Department of Psychology

Master of Science /
Specialist in Education (EdS)
School Psychology


About the Program

Why should you choose the School Psychology Program at Emporia State University? The answer: experience.

As the first School Psychology Program offered in a four-state region, this programs has a long-standing history of respect and tradition. Our candidates began collaboration with schools in 1952, and to this day school psychologists trained at Emporia State serve in virtually all districts and special education cooperatives in Kansas. In Emporia State’s School Psychology program, the core trainers are tenured professors, with doctorates in school psychology and several decades of experience in the field. If you are interested in working with children with diverse characteristics and backgrounds, and in providing them preventative as well as remedial services to help them achieve success, then our NASP-accredited program may be for you.

At Emporia State, candidates first learn to be members of multidisciplinary teams, completing initial training in association with candidates from disciplines such as adaptive education, early childhood, gifted education, educational administration, and clinical psychology. During this time, candidates learn theory, characteristics and methods related to preschool and school-aged children with developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, mental retardation, autism, serious emotional disturbance, and more. These classroom experiences enhance candidate’s understanding of the cross-disciplinary nature of the school psychology profession. Concurrently with this course work, candidates take core school psychology courses to help them understand the foundations of their chosen profession. Later in the program, candidates conduct research, undertake evaluations and assessments of clients, and complete other field-based training during practicum and internship experiences.

The School Psychology program progresses from a 35 credit hour Master of Science (M.S.) earned en passant, with its emphasis on theory and research, to the 30 credit-hour terminal Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) with its focus on greater skill application and the practicum field experience.

In many instances, potential candidates who already have an M.S. in a related field such as adaptive education or clinical psychology are eligible to apply directly to the Ed.S. program, provided that they have the equivalent of all M.S. course work before completing the Ed.S. degree (see the candidate handbook for more details described in the Ed.S. degree requirements section, or contact the Jim Persinger, the program director, to review your options).

Upon completion of the Ed.S. degree, and a passing score on the Praxis II National School Psychology Examination, the candidate obtains a conditional (sometimes called “provisional”) license from KSDE.  This allows them to begin a four credit-hour, year-long paid internship in the schools.  With internship complete, the 69-credit hour program is complete.  This means the individual will have eligibility for a regular EC-12 Kansas license, as well as eligibility to obtain the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential.



The Emporia State University School Psychology program seeks to develop scientist-practitioners, capable of delivering comprehensive and effective school psychological services in varied school contexts. The faculty are committed to interaction with candidates in a way which encourages their professional identity with the profession of school psychology. The intent is to create candidates who will promote the cognitive, behavioral, and social development of young children and adolescents, working with youth and families of diverse characteristics. 

To do so effectively, we believe that candidates should be prepared to:

  • Make empirically-based decisions and use research-based practices.
  • Demonstrate assessment practices which contribute to an understanding of student needs, by being valid, reliable, comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and appropriate for culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
  • Link assessment to all other roles of the school psychologist, including intervention, and treatment efficacy.
  • Recognize the uniqueness of all students, and create goals developmentally appropriate to their individual characteristics across all relevant domains.
  • Implement and evaluate theoretically and empirically sound, population-based educational and mental health programming for school personnel, families and children.
  • Work collaboratively with others in problem-solving situation, utilizing eclectic consultation models with school personnel, parents, community and state agencies to systemically address needs.
  • Recognize schools as systems, and help structure comprehensive services which acknowledge factors such as school climate, family involvement, special and general education resources, and community influences which contribute to effective learning.
  • Advocate for the needs of individual students, and for environments which promote the health and well-being of all children.
  • Support their profession, pursuing ongoing professional development to promote collegiality as well as to assure they grow into a reflective practitioner who always understands and follows contemporary professional, ethical and legal standards.

The Emporia State School Psychology program supports the Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy developed by the National Association of School Psychologists.” NASP’s long standing commitment to the just and fair treatment of all persons is underscored by the inclusion of diversity as a core value in the strategic plan. Diversity in development and learning is one of the 10 domains of school psychology practice and is considered one of the foundational knowledge sets for the profession: “School psychologists ensure that their knowledge, skills, and professional practices reflect the understanding and respect for human diversity and promote effective services, advocacy, and social justice for all children, families, and schools (NASP, 2010).” It is with these principles in mind that the NASP Delegate Assembly adopted the Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy in 2011.


Applying for Admittance to the School Psychology Program

A comprehensive review of the School Psychology Program’s assessment system, with full detail on admissions, transition from M.S. to Ed.S. candidacy, disposition assessment and more is provided in the Candidate Handbook.

Students seeking acceptance into the graduate degree programs for Master of Science/Specialist in Education in School Psychology must first be admitted to the Graduate School at Emporia State. Instruction and guidance about this process can be found here.

Although applications are accepted year-round, in order to offer applicants an assurance that an admissions decision and enrollment may begin on the desired schedule, applications should meet specified deadlines. Applications should be completed by March 1 to assure a program of study may begin during the fall semester, and October 1 for a program of study which begins during the spring semester. Materials arriving after those dates will be given due consideration, but an admissions decision may not be completed in time for enrollment during the desired semester.

Materials may be submitted, and/or admissions questions directed to:

Attn: School Psychology Admissions Committee
Office of Graduate Studies
1 Kellogg Circle
Campus Box 4003
Emporia, KS 66801
Voice: (620) 341-5403
Fax: (620) 341-5909

Questions specific to the School Psychology Program should be sent to the program's director, Dr. Jim Persinger, phone (620) 341-5428. Most questions will probably be addressed in the latest program information, included in the Candidate Handbook.