Education Specialist (EdS) Degree in School Psychology

An educational psychologist works in the schools, doing testing, evaluating and discerning areas of need.

An education specialist (EdS) degree in school psychology prepares graduates to become a school psychologist, work in public and private schools, test and assess students, and analyze test results discerning need areas for children in Oregon and throughout the country.

Our programs are rooted in the belief that school psychologists:

  • Must understand the physiological, psychological, relational, spiritual, and educational needs of K-12 students
  • Should be able to articulate the core dynamics of school psychology in concert with sound theological principles
  • Need to be able to use appropriate individual and group testing and assessment tools in the areas of academic skills, learning aptitude, social skills, personality and emotional development
  • Assist in strengthening the working relationships between educators, parents, and community resources
  • Are aware of prevention services
  • Need to possess the skills for working with a variety of students of different ages, diverse backgrounds, and varied developmental stages, cognitive, emotional and physical abilities
  • Should be able to work with private, institutional, community, ecclesiastical, and cross-cultural issues
  • Should have foundational counseling skills


For those who want to obtain the Initial School Psychology License, George Fox University has been approved by the Oregon TSPC to offer an education specialist (EdS) degree to accompany the initial and continuing license preparation programs to prepare you to work with K-12 children, in public and private schools. You will learn how to test and assess students and analyze test results. You will be able to consult and collaborate with parents, teachers, administrators, and other professionals. The EdS degree will prepare students to sit for the Praxis II: School Psychologist specialization test.

EdS vs. Master's Degree

Students who want to go into school psychology are often uncertain as to whether the EdS or master's degree is a better route. Some of the advantages of earning an EdS over a master's degree are:

  • EdS is the degree required or preferred for licensure as a school psychologist
  • Provides eligibility for the NCSP (Nationally Certified School Psychology) Credential
  • Alerts employers of your more extensive preparation
  • Usually puts graduates at a higher pay scale

For further detail, we encourage you to utilize this resource provided by NASP: Overview of Differences Among Degrees in School Psychology.


The George Fox University school psychology program is tracking current and future NASP (National Association of School Psychologists) standards and planning program changes accordingly so that future George Fox school psychology students will graduate from a NASP-approved program. Currently, our program covers content of the 10 NASP Practice Model Domains, so our graduates have been able to pursue and receive personal NASP certification after graduation.

Advantages of the George Fox School Psychology program:

  • Courses taught from a systemic perspective
  • Opportunity to interact with students who are pursuing other mental health professions
  • The combined expertise of the counseling, education and psychology departments
  • An environment that encourages the integration of faith and learning
  • Post-graduate certificates for additional employability and specialization
  • Full-time, accessible, widely trained faculty
  • A convenient Portland Center location
  • Flexible schedules  (day, evening and weekend classes) for working adults
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Curriculum Plan

Complete the following:

This course examines both the content and process of the Christian faith as well as its implications for clinical practice. Explored are an introduction to spirituality in mental health, basic hermeneutics as applied to Christian Scripture, basic theological concepts, the relationship between theology and psychology, health and toxic faith systems, spiritual development, spiritual/religious assessment, the spiritual/religious orientation and value system of the therapist, and treatment interventions in the spiritual/religious realm.

Complete the following:

