School Psychology Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Common Applicant Questions

FAQ question   Why do most school psychology programs at the specialist level require three years of study?

FAQ Answer   National accreditation standards for school psychology programs require a minimum of three years of full-time study or the equivalent, including a one-year internship, beyond the baccalaureate. This also is the minimum training required for certification as a school psychologist in the great majority of states and for national certification.

FAQ question   What if my undergraduate degree was not in psychology?

FAQ Answer   Although the majority of our students were psychology majors as undergraduates, some were education majors, and a few majored in other disciplines altogether (e.g., Art, Dance, Mass Communication, Business, etc). Those who majored in fields other than psychology, social science, or education must meet the same prerequisites as all other applicants, but it is probably even more important that such applicants show through their volunteer or work experience why they are suited to a field such as school psychology.

FAQ question   What if I have a graduate degree in a related area and am looking to "re-specialize?"

FAQ Answer   See separate information for those with prior graduate coursework or degrees.

FAQ question   What is the class design/schedule? Is it possible to work full-time and complete the program or to complete it on a part-time basis?

FAQ Answer   The Winthrop School Psychology Program is designed for full-time completion over three years (the length of training required for national accreditation and certification). Courses are typically offered during the day, with some evening classes. A typical first-semester schedule includes one evening class and three classes scheduled over two or three days. A typical second-year schedule includes all classes scheduled on Mondays and Tuesdays, leaving the remainder of the week for completing a 20-hour per week traineeship. In the third year, students complete a full-time internship and are back on-campus one evening a week for an advanced assessment class or seminar.

The highly structured, integrated, and sequential nature of preparation in our program, and our national accreditation status, makes it necessary for students to complete the program as designed. It is possible (with department permission) to take up to 12 credit hours on a non-degree basis prior to starting the program, or to use prior graduate coursework to meet some program requirements and thus reduce the number of courses taken in a given semester. Otherwise, students must complete the program as designed. It is usually not possible to do this AND work full-time, unless one's employer is flexible enough to provide release time to complete courses and then work with the individual to secure opportunities to complete the traineeship and internship. This would be extremely rare.

FAQ question   What are the program's prerequisites?

FAQ Answer   The program requires prior undergraduate or graduate courses in:

  • General Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology (Human Growth and Development or Child Psychology may be substituted)
  • Psychological Statistics (another social science or educational statistics class may be substituted)
  • Research or Experimental Psychology (another social science or educational research class may be substituted)

FAQ question   Could the fact that I have not completed some prerequisites hurt my chances of admission?

FAQ Answer   Lacking one prerequisite may not be a detriment, as you might be able to take a prerequisite in the summer prior to beginning the program should you be admitted (or in place of a first year course which you might have already had, such as exceptional child). Additionally, applicants with a background in education who already have taken such courses as exceptional child or educational assessment at the undergraduate or graduate level may be able to substitute a prerequisite for a course normally taken during the first year in the program. But when applicants lack more than one prerequisite, especially if they have had no other graduate coursework that might satisfy first year requirements (thus giving them the flexibility to take a prerequisite in its place), the chances of admission are diminished.

FAQ question   What is the application deadline?

FAQ Answer   The program's application deadline is January 15th. Late applicants are considered only if there are openings after the usual review and acceptance period (for example, if a student who has accepted our admissions offer experiences some unexpected family or medical circumstance that prevents them from attending). Although rare, such events do occur.

FAQ question   How many students apply to the Winthrop program each year?

FAQ Answer   Typically, approximately 40 students apply each year.

FAQ question   How many applicants will you interview?

FAQ Answer   Approximately 22-24 applicants are individually interviewed each year. Interviews usually are conducted the Thursday and Friday of the first week in March (applicants select one morning or afternoon). Those not selected for interviews are notified by mail shortly after our application deadline and interviews.

FAQ question   What if I'm invited to Winthrop for an interview but cannot come due to the expense or a significant prior commitment?

FAQ Answer   Invited applicants are strongly encouraged to make arrangements to come for the interview, especially if they have never visited the campus and met the faculty. Plus, interviews include some opportunities to interact with current graduate students and other applicants. If it is impossible to come due to distance, cost, or similar factors, a Skype interview may be arranged. But it is our strong preference to meet prospective students in person.

