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Psychology - Specialist in School Psychology

The specialist program in School Psychology is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), the Council for Accreditation of Teacher Educator Preparation (CAEP), and the Illinois State Board of Education. We provide our students with comprehensive curriculum, high quality training, and properly supervised field experiences that are consistent with NASP Standards for Graduate Preparation of School Psychologists (2010). The mission of the specialist program, which emphasizes the scientist-practitioner model of training, is to develop entry-level competencies in our graduates so they can function as school psychologists in public and private schools. The specialist degree can be completed in three years with full time enrollment on campus for two years and a 9-month internship.

University Admission Requirements

A student applying to a specialist program must:

  • Have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university prior to fall admission
  • Send official transcripts from each college or university, other than Illinois State, where graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. Transcripts should be emailed from the school to or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Office of Admissions, Campus Box 2200, Normal, IL 61790-2200

International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.

Additional Program Admission Requirements

A student applying to this program must:

  • Submit a complete application by December 1
  • Have a cumulative 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) for either the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework or at least a 3.0 GPA for 9 hours of graduate coursework
  • Have completed at least 21 hours of undergraduate psychology courses that include general psychology, experimental psychology or research methods, and psychological statistics. Applicants should have a proficiency in math based on a passing grade in finite math or Precalculus (MAT 120 or 144 or equivalent), a grade of B or better in psychological statistics (PSY 340 or equivalent) or a score of 144 or higher on the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE General Test. Applicants who have not completed the required undergraduate courses may be admitted, but the missing course(s) will be added to specialist program's curriculum. Any missing courses must be completed during the first year of graduate study.

A complete application requires:

  • Official GRE General Test scores (use institution code 1319)
  • A writing sample (scholarly work approximately 5-15 pages long)
  • A personal statement that addresses the following:
    • Professional and career goals
    • Factors that influenced your decision to enter a helping profession
    • Why did you select the specialist program in School Psychology?
    • Why should you be admitted to the specialist program?
    • What are your expectations for professional training in school psychology?
  • Three recommendations (see application instructions about providing names and email addresses; recommendations must be uploaded to the application)
Specialist Interviews: February 9, 2018 (Friday)

The application process requires campus interviews. Selected applicants will be notified about the interview schedule. Travel and lodging expenses are the responsibility of the applicant. Skype interviews may be possible, under some circumstances, with approval from the program coordinator.

Admission is offered only for the fall semester and is very competitive. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Admission offers are sent in February. The Council for Graduate Schools stipulates that an applicant has until April 15 to accept or decline an admission offer. Some admission offers may be delayed until applicants notify the department that they are declining admission.

Admission Dates and Deadlines

Term Application Deadline
Fall (August)  December 1 
Spring (January)  No spring admission 
Summer (May/June)  No summer admission 

Graduate Assistantship Information

The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.


To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally:

  • be admitted as a degree-seeking student to a graduate program
  • be in good-standing
  • be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 graduate credits) during the fall or spring semesters


  • monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
  • a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
  • a waiver for up to 12 credits of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment

The department awards graduate assistantships to applicants who accept admission. Graduate assistantships are subject to verification of employment eligibility under U.S. immigration laws and the receipt of anticipated state funding by the University.

Cost & Funding

See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from continuous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.

Graduate Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Mark Swerdlik  DeGarmo 422  (309) 438-5720 
Adena Meyers  DeGarmo 455  (309) 438-8069 
2016-08-30T13:46:29.206-05:00 2016