Using data-driven solutions to enhance equality across the education system

Work directly with students, while also publishing change-making research that will help disrupt inequities in our education system with a PhD in School Psychology

Our commitment to you

Upon graduation with a PhD in school psychology from Loyola, you will possess the following knowledge, skills, and professional values necessary to commence work as both a practicing school psychologist and publishing researcher.


You will become a scientist-practitioner who understands and can implement evidence-based assessment, intervention, and consultation practice from a social justice perspective. Plus, you'll understand the history of school psychology, the historical discrimination and inequity on educational and psychological functioning, and the impact of individual differences and social/cultural influences on development and adjustment.


You'll conduct evidence-based direct counseling and mental health interventions, as well as indirect consultative interventions in applied settings. On the research side, you'll critically evaluate research (i.e., designs, data analysis, and data interpretation) from a methodological, as well as ethical and social justice, perspective. Using research methodological skills and statistical expertise, you'll complete original dissertation research, present at psychological and educational conferences, and prepare manuscripts for publication.

Professional Values

Our graduates represent the scientist-practitioner ideal of a person who not only applies psychological knowledge within the context of their professional practice, but also a person who can generate new, applications-oriented knowledge through his/her research and scholarly activities and the application of such in the service of others through a social justice framework.


Accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), Loyola's PhD in School Psychology requires 99 graduate semester hours and is organized to facilitate and maximize academic, research, and clinical experiences.

Program Features

All students begin in the first year with an introductory professional orientation course, beginning research courses, pre-requisite courses that lead to a second year school-based practicum, and engagement with the community through the completion of a school-based, pre-practicum experience.

In the second year of the program, students complete two semesters of a structured school-based practicum, in which they spend two days a week in a school setting and complete structured activities tied to the practicum.

In the third year of the program, students complete an advanced practicum, more advanced research courses, and work on their dissertation proposals.

In the fourth year of the program, students apply for a calendar-year-long doctoral internship through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC), an APA-accredited doctoral internship match system for doctoral students in Health Service Psychology programs.

In the fifth year, students are required to complete a calendar-year internship under the direction of a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist.

Transfer Credit

Students with a master’s degree may be able to transfer up to 36 credit hours into the PhD program. However, a minimum of 63 credit hours and a minimum of 2 years of coursework must be completed at Loyola University Chicago.


Students who are admitted to the School Psychology PhD program must have successfully completed an undergraduate or graduate level course in statistics. If the student has not taken a statistics course or earned a grade less than “B,” then the student must take an introductory statistics course either the summer before the start of the Fall semester or within the first year of the doctoral program.

Required Coursework (99 semester hours)


The Loyola University Chicago School Psychology PhD program is a 5-year program Students are required to complete 99 credit hours of graduate level coursework, a 600-hour school-based practicum, a minimum of 500 hours for advanced practicum, a Doctoral Culminating Portfolio, a dissertation, and a one-year 2,000 hour internship.

On average, students take 4-5 courses each semester. Summer coursework is also required in order to complete the program within five years. Students take courses in ethics and law, individual and cultural diversity, assessment, intervention, consultation, and research methods and analysis. Students also take courses in the social, cognitive, developmental, and affective bases of human behavior. All courses taken at Loyola are situated within a social justice framework, which is consistent with the overall mission of the University. For a detailed review of the five-year course sequence, please see the PhD in School Psych. Student Handbook, pp. 9-11.


Program Length

This is a full-time program. Students complete the course work for the program in four years, including summers. Time for degree completion, including the dissertation, is six years.

Doctoral students in School Psychology are required to maintain continuous enrollment during their program of studies. This means that during each semester of each academic year (excluding Summer Sessions), each student must do one of the following:

  • Enroll in one of the following:
    At least one course
    CIEP 499: Directed Research 
    CIEP 610: Doctoral Studies (maximum enrollment two semesters) 
    CIEP 600: Dissertation Supervision
  • Request a formal leave of absence, with the approval of the Graduate School's Associate Dean.

Candidates in all programs leading to Illinois certification are required to pass an Illinois State Criminal Background Check.

Comprehensive Assessment

Doctoral students complete their major comprehensive examinations prior to accepting an internship and typically during the third year of study. Notify your academic advisor by September 1 in the year that you plan on taking comprehensive exams to begin the approval process. This approval process will involve a transcript review and a discussion with program faculty that you are ready to move to this stage within the program. Once approved for comprehensive examinations, closely follow the required guidelines found within the program handbook [PDF]. The procedures for grading comprehensive examinations, notifying students of their status, and any necessary procedures for remediation are found in the program handbook. Your program director enters the results of your comprehensive examinations on the graduate school database, and you will receive written notification as to your results.

Due Dates for Major Comprehensive Portfolio:

  • Initial Components: October 1 (of year 4 or internship year)
  • Clinical Components: February 1 (of year 4 or internship year)

Written minor examination dates: (varies based on minor; consult with advisor)


A dissertation and oral defense is required. For documents, see the Forms page.

Degree Conferral

While the commencement ceremony is every May, degrees can be conferred May, August, and December. Students must apply for graduation/degree conferral. Students should apply for graduation in the semester they anticipate completing all degree requirements. Failure to meet application deadlines may result in a delay of the conferral of the degree to the following semester. Applications for Degree Conferral are due:

  • August 1 for December conferral
  • December 1 for May conferral
  • February 1 for August conferral

Please note the degree conferral application is valid for only one semester. If the degree is not conferred for the semester requested, a new application and fee are required for a subsequent semester.


What is the difference between a PhD and EdS in School Psychology?

The EdS in School Psychology is a degree between a master's degree and a doctorate. The EdS degree will allow you to be credentialed in Illinois as a licensed school psychologist through the State Board of Education. This credential allows you to practice as a school psychologist in the public schools. The PhD program in school psychology is designed for individuals who are interested in the scientist-practitioner model or who are considering an academic career.

Does the School Psychology PhD Program prepare me for licensure?

In Illinois, the PhD degree qualifies you to become licensed as a school psychologist by the Illinois State Board of Education, which is required to work in the schools. The issue of licensure through the Illinois Department of Regulations (DPR) is up to the DPR review. Each state has its own credentialing requirements and individuals need to check with the state in which they want to practice school psychology for the particular state's credentialing requirements.

Do I need to take any licensure examinations?

Yes, all candidates are required to pass the ICTS exam during the first year in the program. All candidates must successfully pass the Illinois State School Psychology Content Examination prior to beginning internship. All candidates must also pass the PRAXIS School Psychology Examination to obtain NCSP status (National Certified School Psychologists).

How do I apply for state licensure?

Visit the Placement and Licensure page for details. 

I have taken graduate courses at another university. Will any of these courses transfer to Loyola's school psychology program?

Because of the rapid changes in the field of education and school psychology, courses will only be transferred to Loyola if they have been taken during the five years prior to your admittance to the school psychology program. If you do not have a master's degree, then six semester hours may be transferred. If you have a master's degree, up to 36 semester hours may be transferred into the PhD program at Loyola.

How long does it take to complete the PhD in School Psychology?

Full-time students can complete the coursework and field placements in a minimum of four years by taking courses during the summer. A full-time 12-month internship must be completed during the last year of study. All coursework and dissertation proposal must be completed prior to beginning an internship. Completion of coursework and dissertation typically takes six years.

Can I complete the PhD in School Psychology degree by taking courses part time?

The program is full-time only and requires attendance during the summer.

Is there a residency requirement?

As full-time students, all PhD students automatically satisfy the residency requirements.