Psy.D. Degree


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Professional Dissertation

The purpose of the professional dissertation is to develop a student's core competencies. The American Psychological Association has outlined nine core competency areas which are required for students who graduate from programs accredited in health service psychology. These are: Research, Ethics and Legal Standards, Individual and Cultural Diversity, Professional Values, Attitudes and Behaviors, Communication and Interpersonal Skills, Assessment, Intervention, Supervision and Consultation, and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills.

The school's standards for professional dissertations include:

  • It is an original creative work.
  • It is produced independently by the student with limited technical guidance from the Chair and Committee.
  • It is a product that exemplifies the student's ability to think critically and to critically evaluate research, theory or other scholarly work.
  • It represents a synthesis and integration of scholarly work, research, or theoretical perspectives.
  • It represents a substantive scholarly contribution, demonstrating focus and depth of knowledge in a particular area of professional psychology.
  • It represents a vehicle for the student to demonstrate an ability to communicate clearly both in writing and orally.
  • It is a project or undertaking the topic of which is generally psychological in nature and consistent with the school's mission.

The policies for the Professional Dissertation are outlined in the Professional Dissertation Handbook (DOCX). All forms related to the dissertation can be found in the handbook. Links to most of the paperwork are also included below.

Writing Links