Master of Science in School Psychology with PPSP Credential Program Page

Master of Science in School Psychology with Pupil Personnel Services Credential (California)

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Home » Programs » Master of Science in School Psychology with Pupil Personnel Services Credential (California)

Program Overview

National University’s MS in School Psychology program offers a comprehensive education that prepares students to be change agents in the PreK-12 setting through research, practice, and advocacy. Our program emphasizes collaboration and consultation to strengthen leadership skills and provides support for students’ academic, behavioral, and social & emotional needs.

Students will also learn various methods of assessment and evidence-based interventions to address student difficulties related to mental health and academic interventions. Additionally, our program provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge to prevent and intervene in school-based challenges and crisis situations.

The program’s curriculum aligns with California Commission for Teacher Credentialing (CTC) standards and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Candidates in this program are prepared for the position of school psychologist in the state of California. Candidates are encouraged to be active in local, state, and national professional organizations to stay relevant in the field of school psychology.

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Course Details

Course Listing

Program Requirements

  • 23 courses; 94.5 quarter units

Core Requirements

  • 20 courses; 81 quarter units

Candidates are required to complete ALL 450 hours of practicum prior to starting their internship. Candidates must complete the practicum experience under the supervision of a credentialed and experienced ( three-year) school psychologist. Attendance is required online and/or face-to-face for all courses.

This course is designed to introduce students to the history of school psychology, and the professional standards set forth by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) School Psychology Performance Expectations (SPPE). Students will learn the historical timelines of school psychology, the role and functions of school psychologists, and the evolution of the field. This course will engage students and promote critical thinking to evaluate and address the importance of social justice, ethical considerations, and legal aspects required in the field of school psychology.

PrerequisitePED 606

This course introduces candidates to the roles school psychologists play in the state of California and nationally focusing on the ethical and legal guidelines that shape the profession and emergent practices in assessment, crisis intervention, personal and social counseling, behavior management, consultation, and systems change. Emphasis will be placed on professional dispositions (behavior and attitude), responsibility, adaptability, initiative, and self-care.

PrerequisitePED 608

This course is an introduction to basic concepts and methods of measurement as applied to psychological and educational testing. Candidates will learn about the basic concepts, competencies, issues, and tools used in psychological testing and measurement and their practical applications. Emphasis will be placed three main areas: 1) theory and principles (e.g., statistical foundations, reliability, validity, item analysis), 2) applications and issues (e.g., test construction and evaluation), and 3) practical elements (e.g., test use in educational and clinical settings).

PrerequisitePED 610

This course will provide candidates with an introduction to California State Educational Code and federal laws for the purpose of advocating for students in need of special education supports. Candidates will examine the timeline of special education legislation, specifically focusing on the Individuals with Disability Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), due process, mediation, Individual Education Plans (IEP), Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), and Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) within a culturally diverse student population. A focus will be addressing landmark cases directly related to Special Education.

PrerequisitePED 612

This course provides candidates’ knowledge and training in Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) which includes Response to Intervention (RtI) and Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS). The framework focuses on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and provides supports and resources for K-12 students in the areas of academics and behavioral success. Candidates will also learn to select, implement, and monitor evidence-based interventions to improve academic performance with diverse students.

PrerequisitePED 614

This is the first of four assessment courses. This course provides the foundation for all assessment courses by exploring assessment practices, ethical expectations, historical context of assessment, and considerations of all learners with special emphasis on students who are ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse. Content includes psychometrics, psycho-educational assessment, cognitive theories, assessment processes and data-based decision making. Emphasis will be placed on Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory of cognitive abilities to formulate a student’s cognitive profile to drive instructional change based on strengths and needs. Multiple assessment factors will be reviewed (e.g., motivation, attendance, school climate, etc.) which can impact student learning. Proper administration, scoring, interpretation of results, and synthesis of data from several sources will be addressed.

PrerequisitePED 616

PED 618a is an online and school-based practicum course designed to provide candidates with an orientation to the professional role and responsibilities of a school psychologist within school systems. PED 618a is part one of a three-part consecutive course sequence. Skill development and level of independence will advance with each course. Candidates will observe school psychologists in their daily activities and engage in experiences across NASP’s 10 Domains of Practice and CCTCs 10 School Psychology Performance Expectations (SPPEs). Special emphasis will be placed on ethical and legal issues associated with service delivery, federal and state guidelines for special education, and psychoeducational assessment. Issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion will be examined in relation to assessment, collaboration, and intervention.

