Frequently Asked Questions
When is my application due?
The school psychology program application deadline is December 1st.
Where can I find the online application?
You can find an application online at the Graduate School webpage.
What materials are required in order for my application file to be considered complete?
In addition to the application itself, you must provide three, and only three, letters of recommendation, official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions, your verbal, quantitative, and writing GRE scores, a personal statement, and a CV. Submitting a writing sample is optional. How to apply.
How do I submit letters of recommendation?
Your letter writers can use the online system or they may opt to send hard copies directly to the Psychology Department. If they choose the online system, while filling out the online application you will be asked to provide an e-mail address for each letter writer. Your letter writers will receive an e-mail message with instructions for completing the recommendation online.
How do you receive my GRE scores?
Through ETS (Educational Testing Service) you request that your scores be sent to the University of Montana. The University of Montana institution code is 4489.
Does your School Psychology program have a cut-off or base requirement regarding GPAs and GRE scores?
All applications are read and given thoughtful consideration. Applications are not eliminated on the sole basis of GRE scores or GPA alone, though we do ask that applicants have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. We consider your GPA along with other possible indicators (GRE scores, letters of recommendation, research experience, clinical experience) as a whole, so that no one factor is considered in isolation. Detailed information regarding successful applicants' GRE and GPA admissions scores data.
Is having an undergraduate degree in Psychology required for admission? If not, will having an undergraduate degree in another field adversely affect my chances?
Students are not required to have an undergraduate degree in Psychology and faculty review all applications equally although we do expect that applicants have a foundation in the science of psychology.
Can I get Respecialized as a School Psychologist through UM? Is there a Respecialization Program?
We do not offer a NASP-approved respecialization program in school psychology. However, we do allow some individuals seeking Office of Public Instruction Class 6 Education License respecialization within the state of Montana to take some of our graduate courses. This is done on a case-by-case basis and with instructor permission. Please contact the Director of the School Psychology Program.
Will getting a master's degree in counseling, social work, or a related field improve my likelihood of being accepted into your program?
Because our program is a Ph.D. program where students are expected to get a Master's degree en route to the doctorate, having a Master's when you apply will not necessarily increase the likelihood that you will be accepted into our program. Other Master's programs may or may not emphasize the aspects of training that we look for in successful applicants; namely, research experience and the scientific basis of psychology. In other words, the benefit of applying to our program with a Master's degree depends on whether your time in that program involved research training that would help to prepare you for a Ph.D. program.
How do I find out about the representative research interests of your faculty?
Please see our individual school psychology faculty pages for more information on publications, presentations, and affiliations, as well as background information on their research interests.
What is your interview process?
Each candidate's application is evaluated by at least one member of the school psychology faculty, with most files being read and evaluated by multiple faculty members. If you indicate a faculty member is a good match for your interests in your personal statement, that person is likely to review your application, provided s/he is taking a student for the coming year. Highly ranked candidates are contacted for an initial phone interview. Following phone interviews, the admissions committee selects a pool of finalists invited to participate in our on-campus interview day in mid-February. Attendance at interview day is strongly recommended, but not mandatory. Individual alternative interview arrangements may be possible. Please inquire about funding if you are asked to travel to UM for an interview.
How many students do you admit each year?
The school program typically admits one to three new students per year. Present guidelines are to admit approximately one graduate student for each faculty member accepting a student. We have information regarding our number of applicants, number accepted for admission, and general data on incoming classes in our program posted on the Student Data page.
How do I find out if a faculty member is accepting a student for the upcoming application cycle?
Please check faculty pages for updates on whether they will be accepting new students for the upcoming application cycle.
How do I find out about funding support and opportunities for graduate students?
The department's funding opportunities can be found on the Student Data page.
Does your program offer distance learning at the graduate level?
No, we do not offer online graduate level course work nor do we offer an online degree option.
Does your program require me to be on-site for the duration of my training?
