 202-336-5979 / Email: apaaccred@apa.org
         Web: http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

Mission Statement

Our mission is to promote educationally and psychologically healthy environments for all children and youth by implementing research-based, effective programs that prevent problems, enhance independence and promote optimal learning.  The University of Montana School Psychology Program values and respects human diversity, defined as the rich spectrum of human differences in culture, physical and cognitive characteristics, family configuration, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and exceptionalities.  We work together to produce and disseminate knowledge in our field that supports the long-term well-being of our diverse society.

Top 5 Reasons to Attend the UM School Psychology Program

  1. You have an interest in conducting assessments, intervention/therapy, and consultation in a variety of settings, including schools and clinics, starting in your first year in the program.
  2. You have an interest in working with faculty having a diverse range of clinical and research expertise, including bullying prevention, culturally responsive evidence-based practices, crisis prevention, among others.
  3. You have an interest in working with children and family from rural and tribal communities.
  4. You have an interest in being trained within a psychology department, taking core classes taught by clinical and experimental psychologists, and collaborating with students and faculty in other areas of psychology.
  5. You have an interest in living in a vibrant place with an abundance of outdoor activities. Missoula has consistently been listed as one of the best places to live for outdoor enthusiasts.