PrerequisitePED 616

This course is an introduction to the foundations of human development across the lifespan. The course will describe the history and foundational knowledge related to the study of childhood and adolescence, examine the various theories of developmental psychology, and highlight current issues in the field of school psychology.

PrerequisitePED 620

This course is designed to introduce school psychology candidates to problem-solving consultative and collaborative procedures to engage in effective design, implementation, and evaluation of collaborative procedures with teachers, administrators, parents, and community agencies. Emphasis is placed on candidates engaging in multi-disciplinary teams to support a positive school climate, student engagement, and academic, behavioral, and social-emotional interventions.

PrerequisitePED 622

This is the second of four assessment courses and is designed to explore academic assessment and investigate additional psychological processing assessments. This course will further candidates’ understanding of the various ways to assess academic skills in students, including cognitive processing assessments, curriculum-based assessment and measurement, and response to intervention in order to further explore a student’s overall learning profile to select, implement, and monitor evidence-based interventions to improve academic performance in diverse students. Emphasis will be placed on interpretation of assessment results for students from ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse backgrounds.

PrerequisitePED 624

PED 618B is the second practicum course within the three-part practicum sequence. During this course candidates will continue to build on their knowledge of the role and responsibilities of a school psychologist within school systems. Special emphasis will be placed on ethical and legal issues associated with service delivery, best practice in implementing multi-tiered interventions and assessment and intervention for academic, behavioral, social-emotional concerns. Issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion will be examined in relation to assessment, system-level policies, and intervention.

PrerequisitePED 624

awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension). Candidates will also be introduced to reading difficulties (I.e., dyslexia) and will learn how to assess reading skills and deficits. Emphasis will be placed on evidence-based reading interventions to support student’s reading growth. The link between the “Big five” and instructional decision-making will be ongoing throughout the course, with attention to standardized assessment practices, curriculum-based measurements, DIBELS and other alternative measures for learners with diverse needs and providing instructional support to teachers.

PrerequisitePED 626

This course is designed to develop candidates’ knowledge and skills in educational research and inquiry, including qualitative and quantitative research methods, basic statistical analyses, psychometric concepts, critical evaluation of research and its methodology, cross-cultural methods of inquiry, and the ethical standards guiding educational research.

PrerequisitePED 628

This course teaches the foundational principles of applied behavior analysis and social-emotional learning. Candidates will learn to apply various theoretical frameworks such as social cognitive theory, respondent conditioning, and operant conditioning to improve social-emotional and behavioral functioning of k-12 students. This course will explore functional behavior assessments, behavior intervention plans, schoolwide positive behavior and intervention supports, data collection methods, and intervention design within a problem-solving framework. Additionally, candidates will examine how diversity, equity, and inclusion affect behavior management in schools.

PrerequisitePED 630

PED 618c is the final practicum course in the three-part practicum sequence. During this course, candidates will demonstrate their knowledge of the role and responsibilities of a school psychologist within school systems. Special emphasis will be placed on data-based decision-making, assessment of low incidence populations, home-school collaboration, evidence-based counseling practices, mental health, and crisis intervention. Issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion will be examined in relation to building collaborative partnerships with families and the community.

PrerequisitePED 630

This is the third course in a sequence of four assessment courses. In this course, social-emotional, behavior and trait-oriented assessment tools are introduced and explored. This course will examine the theories and skills needed to properly administer and interpret standardized measures and research-based evaluations assessing social-emotional functioning and behavioral conditions to determine appropriate special education eligibility for Other Health Impaired and Emotional Disturbance. Candidates will analyze ethnic, linguistic, and cultural background in the interpretation of assessment results to develop effective Functional Behavior Assessment and behavior intervention plans.

PrerequisitePED 632

This course will initially provide an introduction to the major theories of counseling including behavioral, humanistic, social learning, psychoanalytic, and cognitive. Approaches, principles, and procedures of counseling and consultation will be introduced including individual and group. In addition, this course provides the theoretical and practical foundation and strategies for candidates to design and implement interventions that focus on behavioral and social/emotional wellness appropriate for all students that adhere to the national and state models within a multicultural context.

PrerequisitePED 634

This course will introduce school psychology candidates to school related culturally responsive mental health supports and multi-tiered crisis preventative strategies. Areas of focus include protective and resiliency factors, crisis preparation, response, and recovery. Emphasis is placed on collaborative problem-solving procedures to promote school safety through mental health supports, threat and risk assessments, and crisis response planning.

