Detroit Mercy’s School Psychology program earns important designation

October 13, 2020
Students in a classroom at Detroit Mercy

Verified Course Sequence designation from the Association for Behavior Analysis InternationalUniversity of Detroit Mercy’s Specialist in School Psychology program earned an important designation – Verified Course Sequence (VCS) – from the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI).

This designation indicates that the program’s curriculum meets requirements by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) ensuring ease of preparation for students who will sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination.

“Our Specialist in School Psychology program is a perfect fit for students who want to expand their skills with behavior analysis,” said Rachel Lee, assistant professor of psychology and program lead for the VCS application. “We have embedded the ABAI requirements into our classes so students will receive added value and education.”

According to Lee, who also holds the BCBA credential, students who graduate from a VCS-approved program have a seamless transition to qualify for the exam because they do not need to submit course syllabi and letters of recommendation. The first cohort to meet the VCS curriculum requirements will graduate in 2022.

University of Detroit Mercy's Specialist in School Psychology program also holds full approval from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). The program is 66 credit hours and takes three years to complete full time. This includes a three-semester 600-hour practicum during the second year and a three-semester, full-time 1,200-hour internship in a school setting completed during the third year.

Students are awarded a Master of Arts with a major in school psychology upon successful completion of 30 hours at the end of the first year. The Specialist in School Psychology is awarded upon completion of the entire program.

“The complete BCBA certification also requires students to obtain field supervision under a BCBA credentialed professional,” said Lee. “We will be working toward making this component available in the future, but the VCS designation is an important first step.”

Individuals who pass the ABAI exam generally work with children who have autism or severe behavior needs. They may also work in home programs or private clinics and direct and implement behavioral programs to change socially significant behavior for individuals with severe needs.

For more information about Detroit Mercy’s Specialist in School Psychology program, contact Lee at or visit

Header photo of students in classroom taken in 2019, prior to COVID-19 social distancing policies.