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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How long is the Program?

The Master of Science (M.S.) program requires a total of 36 credit hours. The Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) program requires a total of 36 credit hours beyond the M.S. program. The first two years are spent getting your M.S. degree. After fulfilling the M.S. degree, another two years are spent getting your Ed.S. degree. However, the fourth year of study is a full year, paid internship, which may or may not result in employment upon graduation. Students usually take classes full time during the fall and spring semesters and may take a few classes during summer sessions.


2. What are the prerequisites to apply?

A minimum of 15 undergraduate semester hours or the equivalent of psychology courses including basic statistics and an upper level laboratory course emphasizing the experimental method, data collection, statistical analysis, and report writing are required. That is, students are required to have completed at least one class in which they have completed an individual research project. The project must include designing the experiment, collecting data from participants, analyzing data, and writing a report over the project. For example, classes offered at UNO that would fulfill this requirement include laboratory research in Cognitive Psychology (PSYC-4074), Sensation and Perception (PSYC-4214), Behavioral Neuroscience (PSYC-4234), Animal Behavior (PSYC-4280), Learning (PSYC-4024), Developmental (PSYC-4544). Additional classes in statistics would also be helpful. Any classes related to developmental psychology are also recommended.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores for the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections are required. An admission decision will not be made without the scores from the General GRE.


3. Do I need research experience?

Although research experience is not mandatory for acceptance into the program, it is recommended before applying. Any prior research exposure will be beneficial since there are research requirements that are integrated throughout each year of the program.

4. What GPA/GRE scores do I need to get in?

UNO admission policy does not require a specific GPA or GRE score. The test results may take several months for UNO to receive and then send on to the Psychology Department after the test date.


5. How many semester hours does a full time graduate student in the school psychology program take?

Full time for a graduate student is 9 hours (3 classes) per semester. Most of your semesters in the program will be 9 hours, however you may have a semester or two of 12 hours. Nine hours may sound easy but keep in mind that graduate classes are designed to be more intensive than undergraduate classes.


6. When do I apply?

Completed applications for the School Psychology M.S. and Ed.S. programs are due December 15.


7. Is there a wait list?

Yes. We are honored to have many qualified applicants, but unfortunately we have limited space. After April 15th, we will contact those on the wait list about their acceptance status.


8. What kind of jobs should I be working at as an undergrad to get experience in school psychology?

Any position in the mental health or education field will be beneficial for becoming a school psychologist. Some positions that previous students have held include: behavioral therapist for a child with autism, residential treatment center employee, hospital employee (working with children or on the psychology floor), paraprofessional educator in a school, tutor for a child or adult, daycare or respite care worker, summer camp counselor, volunteer for organizations such as Special Olympics, etc.


9. How many hours should I work while in the program full time?

It is recommended that you work no more than 20 hours per week during any semester in your graduate school career. There are some opportunities for Teaching Assistantships (TA) for graduate students. If a TA position is not available, a part-time job with flexible hours is recommended. TA positions are generally 20-hour a week positions and with a tuition waiver, excluding fees. Once UNO receives your General GRE scores and sends them to the Psychology department, you will be eligible for an assistantship. Keep in mind these test scores may take a few months to reach the UNO Psychology Department. To see the deadlines for applying for Psychology Department positions, see the Graduate Teaching Assistantship information through the Graduate College. However, Graduate Assistant (GA) positions are also available at UNO outside the Psychology Department; most of these include a tuition waiver. In order to apply for these positions, go to the UNO Human Resources web page to view available positions and online application procedures.


10. If I have not been admitted to the program or if I am waiting to apply, can I start taking classes early?

No. Only students admitted to the program are permitted to take school psychology courses. This is to ensure personal attention and small class sizes to those who are in the program. While you are waiting to start the program, undergraduate courses such as upper level laboratory classes (see number 3), statistics courses, and developmental psychology courses are helpful.


11. What is the difference between a School Counselor and a School Psychologist?


School Counselor

School Psychologist

Usually 1 yr grad school

At least 3 yrs grad school

Trained in ed./teaching

Trained in ed./psychology

Teaching degree sometimes required

Teaching degree not required

Usually work in one school (specialized age group)

Often responsible for several schools (K-12) and can work in other settings

Course selection, career prep, district testing

Assessment, consultation, interventions, severe cases



12. Where can I learn more about School Psychology?

The National Association for School Psychology (NASP) is our professional organization. Resources and information are available at

Anyone interested in learning more about UNO's School Psychology program is encouraged to visit our department in the Arts & Sciences Hall.



If you are interested in the School Psychology program at UNO and wish to contact a student currently studying in the program, email program director Lisa Kelly-Vance at