Department of Educational Psychology to offer new Ph.D. program in school psychology – UTSA Today

According to Villarreal, the need for mental health professionals — especially those trained to work with children — has been increasing in the Bexar County community for several years and has grown exponentially since the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to meeting these critical community needs, the new program is UTSA’s 26th doctoral program, supporting the university’s recent designation as a Carnegie R1 institution.

“When it comes to research, one of the things that is considered is the number of Ph.D. graduates that we have, so we are contributing to that vision by creating another program to help move the university in that direction,” Villarreal said.

Additionally, the doctoral program will also expand the department’s ability to offer services to UTSA students and will attract additional researchers and educators to bolster work led by the department’s faculty.

Students, too, will reap the benefits of the program’s design. Enrolled students will be able to choose between several different concentration tracks, each representing an area of high need within the field. These areas include behavior analysis, working with non-native English speakers and a research track for students pursuing academic careers.

Students in the program will benefit from the department’s well-established partnerships with many of the area school districts which will prove invaluable to students in the program, all of whom are required to complete at least 600 practicum hours working as a school psychologist. Afterward, they must complete a year-long fulltime internship in a setting that reflects their interests and aspirations, whether that be in a school, a clinic, or children’s hospital.

Throughout their studies, students will focus on identifying and working with learning and mental health challenges, navigating the mental health and school systems, and research. Topped off with a dissertation requirement, Villarreal says this program is more intensive than the typical doctoral program, but that this will ultimately aid students professionally.

“Our program is rigorous, but the applied experiences are critical components of training and will help students jumpstart their professional careers and ensure that they meet licensure standards,” he explained.

The program is expected to begin accepting applications this fall for admission in fall 2023. The program is designed to accommodate students with a bachelor’s degree only; a master’s degree is not a prerequisite.

Source: https://www.utsa.edu/today/2022/02/story/new-school-psychology-program.html

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