Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in School & Applied Child Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in School & Applied Child Psychology

Thesis-based, on campus degree

The mission of the School and Applied Child Psychology program is to prepare school psychologists to be contributors and effective collaborators in enhancing learning and mental health outcomes for all individuals within a wide variety of settings.

There are many reasons to seek training beyond a Masters program. Our doctoral (PhD) program builds upon the skills developed in our MSc program and enhances the research and clinical acumen of our graduates. Specifically, graduates of the SACP PhD program will:

  1.  significantly expand their experience and expertise with respect to their understanding and addressing of children and youth with complex psychological health issues. This is accomplished by completing additional as well as specialized assessment and intervention training via doctoral-level practicum and internship placements.
  2. be able to provide expertise to community agencies relative to the development of their applied skills beyond school contexts.
  3. be able to expand their career options through Teaching Assistant and Sessional Instructor opportunities within the Werklund School of Education towards their preparation and qualification for possible future applications for academic positions within universities and colleges both nationally and internationally.
  4. become more knowledgeable and skillful with respect to research designs and analysis as well as program consultation and evaluation.
  5. have academic and applied skill enhancements that prepare them to seek future leadership positions within and outside school contexts regionally, provincially, and nationally.
  6. have greater portability toward becoming registered psychologists within national and international settings that that require a psychology-based PhD for registration.
  7. have the opportunity to apply for Post-Doctorate positions within national and international settings.
  8. be engaged in significant internship and practicum supervisory activities given that they meet supervisor requirements as set out by CPA.

School & Applied Child Psychology Vision, Mission, Program Goals, Strategic Plan

Educational Studies in School & Applied Child Psychology Brochure

School & Applied Child Psychology Program - Graduate Students' Handbook 2023-24

Program Details

  1. Application Dates

    Application opens:  September 1
    Application deadline: December 1
    Official supporting document deadline: December 1-No Exceptions

    Students must use the online application found at the How to Apply page.

  2. Program Delivery

    Full-time on campus

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies admission requirements, entry requirements for the PhD in School and Applied Child Psychology include:

  • A completed thesis-based Master's degree in School and Applied Child Psychology or equivalent from an approved university with a minimum grade point average of 3.5 in the Master's program (must be completed by the beginning of classes).
  • Note: If coursework from an applicant’s Master’s degree is not equivalent to courses from the Master of Science in School and Applied Child Psychology at the University of Calgary, the student may be admitted as a qualifying student (see Admission Categories). A qualifying student is required to take additional courses within the doctoral program to ensure equivalent training. A qualifying student may take up to 12 units to meet equivalency requirements during the qualifying year. Qualifying status will not be granted for a period exceeding one year.
  • Two senior undergraduate courses or one graduate course (3 units each) in (i) biological bases of behaviour, (ii) cognitive-affective bases of behaviour, (iii) social bases of behaviour, and (iv) individual behaviour.
  • One senior undergraduate or graduate course (3 units) in the historical and scientific foundations of general psychology.
  • All prerequisite coursework must be completed with a grade of “B-” or above.
  • If all of the prerequisite courses for admission have not been completed at the time of application, students who have up to 12 units (2.0 full-course equivalents) in deficiencies may still be admitted, but the prerequisite courses will need to be completed prior to the doctoral candidacy exam.
  • A completed online application
  • A completed Pre-Admission Checklist is required, including details of courses completed, practicum experiences, awards and scholarships, scholarly work, research experience, and employment and volunteering.
  • Curriculum Vitae - include the following items as applicable:  Educational history, awards and scholarships, presentations and publications, employment, research experience, volunteering, and professional development. Applicants are encouraged to use this template to ensure they document information.
  • A concise rationale (500 words or less) for the application including statements about your research and professional interests in school psychology, your previous research experience and the research you would like to pursue in this degree, and specification of a prospective research supervisor from among current faculty.
  • Three references: (2 professors, 1 clinical) Graduate Programs in Education recommends you provide one reference from your thesis advisor or an individual familiar with your thesis research. References are due on the application deadline, so you should complete the online application earlier in order to give your referees sufficient time to submit their reference. Referees will receive notification on how to submit their reference after you submit your application and are due on the application deadline regardless of when they receive the notification. Please ensure that your references are aware of the supporting document submission deadline. Applications without completed reference forms will be considered incomplete after the application deadline has passed. 
  • Meeting the English language proficiency requirement. Proficiency in the English language is essential for the pursuit and successful completion of graduate programs in the Werklund School of Education. Prior to admission to Graduate Programs in Education, an applicant whose primary language is not English must fulfill the English language proficiency requirement. For additional information, please visit our How to Apply page.
  • a Graduate Degree in an institution where the sole language of instruction and examination is English.
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended. Original documents or certified true copies of each of your official transcripts and degree certificates, in the original sealed envelope, sent directly from the issuing University.
  • If original documents are not in English, original documents or certified true copies of each of your official transcripts and degree certificates in the original language, in the original sealed envelope, sent directly from the issuing University, and an English translation from the issuing University or a notarized word-for-word English translation of a duplicate copy of that original.
  • Official transcripts are due to the Graduate Programs in Education office on or before December 1.

