Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in School Psychology


Consistent with professional standards in the field, our CAS training program provides students with the building blocks for effective practice at the entry level for the provision of services to children and youth. As outlined by these authors, the domains for leadership and function in the schools include the following:

  • Data based decision making and accountability
  • Interpersonal communication, collaboration, and consultation
  • Effective instruction and development of cognitive/academic skills
  • Socialization and development of life competencies
  • Student diversity in development and learning
  • School structure, organization, and climate
  • Prevention, wellness promotion, and crisis intervention
  • Home/school/community collaboration
  • Research and program evaluation
  • Legal, ethical practice and professional development

The University at Albany, State University of New York offers a program in School Psychology that leads to a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS). The CAS is minimally a three-year, 73 credit-hour training program. Students who complete this program are eligible for New York State certification as a school psychologist. The aim of the Program is the development of school psychologists who are well educated in both psychology and education. Using this knowledge, school psychologists are able to employ a variety of skills to improve learners' educational experiences and psychological well being. As such, these individuals provide a variety of services including consultation, assessment, and direct intervention.

The CAS Program's philosophy is that preparation of school psychologists is dependent on:

a solid foundation in psychological and educational theory and research, and skill-based training in psychological assessment and intervention methods.
opportunities for supervised application of theory, research, and reflective practice.

This philosophy is consistent with an integrated model in which theory and research provide the basis for school psychological practice, the implementation and evaluation of which subsequently informs theory, research, and practice.

The educational and training goals and objectives are consistent with the Program's philosophy and the substantive areas of professional psychology. The following goals and objectives have been identified for the CAS Program:

Graduates demonstrate the knowledge and skills to conduct evidence-supported, valid and reliable psychological assessments with individuals from diverse backgrounds.


Objective A: Students implement a problem-solving, hypothesis-generating process to identify individual strengths and needs using multiple methods.



Competency A1: The student demonstrates the ability to utilize a systematic approach to data gathering in order to inform clinical/professional decision-making.



Competency A2: The student demonstrates the knowledge and skill to select and implement a variety of evaluation techniques (e.g., norm-referenced, criterion-referenced, curriculum-based, interviews, records reviews) in ways that are responsive to and respectful of individuals, families, and groups of diverse backgrounds.


Objective B: Students demonstrate the ability to interpret assessment results, make inferences about assessment data, and communicate assessment results and recommendations effectively.



Competency B1: The student demonstrates the ability to integrate assessment data from different sources for diagnostic/identification purposes.



Competency B2: The student demonstrates the ability to integrate assessment results to develop appropriate academic, behavioral, and socio-emotional intervention recommendations.



Competency B3: The student demonstrates the ability to communicate assessment results to diverse audiences (e.g., other professionals, parents, children).

To train practitioners to engage in culturally responsive consultation and collaborative problem solving with others to effectively enhance the mental health and learning competencies of children, adolescents, and their families.


Objective A: Students demonstrate appropriate communication and relationship skills when consulting with others (i.e., professionals, parents).



Competency A1: The student demonstrates the ability to establish and maintain rapport with consultees (e.g., teachers, parents).



Competency A2: The studentcommunicates effectively with consultees (e.g., school personnel, parents).


Objective B: Students demonstrate knowledge of and ability to participate in consultation activities.



Competency B1: The student models collaborative behavior during consultation.



Competency B2: The student applies a systematic approach to problem-solving during consultation.


Objective C: Students consult with a variety of stakeholders (e.g., teachers, parents, and/or other professionals).



Competency C1: The student demonstrates knowledge of different consultation models (e.g., behavioral, mental health).



Competency C2: The student implements consultation and collaboration with consultees (e.g., families, schools, and service providers).



Competency C3: The student demonstrates knowledge of resources.



Competency C4: The student evaluates the effectiveness of consultation and collaboration with consultees (e.g., families, schools, and service providers).

Graduates display the knowledge and skills to implement evidence-based interventions that promote the academic, behavioral, and social competencies of children and adolescents.


Objective A: Students plan interventions based on available research literature and theory.



Competency A1: The student demonstrates knowledge of psychological intervention theory, and effectively utilizes research and practice to guide treatment.



Competency A2: The student demonstrates knowledge of the influence of ecological context (e.g., social, cultural, historical) and systems on individual behavior and intervention effectiveness.



Competency A3: The student demonstrates the ability to formulate and conceptualize interventions.



