Educational Psychology

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Admissions: School Psychology PhD and MA/Specialist Certificate

Admissions requirements

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.

  • 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 10-15 students depending on faculty capacity. About quarter of the students admitted each year are for the PhD degree and the remainder for the MA/Specialist degree. Approximately 20-30% of PhD applicants are admitted each year.

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


Before you apply

For any questions you may have, look to our frequently asked questions or our program handbook.

We love meeting future students! If you have a question that was not answered in the resources above, make an appointment with us.

PhD and MA+SC track: Contact Amanda L. Sullivan (

September: Applications open

Applications for fall 2023 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 2023 prior to submitting.

December: Application deadline

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.

December: Review process

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.

January: Applicant day and admissions decisions

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

How to apply

Start your graduate application

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.

Application fee

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.

Applicants can request an application fee waiver once all elements of their application have been complete, excluding letters of recommendation. 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 email to request an application fee waiver. Requests will be reviewed on the first and third Fridays of the month before the application deadline.

Transcripts (Academic History)

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

Test Scores

English language test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)

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

Letters of recommendation

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

Personal Statement

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.

  1. Why school psychology?
    • Your career objectives.
    • Your reasons for applying to this program.
    • The core values that will guide your professional activities.
  2. Your personal conceptualization of diversity, equity, or social justice as it relates to education or the role of a school psychologist.
    • How did you come to this understanding or conceptualization? (Note, we do not expect students to share personal information or traumas in their response in order to be evaluated favorably in the admissions process.)
  3. Research interests (PhD applicants only)
    • Your research interests or specialized expertise to be developed during graduate study.
    • How your research interests relate to the work of one of 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.

Graduate Program Additional Material
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

Diversity Statement

This statement may be used to nominate exceptional applicants for graduate fellowships. (See the Graduate School's DOVE Fellowship page for more information). Submitting the diversity statement is optional, but highly encouraged, especially for applicants who have experienced hardships or obstacles to complete their previous undergraduate or graduate education (e.g., coming from diverse ethnic, racial, or educational backgrounds; coming from a low-income background; being a first-generation college student).

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 systematic inequalities. Describe how your background, experiences, and achievements will contribute to the program and the University’s goals of promoting excellence through diversity.

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

Extenuating Circumstances

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.

Common Ground Consortium

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

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

Writing Sample and Description of Research

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