What do school psychologists do?
School psychologists team with teachers, school administrators, parents, and other mental health professionals to ensure that every child learns in a safe, healthy and supportive environment. School psychologists understand school systems, effective teaching, and successful learning. They help evaluate student and classroom needs and develop systematic interventions when needed. For more information about the profession of school psychology, see the webpage of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).
What is unique about the school psychology program at UW-RF?
The curriculum at UW-River Falls emphasizes collaboration, culturally-responsive practice, leadership development, and data-based decision making. The combined master's degree (M.S.E.) and specialist degree (Ed.S) were designed to be four years in length, as opposed to the more traditional three-year timeline of most school psychology programs. Additionally, most courses in the UWRF program are offered in the evenings, starting at 4:00 or 4:30. While the evening based courses and the four years of training are not for everyone, many students find the pace to be an integral part of their success, allowing them to maintain employment and/or time for other obligations as needed.
Where is UW-River Falls located? Are all program classes taken on the River Falls Campus?
The main campus of the University of Wisconsin - River Falls is conveniently located in western Wisconsin and is just a 30 minute drive from St. Paul, Minnesota. Additionally, many program class sessions are now held at the new UW-RF Hudson Center, located just off of Interstate 94 in Hudson. The convenient location of the Hudson Center helps reduce commuting time for many School Psychology Program students. See the map below to locate Hudson and River Falls or click on Maps for more information.
What is the accreditation status of the UW-RF school psychology program?
The UWRF School Psychology Program is fully approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Students are prepared with the highest quality nationally approved expectations, including comprehensive coursework and diverse field experiences. Graduates of NASP-approved programs are eligible for certification in Minnesota and Wisconsin and most other jurisdictions nationwide. Graduates of NASP-approved programs are also eligible for national certification (NCSP). Additionally, the program is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and was rated in the top 20% of all programs on the UW-River Falls campus following a university-wide program prioritization process in 2010.
How much should I expect to spend on tuition to complete the program?
The total tuition cost to complete the entire program (66 credits) is $27,947 for Wisconsin residents, $29,261 for Minnesota residents, and $45,321 for all other non-residents. Tuition does not include the cost of textbooks or additional campus and program fees. The university charges additional campus fees for all credits taken on campus. These fees help pay for various supplemental services used by students. All tuition and fees are based on 2012-2013 rates and are subject to change.
If I already have an advanced degree and training in counseling or a related field, can I receive a degree from UWRF after submitting my transcripts to the university?
UW-River Falls does not have a respecialization process and can only grant degrees to students who have taken the bulk and core or their courses (credits) from this institution. The program can not waive practicum/internship in school psychology for a student who has completed a practicum/internship in counseling or clinical psychology. Candidates can only receive a degree and be considered graduates from UWRF if they have taken the core courses in school psychology from UWRF. A degree can not be granted based solely on transcripts submitted to the university.
If I already have a graduate degree in a related field, can I complete the program in less time?
Even though a student may have an advanced degree in clinical or counseling psychology or another field related to school psychology, it is difficult to complete the UW-RF program in less than four years. A student with an advanced degree may transfer up to nine approved credits into the program. The transfer of credits may lighten the course load a student experiences in some semesters but the time needed to complete the program is not shortened in most cases. Contact the program director for more details.
What value are my undergraduate credits in related fields?
Having a degree or credits in psychology, sociology, education, or related fields can provide a valuable foundation for learning in the UWRF School Psychology Program. While undergraduate coursework or majors in these fields are not required for entrance, they are viewed favorably by faculty and may enhance an application to the program. However, only graduate courses can be submitted for transfer credits. Courses submitted for transfer course are accepted only if they match closely a UWRF School Psychology course and only if they are five years old or less. Up to nine credits may be transferred into any UWRF graduate program. Prospective and current students are encouraged to consult with the program director about transferring credits. Transfer of graduate credits must be requested with the required credit transfer form.
I have experience working with special populations. Can I get credit for life experiences and waive the expectations of a class in this area?
The School Psychology Program at UWRF does not give credit for work or life experience to fulfill a class requirement. Class requirements can only be waived through credits documented on a transcript. However, work experience may be considered an asset during the application process, and life and work experiences in related fields provide an excellent foundation for learning in graduate school.
When do classes meet?
Courses typically meet Monday through Thursday from September through May. Most campus-based class sessions will begin at 4:00 p.m. or later. During the first two years of the program, students in the School Psychology Program can expect to take classes either two or three evenings per week. During the third and fourth years of the program, students spend less time on campus and more time directly in schools where they complete required field placement credits. Some required courses are only offered in the summer or January Term, with most of those class sessions occurring in the evenings at 4:00 or later. See the Required Course Sequence for a listing of courses and what term each is offered.
Where are students placed for required field experiences?
During the third year of training, School Psychology Program students complete practicum with cooperating school districts in western Wisconsin and in or around the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Students complete two 300-hour practicum experiences in two different locations, for a total of 600 hours of field-based practicum work. This is equivalent of about 20 hours per week in a school setting for an entire school year. Students are expected to make practicum a priority. If necessary, students may need to plan for a sabbatical from work in order to complete the practicum year.
During the fourth year of training, School Psychology Program students complete a required 1200 hour internship. The internship is full-time and follows the completion of practicum and all other required coursework. Candidates for internship seek out their own internship sites and locations, with assistance from program faculty. Most UW-RF School Psychology students complete the internship in Wisconsin or Minnesota, but proximity to campus in not required.
Can any part of the practicum or internship experience be completed over the summer?
The required practicum and internship experiences cannot be completed during the summer. Registration for practicum and internship occurs only during the fall and spring semesters, as students are expected to attend required seminars and participate in individual university supervision, and group supervision. Faculty do not provide supervision during the summer months.