Frequently Asked Questions

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Is the School Psychology Psy.D. program APA accredited and/or NASP approved?
The School Psychology Psy.D. Program is APA-accredited through 2019, by the American Psychological Association (APA), the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and is approved by the ASPPB/National Register.

With a degree from St. John’s University in School Psychology, can I be licensed as a school psychologist or as a psychologist?
In most states, the state’s department of education regulates the practice of psychology in the schools, whereas a different state agency regulates the practice of psychologists' practice in non-school settings.

In New York State, one must be certified by the New York Department of Education to be employed as a school psychologist by a public school district. Many states have reciprocity agreements.

To practice psychology outside of the public school setting, one must be licensed by the NY Psychology Board. New York requires additional standards regarding training in the provision of health services. Psychologists who meet all these standards at the doctoral level are designated as Licensed Psychologists.

All students need to be knowledgeable of and prepare for practice requirements in states where they want to practice.

Are students certified as school psychologists following completion of the program?
Yes. All graduates of the Psy.D. program can be provisionally certified as school psychologists in the state of New York. Permanent certification as a school psychologist can be obtained after two years of full-time employment as a school psychologist.

Are Psy.D. students eligible to become licensed psychologists following completion of the program?
All graduates of the Psy.D. program are licensed-eligible as psychologists. Becoming licensed after completing the Psy.D. involves a year of post-doctoral supervised practice as well as a passing score on the state licensing exam.

What if I complete the Psy.D. program but want to live and work in another state?
Several of our previous graduates have successfully completed the Psy.D. program and later moved to another state with little or no problems. In addition to becoming certified as a school psychologist in New York, graduates of our programs can also become nationally certified by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). This does NOT mean students are nationally certified in any state; rather, it means they have met a national standard of quality. However, about 50% of U.S. states currently accept national certification for state certification. As such, students graduating from the Psy.D. program who desire to live and work in states other than New York have not had significant problems doing so.

Where do graduates of the Psy.D. program find employment?
Most of our graduates are employed as school psychologists in public or private schools. Others work in private practice, as college or university faculty, or in clinic/agency settings. Most of our graduates combine one or more of these options (e.g., work full-time as a school psychologist and part-time in private practice or as a college or university adjunct).

What is the procedure if I attended a previous graduate program and already have graduate credits?
A student may transfer a maximum of twelve (12) credits from another accredited university with the approval of the Program Director and Dean. Requested transfer credits must not have fulfilled requirements for another degree. Catalog descriptions and an official transcript copy must be presented to the Program Director for the graduate courses for which transfer credit is requested. The Program Director will forward all information to the Dean's office for final approval. If the grade obtained was below a "B,” no transfer credit will be allowed. No credit will be given for pass/fail courses. To request transfer credit, students must have already completed a minimum of twelve credits in the graduate program at St. John's. The entire review process takes one to two months. Transfer of credit must occur before the semester in which the student will be applying for the comprehensive examination (first semester of third year).

What is the length of the Psy.D. program if I am already certified as a school psychologist?
The exact length varies, but generally students who enter the Psy.D. program, who are already certified, can complete their coursework, internship, and dissertation in 3-4 years. These students are considered “advanced standing”.

Can students finish the Psy.D Program in less than five years? What if they have transfer credits?
Students cannot finish the program in less than 5 years. Students can lighten their course loads with transfer credits and by going to summer school. However, with practicum (2nd and 4th years), externship (3rd and 4th years) and internship (5th year) requirements, it takes a minimum of 5 years.  Each of these lasts for either an academic school year or 12 months, and must be completed before the next learning experience can be started.

Individuals without a psychology background will want to examine in detail the psychology websites, especially the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Association for School Psychologists (NASP). The more information you have about psychology in general and school psychology in particular, the more informed decision you can make about applying to graduate school and the stronger your application will be.

Would I receive my M.S. along the way in the Psy.D. program?
Yes, Psy.D. students receive their M.S. after completing their third year.

Do your students come straight from undergraduate or do they typically get experience working or researching before applying?
Our program has a mix of both. Many of our students do apply straight from undergrad, but we also have several students in each year that have one to more years of work experience

Are classes taught in the summer?
The core program courses are taught during the fall and spring semesters, with the exception of the School Psychology Intervention Practicum, which Psy.D. students are required to take during the summer between their third and fourth years. Students may find some foundation or elective courses, which they may wish to take during the summer.

How often are classes taught?
Unlike most undergraduate colleges and universities, graduate classes are typically held once per week for approximately two to three hours.