PrerequisitePED 636

This course will look at child psychopathology from a development perspective, covering typical social-emotional and cognitive development and then examining how this gets disrupted or otherwise altered to result in child and adolescent psychopathology. We will examine classification systems and models of diagnosis and disease, as well as alternatives to the more traditional “medical model” such as examining risk, resilience and the role of psychosocial and cultural factors. The course will aim to teach candidates to identify potential mental/behavioral health issues in children and adolescents, and then understand and be able to explain to others what the implications of this might be for a given student. Candidates will think critically about the ethics and issues of controversy around child and adolescent mental health. The emphasis is on the psychological disorders of children most encountered in the delivery of school psychological services.

PrerequisitePED 638

This is the final assessment course. In this course, assessment processes for determining eligibility for Autism and Intellectual Disability will be examined. Content will include investigating non-school-based supports (e.g., regional center, Department of Rehab, etc.) to provide support for students and families outside of the school setting. Candidates will learn how to use both standardized and non-standardized assessment methods to address student needs and skills. Candidates will practice methods to communicate eligibility determination to families in a sensitive manner.

Internship Requirements

  • 3 courses; 13.5 units

PrerequisitePED 640

PED 646 is a supervision course for the first 600 hours of the school psychology internship. The internship is considered the culminating training experience within a school psychology program. The goal of the internship is to provide high-quality, comprehensive training experiences across all the domains of practice to prepare candidates for their role as school psychologists. School Psychology candidates will demonstrate their ability to apply their university training, knowledge, and specialized assessment skills to address the needs of children, families, and the community. In PED 646, candidates will engage in supervised fieldwork experiences leading to competencies in the following areas: data-based decision making, human diversity, social justice, legal/ethical issues, academic and behavior interventions, social-emotional development/mental health, crisis response, program development and evaluation, preventative and responsive services, consultation and collaboration, leadership and advocacy as they are related to the School Psychology profession. In this course, candidates will develop an internship portfolio, that will be used throughout their internship, to demonstrate proficiency in all school psychology performance expectations.

CorequisitePED 642 If a student has not been enrolled into PED 644 by completion of PED 642, it will be at the discretion of the faculty to enroll students during PED 646. Advisors should contact faculty prior to enrollment for approval.

This seminar is for school psychology interns and will run concurrently with PED 646 or PED 648. PED 644 will provide further knowledge on special topics in school psychology such as manifestation determinations, risk and threat assessments, social justice, culturally responsive assessment and interventions, and evidence-based counseling strategies. Support will be provided for graduation preparation, Praxis and comprehensive exam, portfolio construction, the school psychology program exit process and entry into the profession.

PrerequisitePED 642

PED 646 is the continuation of the previous supervision course for the last 600 hours of the school psychology internship. The goal of the internship is to provide high-quality, comprehensive training experiences across all the domains of practice to prepare candidates for their role as a school psychologist. School Psychology candidates will have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to apply their university training, knowledge, and specialized assessment skills to address the needs of children, families, and the community. In PED 646, candidates will continue to engage in supervised fieldwork experiences leading to competencies in the following areas: data-based decision making, human diversity, social justice, legal/ethical issues, academic and behavior interventions, social-emotional development/mental health, crisis response, program development and evaluation, preventative and responsive services, consultation and collaboration, leadership and advocacy as they are related to the School Psychology profession. Candidates will complete and defend the internship portfolio in this course.

Optional Elective

  • 1 courses

PrerequisitePED 618C with a minimum grade of B. To apply, the candidate must demonstrate proficiency by completing all required hours, and assignments, and have acceptable evaluations from the site supervisor. The supervisor and district must agree that the student can remain at the site for additional hours.

PED 618C-Extension is available, upon formal approval, for those students wishing to enroll in an additional fieldwork course to continue the practicum experience following completion of PED 618C. This optional course will provide additional supervision and support while practicum candidates complete fieldwork. The PED 618C extension is contingent on approval between the District and the Academic Program Director (APD). Candidates must be in good academic standing and successfully have passed PED 618C to apply. To apply, candidates must submit a PED 618C-E application and agreement form, which will be reviewed and approved by the APD and a credential analyst. Grading: S or U.

Degree and Course Requirements

To receive a Master of Science in School Psychology, students must complete at least 94.5 quarter units of graduate work. A total of 13.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be granted for equivalent graduate work completed at another institution, as it applies to this degree and if the units were not used in earning another advanced degree. Students are not awarded the master’s degree until they have completed all graduate and credential coursework, including internship, and exit interview. Course equivalence cannot be granted for life experience. Students must complete all coursework with at least a B, GPA of 3.0 or better. Any lower grade mark, B- (2.7) or below, will require a student to take the course again until the minimum passing grade is obtained (B, 3.0).