Competency A4: The student demonstrates the ability to plan and implement interventions that address a variety of issues (e.g., psychotherapy, psychoeducational, crisis management, prevention programs) at different levels (e.g., individual, group, systems level).


Objective B: Students evaluate interventions.



Competency B1: The studentdemonstrates on-going case formulation and treatment planning which attends to the whole person/group/system.



Competency B2: The student develops a decision-making plan that incorporates data.



Competency B3: The student demonstrates the ability to assess and monitor intervention progress and outcomes, and to make appropriate alterations as necessary.



Competency B4: The student demonstrates the ability to assess treatment integrity.

Students consistently engage in practice with diverse individuals that is grounded in ethical, legal, and professional standards.


Objective A: Students adhere to established ethical and legal standards of professional school psychological practice.



Competency A1: The student demonstrates knowledge of the major professional issues that influence the practice of school psychology.



Competency A2: The student demonstrates knowledge and the ability to apply ethical guidelines, legal standards, and professional principles in school psychological practice.



Competency A3: The student consistently exhibits professional dispositions and effective communication skills in professional practice.



Competency A4: The student demonstrates commitment to continuous learning and professional development.



Competency A5: The student responds to supervisory feedback to develop appropriate personal and professional skills.


Objective B: Students demonstrate knowledge of and sensitivity to issues of diversity in their professional practice.



Competency B1: The student demonstrates knowledge of, and sensitivity to, cultural diversity and individual differences, as well as recognizes his/her own biases and influences on behavior.



Competency B2: The student considers and incorporates dimensions of diversity in designing, implementing, and evaluating programs, products, and services that relate to school psychology practice and research.



Competency B3: The student demonstrates effective interpersonal skills when interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

To train professional school psychologists to be competent consumers, distributors, and producers of research.


Objective A: Students will demonstrate competence in aspects of research design and analysis, as well as competence in the critical review and evaluation of the psychological and educational research literature.



Competency A1: The student demonstrates knowledge of and competence in basic quantitative and qualitative methods, data analysis, data interpretation, research design, and psychological measurement.



Competency A2: The student demonstrates the ability to write a critical review of the literature in an area in psychology and education.


Objective B: Students generate original research and scholarship.



Competency B1: The student demonstrates the ability to conduct an independent research project.



Competency B2: The student demonstrates the use of research to inform the practice of psychology.



Competency B3: The student demonstrates the ability to communicate research.

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Program Requirements

The CAS Program requires a minimum of 73 hours; this also includes a Master of Science in Educational Psychology and Statistics (required for permanent certification in New York State) that is embedded in the CAS Program. Components of the CAS Program include:

  • Personal characteristics
  • Academic knowledge
  • Field training
  • Comprehensive examination
  • Student portfolio

Across all of these components is a respect for issues of individual and cultural diversity. Training competent professional school psychologists thus encompasses multiple areas; specifically, personal characteristics, academic knowledge, field training experiences, and comprehensive examination must be addressed.

Personal Characteristics

Students' professional behavior is expected to conform to the ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct outlined by the American Psychological Association (APA, 1992) and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP, 1997). In addition, students’ professional activities are expected to be characterized by:

Commitment to learning
Appropriate interpersonal skills
Effective communication skills
Effective use of time and resources
Use of constructive feedback
Critical thinking
Stress management

Academic Knowledge

The CAS Program emphasizes five broad areas of academic course work: psychological foundations; educational foundations; research, measurement, and statistics; intervention/problem-solving; and professional school psychology.

In the area of psychological foundations, the curriculum is designed to ensure that students have a foundation in the knowledge base for the discipline of psychology. This knowledge base includes:


Developmental Psychology (e.g., Advanced Developmental Psychology, Comparative Theories of Human Development)


Learning/Cognition (e.g., Theories of Learning, Human Memory, Cognitive Psychology)


Child Psychopathology (e.g., Psychopathology, Abnormal Psychology, Behavioral and Emotional Disturbances of Children and Adolescents, Behavior Disorders)


Biological Bases/Personality/Social Psychology (e.g., Biopsychology, Psychopharmacology, Neuropsychology, Theories of Personality, Survey of Personality, Social Psychology, Group Dynamics, Interpersonal Relations)

In the area of educational foundations, the curriculum is designed to ensure that all students have a foundation in the knowledge bases for education. This includes:


Reading (e.g., Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Problems, Reading and the Exceptional Child)


Special Education (e.g., Psychology and Education of Exceptional Children and Youth)


Educational Foundations (e.g., Philosophy of Education, History of Education, Sociology of Education)

