School Psychology
Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education School Psychology
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School Psychology

Introduction to the Program

Program Coordinator (PC) - Dr. James DiPerna (


The doctoral program in School Psychology at Penn State was formally established in 1965. However, the first Ph.D. in psychology at Penn State was awarded in 1934, and the first student to earn a PhD who later became a school psychologist graduated in 1936. At present, there are more than 160 doctoral alumni of the Penn State School Psychology program. The program is currently accredited by the Commission on Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20002-4242, (202) 336-5979. It is also accredited by NCATE/National Association of School Psychologists, and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Only students who aspire to, and are qualified for, a doctoral program are admitted. Master's work is in preparation for the doctorate. Students are selected for admission based on potential for advanced graduate study as well as their research and professional interests. Exceptions to the criteria may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests. Both students with a bachelor's degree and students with a master's degree may be admitted to the program. Students with a doctorate who wish to change their specialization to school psychology may be enrolled as non-degree candidates seeking a certificate. Students who are certified as school psychologists who wish to qualify for a supervisor's certificate may enroll as Ph.D. or as non-degree candidates.

A brief history of the Penn State program can be found in French, J. L. (1987). School psychology at the Pennsylvania State University since 1931. Professional School Psychology, 2, 81-92.

The Pennsylvania State University


Founded in 1855, Penn State is Pennsylvania's only land-grant university and has a broad mission of teaching, research and public service. It enrolls more than 80,000 students at 24 campus locations statewide, and offers instruction in more than 160 baccalaureate and 150 graduate programs. The University Park campus, with an enrollment of some 40,000 students, is Penn State's administrative and research hub. The campus is located in central Pennsylvania, adjacent to the community of State College, and overlooked by majestic Mount Nittany. Other Penn State campuses -- including the College of Medicine at the Hershey Medical Center and the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle -- play a vital role in the University's overall mission. There is a Penn State campus within commuting distance of virtually every Pennsylvanian. (Penn State's public accountability page)