Frequently Asked Questions

NU’s School Psychology program is offered as a hybrid online program. The online modality allows students to attend weekly live sessions to interact with their peers and instructor. These sessions are recorded for students who are unable to join the live sessions to stay current with the live instruction. Each course includes learning activities that are embedded within the online course shell. Candidates in the program are required to attend sixteen (16) mandatory residency all-day Saturday sessions for the four assessment courses. The Saturday sessions provide candidates the opportunity to engage in experiential hands-on training with assessment materials. Campus locations for the on-site Saturday sessions are Rancho Cordova, Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

Candidates accepted into the program can earn a graduate degree for the Master of Science in School Psychology and are recommended for a Pupil Personnel Services Credential School Psychology. Successful completion of the program encompasses passing all coursework, practicum and internship, comprehensive exam, and a score of 155 on the School Psychology PRAXIS exam.

To participate in the practicum and internship components, candidates are required to secure a fieldwork site. It is important to note that candidates cannot obtain fieldwork hours at a school where they have previously worked in a different capacity (such as an aide, SLP, or teacher). However, they are able to work at a different school within the same district. An internship is the culminating experience of the school psychology program. Candidates may begin their internship after successfully completing all core courses and practicum hours. All internships will begin in the fall to align with most school district calendars.

The program runs in cohorts and has two starts: August and May.

Graduates with an MS in School Psychology with PPS credential have a variety of potential career opportunities. While most graduates work in PK-12 public school settings, graduates can work in other setting such as mental health clinics, juvenile detention centers, colleges, and private practice.

  • Learn from faculty who are experts in the field of school psychology and have real-world experience. Instructors guide and support your education to help you excel in your future career.
  • Participating in our program provides rigorous training within a supportive environment.
  • NU’s academic excellence allows graduates options within their careers. PPSP credential professionals can work as school psychologists and child welfare & attendance providers.
  • Best of all, our program does not require GMAT or GRE test scores, saving students time, and money, as well as reducing stress.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • School Psychology candidates will demonstrate knowledge and skills in varied methods of assessment and data collection for the purpose of identifying strengths and needs, implementing evidence-based practices, progress monitoring, and evaluation at the student, classroom, and school-level.
  • School Psychology candidates will demonstrate knowledge and skills in varied consultation methods, collaboration, and communication with all school-based stakeholders, families, and community agencies to effectively coordinate interventions and services across academic, social/emotional, and behavioral domains.
  • School Psychology candidates will demonstrate knowledge and skills in direct academic interventions for children and families that consider the impact of culture, language, cognition, and social influences on academic skills and collaborate with others to implement evidence-based interventions and instructional strategies.
  • School Psychology candidates through assessment, data collection methods and evidence-based strategies will demonstrate knowledge of direct interventions that focus on behavioral and social/emotional interventions for children and families in order to develop and implement mental health supports to promote social-emotional functioning and mental health.
  • School Psychology candidates will demonstrate knowledge of school systems, programs, and services (direct and indirect services, school and systems structure, preventive and responsive services, dual language learners, multi-tiered systems of support, general and special education, technology resources and evidence-based school practices) that promote academic outcomes learning, social development, and mental health to create and maintain effective and supportive learning environments for children and others.
  • School Psychology candidates will demonstrate knowledge of principles and research related to resilience and risk factors, mental health services, school response and recovery, discipline policies, evidence-based strategies for effective crisis response including treat and risk assessments to promote services that enhance learning, mental health, school safety, and physical well-being through protective and adaptive factors.
  • School Psychology candidates will demonstrate evidence-based culturally responsive mental health and social-emotional counseling and interventions to enhance and support positive family-school interactions and facilitate strong family/school partnerships with the community.
  • School Psychology candidates will demonstrate a social justice lens of equity and diversity for all students in schools and demonstrate skills of equitable practice through assessment, counseling, and intervention across general and special education settings.
  • School Psychology candidates will demonstrate various data collection techniques and be knowledgeable about research design and analysis used in school settings to support evidence-based practices for the individual, group, and system.
  • School Psychology candidates will demonstrate knowledge of special education law, ethics, professional practices, school psychology history, service models, professional standards, dispositions, and self-care.


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-Camille B., Class of 2020

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

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