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UCR's GSOE gets School Psychology Program Accreditation

UC Riverside’s Graduate School of Education’s School Psychology Program Accredited by Prestigious Psychology Organization.

Accreditation beneficial to students who want to pursue a career in school psychology.

(December 16, 2004)

The UC Riverside Graduate School of Education’s (GSOE) School Psychology program has gained accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA), making it one of only two schools in the state with such a designation.

GSOE also offers research and doctoral specializations in curriculum and instruction, educational psychology, leadership and policy studies, and special education, as well as teacher preparation programs.

“The UCR School Psychology program was accredited because of its excellent curriculum that trains school psychologist’s at the doctoral level, the high level of research productivity and its history of producing Ph.D. graduates who work in university and research settings,” said Frank Gresham, distinguished professor of education who worked with Assistant Professor of Education Michael L. Vanderwood on the accreditation process. “Getting a program accredited the fist time is exceedingly difficult and time consuming, and requires good old fashioned hard work.”

Located in Washington, DC, the APA is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students.

The APA accredits high quality applied psychology doctoral programs in the areas of clinical, counseling or school psychology. Accreditation is a voluntary process that requires candidates to be involved in an intensive self study of their program’s objectives, educational and training practices, resource support base, faculty, students, graduates and training outcomes. The process also includes a review of its operations by a site visit team of professional colleagues, followed by review by the Committee on Accreditation (CoA). The process takes about 18 months from the time a program submits a self-study. UCR’s school psychology program will be subject to its next site visit review in 2007.

About 57 institutions of higher education are APA-accredited nationally in School Psychology. Only two of those — UC Riverside and UC Berkeley — are in California. UC Santa Barbara has an APA-accredited combined program in School and Counseling Psychology.

“APA accreditation brings national recognition to our excellent School Psychology Program,” said GSOE Dean Steven Bossert. “I commend Professors Gresham and Vanderwood for their outstanding effort.”

UCR’s GSOE School Psychology doctoral program requires a minimum of three years of full-time academic study beyond the baccalaureate degree. In addition, students must complete a one-year (1500 hours) internship in a school or clinical setting. The program emphasizes the development of skills that allow students to successfully assume the responsibilities of a psychologist in school and community settings, as well as faculty positions in institutions of higher education.

“Newly APA-accredited universities usually see a significant increase in their student application pool," said Gresham, “This is largely due to the many benefits, which include having an easier time sitting for the licensing examinations in any state and also having greater access to APA-approved internships.” And, said Gresham, most universities require prospective faculty to be graduates of an APA-approved program

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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