How many classes do students take each semester?
Students typically take four classes during the fall and spring semesters of their first, third, and fourth year, and five courses during the fall and spring semester of their second year. Psy.D. students also take one course during the summer between their third and fourth years.

What are the professors like?
The majority of the professors are extremely easy to talk to. There is a large focus on collaboration among individuals, regardless of whether the person is a student or professor. Most professors make every effort to be approachable and leave phone numbers and e-mail information.

Where can I find a description of the courses?
View the course sequences for the Psy.D. General Track, Psy.D. Bilingual Track, and Psy.D. Advanced Standing.

For a more detailed descriptions of the courses, please see our student handbook.

Is the Psy.D. program research oriented?
Psy.D. students are required to complete 50 hours of research in their first year. This can be anything from their own research project, to helping fellow graduate students with their dissertations, to working with a professor who shares a similar research interest. Psy.D. students are also required to complete a dissertation (for more information please see our student handbooks). Some students decide to only complete these two research requirements, but many of our students engage in further research on their own, with fellow students, and in collaboration with faculty. Our faculty are involved in research and all of our students are encouraged to participate in research projects, attend conventions, and present at conventions. St. John’s School Psychology Programs are known for having a large presence at the national conventions (APA, NASP and ABCT) every year, in terms of number of students attending and number of students presenting.

What clinical experience, if any, does the Psy.D. program provide?
The School Psychology Psy.D. Program does have a strong clinical component. During the program, students have the opportunity to take more clinical classes such as Behavior Therapy, Psychopathology Across the Lifespan I and II, School Psychology Seminar III: Supervision and Advanced Clinical Interventions to meet the Mental Health Needs of Students Cognitive Psychotherapies, Group Therapy, Marital and Family Therapy, Addictive Behavior, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy I and II, and Psychopharmacology. In addition, during the 4th year in the Psy.D. program, students receive a more clinical experience in their externship through field placements in psychiatric hospitals, clinics, and more. View the full list of field placements. Also in their 4th year, Psy.D. students take practicum where they provide on-going psychological services to children and adults at the St. John’s University Center for Psychological Services. Fourth year practicum is an entire year, and students will engage in psychological counseling, therapy, and consultation. Lastly, many of our faculty have a strong clinical background and collaborations with institutions and organizations that focus primarily on clinical aspects of school psychology.

What is an Internship?
The fifth-year field placement for Psy.D. students is a full-time internship that is the capstone experience of the program. For the Psy.D. students this is necessary for licensing in the state of New York. Students are required to complete at least 1500 hours (max 45 per week). Psy.D. students are required to complete a minimum of the NASP requirement of 600 hours (of the 1500 hours for internship) of supervised internship or equivalent experience in a school setting where they experience the full range of school psychological services. The student is expected to work throughout the entire academic school year of the district. Students must have their placement approved by the Program Director or the Coordinator of Field Placements. In addition, the field placement coordinator will advise and help students obtain internships. To see a list of students’ internship placements please click here.

What is an Externship?
Externship is the 3rd and 4th year field placements for Psy.D. students, and is a part-time internship, three full days per week, per semester, with a minimum of 750 hours. Some placements may require individuals to sign a 12-month contract. Students must have their placement approved by the Program Director or the Coordinator of Field Placements.

For 3rd year, students are required to extern in a regular education setting. Externship sites may be in urban or suburban educational facilities or agencies encompassing either elementary (Kindergarten through 5th Grade), middle (6th through 8th Grade), or high (9th through 12th Grade) school levels. The student is expected to work throughout the entire academic school year of the district.

For 4th year, students typically have a more clinical experience in a school or agency. This can include a BOCES special education program, an agency providing day treatment or residential treatment serving children or adolescents, an inpatient hospital, a mental health clinic, or a school for children with physical disabilities.

View the list of students' externship placements.

Summary of Externship and Internships for the Psy.D. Program

Year in ProgramDaysCourse ParallelMinimum Clock Hours RequiredSupervisionRequirements
PsyD III3 Full Days (one school year)752, 753750a2 hours 
PsyD IV3 Full Days (2 semesters)754, 755750a2 hoursSuccessful Completion of Comprehensive Exam
PsyD V5 Full Days (may begin in July or Sept.)905, 90615002 hoursCourse Work Completed Proposal Defended

Who helps students with externship and internship placements?
We have a field based coordinator, Dr. McDonough, that solely works closely with students to assist in finding, applying to, and monitoring placements. Dr. Bobrow ensures that all placements and supervisors meet our program requirements, along with certification and licensure requirements. She also assists students as problems arise in externship/internship placements.