PhD in Educational Psychology (School)

The PhD Program in Educational Psychology (School) at Ball State offers candidates preparation for the practice of professional psychology, specifically for entry-level practice in school psychology, a substantive area of professional psychology. School psychology is a professional discipline with the objective of enhancing the psychological and educational well-being of children, adolescents, adults, and families through the provision of empirically derived assessment, consultation, prevention, and intervention services. The doctoral program’s coursework, research, experiences, practica, and internships afford candidates the competencies to work in school, private practice, mental health, hospital, and academic settings. It is our belief that school psychologists too often have been limited by the focus on “school.” We believe the title does not necessarily define the location where services will or should be provided. It is our contention that our graduates are best defined by their skills -- those necessary to perform the professional role asked of them across settings and within the ethical bounds of their education, training, and supervised experience. The American Psychological Association has continuously accredited the Ph.D. Program in Educational Psychology (School) since 1985. It is also approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
(T) 202-336-5979 (F) 202-336-5978

National Recognition

The program’s primary goal is to train school psychologists as scientists and practitioners. To this end, Little (1999) and others have noted that Ball State graduates were in the top 10 in the nation in number of publications. A more recent study ranked faculty from Ball State University’s school psychology program among the nation’s best for scholarly productivity (Wagner, Lail, Viglietta, & Burns, 2007). The program’s faculty was ranked seventh nationally in total scholarly publications and seventh in scholarly publications published in major school psychology journals from 1995-1999. In general, our faculty was fifth among the 53 programs accredited by the American Psychological Association from the period of 1977-1999. A number of published studies rank Ball State University’s School Psychology Doctoral Program among the nation’s top 10 in scholarly productivity and success of graduates. Below are some of the program’s accomplishments mentioned in recent publications.

  • First in total number of graduates since 1990 in academic positions (Little, Akin- Little, & Tingstrom, 2004).
  • First in annual rate of graduates in academic positions since the program gained American Psychological (APA) accreditation (Little, Akin-Little, & Tingstrom, 2004).
  • Third overall in total number of graduates in academic positions. (Little, Akin- Little, & Tingstrom, 2004).
  • Seventh in number of publications from 1995-99 (Carper &Williams, 2004). 
  • Third in number of journal publications outside of school psychology (Carper & Williams, 2004).
  • Ninth in authorship credit and number of publications from 1995-99 (Carper & Williams, 2004).
  • Fifth in total publications of current APA programs from 1970-99 (Little, 1999).
  • 13th in authorship credit ratings from 1995-99 and 2000-05 (Wagner, Lail, Viglietta, & Burns, 2007).

Training Model, Goals, and Objectives

The training perspective of the program is the scientist-practitioner model (Boulder). The doctoral program prepares candidates to integrate psychological theory, research, and established methods of scientific inquiry into effective practice, and to engage in research and evaluation activities that contribute to the science and practice of psychology.

The program’s goals, objectives, and competencies are consistent with the scientist-practitioner model and the substantive area of professional psychology, school psychology. Specifically, the program has the following five goals:

Goal #1: Assessment: Demonstrate knowledge and skills concerning fundamentals of measurement and assessment, and the use of assessment measures in a non-biased, reliable and valid manner.

Objectives for Goal #1 :

  1. Students will demonstrate the ability to define problem areas, strengths, and needs of clients through a variety of assessment procedures and show how effective the problem solving process was in addressing the issue.
  2. Students will demonstrate the ability to write psychological reports, interpret psychological results, make inferences about assessment data, and develop recommendations based upon psychological data.

Goal #2: Consultation: Demonstrate the ability to apply theoretical knowledge and skills when consulting with teachers, parents, and other professionals.

Objectives for Goal #2:

  1. Students will demonstrate appropriate communication and listening skills when consulting with professionals and parents.
  2. Students will demonstrate knowledge of and ability to use consultative techniques.
  3. Students will consult with teachers, parents, and/or other mental health professionals.

Goal #3: Prevention/Intervention: Demonstrate knowledge and skills concerning the theories and tactics used to guide the design and implementation of effective interventions for children and adolescents.

Objectives for Goal #3:

  1. Students will implement a prevention program.
  2. Students will implement effective interventions.

Goal #4: Research and Evaluation: Demonstrate knowledge and skills pertaining to research design, statistical analysis, and the communication of research results.

Objectives for Goal #4:

  1. Students will gain knowledge in statistics and research design and be able to apply this knowledge.
  2. Students will be able to communicate research and evidenced-based interventions effectively.

Goal #5: Professional Practice: Demonstrate skills required for appropriate professional practice, legal and ethical decision-making, and sensitivity to individual and cultural differences.

Objectives for Goal #5:

  1. Students will practice in appropriate ways that are ethical and legal.
  2. Students will use standards of practice that improve the quality of services to clients and protects the rights of all parties.
  3. Students will gain knowledge and understanding of the racial, ethnic, experiential, economic, and/or linguistic backgrounds of their clients.

For each goal, specific objectives (13 total) have been identified and corresponding competencies have been developed. The program’s curriculum focuses on candidates and developing competencies in assessment, consultation, prevention, research, and professional practice. Professional practice includes gaining knowledge of legal, ethical, and quality assurance expectations as they related to the practice of psychology. The program also has determined minimal levels of achievement and specific methods for assessing outcomes specific to each competency.