A limited number of outstanding applicants holding equivalent Bachelor's and Master's degrees from elsewhere may be considered; however, if the course content of their Master's program is not equivalent to the MSc at the University of Calgary in School and Applied Child Psychology, students will be required to take additional courses within their doctoral program to ensure equivalent training. These additional courses (a maximum of two full courses) must be completed in the first year of study. Applicants must also have a research advisor selected from among professors in Applied Psychology upon entry to the program.



Applications, transcripts and all supporting documents must be submitted 11:59 pm MT on the application deadline date for each program. Please visit the FGS applicant transcript page to answer frequently asked questions on transcripts. 

For additional information on transcripts and where to send them, please visit our How to Apply page.


Additional Information

Successful applicants will need to produce the results of a Criminal Record Check before they will be permitted to participate in practicum or internship experiences associated with the program.

Offers of admission are valid only for the term to which applications are made.  Graduate Programs in Education will not grant deferrals of admission.  Students unable to take up an offer will be required to submit a new application.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact prospective supervisors prior to applying.

Students in the PhD program are required to complete:

a) A minimum of 33 units of course work at the doctoral level that includes:

i. Educational Psychology 711, 731732760762763 and 764.

ii. Practicum Courses (12 units): Two Educational Psychology 761 courses (this course may be repeated for credit) and two Educational Psychology 766 (this course may be repeated for credit). 

b) Candidacy

c) A twelve-month (min. 1600 hours) full-time internship Educational Psychology 798
Note:  Successful applicants will need to produce the results of a Criminal Record Check before they will be permitted to participate in practicum or internship experiences associated with the program. 

d) Dissertation

Students entering the degree following completion of a Master's degree outside of the University of Calgary may be required to take additional Master's courses to ensure equivalency to the Master of Science in School and Applied Child Psychology at the University of Calgary. A student may be deficient in no more than two full-courses, which must be completed before the Doctoral candidacy.

School and Applied Psychology specialization and practicum courses:

EDPS 711 – Program Evaluation
EDPS 731 - Advanced Clinical Supervision
EDPS 732 - Advanced Seminar in School & Applied Child Psychology
EDPS 760 – Evidence-Based Consultation for Intervention
EDPS 761 - Advanced Doctoral Practicum in Clinical Assessment & Supervision (2 courses)
EDPS 762 - Advanced Neuropsychological Assessment and Intervention
EDPS 763 - School and Clinical Based Interventions
EDPS 764 - Advanced Research Statistics
EDPS 766 – School-Based Practicum (2 courses)
EDPS 798 - Pre-Doctoral Internship in School & Applied Child Psychology 


Admission into Candidacy in the Werklund School of Education Graduate Programs: 1) requires that students have abilities to conceptualize, interpret, critique and synthesize comprehensive, substantive knowledge that is relevant to the discipline and practice of educational psychology; and 2) ensures that students have a well-developed plan for their dissertation research, a sound proposal with a well-developed research question and potential for the ability to pursue and complete original independent research at the doctoral level.

In compliance with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Candidacy Regulations, the requirements for Admission to Candidacy at the Werklund School of Education is a 4 stage process:

  1. Completion of all course requirements as identified in the calendar; 
  2. Field of study (FoS) written candidacy examination; 
  3. A research proposal approved by the Supervisory Committee (recognizing changes may be made after successful completion of exams prior to submission for ethics approval); 
  4. An oral examination of the research proposal;
    All Candidacy requirements must be completed within 28 months of the start of the program. 

For further information, please consult the Graduate Programs in Education website.

The Doctoral thesis is the focus of the degree program. In consultation with the supervisor, the student should formulate an appropriate thesis topic as early as possible in the program because the thesis proposal affects the choice and number of courses needed in order to complete the program. The thesis proposal must be approved by the supervisory committee before continuing towards candidacy.

Police Information Check

Please see Practicum and Internship section below.

Time Limit

Expected completion time for full-time students is four years with a maximum completion time of six years.

Supervisory Assignments

A supervisor is normally appointed at the time of admission.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to qualified students. For information on awards, see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.
Students applying for scholarships must submit their applications to Graduate Program in Education by February 1.

