Loyola University Chicago

School of Education


PhD in School Psychology

The Ph.D. program of studies is comprised of 99 graduate semester hours and is organized to facilitate and maximize academic, research, and clinical experiences. 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.


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.

Transfer of Credits

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.

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 1-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 5 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 5-year course sequence, please see the School Psychology PhD Student Handbook, pp. 9-11. To see the course syllabi, please click on the following link: Course Syllabi.

Length of Program: 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. 

Continuous Enrollments: Doctoral students in School Psychology are required to maintain the status of continuous enrollment during their program of studies. This means that during each semester of each academic year (excluding Summer Sessions), each student must enroll in at least one course.

  • Enroll in one of the following:
    • At least one course OR
    • CIEP 499 - Directed Research OR
    • CIEP 610 - Doctoral Studies (maximum enrollment two semesters) OR
    • CIEP 600 - Dissertation Supervision
  • A formal leave of absence may be granted upon request and 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 1st in the year that you plan on taking comprehensive exams. Your academic advisor will then work with your program to approve you to take comprehensive exams. 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. 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)

Dissertation: 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.


See also