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Master of Science in School Psychology
(MSSP)

Program Description

The Master of Science in School Psychology (MSSP) program of Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) is a Terminal Master Degree Program that concomitantly provides students the foundations of the School Psychology profession. The program will prepare its graduates to engage in competent practice of the profession, at the Master level.

As part of the program, students have an option of completing a concentration in Neuropsychology (NP) or in Neuroscience of Learning (NSL). With this MSSP, students will be able to seek licensing in PR and in most states of USA. They may also pursue doctoral studies in School Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology or in Clinical Neuropsychology. By acquiring the foundational competencies of School Psychology, students will master the Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes associated to the main competencies of Professional Psychology. These are: Biological Bases of Behavior, Social Bases of Behavior, Cognitive and Emotional Bases of Behavior, Human Growth and Development, Research and Statistics, Test Construction, Ethics and History of Psychology and Psychology of Personality.

Close-up of hands of people sitting in a circle during a therapy group meeting

Program Goals

The goals of MSSP are:

  • To develop in our students an in-depth understanding of the psychological (cognitive, affective, motivational), biological and socio-cultural bases of normal and abnormal behavior that serves as the foundation of the practice of School Psychology.
  • To prepare school psychologists for the ethical delivery of evidence-based psychotherapeutic interventions, assessment and diagnosis when assuming the contemporary roles of the profession based upon the evolving scientific knowledge and expanding scope of practice.
  • Neuropsychology Track: To develop in students, foundational competencies in the field of Neuropsychology allowing them a broad understanding of brain behavior relationships and of the base of psychological processes as they manifest through the development spectrum.
  • Neuroscience of Learning Track: To prepare School Psychologists competent in the understanding of the neurophysiology of learning and of the individual and systemic techniques available to transform learning environments according to the principles of neurolearning.

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  • A bachelor’s degree from a college or university approved by the Council on Higher Education and/or by the corresponding regional accrediting agencies.

    At least 15 credits in Psychology at the bachelor’s level including de following courses:

    Course TitleCredits
    General Psychology3
    Developmental Psychology3
    Statistics3
    Abnormal Psychology3
    Experimental Psychology or 
    Research Methods3
    1. Submit an official transcript of all college level work completed and of all graduate courses taken. Failure to submit transcripts of any graduate or undergraduate work is considered a serious offense.
    2. A minimal GPA of 3.00
    3. Two letters of recommendation from professors or professionals familiar with the candidate’s performance in academic and work settings.
    4. Certificate of good conduct from the Police Department.
    5. A personal interview and written essays.
    6. US $85.00 application processing fee (non-refundable).

    Upon acceptance, all students are required to submit

    1. Written confirmation of acceptance and a non-refundable deposit of $100.00 to secure the seat in the entering class.
    2. Physical Exam (using a form provided by Admissions Office)
    3. Evidence of up to date immunization record (must include Varicella, Td Adult, MMR and three doses of Hepatitis B).
    4. Other pertinent documents as necessary
    1. Students must complete all courses within the established time frame. The Program requires a total of 62 credits and 750 Clinical Practice contact hours.
    2. Student should complete all requirements and maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00 every semester.
    3. The program requires approval of a Comprehensive Examination covering core areas of the field of School Psychology.
    4. The students should conduct themselves in accordance with the norms for professional conduct set forth by Ponce Health Sciences University, the corresponding accreditation agencies and the Clinical Practice Manual of the Program.

     

    Grading System

     

    All courses and grades obtained will appear on the student’s academic record, including transferred courses from other institutions.

    The Program has established evaluation criteria for the successful completion of courses.  These criteria are made available to the students at the beginning of the course.  The grading system for graduate students is as follows:

    LetterGrade
    A100% – 90%
    B89% – 80%
    C79% – 70%
    FFailed (below 70%)
    EExtended
    IIncomplete
    IPIn Progress
    PPass
    NPNot Pass
    WWithdrawal
    AWAdministrative Withdrawal

This policy has been established to ensure an acceptable time frame for completion of the academic program and the minimally accepted quality of performance. This policy also ensures that the Student Financial Aid requirements, set forth by federal regulations, are met. This policy applies to students enrolled in the Masters in Science in School Psychology at Ponce Health Sciences University.

