Rutgers GSAPP Search
Program Purpose and Philosophy

The doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) program in school psychology at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey prepares doctoral level psychologists for professional practice with children and youth in schools and other community settings.  We emphasize integration of scientific knowledge with innovation in the delivery of psychological services to individuals, families, groups, and organizations. 

The School Psychology Program is based on the Psy.D./Practitioner-Scholar model of training, initially developed at the 1973 Vail Conference on Levels and Patterns of Professional Training in Psychology.  This model places primary emphasis on delivery of psychological services and on the evaluation and improvement of services.  The Program emphasizes professional practice based on an understanding of research-supported knowledge in the discipline.  The Program supports a view of professional school psychology practice that is guided by knowledge of the theory and research related to school psychology and by data-based decision making in the practice setting.

The School Psychology Program educates and trains graduate students to think psychologically and systematically about the nature of schooling, using a science-based approach to the design, implementation, and evaluation of practices, programs and services at the individual, group, and organizational levels, in order to support the emotional, social, and academic development of students in schools.  School psychology faculty members believe that school psychological service delivery should be grounded in research findings that professional practices or programs are likely to contribute to beneficial results for clients.  In addition, faculty members believe that decision-making about initiating, maintaining, modifying and terminating practices, programs and services should be data-based and therefore reflective of the individual needs and goals of clients.  Throughout the Program’s curriculum, theoretical and research foundations are integrated with practice issues and didactic training is integrated with field experiences, in part, to emphasize the relationship between science and practice.

Faculty members of the School Psychology Program educate and train students to provide school psychological services that are referenced to educational and psychological needs and are evidence-based, culturally sensitive, collaborative and coordinated with other school practices, and informed by literatures on systems and organizational functioning.  The Program promotes use of an approach to professional practice that includes data-based clarification of needs and concerns, in which evidence is evaluated in terms of its technical reliability, validity and scientific meaningfulness, and the practitioner seeks to understand the problem or task within a theoretical framework.  The social/organizational context is understood as a critical dimension of professional service delivery.  Evaluation of the results of professional activity is seen as an essential component of professional practice.  Social responsibility of the school psychologist is also emphasized as it relates to issues such as diversity.

School psychologists trained in this manner will understand:  a) how to provide effective research-based interventions for individual students with an emphasis on addressing emotional, social, and/or behavior problems that impede learning; and b) how to work with teachers, school administrators, and other stakeholders to develop classroom, school, and other learning environments that promote healthy psychological development and educational achievement. (Rev. 2017)