EdSp in Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology with Emphasis in Mental Health Practices in Schools

The online Mental Health Practices in Schools program is intended for school personnel, educators and other community mental health professionals who work with children and adolescents in schools and community agencies. This includes elementary and secondary teachers, special education professionals, school counselors, school nurses, administrators, at-risk coordinators and resource officers, safety coordinators, substance abuse coordinators, speech/language pathologists, itinerant and migrant educators, and private practitioners.

Courses are designed to offer practical applications of psychological concepts and are taught by experts in the field. The program identifies and deals with issues that promote positive mental health of children and adolescents. Courses in the program provide a solid base to increase awareness, knowledge and skills in areas such as:

  • Identifying and assessing evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies and programs
  • Communicating effectively with parents, children and school personnel
  • Building resiliency and optimism in children and adolescents
  • Increasing awareness of multicultural and diversity issues
  • Understanding mental, emotional, and behavioral factors in youth
  • Managing crisis interventions
  • Applying wellness management for self and others
  • Implementing positive behavior support and strategies in the classroom
  • Collaborating with families and other school personnel

Note:  This program does not provide school counselor certification, nor any professional counseling licensure. Website: Mental Health Practices in Schools.

Degree Requirements

The educational specialist degree is a 31-hour program of specialization built upon the master's degree.  To earn the Mental Health Practices in Schools educational specialist degree, students complete 31 credit hours from among the courses listed below.  The only required courses are the research methods (ESC_PS 8020) and capstone (ESC_PS 8490). At least 5 courses must be at the 8000 level.  Students can select the remaining courses that best fit their educational and professional experience and interests.

Required Courses4
ESC_PS 8020Overview of Research Methods3
ESC_PS 8490Mental Health in Schools Capstone Paper1
Elective Courses27
ESC_PS 7160Child and Adolescent Development in Schools3
ESC_PS 7460Foundations of School Mental Health3
ESC_PS 8087Seminar in Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology (Empirically Supported Treatments and Interventions for Youth Mental Health)3
ESC_PS 8425Effects of Maltreatment on Child and Adolescent Development3
ESC_PS 8430Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders in Youth3
ESC_PS 8435Wellness Management for School Personnel3
ESC_PS 8440School Mental Health: Policy, Law and Ethics3
ESC_PS 8445Building Resiliency and Optimism in Youth3
ESC_PS 8450Diversity Issues in School Mental Health3
ESC_PS 8455Bully and Youth Violence: Prevention and Reduction3
ESC_PS 8460Communication and Collaboration with Children and Families3
ESC_PS 8465Vital Issues in School Mental Health3
ESC_PS 8470Preventions and Interventions in School Mental Health3
ESC_PS 8475Proactive Behavior Management3

Additional Electives are available through the other ESCP online programs with advisor approval.

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Comprehensive Examination Process

Capstone paper

The program requires a capstone integrative paper allowing students to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired through the program's course work.


Applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum qualifications for admission: the requirements of the EdSp in Educational and Counseling Psychology program and the minimum requirements of the Graduate School. Because requirements vary, you must refer to a degree program's graduate admission page to learn about specific admission criteria, application deadlines, eligibility and application process. Your application materials will be reviewed by both the Graduate School and the degree program to which you’ve applied before official admission to the University of Missouri.

Admission criteria (EdSp)

  1. Successful completion of the baccalaureate and master's degree at an accredited college/university.
  2. 3.0 or better grade point average in the last 60 hours of baccalaureate coursework
  3. TOEFL score: Minimum 580 (paper) or 92 (ibt). Applies to non-native English speaking applicants only. If the non-native English-speaking applicant has successfully completed one year of full-time post-secondary (college-level) study in a country where English is the native language within the past two years, then the TOEFL is waived . 
  4. GRE scores are NOT required.

Application Process:

  1. Complete the online Application to the Graduate School.
  2. As part of the submission process, applicants are required to upload UNOFFICIAL copies of all transcripts to the online application. NOTE: If you are accepted by our academic program, you will then be asked to provide official copies of all transcripts to: Graduate School, University of Missouri, 210 Jesse Hall, Columbia, Missouri 65211.
  3. Three letters of recommendation will need to be submitted via the online application. Each recommender will receive directions on how to submit the recommendation once you have entered their contact information in the application system.
  4. You must also provide the following supplementary materials: Personal Statement and Vita/Résumé via the online Application to the Graduate School. In your statement describe:
    1. Your previous/current experience serving in a teaching, helping or counseling role,
    2. Your interests and career objectives,
    3. How these interests and career objectives have developed, and
    4. How being accepted into the program will benefit your career aspirations and help you act upon your beliefs, goals and philosophy. Include interests and experiences working with diverse groups (e.g. ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, religious, ability status, sexual orientation, grade levels, ages), leadership roles, or other skills or experiences (not previously mentioned) that you believe distinguish you as a candidate for graduate study. (Please limit to 1000 words).
  5. If your native language is other than English, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required. Please send your score to the Graduate School using school code 6875.
  6. Please be sure to upload all supplemental materials BEFORE you submit the application.

For applicants currently enrolled as graduate students at MU:

  1. Complete the Change of Degree form.
  2. Provide unofficial copies of your University of Missouri transcripts.
  3. Provide 3 letters of recommendation.
  4. Provide supplementary materials:  Personal statement and Vita/Résumé.

Send application materials to Sandy Sites (SitesS@missouri.edu) or mail to the ESCP Dept., 16 Hill Hall, Columbia, MO  65211

Application deadline: None - rolling admission.

Admissions Contact
David Lineberry (LineberryD@missouri.edu
16 Hill Hall, Columbia, MO  65211

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