Frequently Asked Questions

Is the School Psychology Psy.D. program APA accredited and/or NASP approved?
The School Psychology Psy.D. Program is APA-accredited through 2029, 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”. The vast majority of courses for students in the advanced standing track are taught in the late afternoon/early evening. Some specific courses (i.e., statistics) have been taught earlier during the day. This is important for advanced standing applicants to consider when applying for the program.

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 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 certification requirements.In the third year of the program, Psy.D. students take a practicum during which they provide on-going psychological services to children and adults at the St. John’s University Center for Psychological Services. During this year-long practicum, students engage in psychological assessment, counseling, and consultation. During the fourth year, students receive more clinical experience in their externship through field placements in psychiatric hospitals, clinics, and more.  Finally, many of our faculty members have a strong clinical background and participate in 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. Jennifer Mascolo, that solely works closely with students to assist in finding, applying to, and monitoring placements. Dr. Mascolo 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.


Additional Information

What are the application deadlines?
The admissions deadline for the School Psychology Psy.D. Program is December 31. Find out more about the admission requirements and application information for the Psy.D. program.

How competitive is your program?
Admission is competitive. View information on the number of applicants, interviews, and offers of admissions, sizes of our incoming classes, and average GPA and GRE scores.

Is the GRE subject exam required?
The GRE subject exam is only required for applicants who were not psychology majors. The GRE quantitative and verbal sections are required for all applicants.

I've taken or am going to take the GRE/GRE subject test but the scores will not be in my file by your deadline. What is the status of my application?
We request that applicants submit with their application a copy of the confirmation of when they will be taking the test along with a note explaining they are going to take the test and when the school should expect their scores. We will still consider your application; however, admission may remain contingent on us receiving your scores.

What is the “cutoff” for GPAs and GREs?
We do not use a “cutoff” system. Rather, these scores as well as other variables (e.g., personal statement, letters of recommendations) are collectively considered in our admission process. We compare applicants in a given year to each other and select the most highly qualified students for interviews.

Would it be necessary to submit subject GRE scores if I have a Masters degree in psychology?
All applicants are required to submit general GRE scores. Students who have a Masters in School Psychology and a permanent or provisional certification in school psychology can apply for advanced standing status. Advanced standing applicants may submit PRAXIS NCSP exam scores instead of the psychology GRE. 

What is a personal statement?
Applicants are required to provide a clearly written statement of educational and professional goals. The statement of goals is a personal essay in which you should briefly, but meaningfully, introduce yourself and describe what you hope to achieve by earning a graduate degree at St. John's. For example, applicants may address such topics as why they chose St. John's, what professional steps they plan to take after earning their degree, and the way that they can contribute to the graduate community if accepted.

Whom should I ask to write letters of reference for me?
The most effective letters come from professors and professional supervisors who know you very well and also know what it takes to succeed in graduate school. Less useful are references from professors who don’t know you well or from family friends or non-academic employers who are not familiar with graduate school demands. We realize that some applicants have been away from college for an extended period of time, and that letters from former instructors may not be feasible and we take that fact into account.

Do I need prior research experience?
Prior research experience is not required for either program, but does help a candidate’s application. Particularly for the Psy.D. program, where it is asked that one of your recommendation letters speaks to your research potential.

Does your program require in person interviews?
Yes, the program requires in person interviews. Once applications are reviewed, selected applicants will receive a request for an on-campus interview with the faculty. The interview provides you with additional information about the program, the opportunity to meet with current students, and provides the faculty an opportunity to further evaluate your match with our program, including career goals, theoretical orientation, interests in working in schools and other educational settings, research interests, interests in intervention and prevention efforts at the systems level, and your professional dispositions and skills. This interview also provides you an opportunity to assess how well our program fits with your goals and objectives. In extenuating circumstances, applicants may request a phone interview.

May I enter the program at different times during the year?
Students are only admitted for matriculation in the fall of each academic year because the course of study is sequenced and cumulative. Entering in the spring semester would put one out of sequence. Students currently enrolled in another program are also admitted only during the fall semester.

Is it possible to enter the program with an undergraduate major other than psychology?
Yes. However, it is still necessary to complete the prerequisite courses, including courses in introductory psychology, statistics, and a laboratory course. Applicants with undergraduate majors in areas such as teaching often bring highly related experiences, and may have completed prerequisites in areas such as development and learning. If you are interested in taking these courses at St. John’s, you need to contact the Undergraduate Admissions and/or Undergraduate Psychology Department.

May I pursue my degree on a part-time basis?
Our doctoral program is designed for full-time students only. Courses and field placements are generally offered during the work week (Monday-Friday). We do not admit part-time students for the doctoral program.

Is it possible for me to enter the doctoral program right after finishing my undergraduate degree?
Yes. We accept students into the doctoral program after they have completed their undergraduate degrees. Most students enter with an undergraduate major in psychology.

Will taking time off after completing my undergraduate degree be a disadvantage?
No. Generally, “taking time off” before enrolling in graduate school is not a disadvantage, especially if you have remained involved with children, youth, or schools in some way. In fact, the maturity and added experience may provide a distinct advantage.

Can I meet with a faculty member?
Although they would like to meet with each prospective applicant, the amount of inquiries far exceeds the time they have available to do so. Our faculty and graduate assistants will do their best to accommodate your request and meet with you. Our program staff can answer any questions you may have.  You’re welcome to call us at (718) 990-5861 or e-mail us at [email protected]

What happens if I apply for the Psy.D. program, but I do not get accepted? Would I still be considered for the M.S. program?
If you apply to the Psy.D. program and are not accepted, you may be considered for admission to the M.S. program. Please include a letter in your application stating that you would like to be considered for the M.S. program if you are not accepted into the Psy.D. program.

Can I apply to the Psy.D. School Psychology Program and the Ph.D. Clinical Psychology Program at St. John’s?
No, you may only apply to one of these two programs.

What if I already have a Masters degree in school psychology?
Students with a Masters in School Psychology and a permanent or provisional certification in school psychology can apply with advanced standing. These students will be required to take 50 credits. If the student’s masters did not include courses that are required for licensure as a psychologist in New York State, the student will be required to substitute these courses for his or her electives. In addition, the student’s elective courses may be used to take courses that the Program Director deems were deficient or absent in their School Certification education. They must take courses that exist in our program if they did not have equivalent courses in their masters/certification program. Courses required for licensure include: Social (Psy 622) or Cross-Cultural (Psy 625); Learning (Psy 616) or Cognition (Psy 617); Physiological (Psy 648) or Biological bases; Scaling and Measurement (Psy 659); and Research Methods (Psy 615).  Learn more about advanced standing.

Do I have the opportunity to meet with current students during the application process?
At the interviews, applicants meet with students of all levels in addition to interviewing with faculty members. During this time, applicants can ask the students any questions they have about the program and current students can share all aspects of their experiences in the program.

We also hold a luncheon for all Psy.D. applicants that are accepted that includes lunch with current students, a tour of the campus, and then the option to attend a class. This is meant to give the accepted students a better feel for our program and to have their questions answered by current students who were once in their position.

What is the Registration meeting?
After accepting admission to the School Psychology Programs, students will be invited to attend an orientation in June. During this time, students will register for fall classes, and receive their log-in information for email and the online system. Information about the program will be presented, and incoming students will meet faculty and current students to discuss any questions they have.

What is the SASP orientation?
SASP is the Student Association of School Psychologists and is an organization composed entirely of school psychology graduate students whose objective is to coordinate different initiatives, programs, and events designed to improve the graduate school experience. Programs range from group social events to educational colloquia. SASP holds an orientation before classes start to provide the incoming students with tips and information about the program. Every incoming student is matched with a second year student and the buddy helps to answer any questions students may have as they adjust to graduate school and our program. Also, at this orientation, students receive information such as what psychology associations and organizations are recommended to become members of and our faculty members’ research interests.

