Our department offers two degrees in school psychology. The Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees are approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The Ph.D. program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. Both the Ph.D and the Ed.S programs offer an optional Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) emphasis, with related course work approved by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) ®.
Because of the program’s unique setting in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, students have the opportunity to work closely with Counseling Psychology, Counselor Education and Supervision, Psychology, Educational Psychology and Special Education faculty. The University of Northern Colorado is the primary training institution for educators in Colorado, and thus houses numerous educational support facilities as well as faculty with a variety of skills.
The University of Northern Colorado (UNC), founded in 1889, was one of the earlier and more prominent teacher training schools. In fact, early on it was the most famous teaching training college in the West, often called the “ Columbia of the West.” The history of graduate education in psychology at UNC dates back to the early 1900s. In 1908, a Psychological Clinic providing physical and mental examinations of school children was founded and continues to operate today. In 1910, the first graduate courses were offered in psychology. Three years later, in 1913, the first master's degree was offered. The Educational Research program was organized in 1924 and this encouraged further seminal work in education. In 1925 the Teachers College published a prominent and influential monthly journal, The Teachers College Journal and Abstract that disseminated many of the college’s innovative techniques. The university had become a beacon of educational change, offering many unique educational activities (e.g., reading seated from UNC and its Laboratory School).
Psychology kept growing as more and more students received master's degrees. Questions regarding the feasibility of a doctorate kept arising and an informal meeting to discuss its possibility was called. A petition to the Board of Trustees was submitted, asking for permission to offer the Ph.D. in educational psychology. On January 15, 1929, permission was granted. In the Spring of 1938, the Educational Psychology program decided to change the doctoral degree to an Ed.D. in educational psychology. For two decades the degree remained the same. For the first time in 1963, the UNC Bulletin described the Ed.D. in Educational Psychology and Guidance as offering specialized training in school psychology. The Program was now officially training doctoral level school psychologists. The knowledge base in school psychology continued to grow, and in 1973 the first Ed.D. degree was offered in school psychology. In 1984 the degree was changed to a Ph.D. in school psychology to reflect an emphasis on both research and practice.
Specialist Degree Training
In 1944, the Educational Psychology program felt the need to offer students an advanced diploma over the master's level, called the "Advanced Graduate Diploma." This was a very specialized diploma for students who wanted to study beyond the MA, but did not want to complete a doctoral degree. In 1953, the Advanced Graduate Diploma changed to the Specialist Degree in Education. "Testing in Elementary Schools" was noted as one of the sample Ed.S. programs listed in 1953 UNC Bulletin. In 1959, "Psychometrics" was added to the list of sample Ed.S. programs. One year later, in 1960, the UNC Bulletin described the Ed.S. program as having an emphasis area in school psychology. In 1964, the current Ed.S. degree in school psychology was initiated, making UNC one of the earliest Ed.S. programs in the U.S.