Pathways PhD Program for School Psychologists

In the state of Colorado, licensed school psychologists are required to have an EdS or a PhD degree. Previously, an EdS in Child, Family and School Psychology was thought to be a terminal degree, but what happens when those licensed school psychologists with an EdS want to pursue further education? In 2008, Karin Dittrick-Nathan, Director of the Child, Family, and School Psychology Psychoeducational Clinic, and Gloria Miller, Professor and CFSP Program Coordinator, created a program that fit the needs of working professionals with an EdS to advance their degree to a PhD; the Pathways program in Child, Family and School Psychology was born offering an opportunity unique to MCE.

Dittrick-Nathan expresses her excitement about the program’s success: “It has been gratifying to see these individuals that have been in the field and love it so much, that they are at a point where they want to increase the contribution they are making to the field: either in research, or an administrative position in a district, or coming into academia to pass along the experience that they’ve had as practitioners.”


Through MCE’s 52 credit hour Pathways program, school psychologists with an EdS degree can get a PhD in 2-7 years, depending on full-time or part-time enrollment. Students work closely with an advisor and take a flexible array of advanced courses in child and family studies, family and systems service delivery, organizational management, research and program evaluation, and policy development that are designed to develop expertise that is matched to individual interests and proficiency.

The unique program was created for working professionals, offering a flexible class schedule and coursework plan that is individualized to put the students’ research InContext with their professional career. Each student declares a research cognate, or area of specialization, which helps to pair up MCE faculty and students with similar research interests. Research topics currently taking place in MCE’s Child, Family and School Psychology department include: learning styles for students with special needs, behavior or learning disorders, early language literacy, school and family engagement, play therapy, and bullying, among many others.

Students interested in applying for the Pathways PhD program must have graduated from a NASP program accredited within the last 7 years, and must hold a professional license as a school psychologist. Please contact MCE’s Office of Admissions for additional information and instructions on how to apply.

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