As a Graduate Student you are expected to devote the time, effort, and energy necessary to engage in scholarship.  As a graduate student, you will determine the specific milestones and requirements of your program of study in consultation with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar and with your graduate supervisor. 

An integral part of the doctoral experience is working closely with a supervisor on the development and completion of a research project.  A graduate supervisor mentors graduate students through regular meetings and research training aimed at research, scholarship, teaching and professional development. Graduate supervisors support students in the timely completion of their programs.  As a Graduate Student, you are expected to meet with your graduate supervisor on a regular basis.  While each student-supervisor relationship is unique, graduate supervisors can assist graduate students in a number of ways: advising on course selection, applying for awards and scholarships, obtaining research funds, applying for teaching assistant and sessional teaching opportunities, developing track records in refereed publications and conference presentations, getting involved in leadership and service, and encouraging and supporting apprenticeship in a research community of practice (collaborative review of papers, grants, academic writing, and data analysis). 

In the PhD program a supervisor is normally appointed at the time of admission.

  1. Funding

    The Werklund School of Education provides funding opportunities for full-time doctoral students admitted to the on-campus program, for the first 4 years in program.

  2. Awards and Scholarships

    Applicants to the program are encouraged to apply for internal and external scholarships.

Practicum are completed in our Integrated Services in Education (ISE) clinic and in the field. The mission of ISE is to provide psychological and counselling services to individuals in the community. ISE was awarded the CPA Foundation (CPAF) Access to Innovative Psychological Services in 2009.  Field-based experiences are normally completed in schools, although students can complete practicum with other external community agencies that have learning activities aligned to the field of school psychology.  

Students are required to complete a CPA-accredited internship (or its equivalent), with most internships completed in external school districts, community agencies, or health centers locally, nationally, or internationally and so there is no dedicated internship facility.  There is a consortium affiliated with our program, Educational Psychology Pre-doctoral Internship Consortium (EPPIC), which has rotations with Alberta Health Services, Rocky View School Division, Renfrew Educational Services, and ISE (supervision rotation). 

Police Information Check

All successful applicants to the Werklund School of Education School PhD School & Applied Child Psychology program are required to provide a current and clear Police Information Check which includes a Criminal Record Check and a Vulnerable Sector Search. Students must apply for a Police Information Check through their nearest police service or RCMP detachment in the area where they reside.

The original Police Information Check must be presented to and accepted by the administration in the Graduate Program Office in the Werklund School of Education, dated within timelines as directed by the Placement Coordinator.

Students will be required to request a Police Information Check upon admission and each subsequent year that they go on placement (Educational Psychology 761, 766, and PhD Residency).

A current and clear Police Information Check is required for all placements. Failure to present a clear and current Police Information Check may result in the student being unable to begin their program and/or go on placement. Successful completion of all placements is required for graduation.

Intervention Record Check

In addition, it is strongly recommended that students obtain an Intervention Record Check (IRC) in each year that they participate in a practicum. Even if your site does not specifically require this check, it is to your advantage to have an IRC done so as to prevent a potential issue should there be a last minute change in your placement site.

NOTE: IRCs are not required by the Werklund School of Education (WSE), and should not be submitted to WSE. Results should be kept in your personal records, and shown to your practicum site should they request to view them.

Practicum Schedule

  • EDPS 761 (1st year of program): 
    • On Campus - Centre for Wellbeing in Education (Winter & Spring terms)
  • EDPS 766 (2nd year of program): 
    • Off Campus – Community based (Winter & Spring terms)
  • PhD Residency (3,4,5 or 6* year of program):
    • Off Campus – Community based (Fall, Winter, Spring & Summer terms)

*Students are required to obtain approval from the Director of Training (DoT) and thesis supervisor via a Readiness to Apply form before applying to residency sites.

Teaching Facilities

Typically, our courses are scheduled in classrooms in the University’s Education Block and Tower buildings.  For clinical and laboratory work, observation, and role-play, the program has access to space in our in-house clinic, Integrated Services in Education.  ISE has nine rooms with audio-visual recording capabilities in the Education Tower. All have one-way mirrors for live observations.

Library Facilities

Students at the University of Calgary have access to resources through Libraries and Cultural Resources (LCR) (, which operates eight university libraries on campus and across the city of Calgary. In addition, students have extensive access to library resources on-line and can access the holdings of other national and international libraries through inter-library loans. The Doucette Library is our closest library, located in the Education Block and has a dedicated resource librarian available for faculty and graduate students in Education. Specialized resources include an extensive collection of psychology, counselling psychology, and assessment-related books and journals as well as a video collection of counselling-related adjunctive instructional material.

