Below you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the School Psychology program at George Mason University.
What are the prerequisite courses to apply?
General psychology, Statistics, Research Methods, Abnormal, Developmental
What is the target GPA for acceptance?
An overall GPA of 3.0 or higher is desirable. Higher GPA in psychology courses is also common.
What is the target GRE score?
GRE scores are required for admission to the program. Scores at or above the 50th percentile are preferred. However, we do not use a cutoff for GRE scores. Our goal is to select students who will be successful in our program and in their career as school psychologists. Standardized tests are not necessarily the strongest predictors of these outcomes. Thus, we consider the entire application package for each applicant.
Can I apply to just the certificate?
The certificate is not a standalone option that you can add on to another degree or seek on its own. It does not provide all the requirements needed to practice school psychology in VA or in other states. You cannot become certified with just the certificate. For that reason, we do not typically consider applications for the certificate without the Master of Psychology, concentration in School Psychology.
I have a master's degree in a related field – will my credits count?
The coursework for our program is carefully selected. The courses are necessary in order to become certified to practice school psychology. Most master's degrees do not share similar coursework, as school psychology is a highly specific discipline. The program is allowed to waive up to 24 credits toward the master's, provided the courses meet specific criteria. The program is allowed to waive 7 credits toward the certificate, provided courses meet specific criteria. In most cases, even with a master's in a related field, there are many specific courses in school psychology that must be taken. So often times, many of the classes from another master's are not equivalent and cannot be counted.
When is the application deadline?
Jan 15th is the priority deadline.
What does priority deadline mean?
Applications submitted by the deadline will be considered. Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a space available basis.
Do you accept students in the fall and spring? How many are accepted?
We accept one cohort each fall, typically between 10 – 15 students. We do not have a spring cohort.
Is the program online or in person? When are classes?
The program is not offered online. The classes meet in person, during the day and early evening.
What is a cohort model?
The students in the program move through the sequence of courses together as one cohort. The sequence of courses is our “program of study.” The courses are taken in a specific order and many are sequential (with one being a prerequisite for the next). The program of study is carefully planned, and all students generally follow this sequence.
How many courses do students take each semester?
Each semester, students register for approximately 12 credits (about 4 classes).
Are there courses in the summer?
Yes, students take courses in the summer between first and second year.
How long is the program?
The program is three years. The first two years are spent in classes and practica, and the final year is a full-time internship. Most of the internships where our students are accepted are paid, though not at the salary of a credentialed school psychologist.
Can I work while in this program?
Many students have part time jobs during their time in the program. Flexibility of the job is important, as students must attend class at designated times. Also, students complete their practica, which requires activities outside of class time.
What practica are part of the program?
Students start practicum placements in the first semester. In total there are five, one-semester practica. In the fall of 2nd year, students take two practica simultaneously. Practica occur in the schools and in our university training clinic. Practica focus on assessment, prevention, intervention, and consultation. Students are placed in practicum sites.
Where do students complete internship?
Students complete internships all over the U.S. Many students remain in this area, though. Internships in the northern Virginia area are generally paid. The program does not place students in internships; students apply to school systems, who post job announcements in fall and early spring.
Is there a research project?
No, there is no research project requirement at this time, though many students elect to pursue research projects in conjunction with faculty in various programs at George Mason. The decision to become involved in research is up to each student. There is a culminating portfolio project completed during internship year.
What degree is awarded at the end of the program? What is the Master's plus Certificate program? Is this the same as an Ed.S.?
The program is considered a specialist level program, equivalent to an Ed.S. The program awards a Master in Psychology with a concentration in School Psychology, and a Certificate in School Psychology. It is a 66 credit program, in its entirety, and students must complete both the master's and the certificate to be eligible to practice as a school psychologist.
Will I be licensed after this program?
You will be eligible to apply to the Virginia Board of Education for licensure in school psychology. It is a “pupil personnel licensure.” You can apply for licensure in other states, as well.
Can I find a job after graduation?
There is a national (and local) shortage of school psychologists, so hiring prospects are very good. Many school districts in Virginia and beyond have unfilled positions.
Admissions requirements can be found at https://cehd.gmu.edu/admissions/graduate-application-deadlines.
The NASP website for info about our profession is at https://www.nasponline.org/.
More information about a career in school psychology can be found at https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/school-psychologist.