College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

School psychology: MA/specialist certificate and PhD admissions


    For any questions you may have, look to our frequently asked questions or our program handbook. If your questions are not answered on our website, FAQ, or handbook, you can reach out to the program coordinator: Amanda L. Sullivan (

    Applications for fall 2024 will open the day after Labor Day. Until then, you may start your application in the system. Just be sure to change the term to fall 2024 prior to submitting. Applicable students can also complete the Application Fee Waiver.

    All application materials must be received December 1 for admission in September of the following year. Files not complete by December 1 will not be reviewed.

    The admissions committee considers a variety of factors including your prior academic achievement, relevant employment and life experiences, essays, letters of recommendation, and compatibility of your professional and research interests with those of the program and faculty.

    The program will host a virtual Applicant Day for students selected to advance in the admission process to allow opportunities for applicants to meet with faculty and current students. This will typically occur in early to mid-January. The date on which you will hear back from the program will vary based on the volume of applications received.

    Applicants who are recommended for admission by the program will receive a letter from the program indicating our decision. The Graduate Admissions Office will then make a final review of your documents and will inform you of the final decision via the email address you provided on your graduate application.

      Average test scores among admitted applicants

      The school psychology program does not require GRE scores and will not consider them in admission decisions even if submitted with required application materials. There is  no minimum GPA or test score required to be considered for admission to the program.

      Average undergraduate G.P.A. (PhD): 3.78

      Average undergraduate G.P.A (MA/SC): 3.74

      Minimum English Language Exam Scores (non-native English speakers only):

      Minimum overall score: 79
      Writing: 21
      Reading: 19
      Paper-based TOEFL: 550
      IELTS: 6.5

      MELAB: 80

      Number of students accepted

      Cohorts are approximately 10-12 students depending on faculty capacity. About a quarter of the students admitted each year are for the PhD degree and the remainder for the MA/Specialist degree. Approximately 10% of PhD applicants are admitted each year and 20-30% of specialist applicants are admitted.

      Additional student admissions, outcomes and other data

      Get more information to help you make an informed decision about entering the program on the Student Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data page.

      How to apply

      Upload and submit all application materials, including transcripts, directly to the graduate application. For additional information on how to apply, visit the Graduate School website.

      Graduate school application

      Note: If you are experiencing issues with the application, please clear your cache and/or try a different browser.

      Required fields: Program Selection, Term Selection, Biographical Information, Personal Background, Ed Psych – School Psych questions, Academic History (including transcripts), Test Scores (if applicable), Employment, Materials (including: Personal Statement, Resume/CV, Critical Issue Essay, and three letters of Recommendations

      Optional fields: Diversity Statements are optional but highly encouraged. Extenuating Circumstances Statement will be taken into consideration if submitted. A Writing Sample and Description of Research are not needed.

        Visit the Graduate School website for more information.

        Please note: If you apply for more than one program in educational psychology (e.g., school psychology and special education), you will need to pay more than one application fee.

        An application fee waiver is available for students unable to pay due to hardship or who come from underrepresented groups. Because a limited number of waivers are available, applications will be screened for fit and then the applicant will be notified if they are selected for the waiver. If you would like to be considered for a waiver, complete the grad school application and upload the required transcript(s), statement, CV, and essay, then review the Application Fee Waiver page for further information. Requests will be reviewed on the first and third Fridays of the month before the application deadline.

        Unofficial transcripts or academic records should be uploaded directly to the graduate application under the "Academic History" section. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. Please do not mail in paper copies of your transcripts, there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review.

        If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of this material.

        More information about transcripts and credentials

        Report your TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB scores (non-native English speakers only).

        Three letters of recommendation are required. Acceptable recommendations will come from current or former professors who can assess your potential for graduate work. Other recommenders, such as employers, are also acceptable. You will enter your recommenders name and email into the application. They will be sent directions on how to upload their letter directly into your application.

        Get more information and troubleshooting tips.


        Required materials

          Your statement should include three numbered headings corresponding to the three numbered headings below. The statement should not to exceed 2 pages, single spaced, size 12 font. Please address all items below.

