Frequently Asked Questions

The Psy.D. is a doctoral degree that emphasizes professional practice skills. The Ph.D. traditionally emphasizes research training. This distinction, however, is sometimes more one of perception than reality. Many Ph.D. – trained school psychologists become practitioners and the Psy.D. program at MSU, Mankato emphasizes research training.

Doctoral students will be continuously involved in research. There are several courses in research and statistics. Additionally, doctoral students will join a faculty research team during their first semester. These research teams meet weekly to collaboratively design projects, problem solve, and analyze data. Throughout their time in the program, doctoral students are expected to help their colleagues with their research projects. Assistance may involve help collecting data or completing procedural integrity checks. As doctoral students advance in the program they take more of a leadership role in research projects. The research team is the context in which students will develop and conduct their dissertation project.

No. The minimum requirement for admission is the completion of a bachelor’s degree. Students with graduate training may be admitted in advanced standing for a shortened curriculum.

Top applicants are invited for campus interviews in late February or early March.

We anticipate admitting five to ten doctoral students in the fall of each year.

The curriculum is designed to be completed in five years of full-time study. The five years includes four years of on-campus study and one year of internship. Students who have completed some graduate study prior to admission to the program may be admitted with advanced standing and have the program shortened by as many as 30 credits.

The doctoral program is fully accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). This accreditation has two direct implications for graduates of the program. First, licensure as a school psychologist in the state of Minnesota is based on graduation from a NASP-accredited program. Therefore, graduates of the program are automatically eligible for licensure as a school psychologist in the state. Second, the national certification credential - Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NSCP) - is granted by NASP to graduates of NASP-accredited programs that pass the national licensure exam. Our graduates have a 100% pass rate on the national exam. Graduates from non-NASP-accredited programs can also earn the NCSP but have to submit substantial paperwork to demonstrate their skills and the alignment of their program to the NASP training standards. Our graduates utilized this process to earn the NCSP before we earned NASP accreditation. The NCSP is accepted for school psychology licensure in more than half of states in the U.S. (including Minnesota).

Yes. Students with backgrounds in education are also encouraged to apply. Students with any background will be considered but students who lack basic training in psychology or education will have additional pre-requisite courses to complete.

The program is designed to be full-time and delivered on campus. Part-time admissions will be considered under unique circumstances but will not be encouraged. Commuting from long distances would be difficult because classes and practicum experiences will often occur during the same day. Students living out of town should plan to commute every day of the week for classes, practicum, and/or research.
If more resources become available, we hope to modify the program to accommodate working professionals. However, the program is currently housed on campus with courses offered throughout the day.

Funding will be available on a competitive basis within the program. Funding is also available through graduate assistantships in other departments, work study, and student loans. The majority of students in the program have received at least partial funding in the form of graduate assistantship or adjunct teaching appointments. Although we have had a very positive track record for funding students in the program, funding opportunities can vary from year-to-year based on a number of conditions at the university. Please contact the College of Graduate Studies and Research and/or the Financial Aid Office for more information.

Please contact the program director, Dr. Shawna Petersen-Brown ( or 507-389-1353), for more information.