FAQ question   How many students will you accept?

FAQ Answer   Typically, 11-12 students are accepted for the fall semester. This provides for low student-faculty ratios and for the individual attention and supervision needed to assure an appropriate level of graduate preparation for the field of school psychology.

FAQ question   Do you accept applications for the spring semester?

FAQ Answer   Applications are accepted for the fall semester only.

FAQ question   What is emphasized in the selection process?

FAQ Answer   Undergraduate GPA, experience with children/families/schools, and diversity of background and experience are very important factors. The person's academic background (e.g., institution attended; strength of courses taken) also is considered. References can be important, especially if they are particularly positive or somewhat negative or neutral. For those people selected for interviews, the outcome of the interview is very important.

FAQ question   Can you offer advice for selecting references?

FAQ Answer   It typically is best to obtain a balance between those familiar with your academic work (e.g., professors), and those familiar with your work with others (e.g., work supervisor or director of an agency where you did volunteer work with children). But it is most important that you provide references from the people who best know you and your work, and who will provide you with as positive a recommendation as possible. It also is very advisable to allow such references to be confidential by agreeing to the statement on the reference form. Be sure to give your references prior notice that they will be asked to complete an online reference for you, and then check your Winthrop application file often to be sure that references (and all other application materials) have been submitted.

FAQ question   I'm concerned about financial aid for graduate studies. What are my prospects for financial aid at Winthrop?

FAQ Answer   Our program has excellent financial assistance available, with many first-year students receiving graduate assistantships or graduate worker positions, all second-years students receiving a paid traineeship that includes a tuition grant covering all but one course a semester, and third-year students receiving a paid internship that includes a tuition grant covering all but one course a semester. Most forms of financial assistance for graduate students also come with in-state tuition. 

Detailed information about tuition, fees, and financial aid is available at: /graduateschool/academic-and-general-fees.aspx

FAQ question   If I am applying for a scholarship or assistantship, do I need to submit separate references?

FAQ Answer   You should complete a graduate assistantship application and submit that, along with a copy of your resume to any Winthrop department to which you are applying for an assistantship. If you let us know, with your permission, we can forward the references/recommendations you submitted with your application to that department.

FAQ question   What is the average undergraduate GPA for admitted students?

FAQ Answer   The average undergraduate GPA is 3.5 - 3.6 but the range is greater.

FAQ question   What are the chances that I'll get a paid internship through the Winthrop program?

FAQ Answer   Although guarantees cannot be made about future funding, all Winthrop interns since at least 1980 have received paid internships. The program negotiates these internships in our immediate region in upper South Carolina and the greater Charlotte region. The typical internship stipend is $10,000, plus a tuition waiver that covers all but one class each semester of internship.

FAQ question   What percent of students complete the Winthrop program in three years?

FAQ Answer   Over 90% of admitted students complete the Winthrop program, and virtually all of them do so in three years.

FAQ question   What are the chances that I can get nationally certified and certified as a school psychologist in other states if I complete Winthrop's program?

FAQ Answer   Winthrop's program is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the State of South Carolina. The University is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). In addition to being an indicator of program quality, this makes it easier for individual graduates to obtain the credentials needed to practice school psychology. Upon passing the Praxis exam in school psychology, Winthrop graduates qualify for both national certification and certification in almost all states.

FAQ question   What is Winthrop's pass rate on the Praxis exam in school psychology?

FAQ Answer   Almost all graduates of Winthrop School Psyschology Program pass the Praxis in School Psychology at the level needed for national certification on their first attempt. Rarely, a student will need to take the exam a second time in order to pass.

FAQ question   How do Winthrop graduates fare in the job market?

FAQ Answer   Over the past 30 years, over 95% of our graduates seeking employment in the field have attained positions within three months of graduation. Recent graduates have found employment in states as distant as Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvannia, although most prefer to remain in the Carolinas. Public schools are by far the most common employers of graduates although other settings (e.g., mental health centers, rehabilitation and mental retardation agencies, etc.) are possible. Some of our graduates also pursue doctorates (usually after getting some experience) and have had excellent success in getting admitted to strong programs.