School Psychology

The School Psychology program at Fairfield University is a 63-credit program approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The tripartite model of school psychology espoused by the program includes consultation, assessment, and direct and indirect intervention. The program is shaped by the belief that school psychologists are best prepared when they are instilled with a scientist/practitioner problem-solving orientation, encouraged to think reflectively, motivated to intervene at the primary prevention level, and inspired to be proactive agents of change. There is a special emphasis on self-care to insure optimal learning and practice in the field. Throughout the program, candidates develop and integrate who they are as individuals with their emerging professional identity. Candidates evolve as professionals through classroom experiences and opportunities to apply their growing knowledge and skills in school and mental health settings. The program culminates in an internship experience, consisting of 1200 hours. Throughout the program, candidates develop portfolios documenting their personal and professional growth, which assist them in finding employment. To be endorsed for state certification, a student must complete both the Master of Arts (MA) degree and Sixth Year Certificate (SYC) requirements. Upon completing the MA, students must submit a formal application for entry into the SYC program. Those wishing to enter the program initially at the SYC level must hold a relevant master's degree, have a GPA of at least 3.00, and must complete a minimum of 30 credits at Fairfield University.

Admission to the School Psychology Program

Application deadlines are listed online.

Those applicants who have a successful initial paper review, are invited to campus for a Admissions Interview. Day. Admissions Day is intended to clarify applicants' understanding of the program and the profession, and to assess applicants' potential for success in the program. When applicants are admitted, each candidate is expected to meet with a faculty advisor to outline a planned program of study before beginning coursework. Candidates must complete requirements for both the MA degree and SYC program to be eligible for Connecticut state certification as a school psychologist.

PREPaRE Workshops

All students are trained in the national evidenced-based crisis management program, PREPaRE, while in the SYC program during Practicum or Internship.

School Psychologist Certification

A candidate who successfully completes all program requirements meets the Connecticut certification requirements. When the entire program has been completed (63 credits), and the Sixth Year Certificate program is posted, the candidate must apply for an endorsement from the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions for Connecticut's Initial Educator's Certificate in School Psychology from the Connecticut State Department of Education.

Completion of all MA degree and SYC program requirements for those entering at the MA level, or completion of a minimum of 30 credits at Fairfield University for those entering at the SYC level is required for university endorsement for state certification as a school psychologist.

In view of the essential responsibility of the program to assure the protection of the healthy development of children and youth served by school psychologists, the faculty reserve the right to discontinue the program of any candidate, at any time in the program, whose academic performance is marginal, whose comprehensive examination results are not rated as passing, or whose personal characteristics are not appropriate to the field. Practica and internship candidates are also expected to demonstrate the NASP Professional Work Characteristics (Section 4.5, Standards for the Credentialing of School Psychologists, 2010). A candidate may be denied recommendation of certification for not demonstrating the NASP Professional Work Characteristics. The Disposition Statement presented in this catalog is applicable to this program as it is to all programs in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions. Additionally, all students are evaluated by faculty each year on their dispositions and personal work characteristics through formal measures.

PY 0099 Comprehensive Examination in School Psychology0 Credits

Prerequisites: PY 0430, PY 0433, PY 0435, PY 0436, PY 0438, PY 0446.

The comprehensive examination in school psychology requires candidates to demonstrate understanding and mastery of a broad body of relevant knowledge in psychology, as well as the ability to synthesize this knowledge in the creation of sophisticated essays. Before candidates take the comprehensive examination, they must have completed, or be in the process of completing, 24 credits.

PY 0401 Special Topics in Psychology (Shell)1-3 Credits

The special topic course varies in content, as needed, in order to provide timely opportunity to explore time sensitive, new and emerging topics and foci on a one-time basis, or to offer a pilot section of a new course in development. Each special topic course will have a unique focus, clearly identified in the course title after the colon. Candidates may take a special topic course more than once, as long as the course content and foci are distinctly identified.

