James Madison University

Program Description

The program is designed to prepare students for employment in a variety of settings including schools, mental health clinics, rehabilitation agencies, and private practice settings. An emphasis is placed on an integrated model of training with a substantial focus on field and practicum experiences.

The first level of the program includes basic psychological foundations and leads to a Master of Arts degree (33 credit hours). Successful completion of the Master’s degree enables the student to apply for admission to the Educational Specialist level of the program. A second year of course work, in addition to a research project and a 10 month internship, leads to the Educational Specialist degree (an additional 45 credit hours).

To be admitted to the Educational Specialist level of the school psychology program, students must have completed a Master’s degree in psychology or a related field. Students who have an appropriate Master’s degree but who have specific deficiencies can be admitted to the Educational Specialist program provided that these deficiencies are included in the Educational Specialist program of study.

Students completing only the Master’s degree are not eligible for licensure as a school psychologist. The Educational Specialist degree is the entry-level credential in school psychology and leads to eligibility for licensure as a school psychologist by the Virginia Department of Education. To be recommended for licensure to the Virginia Department of Education, students must complete all program requirements. After additional supervised experience, students are eligible to sit for the licensure examination given by the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Psychology for private practice credentials as school psychologists.

The National Certification School Psychology (NCSP) Examination must be taken prior to graduation during the internship year, and scores must be sent to the program for program feedback.

The concentration in school psychology is approved by the Virginia Department of Education and is accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and thus by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The NASP/NCATE accreditation assures the graduates of the JMU program are eligible for certification/licensure in most states.

About the School Psychology Program:
Master's Degree and Ed.S. Degree


Fully accredited by the National Association of School Psychology (NASP), the School Psychology Program emphasizes the role of the school psychologist as that of a facilitator of human potential:

  • The program integrates a relation model with a solution-focused theoretical framework, preparing students to be interpersonally skilled, data-oriented problem solvers.
  • Central to the program focus is the understanding of children within a "systems" context, including the family, the school, and the socio-cultural environment.
  • Students are prepared in assessment for intervention, counseling, consultation, and applied research.
  • The program expects students to have a commitment to academic excellence, personal growth, professional responsibility, and sensitivity to others.

The first level of the program includes basic psychological foundations and leads to a Master's degree (33 credit hours). Successful completion of the Master's degree enables the student to apply for admission to the Ed.S. level of the program. A second year of coursework, (in addition to a research project and a 10 month paid internship) leads to the Ed.S. degree.