In the area of research, measurement, and statistics, the curriculum is designed to ensure that all students are competent consumers of research and new knowledge, and are able to use diverse methodologies (e.g., ethnographic, single subject designs, quantitative methods) to evaluate professional practices (i.e., interventions) and/or programs. This knowledge base includes:


Statistics (e.g., Statistical Methods, Multivariate Analysis, Qualitative Analysis)


Measurement (e.g., Psychological Measurement, Psychometric Theory)


Research Methods (e.g., Experimental Design, Master’s research project)

In the area of intervention/problem-solving, the curriculum is designed to ensure that all students possess the knowledge and professional expertise to collaborate with families and school- and community-based professionals in designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions that effectively respond to the educational and mental health needs of children and youth. This knowledge base includes:


Intellectual Assessment (e.g., Assessment of Intelligence)


Psychoeducational Assessment (e.g., Psychoeducational Assessment)


Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Assessment (e.g., Social-Emotional-Behavioral Assessment)


Direct Interventions (e.g., Behavioral Interventions, Psychotherapy)


Indirect Interventions (e.g., Consultation / Prevention)

In the area of professional school psychology, the curriculum is designed to ensure that all students have a knowledge base specific to the professional specialty of school psychology. This knowledge base includes:


Seminar in School Psychology (e.g. Introduction to School Psychology)


Child Abuse Mandated Reporting


Project SAVE - Mandated Violence Prevention

Field Training

In the area of professional practice, the curriculum is designed to ensure that all students are provided with a sequence of closely supervised field training experiences through which they integrate, practice, and are evaluated regarding their mastery of distinct skills consistent with the CAS Program.

General psychological theory, methods of inquiry, educational foundations, and professional school psychology (i.e., propositional, case, and strategic knowledge) are integrated across multiple field training experiences. In our CAS Program, the field training component is viewed from a developmental perspective (Boyland, Malley, & Scott, 1995). Following this model, the following principles are associated with field training.

  1. Movement is directional and hierarchical; early learning establishes a foundation for later development.

  2. Differentiation occurs with new learning and practice; learning proceeds from more simplistic and elementary and toward the more complex and integrated.

  3. Separation/individuation are achieved; learning leads to progressively more independent and separate functioning by the student.

These principles are identified within the program structure, the learning processes, and the supervisory interactions encountered by the students. Students proceed through the field training component of their program in an orderly and sequentially planned progression. This sequence is as follows:


Pre-Practicum Activities




Certification Internship in School Psychology, Non-doctoral

Within this philosophy and structure, each component in this sequence varies regarding the required length of the placement, and the range of expected skills and competencies necessary before the student can move on to the next component in field training.

· Pre-Practicum Activities

During the first and second years of training, students participate in activities at the Pre-Practicum level of the continuum. This field training consists of direct instruction and controlled practice assignments related to specific classes (e.g., administering and interpreting tests of intelligence and achievement); basic skill development and ongoing feedback are emphasized.

· Practicum (ESPY 790 Field Experience I

The practicum is a planned, structured, and programmed sequence of professionally supervised training experiences in comprehensive school psychological services including problem solving, intervention, and consultation to deal with educational, social, emotional, and behavioral problems of school-age children and youth. Practicum occurs during the student’s second year in the Program, and involves the completion of 420 hours over the course of 2 semesters (2 days/week) on-site, as well as attendance at formally scheduled weekly group supervision and case conference meetings on campus.

· Certification Internship in School Psychology, Non-doctoral

Supervised experience (by certified school psychologists) in comprehensive school psychological services (i.e., assessment, intervention, prevention, and consultation).

At this level students are placed in a public school district, and provide the broad range of psychological services. The duration of this placement is 5 days/week for 10 months (1200 hours on-site, at least 600 hours must be completed in a public school setting). Duties in this experience encompass all areas of professional functioning (i.e., assessment, intervention, consultation). The internship is a culminating training experience of the student’s CAS Program, and is designed to enhance the development and reinforcement of competencies and professionalism.

Comprehensive Examination

Students enrolled in the CAS School Psychology Program complete a comprehensive
examination during their program. The Praxis Series Assessment (Test 40, School Psychologist) that is administered by the Educational Testing Service is used for the CAS comprehensive exam. This test includes multiple-choice questions covering 6 areas (i.e., Assessment, Prevention and Intervention, Evaluation and Research, Professional Practice, Applied Psychological Foundations, and Applied Educational Foundations). Passing on this examination: NCSP passing criterion.

