Persons with prior graduate degrees in school psychology or allied professions, such as clinical child psychology, special education, or counseling, often inquire about the prospect of obtaining credit for prior graduate coursework and/or experience and the possibility of a shorter program of studies. This section provides information for such prospective applicants.
Due to national accreditation standards, state procedures for certifying school psychologists, and the program’s training philosophy, all admitted students must complete an integrated, sequential program of studies and field experiences designed to assure a range of knowledge and skills needed to positively impact children, youth, families, and other consumers. A “course-by-course” approach by individuals wishing only school psychology certification is not permitted by either the program or the states of South Carolina and North Carolina. Individuals must instead complete an “approved program of studies.” While it may be possible to take some initial courses on a part-time basis, a full-time residency during a substantial portion of the program is required even when a prior graduate degree has been completed. Prospective applicants should note that financial aid in the form of graduate assistantships, traineeships, and internships, and associated tuition waivers, are available for students enrolled full-time (i.e., in at least 9 graduate credit hours). Additionally, some school districts and agencies allow employees release time to take courses and opportunities to complete internships. Without such assistance, it is virtually impossible to complete our program while also working full-time. The Winthrop School Psychology Program attempts to give credit to the maximum extent possible (by waiving certain program requirements) for prior graduate coursework and experience relevant to school psychology and to the goals and objectives of the program. The relevancy and recency of the coursework, and the extent to which the acquired knowledge and skills have been practiced, are taken into account when determining whether they meet program requirements. In the case of prior internships or equivalent supervised experience, the maximum credit that can be granted is for 600 clock hours (or one-half of the 1200 hours required by the Program). To qualify for such credit, the prior internship or equivalent experience must have focused primarily on services to children, youth, and families. Additionally, national training and certification standards in school psychology require supervision by a school psychologist or (for non-school settings) a psychologist credentialed for the particular setting. The internship hours and associated supervision must be documented in order to be considered for “credit” and for subsequent application toward certification. At least 600 hours of the total 1200 required hours must be in a school setting. A customized Specialist in School Psychology (S.S.P.) degree program may be developed for those with prior graduated degrees in allied fields. The Specialist degree requires a minimum of 36 graduate credit hours, but often consists of 45-54 hours (including internship) if the prior Master’s degree is not in school psychology. The particular program is determined by the director and faculty in consultation with the student. This can be done only after examining transcripts and other evidence of prior work (in some cases, syllabi), determining the equivalency of prior work to Winthrop program requirements, and determining that the individual qualifies for admission. If the applicant desires and qualifies for “advanced placement” (e.g., beginning the program at what would normally be the second year) then admission may also depend on whether openings exist at that level. Winthrop restricts the number of students admitted and the number placed in professional courses and practica in order to assure high quality training and close supervision. Admission to the program is quite competitive, and is normally limited to 8-10 students per year. Those wishing credit for prior graduate coursework or internship should follow the steps below:
Those wishing to take up to 12 credit hours of graduate courses on a non-degree basis (a limited number of psychology graduate courses are available to non-degree students) may apply through the Graduate School at any time. Completion of the School Psychology Program application is not required for such students unless they later decide to pursue a degree in school psychology.
Applicants should direct their questions regarding graduate studies in general at Winthrop and the associated application process to the Graduate School at 803/323-2204. General questions regarding the School Psychology Program may be directed to the Department of Psychology administrative assistant or graduate assistants at 803/323-2117. More specific questions regarding the program, associated requirements, and credit for prior graduate coursework may be directed to the School Psychology Program director or faculty at 803/323-2630.
Download a pdf file of the preceding information along with the necessary form (pdf - 107 kb).