          Why school psychology?

          • Why did you choose this field?
          • What are your career objectives?
          • What are your reasons for applying to this program?
          • What are the core values that will guide your professional activities?

          What is your personal conceptualization of diversity, equity, anti-racism, and/or social justice as they relate to education or the role of a school psychologist?

          • How did you come to this understanding or conceptualization? (Note: although you are welcome to share how your lived experience shaped your thinking, we do not expect students to share personal information or traumas in their response in order to be evaluated favorably in the admissions process.)

          What are your research interests? (PhD applicants only)

          • What research interests or specialized expertise do you want to develop during graduate study?
          • How are your research interests related to the work of one or more of the program faculty who advise doctoral students?

          Upload the essay under "Personal Statement" in the Materials section.

          Upload it under “Resume/CV” in the Materials section of the graduate application.

          Critical issue essay

          Upload a typed essay addressing each of the following questions (not to exceed 1 page, single spaced):

          • What is the role of a school psychologist?
          • What are the most critical educational issues school psychologists can help address?
          • How would you like to contribute to addressing these issues in your future career?

          Upload the essay under "Graduate Program Additional Upload" in the Materials section.

          Optional materials

            Supporting the development of a diverse student body is central to the University of Minnesota's mission. This mission is enacted by the inclusion of academically excellent students with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and/or a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Please write a statement that identifies the distinctive characteristics and/or life experiences, such as successfully overcoming obstacles or hardships, that you would bring to your graduate program and how that could contribute to the education and enhanced perspective of fellow students at the University of Minnesota. This statement may be used to nominate exceptional applicants for graduate fellowships.

            Tip: Tell your story. If you learned from obstacles you personally overcame, write about them. If you grew up with privilege, write about how you discovered your privilege. It might be tempting to write about someone else’s experience, an entire group’s experience, or diversity and inclusion in an abstract way. However, most often, admissions teams want to understand how you personally came to be empathetic, reflective, resilient, and aware of inequalities. Describe how your background, experiences, and achievements will contribute to the program and the University’s goals of promoting excellence through diversity. Submitting the diversity statement is optional, but highly encouraged.

            Upload the essay under “Diversity Statement” in the Materials section in the graduation application.

            You may upload a brief statement explaining any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your grades, academic performance, or professional experience under "Extenuating Circumstances Statement" in the Materials section, including challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic or civil unrest. Although you are certainly not expected to disclose personal information, you may use this statement to provide additional information about circumstances relevant to evaluation of your application materials.

            If you wish to be considered for a Common Ground Consortium assistantship (PhD applicants), please be sure to indicate this on your program application, and then upload a statement (no more than 250 words) briefly addressing the following statement: Given that the University of Minnesota is a public grant institution, it is imperative that CGC scholars can both benefit personally from their membership in the program as well as further the university’s founding mission to contribute to scholarship that benefits the local and greater communities.

            Please describe how your participation as a CGC scholar would do the following:

            • Enhance your graduate student experience
            • Prepare you for your chosen career
            • Benefit the public

            Please do not submit any other materials besides those requested above. In particular, writing samples are not requested and will not be reviewed. Failure to follow directions will not be evaluated favorably when application materials are reviewed.


            Applicants interested in respecializing in school psychology, either by completion of (a) the specialist certificate in order to qualify for a state or national school psychologist credential, or (b) a doctorate in school psychology following completion of a previous doctorate in a separate field of psychology, should apply through the standard program admissions process. In general, individuals will be required to complete all school psychology courses, as well as any required educational psychology coursework not satisfied by their previous coursework. In all cases, practica and internship will be required. Individuals seeking the specialist certificate may be required to complete a research project if their previous degree did not require research or previous theses/dissertations were not applicable to school psychology. Individuals seeking the doctorate may be required to complete both a pre-dissertation research project and dissertation if their previous research was not applicable to school psychology. Interested individuals may contact the program coordinator with questions regarding the applicability of previous degrees or coursework.

            Graduate School diversity statement