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The CAS Program in School Psychology will admit students at various levels of training. Some of those admitted to the program will be beginning graduate students directly from undergraduate school; others will be returning students. Full time study will be typical of most students, and the program is geared toward full time study. All students enrolled in this program must meet a residency requirement for full-time study of at least 24 credits taken in two consecutive regular semesters and must complete an internship.

Policy on Acceptance of Transfer Credit

A. When there is a question of accepting credit for didactic courses taken at other graduate institution, students may be required to submit the course syllabus, a list of the tests used, qualifications of the course instructor, other relevant material, and a statement from the student on how the course(s) met competencies in what ways. When there is a question about the comparability of courses, the advisor may require the student to meet with the instructor at the University at Albany who teaches the course. The instructor will indicate to the Division faculty whether the courses appear comparable.




Credit for previous coursework in Psychological Foundations and Research, Measurement, and Statistics areas will be considered only when based upon evidence that the psychology was taught at the graduate level and was offered through a Department of Psychology, a Department of Educational Psychology, or a Department of Counseling Psychology.

Prior field experiences completed at other universities or in other programs cannot be accepted in lieu of University at Albany Division of School Psychology field training requirements.

C. Decisions concerning student requests to be granted credit for a course in the CAS Program will be made soon after the student is enrolled. The one exception to this is when a student needs to demonstrate a particular skill of competency. Under these circumstances the decision will not be made until after the student demonstrates such competency.

Residence Requirements

To be eligible for the MS degree (in Educational Psychology and Statistics), at least 24 credits must be completed at the University, full-time study.

Students in the CAS Program in School Psychology complete a minimum of 2 years of academic study and 1 additional year of certification internship prior to the granting of the degree. Of the 73 minimum credit hours undertaken to complete the degree, 38 credits must be taken at the University at Albany. Division residency requirements stipulate a minimum of one academic year in full-time residence (2 consecutive semesters of full time study). Because admission to the Program is based on a general commitment to full-time study, students in the CAS Program in School Psychology typically conduct their entire course of study on a full-time in-residence basis.

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Credentials for Professional Practice

School Psychology Certification

School Psychology certification from the Office of Teaching New York State Education Department is required to practice in the public schools as a school psychologist. A program including course work and field training is required to obtain certification. The CAS Program at the University at Albany-SUNY is approved by the New York State Education Department.


Effective July 1, 2001, the Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) requires the Commissioner of Education and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to request a fingerprint supported criminal history background check for applicants for certification as well as for prospective employees of school districts, charter schools, and boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES). Each fingerprint packet distributed by the State Education Department (SED) will include one Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) fingerprint card and one Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint card. Completed cards will be returned to SED and then forwarded to DCJS.

Certification in Other States

Students should be aware that states may differ in requirements for certification. The CAS Program is designed so that graduates should be eligible for certification as a school psychologist in most other states. However, students considering moving to another state should check carefully the requirements of that particular state so that they can be sure that their course work and fieldwork training experiences meet the specific requirements of that state. There is a national examination in school psychology (the comprehensive examination for the CAS), which may facilitate efforts to obtain certification in other states.

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Frequently Asked Questions/CAS

Q. How many students do you admit each year?

A. Out of approximately 30-40 applicants, we accept about 10 CAS students annually, although this number varies somewhat.

Q. What is the length of the CAS program?

A. The CAS program involves three years of full-time study; two years of coursework and one year of internship.

Q. Do you have “rolling” admissions?

A. No. Applications to the CAS program are due January 30. Interviews usually occur sometime in February. All students begin their program in the fall semester, which usually begins during the last week of August.

Q. What are the average GPAs and GREs of successful applicants?

A. During the past several years, the average undergraduate GPA has been about 3.5, and the average GRE Score (Verbal + Quantitative) has been about 300, and a 3.5 in Writing. These are averages, however, and we do have students with GPAs and GREs both higher and lower than these figures. Students with GPAs lower than 3.0, however, will typically not be considered for admission.

Q. How are decisions made about which applicants to make offers of admission?

A. The decision-making process involves the simultaneous examination of a number of student variables, including the applicant's grade point average (GPA), graduate record exam (GRE) results, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and evidence of commitment (e.g., experiences working with children and youth).

Q. What is the “cutoff” for GPAs and GREs?

A. We do not use a "cutoff" system. Rather, these scores as well as other variables (e.g., personal statement, letters of recommendations) are collectively considered in our admission process. We compare applicants in a given year to each other and select the most highly qualified students for interviews.

