Psy.D. Degree


On this page:

Professional Dissertation Handbook

Greg Archer, Psy.D. '84

Important: The procedures described in this edition of the Professional Dissertation Handbook are effective as of the revision date. The timelines described herein pertain to semesters; however, specific requirements for completion of the Professional Dissertation still apply to students who began the doctoral program under the quarter system.

The Professional Dissertation Handbook (DOCX) sets forth minimum requirements to be followed in all doctoral Professional Dissertations submitted to the School of Professional Psychology, Office of Academic Affairs (OAA).  Much of this handbook’s contents is a guide to format. It is not meant to be an exhaustive guide to the process of developing and writing a Professional Dissertation. Rather, it is a guide useful to SOPP students in meeting degree requirements throughout the Professional Dissertation process. These procedures are a modification of the Wright State University, Graduate School Thesis/Dissertation Handbook. For matters not specified in this handbook, students should consult the American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual, 6th Edition. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Professional Dissertation Coordinator in the OAA at 775-3492.

Writing Links

Common Formatting Errors

  1. Follow the instructions in the Dissertation Handbook and APA Manual (6th edition) closely to minimize format revisions; errors in format are the most common reason for delaying completion of a dissertation. It is common to revise format errors 2-3 times before the final dissertation is completed.
  2. Make sure the format of the title and approval pages is identical to the samples in the Dissertation Handbook.
  3. Follow the formatting guidelines in the Dissertation Handbook; set margins and page numbers as shown in the guidelines.
  4. Follow the proper format for headings in the APA Manual based on the number (level) of headings in the document.
  5. Adhere to figure and table format in the APA Manual.
  6. Follow the sequence of manuscript sections as shown in the Dissertation Handbook (e.g., references after appendices, etc.).
  7. Consider the “ripple effect” when revising your dissertation; after making changes, check to be sure proper formatting is maintained.
  8. Your dissertation is copyright protected when it is created; additional copyright information is included in the Dissertation Handbook.
  9. *Allow sufficient time to complete the format check, have the dissertation chair sign the approval page, and submit the electronic dissertation before the July 15th deadline (or two weeks prior to early departure for internship, if applicable).
  10. *Wait until OAA has approved all formatting revisions before submitting the electronic dissertation to OhioLINK. Do not print out a hard copy of the manuscript; however, be sure to submit a signed approval sheet on white bond quality paper to OAA.
  11. *Manage the professional dissertation process with good time management, coordinating as needed with the dissertation chair, working continually on the manuscript until completion, etc. to avoid last minute scrambling to meet the deadline.

The Professional Dissertation is a scholarly work which entails a great deal of time and effort to complete successfully. Proper formatting that meets APA and SOPP standards is the “polish” that makes your dissertation shine as a completed manuscript. It may be referenced online through OhioLINK by other students and researchers.

Experience has shown that completing the professional dissertation can be relatively easy or very stressful, depending on how well the student manages the process. Following these tips will go far to minimizing frustration and completing the dissertation in a timely fashion. Please contact the Office of Academic Affairs for assistance at any point in the dissertation process.

NOTE: The term format is synonymous with style as described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (i.e., APA Manual), 6th edition.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who should I contact if I need assistance with my electronic dissertation?

    Office of Academic Affairs
    117 Health Sciences Bldg.
    (937) 775-3468

    Student Technology Assistance Center (STAC)
    240 Paul Laurence Dunbar Library
    (937) 775-2656

  • My dissertation has been published in the ETD Center. Can I get a hardbound copy of it?

    The best option for getting a hardbound copy of your electronic dissertation is the widely used online service, Thesis on Demand, at, which allows you to upload the PDF file of your document, select binding options, and have the finished volume shipped to you. Local copy shops (including FedEx and UPS stores) or professional book binderies may also be able to assist you.

  • My dissertation has been published in the ETD Center. Can I have it temporarily or permanently removed?

    Material in the ETD Center is considered a permanent part of a research collection, under publication terms agreed to during the submission process. OhioLINK does not remove a published ETD unless there are critical problems with its content or with the degree for which it was written. Such problems include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, incorrect or misrepresented research results, failure to complete the degree, or revocation of the degree.

