School Psychology
desiree vega headshot, wearing a floral blouse gray blazer, greenery as a backdrop
Desiree Vega
Faculty Chair, School Psychology Program

Who we are

  • We train students to serve youth by providing psychological services in their schools and communities.
  • We offer two degree programs, Ph.D and Ed.S, that follow the scholar-practitioner training model.
  • Our Ph.D program is accredited both by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).
  • Our Ed.S. program is offered at two different campuses, one in Tucson and one in Chandler, AZ.
  • We train students to work with individuals from diverse cultures, abilities, and identities.

At a glance

Our Ph.D. curriculum is designed to prepare students for leadership positions in school psychology and related disciplines. Graduates of this program are prepared for a career that may involve research, scholarship, or practice. For example, they may function as academic school psychologists, licensed psychologists who work in schools, certified school psychologists, educational consultants, or private practitioners.

Our Ed.S. curriculum is designed to prepare graduates to work as certified school psychologists in school districts across the nation. The curriculum also prepares students for taking the national examination to become a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP). In general, training opportunities associated with our Ed.S. program aim to provide students with meaningful and practical experiences that will allow them to become respected leaders in the schools in which they work. This program is offered in Tucson and in the Phoenix area in Chandler (more details below).


We pride our program on having a diverse student body. In this regard, applications are encouraged from individuals from diverse cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and sexual identity status. Additionally, we encourage applications from individuals across the spectrum in terms of their socioeconomic status, geographic residence, religious affiliation, family constellation, and social/political background. Please review our admission requirements.

Student Affiliates in School Psychology

Student Affiliates in School Psychology (SASP) is a student-led organization for school psychology graduate students. The UA SASP Chapter is part of a national parent organization under Division 16 of APA. The mission of SASP is to foster growth, peer support, and professionalism among school psychology students. The organization works to accomplish this important mission by providing support activities, mentorship opportunities, and social gatherings throughout the year.

Program history

The School Psychology Program at the University of Arizona was first located in the Department of Educational Psychology and began admitting Ph.D. students in the middle 1960s. The program was developed in response to the expanding need for school psychological services during the 1960s in the state of Arizona as well as across the nation. Since its inception, the School Psychology has trained hundreds of scholars and practitioners who have assumed leadership positions in Arizona and across the United States. If you are interested in a detailed history of our program, please review our program history.

Ed.S. degree offered in Tucson and in the Phoenix area

UA Main Campus (Tucson)

The School Psychology, Ed.S., training program has existed for more than 45 years and it remains popular among students. Students who choose this option will participate in many of the same courses and field placement opportunities that are available to Ph.D. school psychology students in the Tucson area. Additionally, Ed.S. students receive instruction from full-time University of Arizona faculty and have access to the vast research and cultural resources available at the university. Courses in the Tucson Ed.S. program are taught during fall and spring semesters but generally not during summer sessions. The program requires for most students to complete four semesters on campus plus a two-semester supervised internship in a school system. The Ed.S. program accepts between four and eight students per year and it follows a scholar-practitioner training model, which has a primary emphasis on professional or clinical practice.

UA Chandler (Phoenix)

The School Psychology, Ed.S., program at UA Chandler offers courses in a convenient venue in downtown Chandler, Arizona that has newly renovated classrooms, abundant free parking, and easy freeway access. The University of Arizona has a strong array of seasoned practicing school psychologists from the Phoenix-metropolitan area to provide instruction in courses that parallel those traditionally offered in Tucson. Additionally, the Chandler Ed.S. program has a non-traditional schedule. Students begin the program in the fall of Year 1 and only take two courses (6 credits) and again only take two courses (6 credits) in the spring. These courses are offered in the evening and allow students the flexibility to maintain outside employment. During Year 2 students are participating in the program full-time, including summers. Year 3 is the final year of the program and students spend it completing a full-time internship with a school district. Most students are hired for paid internships this final year.

Additional information on this program is available from Chandler Program Director Marsha Spencer at marshaspencer@email.arizona.edu.

Marsha Spencer headshot
Faculty Spotlight
Marsha Spencer

A credit to her profession and our college, Assistant Professor of Practice Marsha Spencer was just named School Psychologist of the Year by the Arizona Association of School Psychologists. Professor and Department Head Carl Liaupsin adds, “I have first-hand knowledge of her ability to approach program leadership with a rare mix of transparency, efficiency, and compassion.”