  1. Time Frame for completion of the Academic Program

A School Psychology Student will be allowed a maximum time frame of 2.5 years of enrollment beyond the 2.5 years standard required for the completion of the program.  Summer enrollment is considered part of the academic year for the purpose of this measure.

The total amount of years for completion of the degree includes those graduate courses accredited on admission to the School Psychology Program.

  1. Definition of a full time: Students with an academic load of 6 credits or more per semester will be considered full time graduate students.
  2. Definition of half time: Students with an academic load of 3 to 5 credits per semester will be considered half time students.
  3. Definition of less than half time: Students with an academic load of less than 3 credits per semester will be considered less than half time or part-time students.

 

Completion of Program Requirements

  1. Course Requirement

Students must complete all courses within the established time frame.  The Program requires a total of 62 credits.

  1. Performance Requirement

A student must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00 for every semester. A student failing to meet this standard of performance will be referred to the Students Promotion Committee.

  1. Comprehensive Examination Requirement

The program requires approval of a Comprehensive Examination covering core areas of the field.

  1. Professional Behavior Requirement

The students should conduct themselves in accordance with the norms for professional behavior set forth by Ponce Health Sciences University, the corresponding accreditation agencies and the Clinical Practice Manual of the School Psychology Program.

 

Grade Requirement

In order to graduate, the student should complete all requirements and maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00. Satisfactory Academic Progress is required for financial aid eligibility and will be reviewed on a yearly basis.

  • Students should perform at a minimum level of achievement of 80% (B) in all courses. 
  • Students who obtain a grade of C but maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 must repeat the course and pass it. Up to two courses may be repeated. 
  • Students with a GPA below 3.00 will be referred to the Students Promotions Committee. 
  • A grade of “F” in any course will result in referral to the Students Promotion Committee and considered for dismissal based on overall academic performance.  
  • Grades of “A/P” (Approved) or “N/AP”(Not Approved) are applicable to Practice. A grade of  “N/AP” requires repetition.  In case of a second “N/AP” grade in the same practicum, the student will be referred to the Students Promotion Committee with a recommendation for dismissal. 
  • An “I” (Incomplete) grade will only be allowed under very special circumstances as determined by the professor. The student must remove the “I” (Incomplete) by the following semester or an administrative “F” will replace it.

 

Appeal Process for Academic Affairs

 

Students who are notified by the Program’s Dean a decision of the Students Promotion Committee that he/she must repeat failed courses during the next academic year or to be dismissed from the program, have the right to appeal the decision within seven working days after receiving the notification.

The appeal or due process presented below must be followed.

The student will appeal in writing to the Students Promotion Committee (SPC) and include all relevant documentation to support the request.  The Committee will evaluate the reasons and evidence submitted to determine if they change their initial decision.  The SPC has 48 hours to submit its decision to the Program’s Dean, who will notify the decision to the student.

If the SPC sustains the adverse decision, the student has the right to appeal to the Dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (SBBS). The appeal must be submitted in writing within seven working days after receiving the notification.  The Dean of SBBS will evaluate the appeal and the student’s academic record. The Dean can appoint a three-member Ad-Hoc Committee to re-evaluate all evidence. Rejection of the appeal by the Dean is final.

If an Ad-Hoc Committee is appointed, they will notify the student in writing of the date and the time when the appeal will be evaluated. The Ad-Hoc Committee has forty-eight (48) hours to submit a recommendation to the Dean of SBBS. The Dean will consider the Ad-Hoc Committee recommendation and make the final decision within forty-eight (48) hours.

Any decision will be reported to the student in writing. The decision made by the SBBS Dean is final.