  • My dissertation has been published in the ETD Center. Can I make changes to it?

    Material in the ETD Center is considered to be a record of completed work and in most cases may not be edited after publication. In rare cases, exceptions may be made to correct substantial problems in an ETD that affect its content. Published dissertations are generally not corrected for misspellings or typographical errors. Any request for corrections to your dissertation should be directed to the Office of Academic Affairs.

  • I’m having problems opening a PDF file. What can I do?

    During submission, PDF files are checked to confirm they are not corrupted or otherwise broken. However, the large file sizes for some ETDs can cause two recurring problems. First, your Internet connection may go down while the file is transferring. If that happens, you will need to make sure the connection is back up and try opening the file again.

    Second, the browser plug-in for Adobe Acrobat Reader may have problems with large files, especially when it is used with the Firefox web browser. If the browser plug-in cannot open the file, please download the PDF file to your desktop and open it from there. To download the file, right-click the ETD’s “Download Full Text” link and select the appropriate option, usually “Save Target As…” or “Save Link As…”.

    If the problem persists, contact the OAA or STAC for assistance.

  • May I restrict access to my dissertation?

    Permanently restricting access only to SOPP or Wright State University is prohibited.

  • When will my dissertation be published? Can I delay publication?

    Ordinarily, your dissertation will be published when the OAA confirms the information in your submission and approves it for publication. Upon publication, your dissertation will be freely available via the Internet from the OhioLINK ETD Center. Typically, there will not be a need to delay publication of SOPP dissertations beyond September 15 each year. In the event a special situation arises relating to publishing a book related to your dissertation, etc., please contact the OAA for assistance.

  • What should I know about copyright and my electronic dissertation?

    Students typically select, “Standard copyright only” on the Permissions and UMI Publication page of the ETD Submission Form. Students may elect not to use this option if they prefer to have a Creative Commons license; more information about this option can be found at the link on the permissions page.

    Copyright is a form of legal protection for original works of authorship, including works published online. Copyright applies to a work as soon as it is created in a tangible form, such as being saved to an electronic file. Your electronic dissertation is automatically protected by copyright, although you may choose the additional protection of registering your copyright. For further copyright information, please see the U.S. Copyright Office Frequently Asked Questions.

    Copyright also protects any other authors’ works included in your ETD. SOPP students must adhere to applicable provisions as stated in the ETD Center Publication Agreement and APA Manual, and work with their dissertation committee to ensure compliance.

  • Should I submit my dissertation to UMI?

    Students should select, “Do not upload to UMI” on the Permissions and UMI Publication page of the ETD Submission Form. SOPP uses OhioLINK to publish and store its electronic dissertations. In addition, students should select, “The author is not requesting UMI to handle the application for copyright registration” as SOPP follows U.S. Copyright Office provisions.

  • What is the STAC?

    The Student Technology Assistance Center (STAC) is located in 240 Paul Laurence Dunbar Library. The STAC has the hardware, software and personal assistance necessary to assist you in converting your document to PDF and for preparing a professional quality electronic dissertation.

  • What am I agreeing to when I submit my ETD? What is the publication agreement?

    When you submit your ETD, you give OhioLINK and SOPP permission to make your dissertation available for open access on the Internet, including access through major Internet search engines.

    The publication agreement is part of the ETD Submission Form and can be found at It is important that students read and understand it before submitting their dissertation. The publication agreement outlines what OhioLINK and SOPP may do with the copy of the dissertation published in the ETD Center.

  • What happens to my electronic dissertation once it’s submitted?

    Once the PDF file has been submitted, it will reside in a secure location on the ETD site where it may only be accessed by the Office of Academic Affairs. The OAA may publish, edit, or reject the submission and can modify or correct any of the submitted fields. Corrections can be made to names, dates, degree, etc.

    The OAA will not publish electronic dissertations until after students have completed their internship and after the degree conferral date which is typically September 15 each year.

    The OAA designates online when a paper is approved (i.e., it is “published”) and the ETD system immediately moves the document into the publicly accessible site. Upon approval, the document’s bibliographic information, abstract, and full-text are included for public use. Students will receive an email notification when the dissertation is published. Once published, it is usually not possible to make any changes to the dissertation or to any other information supplied.

