Admissions Process

Applications are due December 1.

We have two school psychology programs, a Ph.D. program and an S.S.P. program (Specialist in School Psychology). Both programs are full-time degree and licensure programs. There is no licensure-only option. We encourage students from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds to apply.

The admissions process is competitive. Each year, we receive more applications than we can accept. After reviewing applications, we select students to attend an interview. We then notify applicants of admission decisions as they are made. Finally, we make assistantship decisions, giving priority to those pursuing doctoral degrees.

Before You Apply

Before you apply, you should be aware that the program requires a full-time commitment for three years (if pursuing the S.S.P. program) and five years (for the Ph.D. program). In addition to class time, you'll be required to participate in assistantships, practicum experiences, extracurricular activities, volunteer experiences and other training opportunities. Most classes and practicum experiences take place during the day. Students are not able to work outside of the program due to the intensive commitment. Also due to the time commitment, we do not recommend commuting.

You should also be aware of the qualifications typically held by students accepted into the program:

  • Bachelor's degree in psychology (although other related majors are considered).
  • Undergraduate GPA above 3.40.
  • Strong letters of recommendation.
  • A strong personal career statement.
  • Relevant research or applied experiences.

Please note: If you hold a degree in an area of psychology other than school psychology, it's likely that only a few classes would transfer in. It would most likely take you three full-time years to complete the S.S.P. program and five years for the Ph.D. program.

Application Materials

You'll apply to the program through the NIU Graduate School. Your application materials will include the following:

  • Graduate School application. Be sure to select Psychology - School. Do not select Educational Psychology.
  • Statement of career goals. In this statement, please clearly indicate if you are applying for the S.S.P. program or the Ph.D. program.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Unofficial transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work. If accepted into the program, we will request official transcripts at that time.
  • GRE scores (not required for Dec. 2021 applications).


After reviewing all the applications, we select approximately 20 individuals with strong qualifications to attend an interview in February. We admit seven or eight of these students to the program. We typically have our class selected in April and those individuals will begin the program the following August.