Western Education's PhD | Field of School and Applied Child Psychology

Our onsite and full-time MA/PhD program in Education Studies in the Field of School and Applied Child Psychology is committed to the development of professional psychologists who promote the educational and psychological well-being of children, youth and their families. It prepares students with theoretical, research and professional training to support psychological practice with children, youth and families in a variety of settings including schools, mental health, private practice and research contexts.

The combined MA/PhD degrees meet the academic requirements of the College of Psychologists of Ontario for registration as a Psychologist (PhD). We are accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association. If you are applying for the program at the PhD-level an equivalent MA is required.

Please see our MA program requirements to determine equivalency

Help children and families

CPA Accredited

Work in schools or private practice

Research with field experts

Kenan Omercajic

What I like about my PhD program is the sense of community and companionship that are quickly established. The passion that each PhD candidate exudes for their work is nothing short of inspiring.

My PhD degree program helped me engage with the world in a more critical and nuanced capacity, and as an instructor for BEd students, this has also equipped me with more practical means to engage with my students and future educators.

- Kenan Omercajic, Current Student

Beyond the program details



  • A Master’s degree (with thesis) in the area of Clinical, Cognitive, Counseling, Developmental, Educational or School Psychology;
  • Normally an "A" standing (80%) or equivalent in previous graduate work.
  • Although separate admissions are required for the MA and PhD in School and Applied Child Psychology, the two levels are one coherent program. When accepted into the PhD program, the transcripts of candidates who did not take the MA in School and Applied Child Psychology are assessed. Students are required to complete the MA courses for which they do not have equivalence as part of their previous MA program to ensure that they have learned the skills and content taught in the MA program. These courses are listed in their admissions letter. If they believe that they have fulfilled the requirement, they may appeal to the Program Chair for a re-assessment of their previous coursework.
  • There are certain core courses that must be taken at the Master’s Graduate Level.  If you received a Master’s degree from a different university, and these core courses are not on your transcript, you may need to take additional courses. Students who enter the PhD without Ethics in Psychological Practice MUST take it during the first year of the PhD program.  Given the requirement of breadth when registering as a psychologist, students must also meet the 5 cognate (core content areas identified below) requirements in their upper senior undergraduate (3 rd or 4 th year) or in their graduate program.  Most of these requirements (with the exception of one; historical and scientific foundations of general psychology) can be obtained through the existing program.   If you have not taken a course that meets the criteria for the historical and scientific foundations of general psychology, you will have to obtain that credit prior to your internship placement.

The five core content areas are:

  1. Biological bases of behaviour (e.g., physiological psychology, comparative psychology, neuropsychology, psychopharmacology)
  2. Cognitive-affective bases of behaviour (e.g., learning, sensation, perception, cognition, thinking, motivation, emotion),
  3. Social bases of behaviour (e.g., social psychology; cultural, ethnic, and group processes; sex roles; organizational and systems theory),
  4. Individual behaviour (e.g., personality theory, human development, individual differences, abnormal psychology), and
  5. Historical and scientific foundations of general psychology (this content area can be fulfilled with a one-semester, senior undergraduate course).

OPTIONAL: Graduate Record Examination (GRE); General & Psychology. There is no pre-determined cut-off score on the Graduate Record Examinations

NOTE: Students short-listed for the PhD in Educational Studies in the field of School and Applied Child Psychology may be required to participate in a telephone or in-person interview.


Tuition amounts are set each year by Senate and then published on the Office of the Registrar's Fees Schedules web page. Fees are assessed once each term (Fall, Winter, Summer).

Current students can access fee information by logging into the Student Centre (use your Western email log in and password). Students are notified each term once fee amounts have been posted in the Student Centre; it is each student's responsibility to log into the Student Centre and pay fees by the due date indicated. Failure to do so may result in a late payment fee or deregistration.

For questions about fees, including how to pay fees and the methods of payment that are accepted, students should go to the Student Financial Services pages of the Office of the Registrar's web site or contact Student Financial Services (Office of the Registrar) at 519-661-2100.

The Graduate Student Affordability Calculator was designed for you to get a better estimate of what it will cost to attend one of Western's graduate programs for one year. The calculator is not a promise of funding or a place to access scholarship support or financial aid; rather, it is intended to provide you with an accurate estimate of how much money you will need to pay for your tuition, fees, housing, food, and many other necessities for a 12-month (three-term) academic year.


PhD students receive a funding package that includes the cost of annual tuition plus an additional $17,000. A portion of the funding package involvesan Assistantship Role requiring 10 hours of work per week for 28 weeks (September to April) in the Faculty of Education. Details of the assignments are determined in consultation with students after they have formally accepted the offer of admission from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Taking on an assistantship role provides students with crucial experience for their academic career after completion of the Ph.D.