  • How do I submit my electronic dissertation to the ETD Center?

    Once the format check has been completed and the signed approval page has been received, the OAA will inform students to submit their electronic dissertation to the ETD Center.

    Students go to to complete the ETD Submission Form. Students navigate a series of pages and enter information about the author, paper, and degree; permissions and UMI publication, and ending with upload of the full text. An email message will be forwarded to the student and OAA confirming when an electronic dissertation has been submitted.

  • What steps must I complete before submitting my electronic dissertation to the ETD Center?

    SOPP has a set of defined procedures for students to submit an electronic dissertation. In addition to the procedures described in these FAQs, students must adhere to all procedures as stipulated in the Dissertation Handbook.

    The OhioLINK ETD Center is a repository for complete, final theses and dissertations. Students should submit their electronic dissertations to the ETD Center only after the following actions have been completed:

    1. The PDF manuscript, with all revisions completed as recommended by the dissertation committee, must be forwarded via email to for a format check prior to submission to the ETD Center. This review will evaluate the dissertation for proper format and style as established in the Dissertation Handbook and current edition of the APA Manual. This review is intended to minimize the likelihood of the dissertation being rejected after the deposit deadline. However, it in no way guarantees the acceptability of the final copy. The manuscript should be submitted for format check well in advance of July 15 to allow sufficient time for final revisions to be made prior to the deadline. IMPORTANT: The PDF manuscript approval page must not contain signatures of the dissertation committee and approval authority.
    2. One copy of the dissertation approval page on bond quality paper with all required signatures must be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs by July 15. This copy will be kept on file in OAA. The ETD will not be published online until OAA receives the signed approval page.
  • What file formats can I submit to the ETD Center?

    SOPP students must submit their electronic dissertations in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). PDF files should have all fonts embedded and may not disable printing or text access.

    Dissertations prepared in Microsoft Word can easily be converted to PDF. You must first install a PDF converter on your computer. There are a number of free PDF converters available for download by searching online. To convert your Word document to a PDF file, click Save As, select a location to save the file, type in a file name, and click the Publish button.

    For questions of a technical nature concerning PDF, HTML, etc., please contact the Office of Academic Affairs or the STAC at 775-2656.

  • When should SOPP students deposit their final electronic dissertation?

    Beginning in 2011, all fourth-year SOPP students eligible to begin their internship in the subsequent academic year must deposit their professional dissertation electronically to the ETD Center by July 15. Exception: Those students scheduled to begin their internship early (i.e., in the summer), must submit their dissertation two weeks before departing for internship.

  • Which office within SOPP coordinates and approves the submission of electronic dissertations?

    The Office of Academic Affairs (OAA).

  • Why is SOPP requiring its students to submit an electronic dissertation versus a print copy?

    ETDs are available on the Internet as documents representing the best in electronic scholarship. Your electronic dissertation will contribute to disseminating and sharing scholarship worldwide as Wright State and other major universities in Ohio work together to build a comprehensive collection of theses and dissertations on deposit with OhioLINK.

    Retrieving a copy of a print dissertation takes time and there is often a retrieval fee. The ETD Center eliminates the delay between searching and retrieving, giving researchers immediate access to the most current research occurring on Ohio’s campuses. Plus, electronic archiving in the statewide site eliminates the need for physical storage of SOPP dissertations on campus.

  • Has SOPP joined the OhioLINK ETD Center?

    The School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University has joined the OhioLink ETD Center to allow its doctoral students to submit their dissertations electronically.

  • Who can use the ETD Center?

    The ETD Center is freely accessible worldwide to anyone interested in searching, viewing, and downloading the theses and dissertations published in Ohio. Using a standard Web browser, users can search the database using basic keyword searching. Authors, university affiliation, and abstracts are all indexed.

  • What is the OhioLINK ETD Center?

    The ETD Center is a free, online database of Ohio’s master’s and doctoral theses and dissertations from participating OhioLINK member schools. It contains the abstract for all included theses and dissertations. The full-text is also available if it was submitted.

  • What is an ETD?

    An ETD is an electronic thesis or dissertation.