School Psychology Program
The Winthrop School Psychology Program is a three-year, full-time graduate training sequence leading to the Specialist in School Psychology (S.S.P.) degree. Although an interim Master of Science (M.S.) degree is awarded at the end of the second year, students admitted to the program are expected to complete the full three-year training program.
The Winthrop School Psychology Program is primarily designed to prepare practitioners who are competent to provide a full range of school psychological services including consultation, behavioral intervention, psychoeducational assessment, research, program planning/evaluation, and counseling. Students are prepared to work with diverse clients from infancy to young adulthood, including those with low-incidence disabilities and with families, teachers, and others in the schools and community. Opportunities for working under close supervision in rural, suburban, and urban settings are afforded students in the program. Although some of our graduates subsequently pursue doctoral studies, the primary purpose of the program is the preparation of well-rounded professionals for work in public schools and related settings.
The three-year, full-time program leading to both the Master of Science (M.S.) and Specialist in School Psychology (S.S.P.) degrees utilizes a highly structured, applied, competency-based approach to training. The curriculum is linked to a comprehensive set of objectives that outline knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed by school psychologists in order to respond effectively to the diverse needs of individuals and systems that we ultimately serve. Program emphasis is placed on psychological and psychoeducational methods whose effectiveness has been demonstrated through behavioral research. A multi-method, multi-source approach to assessment of learning and development helps assure that students attain the competencies needed to be effective school psychologists.
The Winthrop School Psychology Program has been designed to meet national standards of quality and progresses sequentially from foundations courses to methods/practica experiences to a 1,200 hour internship. The training philosophy of the program emphasizes the importance of integrating knowledge and skills under conditions of strong supervision, support, and collaboration. Completion of supervised field experience over the last two years of the program provides for closer integration of didactic and experiential components of the curriculum, more immediate application and integration of skills, and strong involvement of faculty in this critical stage of training. Low student-to-faculty ratios in all methods/practica courses and weekly sessions with both faculty and credentialed field supervisors during traineeship and internship help to assure the monitoring and support needed for students to become competent professionals. Collaboration and cooperation among students are also encouraged.
The combined M.S./S.S.P. program is fully approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and South Carolina Department of Education. Winthrop is also fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Upon the attainment of a satisfactory score on the School Psychology specialty area of the PRAXIS and the recommendation of the program director, graduates of the program qualify to become Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP) and can attain certification as School Psychologists in South Carolina (Level II) and in the majority of other states.
Employment offers for Winthrop School Psychology graduates typically exceed the number of graduates each year. Over the past ten years, virtually all graduates seeking employment in the field have attained such employment within three months of graduation and many have been offered positions before graduation. Winthrop School Psychology alumni are employed in many states. Their preparation is evaluated very highly by employers. Those who have pursued doctoral studies also have been very successful in gaining admission and in completing their studies.
Immediately upon entering the graduate program, the student should develop, with the assigned advisor, an individual course of study which meets the requirements for the degree and the student's objectives.