The maximum term for funding is 4 (four) years or 12 (twelve) terms. Please note that those who win major financial awards (OGS, Tri-Council or other awards valued at $15,000 or more) will be responsible for their own tuition and ancillary fees.

Also, the following funding scholarships are available at the Faculty of Education (The process for each is described in the link below.):

  • Students living with disabilities
  • Indigenous students
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)
  • Canadian Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral (CGS-D)

For further details about funding opportunities available through the Faculty of Education.


Instructors of onsite courses use the Sakai OWL platform, although it is not required.  Access to a course in Sakai OWL is typically opened the first business day of each term. Please note that although your own access may be granted prior to the first business day, course content may not be posted until closer to the scheduled term start. Your Western University login and password is required to access the course (your Western email without the @uwo.ca and its accompanying password). Access to the learning management system is found here: Sakai OWL.

For online courses, students are required to have access to the following:

  • High speed Internet access
  • Access to a computer that enables connection to outside websites (flexible firewall restrictions)
  • Multimedia playback capabilities (video/audio)
  • WebCam
  • Computer capable of running a recent version of Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox; and/or Cisco MOVI client for PC or Mac
  • Audio headset and microphone for computer

Program information


Our mission is to prepare school psychologists to create and use the knowledge of psychological science in ways that enhance the well-being of children, youth, and families in schools and communities. 

Our graduates have a deep interdisciplinary psychological understanding of the complex relationships cognition, teaching, and learning and the factors and conditions that influence the learning process and its outcomes. They are also highly knowledgeable about the interactional effects of cognition and affect on behavior and their impact on mental health and well-being in diverse populations.

Our graduates have the knowledge, skills, and competencies to apply these understandings to inform assessment and intervention practice in the environments of schools and other settings. This program prepares graduates for registration with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.


Qualifying Paper

The doctoral Qualifying Paper represents one of the major milestones in the School and Applied Child Psychology program. The purpose of the Qualifying Paper is to demonstrate the student’s level of knowledge in a particular area of research and to contribute to the knowledge in the field. The paper should consist of a literature review on a topic of the student’s choice. It is expected that the literature review will culminate into a strong research question. It is strongly recommended that the student choose a topic related to their dissertation topic in order to make clear the theoretical and methodological foundations of the topic of interest prior to writing their dissertation.

It is expected that students will complete their Qualifying Paper within the first year of the program. The paper will be read by two people: the student’s supervisor and a second reader.  Each reader will determine independently if the paper should be deemed as a pass or fail. The readers will also provide feedback on the paper upon request. If one or both of the readers do not believe the paper is of passing quality, the student will have two weeks to revise the paper and resubmit.

Given that the Qualifying Paper is a Milestone, it not show up as a course in your Student Centre.  Once you have passed your Qualifying Paper, it will appear at the end of your transcript under the Milestones area.

Please refer to the PhD Qualifying Paper Guide (PDF) for details on the Qualifying Paper, registration, submission, formatting, and grading.  When you are ready to submit your Qualifying Paper, you will need to fill out the Request for Administration of PhD Qualifying Paper Form (PDF) and provide the Graduate Programs Office electronic copy of your paper.

Thesis Proposal and Presentation

Following successful completion of the Qualifying Paper and when the candidate is ready to begin work on the thesis, the Supervisor, at the candidate's request and after consulting with the faculty members concerned, will formally appoint a Thesis Advisory Committee. The committee will consist of the Supervisor and at least one additional faculty member.

Within the student's second year, candidates must submit a written research proposal to their Thesis Advisory Committee, and make an oral presentation to the committee in which the research problem, theoretical framework and methodology are explained and satisfactorily defended. The presentation will be open to all members of Graduate Faculty and to all graduate students. The committee must approve both the written proposal and the oral presentation before the candidate will be allowed to proceed.  Once Ethics has been cleared, the student must submit a copy of the letter received from Ethics.

If the proposed research involves human subjects, the student has to receive ethics approval from Western University Research Ethics Board before the research begins. Please see the Research Ethics page for more information.  Ethics clearance may be completed before the student completes the Thesis Proposal Presentation.

When the Thesis Advisory Committee is satisfied with a candidate's written proposal and the oral presentation made to the committee, the student may submit the proposal for approval to the Graduate Programs Office. The candidate submits one copy of their proposal and the PhD Thesis Proposal Approval form to the Graduate Programs Office for approval by the Associate Dean, Graduate Programs.

Only after all approvals have been obtained may the candidate proceed with the research and the preparation of the thesis under the guidance and review of the Supervisor and the Thesis Advisory Committee.


