The School Psychology program prepares graduate students to become psychologists who work in schools, academic, research, community and private practice settings. The primary goal of the program is to develop professional psychologists whose research, training and practice activities increase the educational and psychological wellbeing of children and youth. The School Psychology program follows a scientist-practitioner model, with emphasis on the integration of theory, research and clinical skills. Training encompasses academic, social, behavioral, consultation, intervention and prevention domains, and students receive training in the integration of assessment and intervention and in relevant professional, legal and ethical issues. Science and professional practice are viewed as interactive and complementary, with research integrated across core psychological and educational foundations training as well as relevant practical experiences at all levels of the program.
Given the academic, clinical and research demands of the programs, the M.A. and M.Ed. programs in SCPS require full-time study over at least two years with a full-time Masters internship in year 3. The masters programs are designed to prepare students for eligibility for provincial (BCASP) and national (NCSP) certification and examination during their first year of employment. Students also qualify as applicants for registration as an Associate Psychologist with the College of Psychologists in British Columbia. Graduates of the M.Ed. and M.A. programs typically work as school psychologists in school-based settings. M.A. students are eligible to apply to move directly to the Ph.D. program in year 3, upon completion of their M.A. degree requirements.
The Ph.D. program requires an additional two years of full-time study, comprehensive examinations, dissertation research and a 1600 hour pre-doctoral internship leading to the Ph.D. degree in School Psychology and eligibility to be examined for registration as a psychologist. The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare doctoral level psychologists who can serve as practitioners and supervisors in the field, trainers for school psychologists at universities across the country and as researchers and leaders in school psychology both nationally and internationally. Students at all levels are expected to develop practice and research skills, and to establish professional competencies that reflect the integration of theory, research, and conceptions of ethical best practice.
One distinguishing feature of school psychology graduate training at UBC is its strong appreciation for diversity, with diversity considered, not only in terms of the populations served and the students recruited and admitted, but also in terms of the varied theoretical and paradigmatic foci considered, the issues and elements of practice examined and taught, and the provision of skills and experiences in working with a broad range of clients, families, and settings. The focus of graduate training at UBC is on individual, group, and systems level processes with a strong emphasis on working within and across systems and systems level change as key elements of both the Masters and doctoral programs in school psychology at UBC. Further, the program builds on the strengths of the Faculty of Education, with established programs in Special Education (including visual and auditory impairment, autism, learning disabilities and behaviour disorders); Counselling Psychology; Human Development, Learning and Culture; Measurement, Evaluation and Research Methodology as well as ESL, First Nations Education, and the interdisciplinary focus of UBC and the diverse communities that it serves.