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Program Information

Syracuse University’s doctoral program in school psychology trains outstanding students to meet the needs of children in schools and other child-related settings. The School Psychology Program is committed to providing high-quality doctoral training that prepares students to meet the needs of children both directly and indirectly by working with parents, teachers, and other direct care providers. The School Psychology Program is built on the scientist-practitioner training model. Within this model, students are encouraged to be data-based problem solvers, to seek converging information when making professional decisions, and to evaluate the outcomes of their services. The School Psychology Program at Syracuse University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA) [Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, 750 First Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20002-4242: (202) 336-5979] and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). In addition, completion of the program satisfies the current requirements for certification and licensure in New York State.

Core Faculty

Benita A. Blachman, Ph.D.

Tanya L. Eckert, Ph.D.

Joshua C. Felver, Ph.D.

Lawrence J. Lewandowski, Ph.D.

Brian K. Martens, Ph.D.

Natalie Russo, Ph.D.

Program of Study

The program is housed in the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, and requires 90 graduate credit hours for the doctoral degree. The residency requirements for the program includes at least 1 year in full-time residence at Syracuse University and at least 2 years of full-time study at Syracuse University. A minimum of 3 years total of full-time study is required for the doctoral degree.

Students are engaged in three strands of training throughout the program: course work, clinical service, and research. Consistent with APA guidelines, exposure to coursework, clinical practice, and research occurs in a graded fashion beginning in the student's first year. Nine program goals guide doctoral training and 22 objectives describe student performance in relation to coursework, research, and clinical practice competencies. These program goals and objectives can be found here


A typical sequence of coursework, clinical practice, and research expectations across the five years of graduate study can be found here Official program requirements include at least 90 credit hours, including a 6 credit master's thesis (for those students entering the program without a master's degree), a 12 credit dissertation; and a 6 credit internship in school psychology. Prior to beginning the dissertation or completing the internship in school psychology, students must pass a doctoral qualifying exam, which consists of a critical review of a substantive area of research in school psychology and an oral examination of the area of research. A full-time, one-year internship is required before the doctorate is awarded. It is usually completed in the fifth year of the program. 


In addition to completing the degree requirements in school psychology, students in good academic standing can also enroll in the Neuroscience Concentration, which appears as a graduate specialization on a student's transcript. The Concentration is a 4-course sequence that spans broad areas of Neuroscience, including the biological and psychological processes, and is meant to provide students with a breadth of knowledge across core disciplines. More information about the concentration can be found here.

Research Training

Students are actively involved in research during their first semester of study at Syracuse University. All students are required to participate in a research group with a School Psychology faculty member from program entry to candidacy. Participation in these groups is designed to facilitate the development of research skills such as preparation of research proposals, ethical issues in research, preparation of requests to university human subjects committee and school district research committees, design and analysis issues, logistics of attaining participants for research, data gathering, and presentation of results both orally and in written manner. The School Psychology faculty members have a wide range of interests, as can be seen from reviewing the biographical sketches provided in the next section.

Resources at Syracuse University

The School Psychology program is located in the Department of Psychology along with doctoral training programs in Clinical, Experimental, and Social Psychology. To date, all of the graduate students in our program have received full funding through a variety of graduate assistantships. All assistantships are 20-hour a week positions and include a tuition scholarship (30 credit hours) and a stipend. The stipend amount ranges depending on the assistantship (range, $13,000 to $18,000). Please note that all first-year graduate students receive funding in the form of a department teaching assistantship. For advanced graduate students, a variety of school, community, and university sites offer assistantship positions. The variety of these opportunities allow students, over the course of their graduate training, to gain a wide array of skills while allowing students to tailor their experiences consistent with their professional goals.

Examples of assistantship positions offered each year include:

Teaching at Syracuse University. Examples of classes previously taught by students include Behavior Disorders in Children, Applied Behavior Analysis, or Child Development.

Local area schools. Schools offer access to diverse student populations and can include urban, suburban, or rural settings.

The Center for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders/Concussion Clinic at SUNY Upstate. This position trains students to conduct and write neuropsychological evaluations for children with cancer or sickle cell disease, and allows for research to be conducted with the Concussion Clinic.

