Profession-Wide Competencies and Discipline Specific Knowledge

Health service psychology (broadly) and school psychology (specifically) is grounded in what the Standards of Accreditation term discipline-specific knowledge. Students in our program have access to learning experiences in which they develop a graduate level of understanding in core areas of psychology such as:

  • History and Systems of Psychology
  • Affective Aspects of Behavior
  • Biological Aspects of Behavior
  • Cognitive Aspects of Behavior
  • Developmental Aspects of Behavior
  • Social Aspects of Behavior
  • **Advanced Integrative Knowledge of 2 domains listed above
  • Research Methods
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Psychometrics

Throughout their experiences within the PhD program in school psychology, students will be given opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and achievement of particular profession-wide competencies. These competencies are as follows:

  • Research
  • Ethical and Legal Standards
  • Individual and Cultural Diversity
  • Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Supervision
  • Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

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Doctoral Program Course Sequence  |   Admissions

Students in our APA-accredited PhD program complete a minimum of 117 graduate credits. Students who enter the program directly from the baccalaureate degree earn a masters of education (M.Ed.) in education en route to completing the doctoral program requirements. Students who enter the program with previously earned graduate credits may apply up to 9 of those credits toward the doctoral plan of study. Students are not required to retake courses that apply to the doctoral plan of study in school psychology, rather, courses and credits in excess of the 9 that are transferred in are waived from the doctoral plan of study and replacement courses are selected in areas mutually agreed upon by the student and advisor. In these instances, students often elect to take addition course work in areas of psychology and neuroscience, and measurement and statistics. Typically, students are awarded their PhD degree after 5 or 6 years of graduate work – 3 or 4 years of coursework (including practicum requirements), 1-year full-time doctoral internship, and dissertation work (which usually bridges the 4 years on campus and the year of internship).


This program leads to initial teacher licensure in Massachusetts. Because of reciprocity agreements between states, you may be able to transfer your license to another state. However, the College of Education at UMass Amherst makes no guarantees that this program meets teacher licensure requirements in any state other than Massachusetts. If you are seeking licensure in another state, click on the link below for the program of your choice for more information.  For assistance in determining whether this program will be appropriate for you, send your inquiry to the program contact identified in the program description.  Access to your state’s licensing agency is available on the Teacher Licensure Agency Directory.


Inquires about the school psychology programs should be sent to schoolpsychology [at] umass [dot] edu (schoolpsychology[at]umass[dot]edu). You can also contact the program advisor: sarahwhitcomb [at] umass [dot] edu (Sara Whitcomb).

School Psychology Faculty

Sarah Fefer

Associate Director of Center for Youth Engagement
Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development

Professor Sarah Fefer's research and clinical interests involve supporting students with challenging behavior across home and school contexts.


John Hintze


Dr. Hintze teaches classes in principles and practices of school psychology, assessment, research design and program evaluation, and professional supervision.


Amanda Marcotte

Associate Professor
Program Coordinator for School of Psychology

Dr. Marcotte teaches courses in academic assessment, and academic and behavioral intervention.


Jesslynn Rocha Neves

Clinical Educator

Dr. Neves is a certified school psychologist with clinical and consulting experience.

Photo of Jessylnn Rocha Neves.

Sara Whitcomb

Program Coordinator, School Psychology, AY23-24

Dr. Whitcomb is the program director and teaches courses in social-emotional and behavioral assessment and consultation.