Yes, our program is a full-time program, and all of our courses take place on our campus in Missoula. Some students who are advanced in our program may have off-site assistantship placements. However, classes, teaching obligations, research, various meetings and clinic clients all necessitate residence in the Missoula area. In the final year of the program, the internship, students apply for placement in settings throughout the United States.
Is your program primarily a research or clinical intensive program?
We adhere to a scientist-practioner model of clinical training. This means that we emphasize an empirical understanding of human behavior, as demonstrated through thesis, dissertation, and other research projects, in addition to the application of this knowledge in diverse clinical settings. Successful applicants to our program often match this model philosophy.
How do I know if a school psychology Ph.D. program is a better fit for me rather than a degree in Clinical Psychology?
School Psychologists traditionally focus on the prevention, evaluation, and treatment of all children. School psychologists will work on many issues that have the potential to impact educational functioning. Clinical psychologists have traditionally focused on the evaluation and treatment of individuals with chronic mental health disorders. However, there is overlap between the two career options, with both school and clinical psychologists working in a variety of settings. There are a number of excellent materials available for helping you to choose the type of program that would best fit your needs from the National Association of School Psychologists. It is worth your time to make sure that you are selecting programs that will meet your career goals and interests. Our graduates' career trajectories often reflect our scientist-practitioner model of training, selecting careers that involve a mixture of research, clinical, administrative, consultative, and other roles.
What is a good resource for detailed information on school psychology graduate programs?
A number of different guides are available for this purpose, and we do not recommend one specifically over another. Professionals in the field may also be good sources of information about selecting a program that is appropriate for your needs.
Does your program have a focus on diversity?
Absolutely! We offer specific training in working with Native American, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender), and rural populations. Several of our faculty have research emphases in diversity, as well. We welcome and encourage applications from individuals of diverse backgrounds, including differences on basis of age, gender, gender identity and expression, ability status, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, and socioeconomic background. We strive to represent diversity in these areas among our faculty and student body.
How do I know if a Ph.D. program is a better fit for me rather than a SSP degree in school psychology?
There are various differences between Specialist in School Psychology (SSP) and Ph.D. degrees. At the University of Montana, the SSP degree typically takes three years, including two years of coursework and practicum experiences and one year of internship. It is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), with graduates typically working in Pre-K to grade12 schools around the country. On the other hand, the Ph.D. program typically takes 5-6 years to complete, including 4-5 years of coursework and practicum experiences, and a one-year doctoral internship. Students also participate in a variety of research endeavors, including the completion of a dissertation. Doctoral graduates work in a variety of settings, including schools, pediatric clinics or hospitals, private practice, public agencies, and universities. The PhD program is APA accreditated as well as fully approved by NASP.
I have a master's degree from another institution. How do I go about getting it accepted? And can I finish the school psychology Ph.D. program in fewer years?
We occasionally accept students into our program who have received a Master's degree elsewhere. If this degree is in school psychology, we will appoint a faculty committee to evaluate the Master's Thesis for equivalency to our program's requirements. This typically means that the Thesis must be an empirical project that makes a novel contribution to the research literature related to school psychology. If the Thesis is accepted as equivelant, students will not have that requirement as part of our program, though they will be expected to fulfill all other responsibilies of students in our program. Furthermore, transcripts and syllabi from graduate-level courses taken at other institutions can be submitted for evaluation of equivelancy to our required coursework. In cases when courses are deemed equivelant, this may allow students to take fewer courses at UM. Please note that we require that students to take certain core classes in our program (e.g., professional issues in school psychology, practicum), thus the number of waived courses is typically quite low.
Can I take graduate level courses as a non-degree student?
Generally, no; courses in our school psychology program are available only to admitted graduate-level degree-seeking students in Psychology. Some departmental graduate-level coursework that is not clinically focused may be available to non-degree seeking students, but enrollment in these courses requires the instructor's consent.