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School Psychology, Master of Science

MS School Psychology
66 Credits
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Long Island Graduate Center, Queens Campus


In response to the growing need for school psychologists to ensure the mental health and safety of our children, there has been an increasing demand for qualified psychologists to serve in schools and other academic institutions.

Named one of the Best Careers in 2009 by U.S. News World and Report and forecasted to grow by 11% through 2018 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of school psychology is flourishing – especially for those who hold graduate degrees.

You can prepare for this thriving field through the Master of Science in School Psychology Program at St. John’s University. Offered by St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the program educates students to become New York state certified school psychologists. 

Program Description

Completion of the 66-credit Master of Science program in School Psychology qualifies students for a provisional New York State certificate that authorizes practice as a school psychologist. This certificate is valid for five years from the date it is issued. After two years of experience, a school psychologist receives a permanent certificate in the field of pupil personnel services.

The program offers both a general track and a bilingual track of study. A listing of program requirements for each track is accessible in Courses section below.

Read our frequently asked questions about the program, admissions, financial aid, and more, within the Psychology Department.

Graduation Requirements
The program requires the satisfactory completion of 66 credits, a comprehensive examination and the PRAXIS II examination, taken in the spring semester of the third year. Students also need a grade of at least a "B" in PSY 761 or 761B, 762 or 762B, 752 or 752B, and 753.

Financial Aid  
Graduate Assistantships are available for qualified incoming students with strong academic records. 

Department Faculty

Please see a list of our Psychology faculty.

Department Contact

Marlene Sotelo-Dynega, Psy.D.
Program Director, School Psychology
Associate Professor of Psychology
[email protected]

Diane Spitz
Academic Support Assistant
[email protected]



Applicants must:

  • Possess a baccalaureate degree
  • Satisfy the department that his or her undergraduate preparation indicates a high potential for successful advanced study in psychology
  • Submit transcripts of undergraduate and any prior graduate work
  • Have completed a minimum of 24 undergraduate credits in psychology, including courses in Introductory Psychology, Statistics, and a laboratory course
  • Submit three to five letters of recommendation, one of which must be from an individual who will address the matter of the applicant's research potential
  • Submit two papers from psychology courses: one a laboratory paper and one a term paper
  • Provide a clearly written statement of educational and professional goals
  • Submit acceptable scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (general)
  • Complete an interview process with the departmental admissions committee

Students accepted for admission to the Master in Science program with any course deficiencies must remove these deficiencies prior to matriculation.

The Master in Science program may be undertaken on a part-time basis with a minimum of six credits per semester.

All students matriculating into the program must complete a criminal background check. Please see the Graduate Bulletin for more information.

The priority deadline for admission to the M.S. School Psychology is March 15.  Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed based on the availability of limited space in the program.

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A limited number of Graduate Assistantships and Administrative Assistantships are awarded on an annual basis to qualified graduate students. Graduated Assistantships are generally appointed to the Department of Psychology. Additional assistantships are available in both academic and non-academic departments throughout the University. Recipients are required to maintain full-time course of study, and work 18 hours per week in their respective department. The assistantships provide tuition remission for a maximum of 15 credits and in some cases, a stipend. Recipients are prohibited from outside employment for the duration of their contract with the University.

Interested students must complete the Application for Graduate Assistantships/Doctoral Fellowships. Two letters of recommendation are required. Generally, Graduate Assistants have been selected based on academic achievement. Individual departments may have specific criteria for the consideration of assistants; the applicant should contact the Graduate Division of St. John's College for more information.

Applicants for assistantships must also complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application; both forms are available in the Office of Financial Aid.


Career Outcomes

Completion of the 66-credit Master of Science program in School Psychology allows the student to qualify for a provisional New York State Certificate that authorizes practice as a school psychologist. This certificate is valid for five years from the date of issuance; with the accumulation of two years of experience as a school psychologist, a permanent certificate is issued in the field of pupil personnel services. 

Although the M.S. program has been designed to train the student for professional practice, it is academically oriented as well and provides sound preparation for further graduate work.

The program will prepare graduates to:

Demonstrate effective consultation and collaboration skills, using consultative models for problem-solving.

  • Demonstrate satisfactory performance in working individually with parents, teachers, or the schools to address a student’s behavioral, social/emotional, psychological, or academic difficulties.
  • Justify the reason for a referral and indicate the different perspectives of the school administration, teachers, parents, and child.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the community resources and assist with recommendations.
  • Communicate assessment conclusions and recommendations to other agencies.

Demonstrate efficient development of cognitive/academic skills.

  • Demonstrate competency in constructing Individual Education Programs (IEPs),
  • Conduct Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBAs) by working directly with children to remediate areas of academic deficiency.

Demonstrate understanding of student/client socialization and life skills development.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the diagnostic criteria for varied psychological disorders and their long-term implications
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the framework for conceptualizing behavior and the strategies used to increase adaptive behaviors in children/adults.

Demonstrate knowledge of cultural and linguistic diversity and its impact on the many functions of the school psychologists.

Demonstrate understanding of school and systems organization, policy development, and climate.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of responsibilities, impact of the profession, ethical standards, and legal issues that need to be considered in the practice of school psychology
  • Identify strengths and barriers in the school system and the community that may have an impact on the efficacy of an intervention.

Demonstrate effective skills in prevention, crisis intervention, and mental health.

  • Demonstrate skills in early identification and prevention of behavioral and academic problems.
  • Demonstrate competency in administering intellectual, academic, personality, behavioral, family and systemic assessment instruments, and in conducting classroom observations.
  • Score assessment instruments and integrate findings in a psychological report.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in using data to develop interventions and recommendations through direct and indirect learning experiences
  • Demonstrate competency in making treatment and placement recommendations based on the assessment data.
  • Write reports that present, integrate, interpret assessment data, and offer recommendations.

Demonstrate effective collaboration between school, home, and community.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the impact of various ecologies on student learning, using a multi-systemic approach.
  • Demonstrate competency in providing feedback on the results of evaluations and recommendations to parents, teachers and when appropriate, the child.
  • Demonstrate skills in consulting with parents and teachers.

Demonstrate skills in research and program evaluation.

  • Demonstrate skills in critical evaluation of research in a specific area.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills in using information technology in research and course work.
  • Evaluate the psychometric properties of various academic, intellectual, and behavioral assessment instruments and psychotherapeutic interventions.
  • Demonstrate effective selection of assessment strategies, inventories, and interviewing techniques to complete a comprehensive psychological evaluation.

Demonstrate an understanding of school psychology practice and development.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the ethical and legal standards of the profession and of ethical practice.
  • Demonstrate strategies for resolution of ethical conflicts that may occur in providing psychological services.
  • Participate in professional seminars

In addition, for the Bilingual School Psychologist,

  • Demonstrate satisfactory performance in all required coursework necessary for certification as a Bilingual School Psychologist in the State of New York
  • Demonstrate satisfactory performance on the NYS Bilingual Extension Assessment (BEA)

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