Graduate Studies


"At WIU, I learned what the field of school psychology actually was, its history, ethics and professional standards, and developed entry-level professional skills and the professional dispositions necessary for effective practice. I also was exposed to my first professional role models, one of whom, Dr. Tom Fagan has served as a lifelong mentor and adviser."  - Dr. Mark Swerdlik, M.S., School Psychology, 1972 and recent recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

“The rigorous schedule challenges each student to begin using techniques and theories immediately after learning the material. I felt head and shoulders above my colleagues in preparedness and understanding of such important topics as assessment, diagnostics, and ethics.” – Lindsay Harms, MS, LCPC

Degrees Offered

Note: Each year the deadline for priority review of application materials for fall admission is February 1 .

Program Overview

The Psychology Department offers work leading to a Master of Science degree in the areas of clinical/community mental health and general experimental psychology, and a Specialist degree in school psychology. All programs are available exclusively at the WIU Macomb campus.

Why Psychology at WIU?

WIU’s Department of Psychology has 24 full-time faculty, all with advanced degrees from major universities, ensuring that every course is taught by someone who has extensive training in psychology. Psychology faculty also maintain active research programs in their disciplines. Their specializations and research interests cover such varied topics as personality, social and cognitive psychology, school and clinical psychology, and neuroscience. Much of this research is carried out with student collaboration. At any given time there are approximately 50 graduate students in the department.

Degree Options

Specialist Degree in School Psychology

The School Psychology Program has full approval from the National Association of School Psychologists. This approval allows students to sit for the Praxis exam to obtain the Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential with a passing exam score. Our current curriculum meets the requirements for certification as a School Psychologist through the Illinois State Board of Education.

Students sit for the Illinois Professional Certification Exam (Type 73), which leads to this certification at the conclusion of the School Psychology Program.Students from the program have 100% passing rate.

Three of the Department’s faculty have primary affiliation with the School Psychology Program. These faculty members provide extensive supervision for students in their coursework and through the practicum experiences spread over the first two years. Graduate students receive supervision as they complete counseling and assessment cases through these first two years. As the Department houses the psycho-educational clinic, students gain experience providing assessment services to community families who can access the clinic at a nominal fee. Faculty also monitor completion of internships for students.

What do our students like about the School Psychology program?
    • National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) accreditation
    • Practicum experiences in local schools during the first and second year
    • Paid internships during the third year
    • 100% employment rate for graduates
Possible Careers

The School Psychology program prepares students for entry-level school psychology positions in  a wide variety of school districts, special education cooperatives, and area education associations.

Master's Degree in Clinical/Community Mental Health

Established in 1972, the mission of the Clinical/Community Mental Health (CCMH) Graduate Program at Western Illinois University is to provide students with that knowledge and those intellectual and professional skills that will enable them to provide quality mental health services in a variety of mental health settings and to continue to develop professionally. The CCMH program consists of a combination of stimulating coursework as well as intensive supervised clinical experience. The curriculum is designed to provide students with a thorough grounding in basic psychological knowledge and methodology, as well as strong skills in the application of this knowledge. The therapeutic training offered in the program is eclectic in nature. Students are exposed to a variety of treatment theories, supervised by clinical faculty with a diversity of orientations, and are encouraged to develop their own approaches to clinical work.

What do our students like about the Clinical/Community Mental Health program?
    • Participating in psychotherapy sessions beginning in the first semester in the program
    • Hour-for-hour faculty contact and practicum supervision
    • Experience managing clinical services by carrying students' own case loads
Possible Careers

The Clinical/Community Mental Health program prepares students for a wide variety of careers in counseling and other social services.

Master's Degree in General Experimental Psychology

The General Experimental Psychology program is designed to provide graduate education in the content areas of experimental psychology in order to prepare for doctoral work or for Master’s level careers. The program is designed for students interested in pursuing academic careers as well as those seeking careers in applied and research settings.

What do our students like about the General Experimental program?
    • Easy access to and many opportunities for working directly with faculty
    • Rich diversity of research interests among experimental faculty
    • Instant immersion with cohort of friends, collaborators and future colleagues
Possible Careers

The General Experimental Psychology program prepares students for a variety of research and teaching careers, including institutional research, laboratory technician, human resources and assessment, sponsored projects and IRB administration, and instructors at colleges and universities.  In addition, approximately one-half of graduates from the General Experimental Psychology program pursue doctoral degrees after graduating from WIU.

Quick View

Degrees Available:

  • M.S.
  • Specialist in School Psychology


  • Macomb

Required GPA:

  • Cumulative: 3.0 or
  • Last 2 years: 3.0

Admission Requirements:

  • Goals Statement
  • GRE (waived for Fall 2023 admissions)
  • Transcripts
  • Three Letters of Recommendation

Interesting Facts: Fall 2023

  • Currently enrolled: 53
  • International: 7
  • Minority: 12
  • Students with Assistantships: 31

Department Contact Information:

Waggoner Hall 100