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About the School & Clinical Child Psychology Program


The PhD program of the School and Clinical Child Psychology Program (SCCP) in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at OISE/University of Toronto is accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) as a combined program in school and clinical child psychology. 

Initial accreditation: 2008-09 

Next site visit due: 2025-26


Accreditation Office
Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)
141 Laurier Ave. West, Suite 702
Ottawa, ON K1P 5J3
613-237-2144 x 328 or 1-888-472-0657 x 328


The competencies that we expect from our graduating students are reflected in the following nine goals:

  1. Students will acquire broad and general knowledge in core content areas of psychology including the history of psychology, cognitive-affective bases of behaviour, biological bases of behaviour, social bases of behaviour, individual differences, and human development.
  2. Students will conduct original research to study both theoretical and applied questions in psychology.
  3. Students will apply appropriate standards of ethical, legal and professional conduct in their provision of psychological services and in their research.
  4. Students will conduct psychological assessments of individuals who have cognitive, academic, psychosocial, and behavioural difficulties, and become skilled in formulating and communicating a diagnosis
  5. Students will develop interpersonal skills and competencies necessary to provide consulting services to schools, mental health agencies, and families.
  6. Students will develop interpersonal skills and competencies necessary to develop, monitor and evaluate psychoeducational prevention and intervention programs aimed at ameliorating learning difficulties.
  7. Students will develop interpersonal skills and competencies necessary to develop, provide, monitor and evaluate psychotherapeutic prevention programs and interventions aimed at ameliorating social and emotional (psychosocial) problems.
  8. Students will provide informed psychological services to a culturally and individually diverse population.
  9. Students will acquire the knowledge and skills to become leaders in the field of school and clinical child psychology. To this end they will develop skills to supervise psychological research and school and clinical practice, and to advocate for policy and systems changes that improve the quality of life of children, youth, and families.

The remaining competencies we strive to develop in our students are more generic and constitute the broad category of critical, analytical and creative thinking skills: 

  • Advocating for the clients they serve
  • Being reflective practitioners
  • Critically analyzing theory, research and practice
  • Extrapolating from theory and basic research data directions for developing innovative and effective assessment and intervention techniques
  • Developing a high level of competence in oral and in written communication

These competencies are consistent with the requirements for registration as a psychologist by the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO). The Director of Clinical Training is a member of the CPO Academic Program Directors Committee, and the SCCP program requirements have been approved by CPO.


In keeping with the requirements of the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO), the SCCP program evaluates students on five core competencies: 

1. Interpersonal Relations 
The work of school and clinical child psychologists occurs in the context of interpersonal relations (parent-child, spouses, teacher-student).  Psychologists must be able to establish and maintain a constructive working alliance with their clients, and be sensitive to the needs of individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.

2. Assessment and Evaluation 
A competent professional psychologist draws on diverse methods of evaluation, determining which methods are best suited to the task at hand.

3. Intervention and Consultation 
The competent professional psychologist engages in activities that promote, restore and/or enhance positive functioning and a sense of well being in clients through preventative, developmental and/or remedial services.

4. Ethics and Standards 
Professional psychologists accept their obligations, are sensitive to others and conduct themselves in an ethical manner.

5. Research 
The competent psychologist has the skills necessary to conduct and evaluate scientific research.

The first four competencies are evaluated most closely in the assessment and intervention courses taught within the program, and during the practica and internship. In addition the fourth competency is evaluated through course 1205 (Ethical Issues in Applied Psychology). The fifth competency is evaluated through statistics courses and thesis research.



Our training model reflects the belief that empirically based knowledge in psychology should inform professional training and, at the same time, applied research should be informed by professional experience.

The goal is to develop professionals who are clinically competent and intellectually curious, and who are able to conduct basic and applied research relevant to the practice of psychology, use research to critically inform practice, and provide services that enhance the well being of children, youth and families. 

These components are complementary, and training occurs in each of the components in an interwoven fashion throughout a student's program. 


We interpret the components of the scientist - practitioner model as follows:



Research is a crucial element of the SCCP program. Students are expected to:

  • gain general knowledge in the areas encompassed by school and clinical psychology 
  • develop a firm foundation in scientific methodology
  • become competent researchers and educated consumers of research 

The skills needed to conduct research are developed in research methods courses, colloquia, graduate assistantships, research groups, and masters' and doctoral theses. Students are supported and encouraged to present their original research at conferences and in professional and scholarly journals.



Students develop competence in the practice of school and clinical psychology through:

  • practicum and other courses
  • practicum field experiences
  • internships.

They are expected to apply their scholarly and scientific knowledge to practice by engaging in critical reflection about their own practice, and by using empirically supported assessment and intervention techniques. 


A central feature of the SCCP program is that we are training candidates to become competent in school psychology and clinical psychology with an emphasis on children, youth, and families.

We are convinced that integrated training in school and clinical psychology facilitates the development of highly competent psychologists who work very effectively in both school and mental health settings. 

Development, Diversity, and Ecology

We believe that students must:

  • have a solid understanding of normal development
  • appreciate the diverse individual learning, social, and emotional needs and behaviours of children and adolescents
  • understand that these needs and behaviours must be understood within the larger context of the family, the school, and the social and cultural environment in which they live

This framework specifies a systemic approach to assessment and intervention, in which the educational and emotional needs of children and youth are seen as intertwined.   We are training students to become leaders in facilitating system change in academic, policy, school, clinical, and research settings.


  • The MA and PhD Are One Coherent Program

Beginning-level core professional and research courses and a school-based practicum in assessment are given during the two-year full-time MA program.

Although some students to terminate their program with a master's degree, many continue to pursue a PhD. The PhD program includes advanced courses designed to provide scientific and scholarly breadth, advanced professional courses, as well as a practicum in assessment and intervention and a 1600-hour internship.

  • Developmental-Hierarchical Curriculum 
    Our curriculum is designed to establish a strong foundation of core knowledge and skills early in the program, with students free to specialize later on.

  • Mentorship
    Faculty members sponsor students who share their area of research and scholarly interest and agree to function as their program advisor. Students become involved in their advisor's research through participation in research groups and through graduate research assistantships. This involvement typically leads to the development of dissertation research. Faculty members also often continue to be mentors for our students following completion of the program. 


Our current population

  • 14 MA students (3 male)
  • 50 PhD students (4 male)

It is important to note that in most years almost all of the MA students in the SCCP program are admitted to the PhD. The vast majority of students admitted into the SCCP complete the program. Between 2012 and 2018, 1 student withdrew from the PhD program and zero students withdrew from the MA program.

Admission to the SCCP program is highly competitive

We are culturally and linguistically diverse 

Although most SCCP students were born in Canada and have been educated in English, a large proportion speaks another language including Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Punjabi, Hindi, and Bangladeshi.

Although most students begin the program between the ages of 23 and 28, some students are considerably older. In 2017-2018, the youngest doctoral student in the program was 25 years of age and the oldest was 52 years.

A few students identify as LGBT.

The program has a strong commitment to and record of accommodating students with health problems and disabilities.