PY 0403 Introduction to Play Therapy3 Credits

This course provides candidates with instruction in client-centered play therapy. Course objectives include enhancing sensitivity to children's issues, developing an awareness of the world as viewed by children, increasing the ability to communicate effectively with children using play techniques, understanding children's behavior, communicating effectively with parents, and developing basic play therapy skills. Candidates also view demonstrations of actual play therapy sessions and gain experience applying play therapy strategies with children. This course is available to candidates enrolled in a certification program or those who are already certified.

PY 0430 Issues in Professional Practice in School Psychology3 Credits

Among the first courses that should be taken in the School Psychology program, this course presents a realistic view of school psychology, permitting participants to interview school psychologists and other school personnel in the field about the role of the school psychologist. It serves as a vehicle to affect the future of school psychology by empowering future school psychologists, and it introduces the issues primary to the profession and practice of school psychology. Topics include special education law; professional ethics; the history of school psychology; a tripartite model of service delivery; the "scientific practitioner" approach; consultation; child development and system theory as a basis for practice; advocacy for and education about the school psychologist's role; and an introduction to federal and state educational systems within which the profession operates.

PY 0433 Behavioral Statistics3 Credits

Participants study descriptive and inferential statistics with an emphasis on methodological and technological applications in the behavioral sciences. Topics range from measures of central tendency to parametric and nonparametric tests of significance. Applied Psychology students must earn at least a B in the course for the course to count toward their degree. Candidates with a prior course in statistics may try to test out of PY 0433 before the first class. Contact the instructor well in advance of the first class to make arrangements. Candidates who successfully test out of this course will substitute another approved three-credit course appropriate to their program.

PY 0435 Psychology of Personality3 Credits

This course takes a comprehensive approach to understanding theories of personality formation through an in-depth survey and critique of major and minor theories of personality. The course emphasizes developing a critical understanding of the similarities and differences among the theories and the contribution of each theory to conceptualizations of normal and abnormal behavior, with application to the understanding of current research in personality psychology. Cross-cultural issues are addressed. Applied Psychology students must earn at least a B in this course for the course to count toward their degree.

PY 0436 Psychopathology and Classification I3 Credits

This course introduces candidates to advanced child and adolescent psychopathology. It provides the necessary foundation for undertaking subsequent courses or supervised practical training focused on the actual practice of formulating diagnoses and treating children and adolescents who are experiencing mental disorders. The course includes in-depth exposure to and discussion of the DSM-V and current research in psychopathology, and emphasizes understanding and identifying mental disorder symptoms and syndromes.

PY 0437 Psychopathology and Classification II3 Credits

This course introduces candidates to advanced adult psychopathology. It provides the necessary foundation for undertaking subsequent courses or supervised practical training focused on the actual practice of formulating diagnoses and treating people who are experiencing mental disorders. The course includes in-depth exposure to and discussion of the DSM-V and current research in psychopathology, and emphasizes understanding and identifying mental disorder symptoms and syndromes.

PY 0438 Treatment Models for School-Age Youth3 Credits

Prerequisites: PY 0435, PY 0436*.

In this course, candidates learn to develop treatment plans for children and adolescents in schools. Various psychotherapy models bridge the gap between theory and practice. Case studies serve as the primary learning vehicle. Given that children and adolescents frequently demonstrate emotional difficulties in the school setting, the course highlights theoretically informed therapeutic interventions that are pragmatic for use in the school setting, and emphasizes the importance of recognizing individual differences (cognitive, cultural, etc.) when designing interventions. (*indicates concurrency allowed)

PY 0446 Developmental Psychology I: Theory and Application in Professional Practice3 Credits

Candidates study human development from birth through adolescence. Designed for graduate candidates pursuing careers as clinical practitioners, this course helps participants develop the basic skills necessary to understand their clients in the context of the various domains of human development. Candidates learn to identify deviations in development and craft corresponding intervention plans. The course also emphasizes cultural competence, providing candidates with an understanding of individuals and families within a cultural context.

PY 0449 Introduction to Clinical Child Neuropsychology3 Credits

Prerequisites: PY 0538, PY 0540.

This course introduces candidates to brain structure, development, and function as the child grows to adulthood. Discussion topics include cognitive, academic, and behavioral sequelae of commonly encountered neuropathologies of childhood and adolescence, with case illustrations. Because of the emphasis placed on educational outcomes of neuropathology, the course addresses dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and non-verbal learning disability.

PY 0534 Theories of Learning3 Credits

This course considers, in detail, the conditions of human learning found in the principal schools of psychology on the contemporary scene. Candidates investigate other theories for individual reports. Crosslisted with ED 0534.

PY 0535 Collaborative Consultation3 Credits

Prerequisites: PY 0430, PY 0548.

Designed to give candidates knowledge and consultation skills, this course presents consultation as a collaborative problem-solving process that is empowering and prevention-oriented. The course focuses on mental health consultation as described by Gerald Caplan. Candidates learn the major models of consultation, the generic stages of consultation, and four levels of consultation service. The course also addresses practice issues, such as consultee resistance, consultee perspective, and consultant self-awareness. The course includes a practicum component in which candidates consult with a teacher at a school site once a week for approximately 10 weeks.

PY 0537 Psychoeducational Assessment I: Behavioral Approaches3 Credits

Designed for school psychology candidates, this course is the first in a four-course sequence in the psycho-educational evaluation of school-aged children. It covers the key concepts and procedures used in the behavioral assessment of individuals with a dual emphasis on functional behavioral assessment and progress monitoring within a response-to-intervention model. Topics covered include direct observation procedures, indirect assessment procedures, data collection and progress monitoring, functional analysis, reinforcer assessment, social validity assessment, direct behavior ratings, inter-observer reliability, and linking assessment results to behavior intervention and support plans. Applications at all three tiers of a response-to-intervention model will be discussed. This course is also the first course in the three course program: Advanced Training in Applied Behavior Analysis.

PY 0538 Psychoeducational Assessment II: Standardized Approaches3 Credits

Fee: $60 GSEAP Lab Fee

Corequisite: PY 0540.

Prerequisite: Completion of all MA degree requirements.

For school psychology candidates, this course is designed to advance their knowledge and skills of standardized assessment instruments commonly used by school psychologists in practice. This course will include review of psychometric constructs relevant to the measurement of intelligence and achievement, review of cross-battery assessment, (c) practice in the administration and scoring of standardized measures of intelligence, achievement and behavior, and (d) practice in the interpretation of test scores, (e) practice in the preparation of written reports summarizing test results, (f) exploration of multicultural issues related to assessment, and (g) review of the application of intelligence testing in school and clinical settings.

PY 0540 Psychoeducational Assessment III: Clinical Approaches3 Credits

Fee: $60 GSEAP Lab Fee

Corequisite: PY 0538.

Prerequisite: Completion of all MA degree requirements.

This course provides an introduction to clinical approaches to assessment for candidates in the school psychology program. A variety of assessment techniques will be presented and critically reviewed, including clinical interview, clinical observation, and projective techniques commonly used by school psychologists to assess students in school settings. Candidates will gain practice in the administration and interpretation of clinical assessments as well as basic report-writing.

PY 0541 Behavior Change Procedures3 Credits

Prerequisite: PY 0537.

This course will present behavior change procedures for use with individual and group clients. Antecedent, consequence, and alternative behavior interventions will be discussed. Procedures to learn include the use of: reinforcement and punishment (including differential reinforcement), modeling, shaping, chaining, etc. Specific topics will include discrimination training, contingency contracting, and group contingencies, among others. Basics of working with verbal behavior also will be introduced. This course is the second course in the three-course Applied Behavior Analysis Advanced Training Certificate program.

PY 0542 Measurement, Data Analysis, and Experimental Design in Applied Behavior Analysis3 Credits

Prerequisites: PY 0537, PY 0541.