The Family Behavior Analysis Clinic at SUNY Upstate. This clinic serves children with severe behavior problems and provides graduate students with opportunities to conduct applied behavior analysis interventions.

The ADHD Clinic at SUNY Upstate. The clinic serves a wide age range of children and adolescents with ADHD, and the position allows for assessment and research experiences.

The ARC of Onondaga. This position is split between conducting assessments and providing consultation to a special education preschool.

SPICE, a special education preschool. Provides the opportunity to conduct assessments, consult, and intervene in a special education preschool setting.

The Psychological Services Clinic (PSC) at Syracuse University. The training clinic, which is part of the Clinical Psychology Program, provides psychotherapy and assessment services to
university students and members of the greater Syracuse community.


Program Faculty

Faculty members in the School Psychology Program conduct research with children and adolescents in school, hospital, and laboratory settings. Their research contributes to the existing scientific literature regarding children and adolescents’ academic, behavioral, and cognitive functioning. For example, Dr. Natalie Russo’s research is focused on the manner in which typically developing children, children with developmental disabilities, and children on the autism spectrum develop and hone their ability to process and integrate information from single or multiple sensory modalities. Dr. Lawrence Lewandowski’s program of research focuses on neuropsychological, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects associated with children diagnosed with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as well as children recently experiencing concussions. Further, Dr. Felver’s research investigates the development and implementation of mindfulness-based interventions to promote self-regulatory processes in youth, parents, and teachers utilizing psychophysiological and direct behavioral observation methodologies.

All of the faculty members in the School Psychology Program are interested in developing evidence-based practices that inform the fields of school, educational, child clinical, and cognitive psychology. They engage in research to identify effective interventions or instructional methods to remediate academic, behavioral, or cognitive difficulties commonly experienced by children and adolescents. For example, Dr. Brian Martens’ program of research is concerned with translating findings from basic operant research into effective school-based interventions as well as conducting functional assessment and treatment of children’s classroom behavior problems. Dr. Benita Blachman’s research interests focus on the cognitive and linguistic factors (especially phonological processing) that play a role in learning to read, children at risk for reading failure, and early reading intervention. Dr. Tanya Eckert’s research interests include developing interventions for children with academic skills deficits in reading, writing, and mathematics.

Benita A. Blachman, Ph.D. (1981, University of Connecticut), Trustee Professor of Education and Psychology. Dr. Blachman teaches courses in learning and reading disabilities. Her research interests focus on the cognitive and linguistic factors (especially phonological processing) that play a role in learning to read, children at risk for reading failure, and early reading intervention. She serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Educational Psychology and Scientific Studies of Reading.

Tanya L. Eckert, Ph.D. (1996, Lehigh University). Director of Training and Associate Professor of Psychology. Holds certification as a school psychologist in Pennsylvania. Dr. Eckert teaches courses on direct academic assessment, cognitive assessment, introductory seminar in school psychology, and direct academic assessment practicum. Her research interests include examining procedures for assessing academic skills and behavior problems, developing interventions for children with academic and behavior problems, and measuring the acceptability of assessment and intervention procedures. She serves on the National Center on Intensive Intervention's Technical Review Committees for Behavior Intervention and Behavioral Progress Monitoring. She sits on the editorial board of Journal of School Psychology, School Psychology Review, and School Psychology Quarterly.  She is currently Senior Associate Editor of School Psychology Review. Her work is currently funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the New York State Department of Education.

Joshua C. Felver, Ph.D.(University of Oregon, 2013), Assistant Professor of Psychology. Dr. Felver teaches courses in child development and clinical child psychological practice. His research broadly focuses on the development and implementation of targeted interventions to promote self-regulation in community settings. He studies how mindfulness-based interventions can be implemented in schools to support academic functioning and classroom behavior, and how mindfulness programming can improve children’s attentional-regulation, parent-child communication, and parent emotional-regulation. He incorporates psychophysiological measurement (e.g., heart rate and brain electrical activity) into his research initiatives. In addition to his applied research, he has clinical expertise in mindfulness-based interventions, and in the assessment and treatment of youth with social-emotional and psychiatric disabilities. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Child and Family Studies and serves on the editorial board of the journal Mindfulness.   

