James Madison University

Dissertation

All students must complete a scholarly dissertation. The student handbook provides detailed descriptions of the expectations and components of the doctoral dissertation. Students are free to choose any topic that matches their professional and career goals and is compatible with the interests and expertise of their PSYC 881 (Issues and Methods in Research and Evaluation: Research Practicum) course instructor (who is also normally the student’s advisor). Overall, emphasis is placed on applied research projects. The ability to use applied research is seen as an integral part of each student's overall training, and one befitting a doctoral-level health service psychologist.

At its best, the dissertation should not only constitute a credible and substantial contribution to the larger field of psychology, but should also clearly

  1. represent the culmination of a rigorous process of intellectual development;
  2. emerge from discussions regarding student’s interests and strengths and the expertise and interests of the student’s advisor; and
  3. be congruent with that student’s professional and scholarly aspirations