Does being able to speak a language other than English enhance my application?
It is highly advantageous to be able to speak another language, especially Spanish, for the field of school psychology. We recommend students consider obtaining this proficiency as an undergraduate. Preference during admissions is not given for proficiency in foreign languages, but such proficiency will provide you with a valuable set of skills and may enhance your career options. These skills may also open up areas of research for you. Students must obtain approval from the Program Director to enroll in the bilingual track. Enrollment in the bilingual track is not contingent upon passing the NYS bilingual certification exams.   Students are expected to take the NYSTC exam in the first semester of attendance prior to taking PSY 662B.  More detailed information on bilingual certification and the requisite testing is available online at the New York State Education Department website: Students can also contact the State Department directly by telephone at 518-474-3901.

Does St. John’s offer any financial assistance?
The School Psychology Programs offer excellent funding opportunities. Fellowships are available for PsyD students only. Currently most of our first year Psy.D. students are funded with an assistantship or fellowship (this includes tuition remission and possibly stipend, and requires you to work 16-20 hours/week). Fellowships are competitive and based on your on application and interview to the program (GRE scores, GPA, research experience, etc.). Fellowships are within the Psychology Department and students work for a faculty member. Students can have a fellowship for up to 2.5 years. Assistantships are available in other departments throughout campus including Theology, Student Life, Wellness Center, Athletics, Freshmen Center, Provost Office, etc. Students apply for an assistantship like applying for a job, including a resume and an interview, and then have to be selected for the position. Psy.D. students can have an assistantship for up to four years. Assistantship openings are announced through emails to the school psychology students. All fellowships and assistantships are renewable on a yearly basis and not guaranteed for more than a year (based on availability and job performance).

How much of tuition is covered with an assistantship or fellowship?
Full-time fellowships and assistantships provide tuition remission for a maximum of fifteen credits and sometimes, a stipend. Recipients are prohibited from outside employment for the duration of their contract with the University. The University requires recipients to maintain a full time course of study and work a minimum of fifteen hours per week in their respective department.

Can I work full time while attending your program?
You are permitted to work full time if you do not have an assistantship or fellowship. Classes start in the late afternoons (with no class on Fridays). However, presentations and colloquia are held throughout the semester during late morning and early afternoon hours. In 2nd year, students are also required to see clients at our Clinic for Psychological Services to complete assessments, and students must schedule their sessions outside of class time. In 3rd year, Psy.D. students are required to complete an externship 3 days per week.

When would I find out if I am awarded a fellowship or assistantship?
Students are typically notified after acceptance if they will be receiving a fellowship. Students will not know at that time what professor they will be matched with. Typically in August, close to the start of classes, students are assigned to a professor to work with for their fellowship. Once officially accepting an offer of admission, students can begin looking for and applying for assistantships. The school psychology programs will notify students of any assistantship openings around campus as they become aware of them.

Where can I find more information about Financial Aid?
For financial aid, all graduate students are eligible for the same federal loans, subsidized and unsubsidized. In order to receive financial aid, students must complete a FAFSA online in the spring of the year prior to the academic year they want to receive financial aid. Read more information on financial aid.

Where can I find more information about the Health Insurance Plans offered by St. John’s?
Find more about Health Insurance plans offered at St. John's.

What is the difference between the Psychology Lounge and the Fellows’ Lab?
The psychology lounge is on the 4th floor of Marillac Hall and is for the entire psychology department. The psychology lounge has couches and tables for studying, and also mailboxes for all graduate psychology students. The fellows’ lab is in the sub-basement of Marillac Hall and only fellows (clinical and school) have access using their storm cards. Every fellow or graduate assistant within the psychology department is assigned a space to work in (with a computer and secure file cabinets).

How do I go about finding housing?
St. John’s offers students a variety of housing opportunities. Through the Office of Residence Life, graduate students can secure on-campus housing subject to availability. To be considered for on-campus housing, students should submit their request in writing to the Office of Admission. Through the University’s Housing Service, students can find comfortable and convenient off-campus housing in surrounding neighborhoods. All inquiries should be directed to the Department of Student Life at 718-990-2417. Also, students often find apartments and/or roommates using or other websites that offer housing information in the area. Flyers from other St. John’s students are also often displayed on the walls around the campus.

Will I need a laptop computer?
A laptop computer is not required. STJ has several computer labs and one is located in the School of Education. Many students, however, do find a laptop computer is convenient and frequently bring with them to classes. A personal computer is important, whether it is a laptop or desktop, for completing assignments, communicating via email, and conducting online research.