Brian K. Martens, Ph.D. (1985, University of Nebraska-Lincoln). Professor of Psychology and Associate Department Chair. Teaches courses in applied behavior analysis, behavior therapy practicum, tests and measurements, and school consultation. His research interests include applied behavior analysis, school consultation, and fluency building. He serves on the editorial boards of School Psychology Review, School Psychology Quarterly, the Journal of School Psychology, the Journal of Behavioral Education, and the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Natalie Russo, Ph.D. (2008, McGill University). Assistant Professor. Dr Russo teaches courses on child and human development as well as developmental psychopathology, cognitive and affective bases of behavior and a practicum in the assessment of developmental disability. Her research interests focus on understanding cognitive profiles of children with developmental disabilities, as well as the study of how typically developing children, children with developmental disabilities, and children on the autism spectrum develop and hone their ability to process and integrate information from single or multiple sensory modalities. She is an associate editor for Frontiers in Integrative Neurosciences.

Affiliated program faculty include:

Seth Aldrich, Ph.D., Homer Central School District

Kristi Cleary, Ph.D., Syracuse City School District

Nicole DeRosa, Ph.D., Family Behavior Analysis Clinic, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Michael Gordon, Ph.D., SUNY Upstate Medical University

Benjamin Lovett, Ph.D., SUNY Cortland

Leah Phaneuf, Ph.D., Elmcrest Children's Center

Brian Rieger, Ph.D., Director of the Concussion Clinic, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Henry Roane, Ph.D., Director of the Family Behavior Analysis Clinic, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Michelle Storie, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Education, Syracuse University


The School Psychology Program is strongly committed to the recruitment of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Applications from individuals who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, ethnicity, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability are welcomed and will be given special consideration by the faculty.  

The application deadline is December 1st for fall admissions. There are no spring admissions, and only full-time students are considered for admission. Admission and application information is available online (http://gradsch.syr.edu/admissions.html) or you may obtain information regarding graduate admission by contacting Graduate Admissions (303 Bowne Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13255-2340; email: grad@gwmail.syr.edu; phone: 315-443-4492; fax: 315-443-3423). 

A complete application includes official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work, scores on the Graduate Record Examination (the Psychology subject test is not required), a personal statement of interests, curriculum vitae, and three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic and/or professional work. All applicants should include in their statement of interest a clear and concise description of their research interests and the faculty member(s) with whom they would like to work as their research mentor(s). Upon receipt of this information the Graduate School forwards copies of the completed application to the Department of Psychology for consideration. Top applicants are invited for campus interviews in late February or early March. All applicants are notified of their acceptance or rejection by April 15th.

Admission Standards

The program receives approximately 40 to 50 applications a year for an incoming class of 4 students. The admissions committee bases its decisions on the overall strength of the application; this includes consideration of the applicant’s grades, GRE scores, personal statement, professional experiences, match with faculty research interests, letters of recommendation, and evidence of hard work and motivation. Students admitted to the program typically have a grade point average exceeding 3.0 and combined verbal and quantitative GRE scores exceeding the 45th percentile. The number of applications, admissions, and acceptances of offers of admission across the last 7 years is presented here.

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

The student population of the School Psychology Program consists of individuals who have entered the program immediately after completion of an undergraduate degree and those students who have earned a Master's degree. Data on students' time to completion, program costs, attrition, internships, and licensure are collected and reported in keeping with requirements of programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. These education and training outcomes can be found here at this link: Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data.

Financial Aid

As previously discussed, the Department of Psychology makes a determined effort to provide financial support for all graduate students in good standing. Support is obtained from a variety of sources, including teaching, clinical, and school-based assistantships. Assistantships for the 2015-16 academic year carry a stipend of $13,500 plus 24 hours of a tuition scholarship (at $1,388 per credit hour), which includes 6 credit hours to be used during the summer.

Additional Resources

Additional detailed information regarding the School Psychology Program can be found in the 2015-16 program handbook. This resource can be found here.


The APA Committee on Accreditation may be contacted via:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-5979
TDD/TTY: 202-336-6123
Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation
Email: apaaccred@apa.org

Contact Us

For more information about the program please direct requests to: Alecia Zema.