An examination of key concepts in marital and family systems, including the family life cycle, as well as an introduction to various approaches to marital and family therapy. Core counseling skills as used in systems therapy will be taught and practiced. Prevention services as well as the roles of ethnicity and culture will be studied.
This course reviews basic concepts and skills of counseling individuals, including practice in applying those concepts and techniques in counseling situations during class. Emphasis is on conditions for effective helping relationships, attending and interviewing skills, basic theoretical assumptions, ethical principles, and professional orientation.
This course is designed to advance student understanding of theory as it related to clinical practice of counseling and therapy, including intake and assessment skills, the influence of the clinician, the development of interventions, crisis strategies, and treatment plans, consultation, file management, and the ethical treatment of clients, especially those from diverse and/or multicultural populations. Emphasis is placed on understanding the client(s) from systemic and developmental perspectives. Pass/No Pass. Prerequisites: GCEP 500 Introduction to Couple and Family Therapy; GCEP 501 Principles and Techniques of Counseling; GCEP 510 Human Growth and Development; GCEP 520 Personality and Counseling Theory; GCEP 530 Psychopathology and Appraisal; GCEP 540 Professional Orientation; GCEP 550 Group Theory and Therapy. GCEP 540 and GCEP 550 may be taken as corequisites. In addition, Clinical Mental Health students are required to have successfully taken GCEP 522 Advanced Clinical Skills and Marriage Couple and Family students are required to have successfully taken GCEP 514 Couple Therapy and GCEP 524 Family Therapy. Students must have (a) completed all prerequisites with a B or better grade, (b) applied and been accepted as an internship candidate, and (c) attended Internship Orientation.
The study of human growth and development recognizes that a complex interplay of biological, intrapsychic, relational, and social dynamics are in constant motion throughout one's lifespan. Therefore, this course examines human development from an ecosystemic perspective by surveying a variety of major developmental theories as applied across the lifespan and identifying the use of those theories in the practice of Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy. The influence of cultural dynamics on human development is also considered, as expressed through dominant social values shaping our understanding and experience of self, family, gender, race, ethnicity, and spirituality. Emphasis is placed on applying developmental theories in the assessment and diagnosis of individuals, couples, and families, and in the educational environment.
This course is a survey of major contemporary theories of counseling and personality development with particular emphasis on the etiology, assessment, and treatment of psychopathological states as interpreted within various theoretical frameworks. The course surveys the major figures and their theories in the area of personality and counseling modalities. Theorists are examined to discover their views of anthropology, psychopathology, normalcy, behavioral, and relational assessment, in addition to their therapeutic goals and interventions. The course explores each theory in light of social and cultural diversity as well as the integrative impact of spirituality and religiosity on the development of the person. The systemic perspective, which recognizes that personality is embedded in various systems (family, relational, social, community and cultural), is considered throughout.
The primary objective of this course is to teach group leadership theories and skills, and to help students understand how proper group processes and methods can contribute to clients' mental health. Students will learn group leadership, group dynamics, theories of group development, group treatment planning, group assessment, and ethical considerations related to group treatment. Students will also take part in a community-based group experience. For students in Graduate School of Counseling programs only. Pre-Requisite: GCEP 501
Students will engage in all steps of the research process by participating in a collaborative research project that emphasizes the importance of research in the counseling profession, including work that informs evidenced-based practices in the field. Students participate in the ethical design, analysis, reporting, and evaluation of empirical research. Students will also learn to fundamentals of program evaluation, including needs assessments and strategies for program modification.
This course is intended to increase the student's understanding of the issues and dynamics in counseling across social and cultural lines. Students will explore the nature of society and culture and how these impact the counseling process. Students will examine several major spiritual traditions, with a view to understanding the implications for clinical practice with persons in these populations. Within each tradition, the following are explored: history and tradition; sacred writings; central doctrines; spiritual authority; faith communities; communal and personal disciplines/rituals; health/happiness and pathology; means of grace; social and cultural practice; relationship to creator/creation; gender, blood, and faith relationships; compare and contrast with Western Christian worldview; systemic analysis; and therapeutic implications. Attention will be given to developing understanding of gender, class, race, ethnicity, structure and roles within marriage and family work, and various lifestyles. No Pre-Requisites
This course intends to deepen the student's knowledge base regarding the complexities of the human experience by examining neurological functioning and its role in human distress and recovery. Specifically, it explores the interplay between neurobiology, the social environment, and pharmacological interventions, and its influence on cognitive, affective, and behavioral functioning. The course offers an overview of neuroanatomy orienting the student to basic brain structure, advances in interpersonal neurobiology confirming the role of attachment relationships in brain development, and the role of interpersonal relationships and pharmacology in altering brain functioning.

Complete the following:

Note: GCEP 547 Personality and Behavioral Assessment includes 3 credit hours for classroom and 1 for lab. Students in this program who desire to have a double major (i.e., school psychology, counseling, or MFT) must meet with their advisor to discuss the additional coursework needed.