When the thesis has been completed and approved by the Supervisor and the Thesis Advisory Committee, the candidate may submit the thesis for examination. The candidate submits the Application for Thesis Examination (PDF) and the Doctoral Thesis Supervisor Approval (PDF) forms to the Graduate Programs Office. The forms have to be submitted a minimum of seven weeks prior to the defence date. The thesis is uploaded to Scholarship@Western, Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository, a minimum of six weeks prior to the defence date.

The examination includes a Public Lecture which provides both a valuable means of disseminating research findings within the academic community, and an opportunity for all graduate students of education to participate in and contribute to the scholarly discourse of the university. In accordance with the appropriate regulations, the public lecture will be advertised in the University's Western News and on the University's web site, and be open to all members of the community. The examination normally follows within 24 hours of the lecture.

Details of the examination process are located in Section 8 of Graduate Regulations.


Program Requirements

Students who start in September 2018 or later:

  • 6 required half-credit courses
  • Required non-credit case/professional seminar (both Fall and Winter terms each year, years 1-3)
  • 4 milestones:
    • Internship
    • D. Qualifying Paper (end of year 1)
    • D. Thesis (year 3 and year 4)
    • Required non-credit 600 hour practicum (throughout the program)
      • Practicum locations may not be located directly in London, applicants and students should be prepared to commute to partake in their required practicum.
    • One-year APPIC Internship or equivalent (during year 4)


Students who started between September 2015 & September 2017:

  • 11 required half-credit courses
  • Required non-credit case/professional seminar (both Fall and Winter terms each year)
  • 3 milestones:
    • D. Qualifying Paper (end of year 1)
    • D. Thesis (year 3 and year 4)
    • Required non-credit 600 hour practicum (throughout the program)
      • Practicum locations may not be located directly in London, applicants and students should be prepared to commute to partake in their required practicum.
    • Required non-credit, one-year APPIC Internship (year 4).


Students who start in September 2018 or later take the following courses: 

9802 – Mind, Brain, and Education  

9803 – Childhood Psychopathology  

9808 – Consultation and Collaboration  

9809 – Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Assessment I  

9810 – Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Assessment II  

9813 – Child and Adolescent Intervention 

Program Progression information can be found here.


Potential Supervisor

Director of Clinical Training

Shannon Stewart - On sabbatical from July 1st 2022 to June 30th 2023. Please direct program-specific questions to the Applied Psychology Program Chair (Dr. Deanna Friesen, Deanna.Friesen@uwo.ca)

Important note: When applying to the Doctor of Philosophy in Education Studies program in the Field of School and Applied Child Psychology, applicants must indicate their preferred Thesis Supervisor in their Statement of Intent. Applicants are advised to review the Faculty Research page and contact faculty in their area of interest to confirm that this potential exists. 


Daniel Ansari 

Jason Brown 

Claire Crooks 

Emma Duerden

Barbara Fenesi 

Deanna Friesen 

Colin King 

Perry Klein

Gabrielle Lee 

Marguerite Lengyell 

Albert Malkin 

Nicole Neil 

Susan Rodger 

Katreena Scott 

Jacqueline Specht 


Public Disclosure

Our PHD Students

Typically 1 male to 7 females, 24-40 years old at time of admission in 2022, 41% identify as diverse

Applications, Acceptances and Withdrawals

Criteria 2015 - 2016 2016 - 2017 2017 - 2018 2018 - 2019 2019 - 2020 2020 - 2021 2021 - 2022 2022 - 2023

Applied to our PhD program









We offered admission to









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External applicants admitted to program









Withdrew from Program









Our Graduates

Our program began in 2015.  To date, 84% of our PhD graduates have either become registered psychologists or are currently on supervised practice within Ontario. Our graduates work in a variety of settings, including schools, independent practice, children’s/community mental health centers, and in youth justice. The job placements and career paths of the graduates from the SACP program’s first two cohorts demonstrate the program’s ability to train psychologists who work in both school and clinical settings.  Psychologists are in high demand and our graduates had no difficulty obtaining employment upon graduation.

Our MA Students

Typically 1 male to 7 females, 17% identify as diverse

Applications, Acceptances and Withdrawals

Criteria 2019 - 2020 2020 - 2021 2021-2022 2022-2023

Applied to our MA program





We offered admission to





Accepted offer of admission





Withdrew from Program





Our combined MA/PhD program is designed to meet the requirements of the College of Psychologists of Ontario for registration as a Psychologist (PhD) and was accredited in 2023.

Office of Accreditation - Canadian Psychological Association

141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5J3
Phone: 1-888-472-0657 (toll free in Canada); (613) 237-2144
Email: accreditationoffice@cpa.ca