Frequently Asked Questions

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What does the title “Specialist” mean? Is this the same as a Master’s program?

Obtaining a Specialist degree is not the same as obtaining a Master’s degree. Rather, a Specialist degree requires one to complete more graduate credit hours and actually falls between the Master’s and Doctoral degrees. Often, employment offices acknowledge the Specialist degree with a stipend that is different, and typically more, than that given for a Master’s degree.

How long will it take me to finish the SSP Program?

Full-time enrolled students take three years to complete the Specialist degree: two years of course work and one year of a full-time, and typically paid, internship experience.

How many students are accepted into your Program each year?

The SSP Program typically admits 8-12 students each year. The number of students admitted is dependent on the number of qualified applications received during the review cycle.

When are applications due, and how are they reviewed?

The SSP Program and all of the Master’s Programs in psychology accept and review applications once per year, with all students starting their graduate work in the fall semester. The application deadline is February 15, and completed applications are typically reviewed by the committee sometime within the month following that deadline. Admission offers and denials are sent following the committee review meeting, and those students placed on the waiting list are also notified. If the SSP Program has not achieved a full cohort, applications will continue to be reviewed through the spring and early summer months

What are the minimum GPA and GRE scores required for admission to the SSP Program?

The Department of Psychology & Philosophy follows the admissions guidelines set forth by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Students are required to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for admission in Good Standing and a GPA of 2.7 for Probationary admission. The overall undergraduate GPA must be considered, regardless of subsequent completion of other graduate programs. Also, a student’s performance in psychology undergraduate courses will be strongly considered. Successful applicants need not have majored in Psychology, but the equivalent of a Psychology minor is required to begin graduate work. This includes courses in Statistics and Research Methods, with 18 total credit hours in undergraduate psychology courses. While there is no minimum GRE score requirement at this time, a student’s performance on the GRE is certainly considered. One’s performance on the GRE has been shown to closely correlate with graduate school success during the initial year of enrollment. Recently admitted students have performed at slightly above the 50th percentile on the verbal portion and slightly below the 50th percentile on the quantitative portion.

What do you mean by ‘cohort?’

Students complete the SSP Program as part of a cohort, or a group of students who complete their coursework together and in the same sequence.

Can I complete this Program on a part-time basis?

Students can be admitted into the SSP Program on a part-time basis, but this is limited to completion of approximately 12-15 graduate credit hours. At that point, a student must commit full-time to completion of the Program, which will still require two years plus the year of internship.

What professional credential(s) will I be eligible to obtain after completing this program?

The SSP Program has been designed to allow graduates to seek licensure within the state of Texas as a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology, or LSSP. This license is granted by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, or TSBEP. Our graduates are also eligible to become licensed in most other states by their respective Departments of Education as ‘school psychologists.’ Because our Program is NCATE accredited and approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), graduates are eligible to obtain the Nationally Certified School Psychologist, or NCSP, credential. This credential is recognized and given reciprocity by 38 of 50 states, allowing unparalleled ease of transitioning between states as a professional.

I have a Education degree in a closely related field (i.e., school counseling; educational diagnostician). Am I able to take additional courses from your program to obtain my LSSP credential?

Licensure as an LSSP is granted by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, TSBEP, and as such it requires a degree in psychology. Thus, in making the transition from a professional education position to LSSP, even though the job role might be similar, you would need to obtain a degree in psychology. While you would be able to transfer up to 15 graduate credit hours, respecialization to school psychological practice would require you to complete the majority of the SSP Program.

I am wanting to respecialize into the field of school psychology and have a Psychology degree in a closely related field (i.e., MA in clinical psychology). Am I able to take additional courses from your program to obtain my LSSP credential?

The SSP Program does allow for respecialization for those with related psychology degrees. This respecialization would require candidates to complete some new courses as well as some previously completed courses – especially if the candidate did not graduate from the SHSU Dept. of Psychology and Philosophy within the past 10 years. In total, candidates are typically enrolled full-time for one academic year (fall and spring, with some summer coursework possibly required) prior to the completion of the one year internship. SSP Program faculty must be able to support a candidate’s readiness to proceed on to internship and then licensure, and to do this a candidate’s professional dispositions, as well as knowledge and skills, must be adequately evaluated.

I have been working full-time for several years, but am interested in changing careers and becoming a school psychologist. Will I be able to continue working full-time while I complete your program?

Full-time Program enrollment and full-time employment is not really possible or recommended. Students are encouraged to seek employment to a maximum of half-time, or 20 hours per week. Our students are often sought to fill 10- or 20-hour per week assistantships across campus, and these positions allow for flexible scheduling to accommodate your class and professional practice requirements.

Can I complete the SSP Program at night or through distance learning?

The SSP Program is traditional in that it requires extensive face-to-face class contact and supervision, with very few of our courses offered either at night or online. School psychological practice must occur during the school day, which is typically during the hours of 8 – 3. Some courses have been designed to blend traditional instruction with online learning, but the majority of our courses have been designed to have a field-based component. Working in the field requires that faculty supervise students’ work closely, and this is not something we can achieve when students are not located physically within the greater Houston area.

Dr Noland

Ramona Noland, Ph.D.

Director, School Psychology Program

CHSS 385

(936) 294-4310

psy_rmn@shsu.edu