Q. Can I attend the CAS program part-time?

A. No. The program is designed for full-time students only.

Q. When are classes offered?

A. Some classes are offered during the day, in either the morning or afternoon. Other classes are offered in the evening, usually from 4: 15 to 7:05 PM.

Q. How often are classes taught?

A. Unlike most undergraduate colleges and universities, graduate classes are typically held once per week for approximately three hours. Occasionally, some classes are taught twice per week.

Q. Do I have to take summer classes?

Yes. CAS students usually take two or three summer classes over the course of the program.

Q. How many students will I have in my classes?

A. The exact number varies by class, but in school psychology classes typical sizes are 10-15 students. Some classes outside of school psychology may have more students, but not many more.

Q. How many classes do CAS students take each semester?

A. Students typically take five classes during the fall and spring semesters, and a few additional classes over summers.

Q. Can I work as well as attend the CAS program?

A. The CAS program is designed for full-time study, and it would not be possible to work full-time and still be a member of the program. Part-time work is possible, but given the rigors of graduate school and a full-time courseload, we strongly discourage students from working during the fall and spring semesters, although we recognize this is sometimes not an option for some students, Rather than working, whenever possible we encourage students to take out loans to finance graduate training and living expenses.

Q. What assistantships and job opportunities are available for CAS students?

A. There is no funding available through the school psychology program for the first two years of study In the CAS program, although the university does offer various assistantships, and interested students are encouraged to visit the UAlbany website (www.albany.edu). During the third and final year of study, all CAS students are provided funding during their internship.

Q. What is the relationship between students in the CAS program and students in the PsyD program?

A. There is a high degree of overlap in courses taken by CAS and PsyD students during the first two years, and faculty do not make distinctions in their expectations for coursework or practica between CAS and PsyD students. There is mutual respect among students of both programs.

Q. Can I apply to both the CAS and the PsyD programs?

A. We strongly prefer that you apply to one program or the other. Applying to both sends the message that you are undecided about which program is the best match for your goals.

Q. Can I transfer or apply to the PsyD program if I am in the CAS program?

A. Yes, students in the CAS program can later apply for admission to the PsyD program. Admission to the PsyD program for CAS students is in no way guaranteed, however. Historically, about 50% of those CAS students who applied for admission to the PsyD program have been accepted into it.

Q. Are internships paid?

A. Yes, ALL third-year, full-time interns receive a stipend. This is not typically the case in many other school psychology programs.

Q. Can I complete my internship outside the Albany area, or in another state?

A. No. All CAS Internships must be completed in the greater capital region, in approved school districts. This allows our program to provide better supervision of our students, and provides a guarantee that we can provide a stipend for al students during their internship year.

Q. Are CAS students certified as school psychologists following completion of the program?

A. Yes. All graduates of the CAS program are provisionally certified as school psychologists In the state of New York. Permanent certification as a school psychologist can be obtained after two years of full-time employment as a school psychologist.

Q. What if I complete the CAS program but want to live and work in another state?

A. Several of our previous graduates have successfully completed the CAS program and later moved to another state with little or no problems. In addition to becoming certified as a school psychologist in New York, graduates of the CAS program are nationally certified by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). This does NOT mean students are nationally certified in any state; rather, it means they have met a national standard of quality. However, about 50% of U.S. states currently accept national certification for state certification. As such, students graduating from the CAS program who desire to live and work in states other than New York have not had any real problems doing so.

Q. What is the job placement rate of graduates of the CAS program?

A. All graduates of the CAS program who have desired employment have full-time or part-time (if that is their choice) positions working as school psychologists.

Q. Where do graduates of the CAS program find employment?

A. CAS program graduates are employed in public or private schools.

Q. What should I do if I apply for admission but do not receive an offer to interview?

A. Although disappointing, many students apply for admission to our CAS program but are not invited to interview. Because of the large number of applicants for limited enrollment slots, this is inevitable and unavoidable. If you apply for admission but do not receive an interview, it is because it was determined by the faculty that other applicants were more highly qualified to receive an interview opportunity, if you do not receive an offer to interview, you are welcome to re-apply to the program the following year.

Q. What should I do if I receive an interview but do not receive an offer of admission?

A. Some students receive an opportunity to interview but do not ultimately receive an offer of admission. When this occurs, It is because the faculty determined that the student in question was not as highly qualified as other applicants, or because of a determination that the applicant would not be a good match for the program.

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