This course is preparatory for students' schoolbased internship experience, and is designed to acquaint students with the professional, legal, and ethical issues with which school counselors and school psychologists grapple. Students will become familiar with the ACA and ASCA or APA and NASP ethical codes, Oregon laws related to licensure and practicing as a school counselor or school psychologist, as well as the legal and professional responsibilities of school counselors and school psychologists, and will understand and experience how their values interact with the implementation of their codes. Students will also understand licensure and certification requirements relevant to their respective fields as part of their ongoing professional identity development. For students in School Counseling and School Psychology Programs only.
This course is a general introduction to the field of school psychology with an overview of major issues related to the professional practice of psychology in the schools. Topics for study include historical development, education and training, practice and research, licensure and certification, legal and ethical issues, diversity, and future directions. For students in the School Psychology program only, others by permission.
This class introduces students to the cognitive, psychosocial, and psychomotor needs of students with a variety of disabilities. Focus is placed on a need-based model of assessment, program planning, and evaluation. Instructional strategies are evaluated in terms of their impact on various disabilities. For students in School Psychology programs only, others by permission.
Students will be provided with educational achievement instruments used by school psychologists and introduced to the administration skills needed for assessing academic achievement, learning modalities, and processing skills. Interpretation and presentation of test scores, formulation of educational recommendations and goals, and comprehensive report writing skills will be emphasized. Particular attention will be given to working with learners of culturally and linguistically diverse populations.For students in School Psychology programs only, others by permission. No Pre-Requisites. Additional course fee is required.
This course will teach about administration skills for cognitive assessment, and evaluations on children/students (birth to 21) as used by school psychologists. It has a practice application component regarding how to administer and interpret a variety of standardized tests, and present assessment results and educational recommendations. Focus will be given to working with a diverse student population. For students in School Psychology programs only, others by permission.
A study of the basic concepts and principles of psychological assessment tools employed in schools. It builds on the foundation of statistical knowledge, especially of factors influencing validity and reliability. Students will explore a broad variety of psychological testing materials used by school psychologists and review alternative methods of assessing competencies and person-situation interactions. Ethical considerations in the field of assessment are emphasized as well as contemporary issues, such as validity of assessment instruments for diverse populations and their impact. For students in School Psychology programs only, others by permission.
This course will introduce the school psychology student to administration skills for assessments and evaluations in the areas of personality and behavior. Skills in interviewing, record review, observation, interpretation and assessment tools and checklists, and presentation of test results and recommendations for regular and special education students will be covered. For students in School Psychology programs only. No Prerequisites
This course teaches the tools needed to evaluate the effectiveness of educational programs and policies. It assumes a basic familiarity with social science research methods and applies those methods to program evaluation. This course informs educational leaders in evaluation purpose, design, and methods for understanding the role of evaluation in program planning, implementation, and accountability. The course focuses on understanding the purposes of evaluation; the role of the evaluator; identification of questions; experimental, quasi-experimental, descriptive, and exploratory designs; indicators of effectiveness; qualitative and quantitative data sources; modes of analysis; presentation of evaluation results; and the role of evaluation conclusions in organizational decision making. Prerequisites: GCEP 548 Internship in School Psychology I and GCEP 558 Treatment Planning. Co-requisites: GCEP 549 Internship in School Psychology II and GCEP 559 Treatment Planning.
This course is intended to follow up on completion of all course work other than internship and the graduate clinical project, and in conjunction with GCEP 548 Internship in School Psychology I. The student will explore comprehensive assessment techniques and the administration, scoring, and interpretation of objective personality measures, as well as preparing written reports of test results; intervention strategies; appropriate community referrals; and collaboration with the school system and parents. Various therapeutic methods utilized in treatment and management of mental disorders will be presented. Pass/No Pass. For students in School Psychology programs only. Co-Requisite: GCEP 548
In this course, the student will complete the Clinical Portfolio. In Part I, the student will prepare a comprehensive literature review of their theory of application. In Part II, through use of video, session transcripts, and written reflection, the student will demonstrate the application of this theory in an actual case presentation, and in Part III the student will provide work samples for each of the TSPC school psychology standards. For students in School Psychology programs only. Pass/ No Pass. Corequisite: GCEP 549. Additional course fee required.

Complete the following:

The internship will be completed in a school system psycho-educational facility, with the goal of emphasizing the professional practice of school psychology. Students will be expected to complete a total of 1,200 hours over a two-semester internship (600 hours per semester) of school psychology practicum under supervision, provided weekly both at the site (individual) and at George Fox University (in groups). Pre-requisites: completion of all other coursework.Students must have (a) completed all prerequisites with a B or better grade, (b) applied and been accepted as an internship candidate, and (c) attended the Internship Fair (during spring semester of that year). For students in School Psychology programs only.
The second internship will be a continuation of the first internship, and completed within the school system psycho-educational facility. It is designed to stress the professional practice of school psychology. Students will be expected to complete a total of 1,200 hours over a two-semester internship (600 hours per semester) of school psychology practicum under supervision, provided weekly both at the site (individual) and at George Fox University (in groups). (Students must have: (a) successfully passed candidacy, (b) completed all prerequisites with a B grade or better, (c) applied for internship, and (d) attended the Internship Fair before enrolling in internship.) Co-Requisite: GCEP 559, EDFL 708


  • In addition to fulfilling the above course requirements, school psychology students in the EdS in School Psychology program who seek the Initial School Psychology License will be asked to submit passing scores on the following assessments:
    1. ORELA Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment Examination
    2. Praxis II Specialty Area Test in School Psychology
    3. Fall 2014 applicants must submit official passing scores for one of the following basic skills tests: Praxis I Test or California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST)

Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology

Program length 3 to 4 years
Semester hours 61
Cost per semester hour $734*
Tuition cost for entire program $44,774*
Accreditation National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); approved by Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) of the state of Oregon
Format In-person
Location Portland Center (near Tigard)

*All stated financial information is subject to change.

NCATE Accredited