Loyola University Maryland

Department of Psychology

Dissertation

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The doctoral dissertation project requires the student to demonstrate a sound understanding of the scientific process upon which professional competence is based and provide a contribution that may be of an applied nature. It is expected that the dissertation project be of publishable quality (that is, in the form of a journal or book chapter, or a report for local consumption by practitioners or an agency serving mental health needs) and that an extensive review of theory and previous research serve as a foundation. The project requires an oral presentation of the proposal and an oral presentation and defense of the finished product. The doctoral dissertation may consist of, but is not limited to:

  • the implementation and evaluation of a clinical intervention or training program, or evaluation of a pre-existing program (e.g., a parenting program or drug intervention program that results in behavior change);
  • a needs assessment, followed by a model for implementation (e.g., violence prevention, drug abuse prevention, crime prevention, community mental health needs in a local community, psychotherapy outcome monitoring system for a particular community mental health center or practice);
  • empirical or theoretical analysis of aspects of a model of psychopathology (e.g., the application of an existing model to different clientele, or the development of a new model of treatment with its basis in a theory of psychopathology);
  • the development and evaluation, or evaluation only, of an assessment instrument (e.g., development of an instrument's psychometrics, or the development of a questionnaire complete with reliability and validity analyses);
  • use of a survey to assess an ethical and/or professional issue that is currently being debated within the field of clinical psychology (e.g., professionals' beliefs regarding managed care issues, prescription privileges for psychologists, etc.);
  • the implementation and evaluation, or evaluation only, of an intervention technique using single case design methodology (e.g., evaluation of different methods of behavior modification for head-banging behavior in a child with a diagnosis of autism);
  • a meta-analysis comparing the effectiveness or relative efficacy of different treatment strategies for a particular disorder; or,
  • use of a qualitative method of analysis to examine in depth an issue relevant to clinical psychology (e.g., content analyses of how religious values may influence help-seeking behavior among persons of Indian descent).

Case students may be used in conjunction with one of these approved categories of dissertation research but many not stand alone as a final project.

THE COMMITTEE SELECTION PROCESS

The dissertation committee consists of the faculty chair and two additional members. Students may petition the director of clinical training for permission to have one of their committee members be someone other than a faculty member of Loyola's psychology department. Outside committee members must hold a doctorate in psychology or a field of study pertinent to the project. (In rare cases, exceptions to the doctoral degree requirement for committee members may be approved by the director of clinical training, where it is determined through consultation with the committee chair that the individual would make a contribution to the student's learning equal to or exceeding that of a professional holding a doctoral degree). The dissertation committee chair must be a full-time faculty member, or a core faculty member who has received approval from the committee on graduate studies at Loyola.

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*Questions related to the program's accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE
Washington, DC  20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979
Email:
apaaccred@apa.org
Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation