The doctoral program consists of three years of full-time coursework, a year-long internship, and a dissertation. A total of 120 credits are needed to complete the program. This includes 90 credits of coursework, 18 credits of internship, and 12 credits of dissertation.
The program at Alfred University seeks balance between basic science and practical skills, research and practice, school and clinic practica, traditional and alternative approaches, assessment and intervention, direct and indirect intervention, and contrasting theoretical points of view.
Throughout their course of study, students take courses in which they learn applied skills and the basic science courses that complement these skills.
Typical Program Sequence - Year One
Course work involves extensive training in assessment, diagnosis, and intervention with children and adolescents. At the end of their first year, students must pass a written qualifying examination in order to move to the second year.
Practicum in the schools: Students spend one day per week in a local school district in order to become familiar with the role of the School Psychologist, the complexities of school systems, and to practice the skills they are learning in classes. An on-site supervisor and School Psychology faculty member facilitate this fieldwork. The student is visited and observed at the school, and there is communication between supervisors to further each student's progress.
Typical Program Sequence - Year Two
Course work involves training in consultation, academic interventions, and statistical methods.
Practicum in the schools:
- Third semester - Students return to their field placement school to complete projects associated with their Consultation and Prevention course.
- Fourth semester - Students participate in a supervised practicum in a local school district, during which they are involved in planning, conducting, and evaluating academic interventions (associated with the Practicum in Academic Interventions course).
Practicum at the Child and Family Services Center (CFSC): Students complete a two-semester practicum at the CFSC, which is both a training clinic and outpatient mental health center run by our division. Students may provide assessment, counseling, play therapy, family therapy, and group therapy to individuals and families from the underserved rural communities surrounding Alfred. If appropriate, students also provide consultation at clients' schools.
The CFSC contains state-of-the-art digital recording and observation capabilities. All treatment rooms are equipped with microphones and video cameras that are wired to a control room which contains monitors through which faculty supervisors and students can observe sessions in real time. Live supervision utilizes wireless netbook communication or a telephone intercom system between the faculty supervisor and student. Sessions can also be digitally recorded and archived so that faculty supervisors and students may review sessions in order to improve skills. Students engage in collaborative problem-solving with their peers and faculty supervisor, and stay well informed about cases through direct observation, videotapes, and group supervision.
Typical Program Sequence - Year Three
Course work consists of small seminars that focus on research, supervision, and multicultural issues.
Practicum in the Community: Many third-year students continue to develop their applied skills through individually-designed practicum placements. These practica may take place in mental health agencies, in schools or agencies servicing specific client populations, or in public school settings. Doctoral students practice in these professional settings under the close supervision of both field and university supervisors.
Typical Program Sequence - Year Four
Doctoral Internship: All students must complete one year of full-time internship, during which at least 600 hours are in a school setting. The remaining 900 hours may be either in a school or other child- or family-oriented mental health setting. This experience, which is the culmination of the students' classroom and previous fieldwork, allows students to perform the duties of a school psychologist under the supervision of an on-site school psychologist and a School Psychology faculty member.
Students complete their internships in settings of their choice. Recent Alfred students completed internships in rural, urban, and suburban schools nearby and across the country. Some of our students choose to pursue APPIC or APA-accredited internships; those students meet with an advisor early in their program in order to arrange their program to facilitate acceptance into these internships. During their internship, students return to campus three times per year for seminars and group supervision activities. Interns are compensated with a stipend from the internship site.
Students must complete an empirical dissertation on a topic of their choosing. They begin their dissertation in the third year of the program in order to facilitate a timely completion. At that point, students choose their dissertation advisor, who works closely with them to develop and carry out their study.