Union Institute and University

Doctor of Psychology

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Completion of the Clinical Review and the dissertation are key requirements in a student’s progress towards the Psy.D. degree.  The completion of the dissertation, along with the completion of the internship and all other academic requirements, is generally the last step toward being awarded the doctoral degree.

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) Dissertation Manual

For a full description of the dissertation process, read the Dissertation Manual [PDF, 468KB].

Dissertation Overview

The dissertation is a culminating activity that requires the student to demonstrate mastery of an area of professional interest and to make a meaningful contribution to the definition or solution of a problem or question, or the elucidation of an area of clinical interest. Students are required to submit in writing and orally defend the results of their dissertation, demonstrating their ability to apply psychological principles to clinical problems. Our purpose is to make the dissertation writing process part of a real-world exercise in which the student does work that furthers the field of clinical psychology in an active manner and experiences the ways in which she or he can continue to contribute to the field after graduation.

The student works closely with her/his dissertation committee chair in designing the dissertation and deciding on the process for realizing it. Students take two Dissertation Proposal courses and two Dissertation Development courses during their third and fourth years. Students can complete their proposal and dissertation prior to starting their internship.

Committee members serve as methodological and content consultants and work with the student and chair toward approval of the proposal. The final product must demonstrate that the student can critically examine a problem, integrate information, operationalize concepts, implement a research project, and communicate the essential aspects of the study to professional psychologists.

The Dissertation Proposal and Final Dissertation

The dissertation proposal includes a discussion of the implications of the proposed project for social justice. It will also include a discussion of the anticipated audience for the research, including the journals to which the final manuscript describing the results and presenting the discussion may be submitted. This discussion will include the requirements of these journals and a discussion of how the student’s project fits within the range of submissions that these journals consider.

The final dissertation will consist of an approved dissertation proposal and a manuscript prepared in accordance with the requirements of the journal to which the student has decided to submit. Once approved by the committee, the student will submit the manuscript for consideration for publication as the final step in the dissertation process.