School Psychology Master of Art/Certificate of Advanced Study

Alfred University's MA/CAS program emphasizes a firm grounding in theory, innovation, and scientifically-based practice. The MA/CAS in School Psychology is the only non-doctoral degree in psychology through which individuals can be certified in New York State.

We were one of the first School Psychology programs in the country and in the early days of our program (over 50 years ago), our graduates were often the only mental health practitioners in the local schools. This history has led our program to take a broad view of the field, which continues today. We train our students to conduct assessment and intervention with children, and consultation with school staff and parents. Based upon a recent grant, we have also strengthened our training and research focus regarding Response to Intervention. By following the training standards of the National Association of School Psychologists, the program at Alfred University blends this longstanding tradition of extensive practical skill development with a substantial foundation in the basic science of psychology.

The program consists of two years of full-time study followed by a full year internship. Due to our strong practical focus, our students spend at least some time in a school during every semester. In addition, students work at our divisions's outpatient mental health clinic, the Child and Family Services Center, for their second-year practicum. At the end of their first year, students must pass a written qualifying examination in order to move to the second year.

Students are trained in the following professional School Psychology areas:

  • Professional identification and functioning
  • Consultation with parents, teachers, and organizational systems
  • Cognitive, academic, and social-emotional assessment
  • Behavioral, social-emotional, and academic interventions
  • Counseling, play therapy, and family therapy
  • Systems level intervention: response to intervention
  • Multicultural issues
  • Psychological foundations: developmental, cognitive, and physical bases of behavior
  • Statistics and research methodologies

Alfred University's MA/CAS program in School Psychology satisfies the academic portion of the New York State Education Department requirements for permanent certification, as well as the requirements for National Certification as a school psychologist.

Master's/CAS Handbook

MA/CAS : Course Sequence

FIRST YEAR

First Semester
PSYC 601 Foundations of Cultural Diversity (1)
PSYC 603 Foundations of School Psychology (3)
PSYC 607 Learning and Cognition (3)
PSYC 626 Psychological and Educational Measurements (2)
PSYC 627 Norm-Referenced Testing I (2)
PSYC 636 Foundations of Interpersonal Effectiveness (3)
PSYC 637 Introduction to Group Dynamics (1)
PSYC 656 Field Experience in School Psychology (1)
Total Credits 16

Second Semester
PSYC 606 Advanced Developmental Psychology (3)
PSYC 629 Social-Emotional Assessment (3)
PSYC 632 Norm-Referenced Testing II  (2)
PSYC 638 Psychotherapy and Behavior Change (3)
PSYC 639 Exceptionality in Learning and Behavior (3)
PSYC 657 Field Experience in School Psychology II (1)
Total Credits 15

SECOND YEAR

Third Semester
PSYC 628 Academic Functioning (3)
PSYC 641 Introduction to Family Therapy (3)
PSYC 646 Consultation and Prevention (3)
PSYC 658 Clinic Practicum I (3)
PSYC 671 Statistical Analysis and Research Design I (3)
Total Credits 15

Fourth Semester
PSYC 609 Physical Bases of Behavior (3)
PSYC 642 Advanced Topics in School Psychology (3)
PSYC 651 Academic Interventions (2)
PSYC 659 Clinic Practicum II (3)
PSYC 664 Practicum in Academic Interventions (1)
PSYC 695 Professional Practice Seminar (3)
Total Credits 15

THIRD YEAR

Fifth Semester
PSYC 667 Internship in School Psychology I (9)

Sixth Semester
PSYC 668 Internship in School Psychology II (9)

Minimum Total Credit Hours Required for the Program: 79

MA/CAS : Field Experience

Alfred University is known for its emphasis on field experience. Practica are associated with most of the major core courses, and give students an opportunity to understand the complexities of school systems, practice applied skills, and become familiar with the role of the school psychologist. In the course of training, students gain experience at all educational levels in schools with diverse pupil populations relative to cultural-ethnic backgrounds, disabilities, and economic levels.