This course will present the concepts, principles, and tools of measurement used for assessment and intervention within applied behavior analysis. Topics covered will include defining target behaviors, choosing measurement strategies and procedures for various dimensions of behavior, single-case design, graphical presentation of data, and applications within a response-to-intervention framework. This course is the final course in the three course program: Advanced Training in Applied Behavior Analysis.

PY 0544 Psychoeducational Assessment IV: Integrated Assessment3 Credits

Prerequisites: PY 0538, PY 0540.

For school psychology majors only, this is the fourth and final course in the advanced study of applied psychoeducational assessment. Designed for graduate candidates who are in the final stages of preparing for on-site professional assessment, this course focuses on continuing instruction in the administration and interpretation of various assessment techniques, emphasizing cognitive measures, academic assessment, academic achievement tests, and projective techniques, as well as psychological report-writing that integrates all assessment data into clear, accurate, written psychological reports. The course also stresses cultural and ethical competence in order to meet the need to synthesize and integrate assessment data into comprehensive, non-biased psychological evaluations of children and youth. Candidates administer comprehensive psychoeducational batteries within a school or agency in preparation for their internship in school psychology. Formerly "Integrated Assessment."

PY 0548 Psychotherapeutic Techniques for School-Age Youth3 Credits

Prerequisites: PY 0430, PY 0435, PY 0438, PY 0446.

This course provides school psychology, school counselor, and social work candidates with a first exposure to psychotherapeutic techniques. Topics include the purposes and rationale for such techniques, selection of appropriate methodologies, ethical considerations, and practice skills.

PY 0576 Practicum I: Assessment and Group Process3 Credits

Corequisite: PY 0544.

This course provides support and university supervision for candidates in their semester long school-based practicum. This course primarily provides opportunities to gain practice and facility in testing and report writing. Additionally, the course provides students with an in-class opportunity to experientially learn group process from the perspective of a group member, as well as group facilitator. Candidates also learn how to develop lesson plans and conduct whole class lessons. Enrollment by permission only.

PY 0577 Practicum II: Counseling and Group Process3 Credits

Prerequisite: PY 0576.

This course provides support and university supervision for candidates in their eight-week long mental health practicum. The primary purpose of this course is to provide opportunities to gain practice and facility in individual and group counseling, behavior modification, and interviewing in a mental health setting. Candidates typically work with challenging cases, which enables them to act as better liaisons to acute care facilities when in the schools. Additionally, the course provides students an in-class opportunity to experientially learn group process from the perspective of a group member, as well as group facilitator. Candidates take this course the summer before internship.

PY 0595 Independent Study3 Credits

Candidates conduct individual projects in consultation with a faculty member from the Department of Psychological and Educational Consultation. Enrollment by approval of faculty advisor.

PY 0596 Master's Thesis3 Credits

Prerequisites: PY 0433, PY 0571.

Part-time candidates matriculated in school psychology may engage in a master's thesis project. The candidate's project must demonstrate an advanced, sophisticated knowledge of psychology and be considered a contribution to the field. Activities in the development of the thesis include an initial outline of the project, proposal (including a review of the related literature and proposed thesis), and final report. Candidates submit proposals in the semester preceding registration for this thesis course and may register only during the normal registration period preceding each semester. Enrollment by permission only.

PY 0598 Internship in School Psychology I3 Credits

Prerequisite: All course work and approval of program coordinator.

This course provides weekly supervision and support at the University for candidates during the fall semester of the school psychology internship. This internship allows candidates to integrate the skills they have acquired in the program, build confidence using those skills, and develop a sense of professional identity. The course stresses a tripartite approach to school psychology, with equal emphasis on assessment, direct intervention, and consultation.

PY 0598P Internship in School Psychology I3 Credits

See PY 0598.

PY 0599 Internship in School Psychology II3 Credits

Prerequisite: PY 0598.

This course provides weekly supervision and support at the University for candidates during the spring semester of the school psychology internship.

PY 0599P Internship in School Psychology II3 Credits

See PY 0599.