Students will begin working on their dissertation in the first year of the Program by identifying a faculty member to serve as the dissertation chair. In addition, students will begin the three-course series on statistics, research methods, and psychometrics in the first year so as to build a knowledge base for subsequent dissertation work.

In the second year, students will join a research team, wherein they will be mentored by a faculty member so as to develop an original research project (this project may lead to a dissertation topic or be focused on another area of research). 

In the third and fourth years of the Program, students will work formally with their dissertation chair in order to develop, propose, and defend their dissertation.

Dissertation types include a quantitative, qualitative, literature review, theoretical, or program development and evaluation dissertation. Students must successfully pass the dissertation proposal phase before formally submitting applications for internship, and students must successfully defend the dissertation by the end of the fourth year (prior to actually starting internship).

Given the competitive nature of the internship process, students are advised to select a topic that allows them to market themselves in the internship interview process, building on their professional development within coursework and the practicum process. In other words, selecting an applied clinical area of focus that draws out students’ strengths; cultivating expertise in an area of passion within the field is paramount so as to intelligently and confidently discuss this experience with internship sites (should they ask about the dissertation experience).

Dissertation and Research-Related Training Coursework 

PSY704  Statistics in Psychology (3 units)

PSY714   Research Methods in Psychology (3 units)

PSY723  Psychometrics (3 units)

PSY751   Research Team I (1 unit)

PSY752  Research Team II (1 unit)

PSY753  Research Team III (1 unit)

PSY781   Dissertation I (1 unit)

PSY782  Dissertation II (1 unit)

PSY783  Dissertation III (1 unit)

PSY784  Dissertation IV (1 unit)

PSY785  Dissertation V (1 unit)

PSY786  Dissertation VI (1 unit)

Dissertation and Research-Related Training Competencies

Within the dissertation and research-related training sequence, students will develop a solid foundation of scientific knowledge, drawing from a variety of methods in order to engage in research within the field.


  • Scientific Knowledge, Methods, and Research