In the Schools - every semester

  • First and second semesters: Students are placed in a local public school one day per week for their first year field placement experience. They learn the roles of the school psychologist and practice the skills they are learning in classes. An on-site supervisor and School Psychology faculty member coordinate this fieldwork. The student is visited and observed at the school, and there is communication between supervisors to further each student's progress.
  • Third semester: Students return to their field placement school to complete projects associated with their Consultation and Prevention course.
  • Fourth semester: Students participate in a supervised practicum in a local school district, during which they are involved in planning, conducting, and evaluating academic interventions (associated with the Practicum in Academic Interventions course).

In the Child and Family Services Center

Second year students complete a two-semester practicum at the Child and Family Services Center (CFSC), which is both a training clinic and outpatient mental health clinic run by our division. Students may provide assessment, counseling, play therapy, family therapy, and group therapy to individuals and families from the underserved rural communities surrounding Alfred. If appropriate, students also provide consultation at clients' schools.

The CFSC contains state-of-the-art digital recording and observation capabilities. All treatment rooms are equipped with microphones and video cameras that are wired to a control room which contains monitors through which faculty supervisors and students can observe sessions in real time. Live supervision utilizes wireless netbook communication or a telephone intercom system between the faculty supervisor and student. Sessions can also be digitally recorded and archived so that faculty supervisors and students may review sessions in order to improve skills. Students engage in collaborative problem-solving with their peers and faculty supervisor, and stay well informed about cases through direct observation, videotapes, and group supervision.

During the Internship

The final year of the program consists of a full-time internship in a public school system.

This experience is the culmination of the student's classroom learning and previous fieldwork and allows the student to perform the duties of a school psychologist under the supervision of an on-site school psychologist and a School Psychology faculty member.

Most of our students complete their internships within New York State, but students may choose to seek internships in any state. During their internship, students return to campus three times per year for seminars and group supervision activities. Students generally receive a stipend from the school in which they intern.

Our mission is to prepare school psychologists for professional practice in schools and related child and family settings.

Our program strives to produce school psychologists with the personal qualities, interpersonal skills and awareness, and the ethical sensitivity predictive of success in a broad array of social, economic, and political contexts. We expect that:

  • Students will develop an understanding of service delivery programs within a context respectful and appreciative of individual, family, and cultural diversity.
  • Students will develop an awareness that their personal characteristics and interpersonal skills affect the quality, social validity, and acceptability of the services they provide.
  • Students will abide by ethical standards as they relate to the historical foundations of the school psychology profession and the current guidelines for practice.

We also strive to produce school psychologists competent to access a broad range of theoretical and practical approaches with sufficient depth to be effective, flexible practitioners. We expect that:

  • Students will develop proficiency in data-based decision-making using traditional and alternative approaches to the assessment and evaluation of children's academic, behavioral, and emotional problems.
  • Students will develop proficiency in the design and development of programs to intervene both directly and indirectly with children's academic, behavioral, and emotional problems. These programs will include academic strategies, behavior modification, crisis intervention, and counseling techniques that are implemented in a timely manner.

Another goal is to produce school psychologists who have an understanding of the basic principles of human cognitive and emotional development and their relationship to the functioning of children within a school setting. We expect that:

  • Students will develop an understanding of the development of both normal and exceptional children.
  • Students will gain knowledge of general and special education services and legal guidelines, as part of understanding the educational and sociopolitical climate of their school districts.
  • Students will develop skills in consulting and communicating with school professionals and parents.
  • Students will develop skills in the prevention and remediation of academic and emotional problems in children.

Our final goal is to produce school psychologists competent in the comprehension and application of research to professional practice. We expect that:

  • Students will acquire a foundation in the scientific knowledge base of psychology and education, as well as an ability to evaluate and utilize research in their practice.
  • Students will develop proficiency in ongoing program evaluation, so they make informed decisions based upon objective data in developing services for children.
  • Students will develop a knowledge base which includes the updated and appropriate use of information technology in their practice.