The same process described above will be followed in the case that the adverse decision made by the Committee is for non-academic reasons, such as unacceptable professional behavior. The Program Dean or the VP for Student Affairs will refer the case to the SPC. If the recommendation of the SPC is to dismiss the student, the appeal process described above may be activated.

In the event that an adverse decision is made due to non-academic reasons and the Dean of SBBS sustains the decision after the appeal process, the student may appeal to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs and then to the President.

Financial Aid Eligibility

 

Financial Aid eligibility is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress.  Please refer to the institutional policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress published by the Office of Financial Aid.

Enforcement

 

The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs shall have primary responsibility for overseeing this policy and will provide all health sciences students a copy of this document upon admission to Ponce Health Sciences University.

The President, Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Student Affairs, as well as the Program Dean, Registrar and Financial Aid Director will receive all pertinent data to ensure proper enforcement of the policy here set forth.

For more details of PHSU tuition and fees please refer to: This Section

Ponce Health Sciences University is pleased that you have selected our institution to continue with your academic and professional goals. The Office of Student Financial provides you with the information and tools to assist you in reaching educational goals. Please take your time to navigate through the various links we have provided and feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if you need more information: psmfinstu@psm.edu
Financial Aid Application Process Links
Important Links (External):

Important Links for PHSU application forms and manual

PHSU Financial Aid Application – click to download the form
– Request for Aid and Loans
– Student Authorization
Click here to download your
– Student Financial Aid Manual
Federal Financial Aid Programs

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: students who meet the requirements established by the US Department of Education may receive a Direct Loan, according to the academic program: graduate and professional students are eligible to receive up to $20,500 per academic year. As an institution that previously participated in the HEAL Programs our MD, Doctorate and PhD in Clinical Psychology, as well as certain Master Degree Programs might be eligible for additional amount of loan. The amount is established annually by Federal Regulations. The Financial Aid Office provides orientation about the application process for student loans, the student’s qualifying requirements and the specifics regarding interest rate, orientation fess, repayment process, etc. The student must submit an agreement form known as a Master Promissory Note, and complete electronic entrance counseling, both on-line: www.studentloans.gov.
  • Direct Loan-Plus Graduate Loan: This is a federal fixed-interest loan for graduate and professional students, beyond the DL Unsubsidized award, to cover any additional cost of attendance. The interest rate and origination fee, which is annually fixed by the Federal Government, begins to accrue from the date of the first disbursement. The loan qualifying process requires a credit check verification, on-line entrance counseling and an on-line submission of a Master Promissory Note: www.studentloans.gov
  • Private Loans (Alternative Loans). These are credit-based loans that may be used to supplement other types of financial aid programs. The loan amounts vary according to amount requested and approved for the student. The interest rate is variable, accrued while in school and usually based on the current “Prime Rate” plus a lender’s predetermined interest rate. Repayment may be up to 20 years. These Private Alternative Loans provide funds to complete the remaining need after the student is awarded other financial aid. Due to the high interest rate that these loans represent, the student should consider these loans as a last resource to their financial need. PHSU does not recommend any specific lender, the evaluation and selection is a student’s individualized decision.
  • Historical Private Lender List
    PHSU does not deny or otherwise impede the student’s choice of an alternative lender or cause unnecessary delay in loan certification of these loans. The following is a list of the three private loans that have been most commonly selected by our students during last two previous academic years, however, we reiterate that the student may select any other lender they esteem will meet their financial need.

Other Financial Aid Options:
Military Scholarship Programs: Students interested in a military career may consider apply for one of the scholarships programs for healthcare professions offered by the US Army, the US Air Force, Navy or the National Guard. The students must contact the desired program:

National Health Services Corps Scholarship Program: available for students in the primary health care specialties and committed to serving part or their entire career in federally designated health professional shortage area. Learn more about this program at: nhsc.bhpr.hrsa.gov
Financial Aid Application Process
Direct Loan Application Process
Students interested in applying for a Direct Loan must comply with the federal requirements and following requirements:

      1. Have financial need.
      2. Be an US Citizen or an Eligible Non-Citizen.
      3. Have a valid social security number.
      4. Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student working toward a degree.
      5. Meet satisfactory academic progress standards.
      6. Register (or have registered) with the Selective Service if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25.
      7. Certify that are not in default on a federal student loan and that do not owe money on a Federal student grant.
      8. Student cannot exceed the aggregate loan limit established by the Department of Education.
      9. Comply with the Entrance Interview/Counseling.
      10. Provide all the documents and information required by the Financial Aid.

