The Clinical Dissertation is intended to demonstrate that students have integrated the material they have learned during the doctoral program. Early in their program, students select an appropriate project. The Research Methods courses introduce students to conceptual and methodological issues related to conducting qualitative and quantitative research. Students register for Clinical Dissertation Seminar I and Clinical Dissertation II in order to carry out and complete the dissertation. It is expected that students will complete the project prior to beginning their internship. Students who have not completed the clinical dissertation during Year 4, will be required to enroll in PSY 763, Dissertation Continuation.
We are interested in stimulating student creativity, therefore the options for completion of this project vary. The Psy.D. is an applied degree, thus the clinical dissertation will involve the investigation of a practical application, either through empirical (quantitative or qualitative), theoretical or clinical evaluation strategies. Unlike the Ph.D. dissertation, the clinical dissertation has an immediate practical application. Students will be guided in their work by their dissertation advisor, a second faculty member, a student member and an outside expert.
It is expected that students will acquire a minimum of 1000 hours of clinical experience (practicum) prior to beginning the internship. We expect that most students will seek out clinical placements early in their program and will take advantage of summers to accumulate the requisite hours. During enrollment in the Practicum sequence, students will be required to be in Practicum Training (clinical placement). Students are required to register for continuation credits during summers that they are accruing clinical hours through practicum.
Students are required to complete a full-time internship during the 5th year of the academic program. Internship training sites are usually accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), are members or meet membership criteria of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) or the California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC).
The Director of Clinical Training will help students with the identification of appropriate internships. Students will earn one unit of academic credit during the internship year.
Professional Competence Evaluation (PCE)
“During Practicum IV, students will identify and conceptualize a case which is then developed for presentation as part of the PCE. The PCE is intended to demonstrate students’ skill and knowledge in the field of psychology and to integrate their academic and clinical learning. The PCE must be completed prior to engaging in the application process for internship.”
Students are required to complete a comprehensive examination the summer following Year 3. This examination measures knowledge of multiple content areas in clinical psychology and is evaluated as pass/fail. Students failing any component of the comprehensive evaluation must submit remediations. A passing evaluation on all components of the exam is required for students to advance to candidacy and be eligible to apply for internship.