Become a Licensed School Psychologist with this Specialist Degree

This post-bachelor's School Psychology Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree is designed for college graduates who wish to become School Psychologist practitioners. The aim of the program is to develop professionals who are able to apply psychological and educational principles to improve the psychosocial environments of children (ages birth-21) and their families. The face-to-face portion of courses are held on weekends to fit a working schedule. This program is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

Develop a Broad Philosophy of Practice

Because of the size and varied backgrounds of our School Psychology faculty, this program does not promote any one philosophy of practice. You will be taught a range of practices and have the ability to apply what works for you for various situations.

Choose the Applied Behavior Analysis Emphasis Option to Add BCBA® Preparation

This graduate program prepares educators to become leaders in schools and communities in the area of applied behavior analysis. Because the ABA coursework is a Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) verified course sequence, those who complete this emphasis will fulfill the coursework and graduate degree requirements to take the examination for certification as Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBA).

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A Rewarding Career That is in Critical Demand

You will develop skills to assess, intervene and counsel children (ages birth–21) and their families. Program graduates are eligible for state licensure and national certification as School Psychologists for full credential recognition in K-12 schools. All job-seeking graduates of our School Psychology programs have found employment in the field upon graduation, many at their internship organization. Most importantly, School Psychologists have acquired the skills to improve children's lives.

School Psychologist: The #2 Social Services Job

See why U.S. News and World Report ranks School Psychologist so highly in their Best Social Services Jobs.

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This Educational Specialist degree is a post-bachelor's program that prepares graduates for full School Psychology licensure. The credits and time to completion include a paid internship phase that helps you progress into your School Psychology role with valuable supervised practice. It takes most students 2.5 years to complete academic and applied coursework, followed by the one-year internship.

  • The School Psychology EdS program (with no emphasis) is 71 credit hours.
  • The School Psychology EdS – Applied Behavior Analysis Emphasis program is 78 credit hours.

Required for All Students

For an example of upcoming courses, visit an example Current Program Students page.

The non-emphasis and emphasis programs are very similar, sharing 68 credit hours of the same coursework, and the national exam.

Applied Practice in School Psychology (19 Credit Hours)

Multicultural Understanding (3 Credit Hours)

Supervised Field Work / Internship (6 Credit Hours)

National School Psychology Exam

All students must take and pass the National School Psychology Examination.


Applied Behavior Analysis Emphasis Option

The Applied Behavior Analysis Core includes some coursework that is also taken by non-emphasis students (APCE 628, APCE 629, and ESDE 630) along with the following additional courses. The ABA courses are generally offered completely online.

Note: the 10 credit hours from this coursework, minus the three credit hours not taken (APCE 781) makes the ABA Emphasis version of the program 78 credit hours instead of 71.

Additional Requirements by the BACB For Your BCBA Credential

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) is a nonprofit organization that credentials behavior analysts who have

  • Completed a BACB-verified course sequence such as this one;
  • Accrued sufficient field experience hours [To qualify at the BCBA level, the BACB requires supervisees to complete 1,500 hours of Supervised Independent Fieldwork in behavior analysis - UNC can provide some support for supervision hours for master's students to contribute to this requirement] and;
  • Demonstrated proficiency in the field via the BCBA examination. UNC will provide simulated exams and other student exam preparation tools for all students.

More information about BCBA certification requirements.


For full details, see the official program listings in the UNC Graduate Catalog:

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