Master of Science in Counseling: Option in School Psychology

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Program Information

The School Psychology Program at Cal State LA is a graduate program within the Division of Special Education and Counseling in the College of Education.   

The mission of the School Psychology Program at Cal State LA is to facilitate complete access to the schooling process for ALL children, youth, and their families with recognition of their diverse, multicultural and linguistic backgrounds. The Master of Science Degree in Counseling, Option in School Psychology is designed for graduate students who plan to work as school psychologists who will focus on the psychoeducational development of individuals from birth to age 21, their abilities and potentialities, biological, emotional, behavioral, and cultural factors that influence the learning process. Candidates who earn the master’s degree with this option also qualify for the Pupil Personnel Services credential with Advanced Specialization in School Psychology and Advanced Specialization in Child Welfare and Attendance Services. 

We offer a 3-year, full time program of study. Part time study options are not available. Students should expect most classes to be completed in the evening hours and to be on campus 2-4 days/week. 

Upon completing the master's degree in this program, students not only gain a deep understanding of school psychology but also qualify for valuable credentials, including: 

Pupil Personnel Services Credential: School Psychology: Psychological, Social, and Behavioral 

The specialization in School Psychology involves a wide range of responsibilities. School psychologists are authorized to provide services aimed at enhancing academic performance and design strategies and programs to address problems of adjustment. They also serve as consultants for other educators and parents, addressing issues related to social development, behavioral challenges, and academic difficulties. Additionally, school psychologists conduct psycho-educational assessments to identify special needs and offer psychological counseling services to individuals, groups, and families. They play a crucial role in coordinating intervention strategies for the management of both individual and schoolwide crises. 


Advanced Specialization in Child Welfare and Attendance Services: This specialization equips students with the expertise to navigate the intricate landscape of child welfare and attendance services, allowing them to make a meaningful impact in this critical area. 


For more information on the School Psychology Internship Credential and other program details, please reach out to the Division Office of Special Education and Counseling. Our program is committed to preparing future professionals who can positively influence the lives of children and young adults as they progress through their educational journeys.




The Fall 2024 application filing period opens on October 1, 2023. Please locate your program to view its respective admission application deadline 

Stay tuned for Information Session Announcements. 

Counseling - School Psychology (MS) Deadline: January 15, 2024 

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In addition to meeting the University's general requirements for admission to graduate programs, prospective students must fulfill the following criteria: 

  • A baccalaureate degree or higher from a regionally-accredited college or university.  

  • A 2.75 grade point average in the last 60 semester units attempted. 

  • Two letters of recommendations. 

  • Participate in an interview with the Division screening committee. 

Successful candidates who meet these requirements will be admitted to cohort groups and are obligated to follow a specific sequence of cohort classes.

Application Process


Applications for admission to the program are reviewed once a year for the Fall Semester. Interested candidates should submit their applications through Cal State Apply. The School Psychology Program admits one new cohort of students annually, with classes commencing in the Fall semester. We typically receive 250-300 applications for 24 available positions. There are no specific undergraduate major requirements, and no standardized test (e.g., GRE) is needed. Applicants must go through the university application (CalStateApply). The School Psychology Program Admission Committee reviews applications, conducts in-person interviews for selected candidates, and requires all selected applicants to participate in a half-day campus interview in February. 


After Acceptance: 

After acceptance, students are assigned a faculty advisor and placed in a cohort group. 

Candidates are required to obtain Certificates of Clearance with the California Commission on Teacher  Credentialing (CTC),  provide proof of a negative TB test, and successfully meet the Basic Skills Requirement  (CBEST) to advance from conditional to full admission into the program. 

Length of Program: 

The School Psychology Program is a 3-year, full-time course of study consisting of 72-76 units. 


The M.S. in Counseling, option in School Psychology is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists and accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.


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We are looking for candidates with a strong commitment to become a school psychologist, a willingness and readiness to study on a full-time basis, an appreciation for cultural and linguistic diversity, excellent communication skills (oral and written), a desire to work with children and adolescents - including youth with special needs, good interpersonal skills, and shared values with the College of Education and Division of Special Education & Counseling.

Depending on the course content and year the course was taken, some graduate level courses may be transferred to your Cal State LA school psychology program plan. Generally, equivalent courses taken within 7 years of degree conferral (i.e., your anticipated graduation year) are eligible for transfer. We recommend meeting with the program coordinator or a program advisor. Bring your transcripts and course descriptions for the courses in question.

Absolutely. We do not have a major requirement and we welcome all majors to apply. Students who majored in an unrelated field who are successful in our program typically have at least some prior field experience in the helping profession (e.g., working or volunteering at a school setting or community youth agency, tutoring, ABA therapy).

No, we do not require the GRE or CBEST for admission. Students who are admitted and enrolled in our program are required to pass the CBEST by the end of their first year of the program.

We offer the Master of Science in Counseling degree, with four different options within this degree (applied behavior analysis, rehabilitation counseling, school-based family counseling, and school psychology). The CalStateApply application will ask you which degree you are applying to, and the program application will ask you which option you are applying to. Therefore, on the CalStateApply application, you should select the M.S. in Counseling degree.

Students have classes 2-3 days a week. All of our courses are scheduled in the early afternoon or evening (starting at 4:30 PM).

Many of our students work part- or full-time during their first year in the program. During the second year, most students only work part time due to practicum requirements, in which students complete 10-15 hours per week of field-based experiences in school settings. This requires students to be available at least 1-2 days a week for practicum. During the third year, students do not work and are encouraged to focus on completing their full time internship (40 hours per week).

The Division of Special Education and Counseling offers the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) certificate, which is designed to provide practitioners, such as school psychologists or school psychology trainees, the opportunity to develop specialized skills in applied behavior analysis. The ABA certificate also helps to prepare students for the National Certification Exam in Behavior Analysis. Individuals who are interested in becoming a BCBA may pursue the ABA certificate while they are in the school psychology program, complete supervised fieldwork experiences in ABA, and must pass the national certification exam. Approximately half of the students in our program pursue the ABA certificate. For more information, see: /academic/ccoe/programs/cert_aba

No, our program does not prepare candidates to become school counselors. If you are interested in becoming a school counselor, please refer to the School-Based Family Counseling program: /academic/ccoe/programs/ms_mftpps

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Division of Special Education and Counseling

King Hall C1064
Phone: (323) 343-4400
Website: Division of Special Education and Counseling 

Program Coordinators:  Dr. Elina Saeki and Dr. Kezia Gopaul Knights Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]

Program Faculty


Elina Saeki Profile Picture




Elina Saeki, Ph.D., NCSP
Associate Professor, Program Coordinator
Office: King Hall A2041
Email: [email protected]

  • Research Interests: Teacher well-being, high-stakes testing, school climate, school consultation to support at-risk youth, systems-level change, training in school psychology
  • Courses Taught: School-Based Consultation; Assessment of Social and Behavioral Disorders; Ethics, Law and Professional Issues in Counseling; Practicum and Internship Supervision; Assessment in Counseling; Individual Counseling Strategies


Dr. Kezia Gopaul-Knights profile picture

Kezia Gopaul-Knights, Ph.D., NCSP
Assistant Professor, Fieldwork Coordinator
Office: King Hall A2042   
Email: [email protected]

Nicole Garcia headshot

Nicole Garcia, Ph.D., NCSP
Full Time Lecturer
Office: King Hall A2041 
Email: [email protected]