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 ESU-trained school psychologists serve in virtually all districts and special education cooperatives in Kansas. At 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 ESU, candidates first learn to be members of multidisciplinary teams, completing initial training in association with candidates from disciplines such as adaptive education, early childhood, school counseling, 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, intellectual deficiency, autism, 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, learn about multi-tiered systems of supports, and complete field-based training during supervised practicum and internship experiences.

The School Psychology Program progresses from a 35 credit-hour Master of Science (MS) earned en passant, with its emphasis on theory and research, to the 30 credit-hour terminal Educational Specialist (EdS) with its focus on greater skill application and the practicum field experience.  These degree programs are NASP-approved.

Potential candidates who already have an MS from another School Psychology program, or an MS in a related field such as adaptive education or clinical psychology, are often eligible to apply directly to our EdS respecialization program. This program is NASP-aligned but not NASP-approved.  These candidates have to demonstrate that they have the equivalent of all of our program’s MS course work before they are eligible for EdS degree candidacy, which may be completed concurrently with EdS coursework as approved by a program advisor.

Candidates in each the regular or the respecialization program, upon completion of the EdS degree and a passing score on the Praxis II National School Psychology Examination, 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. When internship requirements are finished, the program is complete. This means the individual will have eligibility for a regular EC-12 Kansas license. Those who completed the regular program are then eligible to receive the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential. Those in the respecialization track will be assisted in applying for the NCSP using NASP’s process for graduates of non-NASP-approved School Psychology Programs as detailed at:



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

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 of the University. Candidates seeking entrance into the Ed.S. respecialization program utilize the same admissions procedure. Instruction and guidance about this process can be found here.

Candidates then seek admission to the program by completing the following:

  • Submission of an "Application for Admission to Graduate Study" form online at
  • Submission of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts.
  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A grade point average of not less than 3.0 overall, or a 3.25 on the last 60 semester hours for the masters program, and 3.50 on the masters program coursework for admission to the Education Specialist degree.
  • Course prerequisites: A minimum of 20 semester hours of psychology or related fields at the undergraduate level. This must include introductory psychology, developmental psychology, descriptive and/or research methods, history/foundations of psychology, and learning/cognitive theory or educational psychology. These may be satisfied by equivalents as determined by core program faculty. It is not uncommon that some prerequisite course work is missing for applicants; certain aspects may be met concurrently with School Psychology Program studies.
    • Individuals with an M.S. degree in a field related to school psychology may already have met these requirements via related coursework, and should discuss these prerequisites with an advisor during the admissions process.
  • For international applicants whose first language is not English, submission of a TOEFL score which is in the good to high range in reading, listening, speaking and writing and reflects a Lexile range encompassing a minimum of 1350-1400L.
  • Three letters of recommendation (form in Appendix B and also available at from professionals who can comment on the applicant’s potential for completing advanced graduate studies.  Additional letters (e.g., from friends or family members) which address issues the candidate believes relevant may also be submitted, but the application is not complete without the three letters from professionals that provide the information requested in the form. Instead of using the paper forms, you could ask references to complete the online form here.
  • A statement of purpose or letter of intent. Its purpose is to introduce themselves to the committee, make clear that they understand the profession of school psychology, and should demonstrate that they have the academic background, maturity, and diligence to succeed in the program. The letter of intent helps the admission committee understand the context of the application and facilitates admissions decisions. It should discuss any experience or background relevant to their interest in pursuing school psychology as a profession. It should also explain anything in the application materials that they believe should be elaborated upon. For respecialization candidates, it should make clear that your intent is bypassing of the M.S. degree and direct admission to Ed.S. studies as a respecialization candidate.
  • Candidates in the program who have completed an M.S. in school psychology at ESU, and who have applied to move forward into the Ed.S. program, need a letter of recommendation completed by one core faculty member in the program.

These items are all required: Applications are not considered complete and will not be reviewed until all of these elements have been received.

A final requirement is completion of an admissions interview, which often occurs prior to the application being complete (e.g., while respecialization applicants are seeking advising) but which otherwise will occur once application materials are submitted. The interview may be done via phone/Skype with a member of the School Psychology Program core faculty.

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.