Students must fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the corresponding academic year, in order to be evaluated to determine eligibility for federal and state funds. It must be submitted on line at www.fafsa.gov no later than last working day of April. The PHSU school code is G24824. Students need a pin number, which can be obtained at www.pin.ed.gov.
Once the student submits the FAFSA, the Department of Education will send an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) to the school, which will be used for evaluation and analysis.
VERIFICATION
Students with a FAFSA application selected for verification by the Department of Education will be required to submit the following documents:

  • Complete a Verification Worksheet (provided by the Financial Aid Office)
  • Copy of the Tax Return (IRS or PR tax return form) or
  • W-2 form(s) (if apply)
  • Evidence of wages, salaries, tips, etc., reported on the FAFSA
  • Others

If the student (student’s parent or spouse) is not required to file income tax return, he/she will be required to complete and sign a Certification of Income, provided by the Financial Aid Office, among other documentation. Note: No loan will be process until the verification process is completed.
NEED ANALYSIS
As part of the evaluation, the Financial Aid Office will take in consideration the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the amount that the student should contribute towards his/her cost of education, and it is determined by the Federal Government. The need analysis consists of the following basic calculation: Cost of Attendance minus EFC equals Financial Need. As part of the analysis, it will be considered any other expected financial aid (external funds such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Veteran Administration, military scholarships, and any other grant or scholarship). Note: A student cannot receive financial assistance in excess of the determined Financial Need.
Awarding and Notification
The next step is the awarding of financial aid amounts by PHSU and preparing the award notification for the student. Once the awarding process is completed, a Notification of Award is sent to each student.
Return Policy and Requirement for Withdrawal and Return of Federal Financial Aid (see PHSU catalog refund policy section)
Suspension of Eligibility for Drug-Related Offenses
If convicted of any offense involving the possession of a controlled substance, a student’s eligibility for Title IV Financial Student Aid Program will be denied for:

  • One year after the first conviction
  • Two years after the second conviction
  • Indefinitely after the third conviction

Eligibility may be restored if the student partakes of an approved Federal Government Rehabilitation Program.
Please refer to the Student Financial Aid Manual for specific information regarding all the dynamics of financial aid as it applies to new and continuing students.
Financial Aid Contact Information:
Financial Aid Personnel:
Mrs. Myrian Gaud Maitín, MBA
Financial Aid Manager
mgaud@psm.edu
Mrs. Nicole Vázquez Colon, MSS
Financial Aid Officer
nivazquez@psm.edu
Ms. Mariannette Cruz Rentas, BS
Administrative Assistant
macruz@psm.edu
Office Hours
Monday to Thursday: 8:00-11:30 am – 1:00-4:30 pm
Friday: Administrative Work (By appointment only)
Financial Aid Office Contact Information
Phone Number: (787) 840-2575 ext. 2134, 2135 or 2136
E-mail: psmfinstu@psm.edu
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7004, Ponce. Puerto Rico 00731
Physical Address: 388 Zona Ind. Reparada 2 Ponce PR 00716-2347

Links & Manuals

How to Apply

Applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Official transcript from all undergraduate and graduate universities attended
  • Letter of Recommendation Format – Written by individuals familiar with the applicant’s professional work and skills
  • Certificate of No Penal Record (Criminal Background check)
  • USD $85.00 Application Processing Fee (check or money order payable to Ponce Health Sciences University)
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Deadline to submit a complete application – May 30
Procedure to Apply
Readmission Application

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