Work Space for Students

Shared work space is provided, with priority given to students in the first three years of the PhD program and first two years of the MSc program. Following renovations to upgrade our building, students are now housed in dedicated and secure workspaces that have large study carrels. Given the number of graduate students in our programs, students are clustered on various floors in the Education Tower. Students are guaranteed workspace during residency years and may request space beyond that period of time. Touch-down spaces and lockers will be available for students who are past their residency years in their respective programs.

Research Space for Faculty and Students

Research space varies depending on the faculty member you are working with and area of research.  Most faculty do not have labs as such, as their research programs are field-based.  Faculty members with lab-based requirements have research space in Werklund or affiliated institutes (e.g., Owerko).  The instructional video suite in the ISE Clinic described earlier is available for faculty or graduate students (who apply and can demonstrate CFREB or CHREB ethical approval) to potentially schedule for research purposes. A separate application form is required to gain access.

Assessment Materials and Supplies including Scoring Facilities

The Werklund School of Education also operates a test library located in the ISE Clinic.  The ISE test library contains a large and varied collection of testing materials and accompanying expendable materials (test forms and rating scales) that can be used by graduate students for coursework that involves instruction in administration of assessment measures as well as for clinical practicum work. The library also has archival storage in the basement of our building for those who may need access to earlier versions of tests. Students do not have to pay to access these materials, although fees are charged for lost materials. Additionally, the ISE houses three computers that may be used by graduate students to score clinical assessment measures or work on assessment reports. The clinic also provides other relevant materials such as portable video camera recorders and stopwatches. Graduate students may also apply to access ISE resources for research purposes, although priority is given to clinical work. 

Computer Facilities

Students can access university computers through the main library, the Werklund School of Education of Education’s Doucette Library computers, or the Computer Lab located on the 3rd floor of the classroom block. All students are also given free access to the University’s server through their home computer, including email accounts and free access to data analysis and word processing packages.

Resources to Support Data Analysis

The University and Werklund School of Education provides workshops, either free of charge or at minimal cost, to faculty and graduate students, in the use of reference management programs such as Covidence, EndNote, Mendeley, and Refworks; data analysis software such as SPSS, BMDP, SAS; and common computer applications such as Microsoft Office. Our faculty and students are provided access to a computer lab on the 3rd floor of the Education Classroom Block. At this time, commonly used data programs such as SPSS, LISREL, NVIVO etc. have been installed on those computers for use by faculty and students.

Recording Equipment

The ISE instructional suite described earlier contains nine rooms equipped with closed-circuit video recording capability. Additional audio and video recording equipment is available for sign out through the ISE Clinic, or the Doucette Library housed in the Werklund School of Education of Education building. Extensive audio and video dubbing facilities are available to all students through the Com Media Department or the Learning Commons.

Facilities and Technical Support for Building Research Equipment

This is available in an “as needs require” basis, through the office of Information Technology and also through the computer support network available to all faculty. In addition, equipment pertaining to communications media (video cameras, video records, etc. are available through the Communications Media Department (COM Media) through an agreement paid for by the Werklund School of Education. Requirements beyond the above are paid for through faculty research grants.

Facilities to Enable Access for Students with Disabilities

The University is an access friendly facility for students with special needs. The University has an “Academic Accommodation Policy” for students requiring special accommodations during exams or other term assignments, operated through Student Accessibility Services ( The Education Tower is equipped with wheelchair-accessible facilities, including auto-entry electronic doors, larger stalls, and motion- sensor sinks and soap dispensers in washrooms.

Availability and Nature of Financial, Academic, Counselling, and Other Support Systems

The University offers many services for its students. Some of these include:

  • The Counselling Centre
  • The Student Success Centre
  • Academic Services
  • University Health Clinic
  • Computer Technical Support
  • International Centre
  • Teaching and Learning Centre
  • Graduate Students’ Association
  • Recreational activities

A complete listing of Student and Academic Services can be found at

The University offers comprehensive, holistic, and accessible programs and services to foster student wellness through the SU Wellness Centre, which includes Health Services, the Counselling Centre, and the Faith and Spirituality Centre. There are also services and clubs on campus that pertain to the needs of diverse groups. At the University of Calgary, for example, there is a Student Success Centre, an International Student Centre, a Native Centre, a Women’s Resource Centre, and a club for sexually- and gender-diverse individuals (called Q).  The University offers accommodations for students with disabilities through several specialized support services including Student Accessibility Services and the Nat Christie Adaptive Technology Centre.

Contact Us


Graduate Program Administrator

Megan Freeman

Dr. Gabrielle Wilcox

Academic Coordinator

Dr. Gabrielle Wilcox, Professor

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An introduction to the technology-enriched facilities that await students in School and Applied Child Psychology at the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary.