Professional Training


Standards for the Training of Professional Educational Psychologists in Hong Kong


This statement of standards is intended to be a reference for:

(a) universities offering or preparing to offer postgraduate programmes that train psychologists for professional practice in the field of Educational Psychology in Hong Kong;

(b) any other bodies interested in the standards of professional training in Educational Psychology in Hong Kong.


Enquires concerning the standards and advice on programme development should be directed to the Chairperson of the Division of Educational Psychology (DEP), The Hong Kong Psychological Society (HKPS).*

1. Status of Standards

1.1. These standards are developed by the DEP, which is the division of the HKPS representing professional Educational Psychologists in Hong Kong.

1.2. Training programmes are expected to meet these standards in order for their graduates to be eligible for full membership of the DEP and be qualified to register with the HKPS, claiming a specialty in Educational Psychology.

1.3. This statement of standards aims at maintaining the quality of professional training in Educational Psychology at a level that is on a par with international standards. To achieve this aim, reference has been made to standards in the UK, the US, Australia, and the local context in its preparation.

2. Entry Requirements

Candidates entering professional training in Educational Psychology should:

2.1. have a good Bachelor's degree with Honours in Psychology or an equivalent qualification and be eligible for HKPS Graduate Membership;

2.2. preferably have working experience in educational or related settings.

3. Length and Level of Study

The length of programme should be no less than two years of full-time study or the equivalent part-time study leading to a Master・s degree. The programme should comprise at least 60 semester credits of study at the postgraduate level.

4. Staffing

4.1. The areas of expertise of the academic staff should be sufficient to cover all the required courses. In addition, the academic teaching should be undertaken mainly by qualified Educational Psychologists, with supplementary support from other staff with related expertise where appropriate.

4.2. There should be a minimum of two full-time equivalent (FTE) academic staff members who hold doctoral degrees in Educational Psychology and are eligible for full membership of the DEP.

4.3. The student:academic staff (FTE) ratio should ideally be 7:1 and not greater than 10:1, where the staff concerned should hold a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology and is eligible for full membership of the DEP.

4.4. Staff members who are responsible for practicum supervision should be eligible for full membership of the DEP and should have at least five years・ FTE professional experience.

5. Resources

The programme should have the support of its institution in providing the necessary physical/material/library/technology resources or facilities for the programme, as well as the related administrative support. In particular, there should be:

5.1. physical facilities that are appropriately set up for assessment, intervention, or research activities that may take place as part of the training;

5.2. a test library with sufficient professional materials relevant to the training of Educational Psychologists.

In the setting up of these facilities, consideration should be given to the necessity for certain materials to be stored or certain activities to be conducted with strict requirements for confidentiality.

6. Content of Programme

The training provided by the programme should be based on the :scientist-practitioner; model, emphasizing empirically-based professional practice in addition to the required research training. It should aim at preparing students to carry out professional work at the individual, group, and systems levels. The coursework, research and practicum components should add up to a minimum of 60 semester credits, with the quantitative value of a semester credit being equivalent to one contact hour per week throughout a semester for coursework or 120 hours of supervised practicum. The delivery of the programme should be mainly on a face-to-face resident study basis.

6.1. Coursework:

The coursework component should cover all the following areas at an advanced level:

(a) Professional issues and standards in educational psychology practice

(i) History, foundations, and models of educational psychology services

(ii) Legal and ethical issues

(iii) Professional issues and standards

(b) Psychological foundations

(i) Social and cultural basis of behavior

(ii) Individual differences

(iii) Developmental Psychology

(iv) Learning and motivation

(c) Educational foundations

(i) Curriculum and instruction

(ii) Organization and operation of schools

(iii) Education of children with special needs

(d) Psychoeducational Assessment

(i) Assessment of intelligence, aptitude, and achievement

(ii) Behavioral, social, and emotional assessment

(iii) Assessment of special educational needs

(e) Intervention

(i) Direct intervention (individual and group levels)

(ii) Indirect intervention (consultation and school/systems level)

(f) Research methods and statistics

(i) Research and evaluation methods

(ii) Advanced statistics

6.2. Research:

All students on the programme should conduct an empirical research project and submit a dissertation. The dissertation should be of a Master・s standard and is on a topic that has direct relevance to the field of Educational Psychology.

6.3. Practicum:

The programme should contain supervised fieldwork training of a minimum of 1,200 hours with at least three placements. Of the 1,200 hours, at least 600 hours should be in educational settings. Fieldwork supervisors should have at least three years of relevant professional experience (full-time or equivalent) in educational or clinical psychology. Practical training should aim at helping students become reflective practitioners with strong systems perspectives and problem-solving abilities. The placements should provide adequate hands-on experience in relation to individual work, group work, and systems work, encompassing a wide range of student/school needs. This should include experiences of working with students, families, teachers, and improving the school system, during which the following skills/qualities are developed up to the required professional standards:

(a) Personal qualities and conduct in professional practice

(b) Assessment skills

(c) Interview skills

(d) Intervention skills

(e) Consultation and collaboration skills

(f) Report writing and record keeping

(g) Research and evaluation skills

7. Quality Assurance

7.1 In order to ensure that the training provided is responsive to new developments in professional practice and community needs, the programme is advised to have in place an advisory committee, through which there can be full consultation with key stakeholders associated with the profession, such as representatives from related professional bodies, employment agencies, and experienced practitioners. This committee should meet on a regular basis to advise on improvements to the scope, content, organization, and relevance of various aspects of training.

7.2 To ensure that the training provided by the programme is up to the required academic and professional standards, a clearly specified external examination system should be in place. This should include the appointment of at least one external examiner or consultant to review samples of students・ works on a regular basis and to give comments on their standards. The external examiner or consultant should be a senior academic with doctoral qualification in Educational Psychology and should be actively engaged in Educational Psychology as a profession.


*A copy of these standards as amended from time to time will be available through the DEP website or from the Chairperson of the DEP.

May 15, 2015