Accredited Child Psychology Graduate Programs in Tennessee [2024 Guide]

Last Updated: May 28, 2024

Getting a graduate degree in child psychology prepares you for a rewarding career working with children and adolescents. Whether you want to be a school psychologist, a developmental psychologist, a clinical psychologist, or something in between, you can find an appropriate graduate program in Tennessee.

Aside from having a great selection of graduate programs, Tennessee also has many affordable graduate schools. Though tuition and fees usually vary from one year to the next, you will find that some of Tennessee’s universities are consistently below the national average in terms of in-state tuition.

The list below outlines some of the popular child psychology options you might consider as you prepare for your career.

best Child Psychology programs in Tennessee

Child Psychology Graduate Programs in Tennessee

Listed below are some of the popular schools offering child psychology graduate programs in Tennessee:

  • The University of Memphis
  • Capella University
  • Tennessee Tech University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • The University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Grand Canyon University

The University of Memphis

Founded in 1912, the University of Memphis began as West Tennessee State Normal School – an institution focused on educating and training teachers. Today, though, Memphis is a comprehensive university with nearly 22,000 students. You can get all manner of degrees at Memphis, too, from a Bachelor of Arts to a Master of Science to a Ph.D.

As a large four-year university, Memphis offers its students many different degrees and programs – more than 250 bachelor’s degrees, over 50 master’s degrees, and more than two dozen degrees and programs at the specialist and doctoral levels. This educational diversity is complemented by the diversity in the city of Memphis, which has one of the most diverse populations in the entire state. It helps that Memphis is also a very inexpensive place to live!

Child Psychology Program Information

The Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Memphis offers a Clinical Child concentration that focuses on understanding both normal and abnormal development processes. These processes are explored through the lens of developmental psychopathology and the biopsychosocial-cultural approach.

During your time in this program, you will have many opportunities for classroom-based and experiential learning. Your studies will explore topics like adolescent health, child clinical assessment, and children’s social relations. Additionally, you will take courses on:

  • Behavioral Family Systems
  • Acceptance-Based Approaches
  • Pediatric Psychology
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • Culturally-Tailored Therapy

The experiential components of this program include research, practicum, and internship opportunities. The program’s first 4-5 years are dedicated to pre-doctoral internship training, while the program’s final year is specifically for the doctoral internship.

Admission to this program is highly competitive – typically, fewer than 10 students are admitted each year. The admissions committee evaluates prospective students based on many factors, including your:

  • Research interests
  • Match with program goals
  • Personal statement
  • Undergraduate GPA
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Performance in a personal interview

Tennessee Tech University

What is now Tennessee Tech started in 1909 as Dixie College, a private institution. However, within a few years, the state of Tennessee assumed control of the school and chartered it at Tennessee Polytechnic Institute. When the institute was established in 1916, there were only 19 students and 13 faculty members. Today, though, it’s a different story – Tennessee Tech has nearly 10,000 students and more than 550 faculty members.

The majority of students at Tennessee Tech are undergraduates. But, nearly 20 percent of students are pursuing a graduate degree. Among the most popular graduate degrees are Curriculum and Instruction, Engineering, and Nursing.

Counseling Psychology is also a highly popular graduate program. Regardless of the program you choose, you’ll enjoy small class sizes and a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1.

Child Psychology Program Information

Tennessee Tech offers a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in School Counseling that, when paired with an Ed.S., qualifies you for licensure as a school psychologist in Tennessee. The first 33-36 credits involve studies for the MA degree. An additional 30 credits are required to complete the Ed.S.

The curriculum you will study includes a deep analysis of behavioral analysis, child development, and assessment. To gain these and other skills, you’ll take courses like:

  • Learning and Cognition
  • Counseling Theories and Techniques
  • Interpreting and Applying Psychological Research
  • Consultation in the Educational Setting
  • Philosophy and Public Policy

To complete the Ed.S. portion of the program, you must also participate in a 1,200-clock-hour internship that spans two semesters. During the internship, you will work directly with students in a school setting while being supervised by an experienced and licensed school psychologist.

Upon your graduation, you’ll be qualified to work with children and young adults between the ages of 3 and 22. You can apply to this program online. You must meet the following admissions requirements to apply:

  • Have an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher
  • Provide three letters of recommendation
  • Complete undergraduate coursework in psychology
  • Achieve satisfactory scores on the GRE
  • Demonstrate English language proficiency if English is not your native language

Middle Tennessee State University

When Middle Tennessee State University was founded in 1911, it was – as many colleges and universities were back then – a normal school, or teacher’s college. As the years passed, though, MTSU grew and admitted more students who had diverse academic interests. Today, students at MTSU can choose from hundreds of degree programs, including dozens of different bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

One of the reasons why MTSU has attracted so many students (there are about 20,000 on campus and online) is that the school is one of the least expensive options in the state of Tennessee. The school also has a robust graduate financial aid program to help you offset the cost of your education.

Child Psychology Program Information

The School Psychology graduate program at MTSU is a dual-degree program that culminates with Master of Arts and Educational Specialist degrees. Most students earn the MA degree after the completion of the second year of studies, while the Ed.S. degree requires a third year to complete.

The curriculum includes critical studies in school psychology, including:

  • School Psychology: Ethics and Practice
  • Educational Assessment
  • Psychological Disorders of Children
  • Basic and Applied Research Methods in Psychology
  • Advanced Interventions with Children

You must also complete multiple practicum experiences as well as a culminating 1,200-hour internship during your final year in the program.

As a result of these studies and experiences, you will be eligible for Tennessee licensure as a school psychologist. Furthermore, you can add an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) specialization, and you can pursue National Certification as a School Psychologist (NCSP).

You can apply to MTSU’s graduate school here. To be accepted, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with at least 15 credits of psychology coursework. You must also have a 3.0 GPA or higher for your college coursework and pass the GRE with acceptable scores. Additionally, you must submit the following:

  • Official GRE scores
  • Official transcripts from each college or university you’ve attended
  • A supplemental application to the School Psychology program
  • Three letters of reference
  • A curriculum vitae
  • A statement of purpose

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville is actually older than the state itself. Tennessee became a state in 1796, but UT was founded two years prior in 1794 as Blount College. The school’s name and location changed several times over its first 100 years in existence, but by 1879, the school had been named the University of Tennessee, and since then, it has become the largest public university in the state.

In fact, UT Knoxville is the flagship school in the University of Tennessee System. Not only is it the largest school in the system, with almost 34,000 students, but it also offers nearly 1,000 academic programs in nearly a dozen colleges. Nearly half of those programs are offered at the graduate level, including the School Psychology Ph.D. program discussed below.

Child Psychology Program Information

The University of Tennessee’s School Psychology Ph.D. program is a five-year residential program that includes coursework, research, and field experiences. As a result of these experiences, you will develop the required skills to help promote the academic development, social adjustment, and mental health of students of all ages.

You must complete 121 credits to graduate. Many of those credits are courses and seminars in topics like:

  • Psychological Theories of Human Development Applied to Education
  • Psychoeducational Consultation
  • Research in Psychoeducational Studies
  • Professional Practice in Clinical Settings
  • Quasi-Experimental and Single-Subject Design Research

There are also 24 credit hours of practicum experiences during which you will apply skills related to psychological assessment, consultation and intervention, and professional practice. Following that, you will complete doctoral research and a dissertation, as well as a 2,000-hour internship during the final year of the program.

The application requirements for this program are as follows:

  • A completed graduate school application and a $60 application fee
  • Submit a letter of introduction
  • Submit a resume or curriculum vitae
  • Provide official undergraduate transcripts
  • Provide a writing sample
  • Provide GRE test scores
  • Submit three completed rating forms

Child Psychology Work Opportunities in Tennessee

The child psychology work opportunities you might find in Tennessee depend heavily on your area of study in graduate school. For example, if you get a master’s degree in school psychology, your most likely place of employment will be in a public K-12 school district. Not all school psychologists work in public schools, though – you might also work in private practice, a private school, or for a state educational agency.

But let’s now assume you get a graduate degree in clinical psychology. The most likely employment scenario for you in Tennessee would be to work in a clinical setting, such as private practice, community mental health, or a juvenile treatment facility. Again, not all clinical psychologists with a specialization in child psychology work in these specific fields, so there are other options if you choose this route.

For example, as a clinical child psychologist in Tennessee, you might work at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville and provide psychological treatment for children with serious health issues. As another example, you might work for the Tennessee Department of Corrections as a clinical child psychologist and work with youth offenders.

Other employment opportunities might present themselves in behavioral intervention, teaching at the collegiate level, or working with children with substance abuse issues. You might also specialize in working with specific groups, such as children with psychotic disorders, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorders.

Copyright © 2024 All Rights Reserved. Program outcomes can vary according to each institution's curriculum and job opportunities are not guaranteed. This site is for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional help.