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School Psychology PhD

The School Psychology Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville offers an Education Specialist (EdS) degree and a Doctoral (PhD) degree. Both programs will prepare graduates to work to improve the quality of services for children and youth in a variety of settings. Both programs are offered on campus. Online options are not available. The UT School Psychology programs prepare professionals who work collaboratively with educators, administrators, parents, and children to promote learning and development in general education students and for students with special needs. Our training is based on the Scientist-Practitioner model and graduate students learn to use a problem-solving approach to address student difficulties in learning and/or challenging behavior in field-based sites including urban, suburban, and rural schools. Research is an integral part of training.

For more about the PhD degree program, continue below. Click here to learn more about the EdS degree.

In the PhD program, we provide students with sequential, cumulative, and graded training across 5 years in: foundational coursework, School Psychology core coursework, research, and applied/field experiences. The doctoral program strives to develop school psychologists who can play a primary role in promoting students’ mental health, cognitive/academic development, and social adjustment. We seek to prepare professionals who advocate for and work collaboratively with children, educators, parents, and the community to design more effective and evidence-based educational experiences. We generally have 25 to 30 on-campus students in the PhD program. Almost all are full-time students who learn together in a collaborative environment to advance their skills, critical thinking, and the field. The School Psychology program leads to a PhD and is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA)* and approved by the National Association of School Psychologists.  Students who graduate from UT’s School Psychology PhD program can be licensed as psychologists and nationally certified as school psychologists. Our graduates can be found across the county in public and private schools, university training programs, mental health centers, and hospitals. Contact Dr. Merilee McCurdy for more information about the PhD program. The application deadline for the PhD program is December 1st.

About School Psychology

The School Psychology program trains students by providing a solid foundation of core knowledge and skills across psychology, education, and research. Students receive applied training in assessment, consultation, intervention, and research. We train students under a Scientist-Practitioner Model. Students are encouraged to view practice and science as similar endeavors and apply the same general problem-solving steps. The similarities and relationship between practice and research, as traditionally characterized, are emphasized.

The curriculum requirements for the Eds and PhD School Psychology students are described in the Graduate Catalog. Our program requires approximately 5 years of graduate training, including an internship (1 full year, 2000 hours, completed in the last year of training) and a dissertation. The program is designed for full-time students, includes summer courses, and is designed to be completed in 5 years. Full-time enrollment is a minimum of 9 credit hours. The program is not designed for part-time students; however, in exceptional circumstances, part-time students may successfully complete the PhD program.

Application Requirements

Complete applications are due each year on December 1 for fall admissions.

The curriculum for the PhD program in School Psychology can be found in the UT Graduate catalog.

Curriculum Requirements

Financial Aid Information

Includes EPC GA Application form, departmental fellowships/scholarships, and links to other funding sources around UT Knoxville.

Core Faculty

Steve McCallum

R. Steve McCallum

Merliee McCurdy

Merilee McCurdy

Chris Skinner

Christopher H. Skinner

Robert Williams

Robert L. Williams

Affiliated Faculty

Ron Carlini
Clinical Assistant Professor


Robert D. Richardson
Clinical Associate Professor

Brian Wilhoit

Brian Wilhoit
Clinical Professor


Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

*Questions related to accreditation of the program should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: 202-336-5979


Updated 09/23/2021