Training in Clinical Science

The Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Faculty adhere to the belief that research activities are an integral part of being a Clinical Psychologist. Consistent with this belief, the majority of our graduates seek academic- and research-oriented positions after they complete our program. Even for those who take other types of positions and who work in more applied settings, however, Clinical Psychologists must be able to locate and evaluate research literature relevant to evidence-based interventions and best practice in the field of Clinical Psychology.

Generally, our goal is to have graduate students build a repertoire of strong research skills, with the opportunity to learn both commonly used and more advanced data analytic techniques and research designs. Further, many research skills and knowledge of relevant research literature are gained by graduate students participating in their major professor’s programmatic research, making the major professor-graduate student mentoring relationship particularly important.

Master’s Thesis. Given the importance of research, research experiences begin during the Fall Semester of the First Year, when new graduate students are expected to become integrated into their major professor and faculty mentor’s research laboratory. During the course of the First Year, new graduate students also will begin to develop their Master’s Thesis proposal idea, develop their idea into a full research project via a Master’s Thesis proposal, and present their proposal to a three-member Master’s Thesis committee. Following this meeting, graduate students will conduct their Master’s Thesis project, complete their Master’s Thesis write-up, and present their findings to their Master’s Thesis committee.

Our goal is to see students complete the Master’s Thesis research within the first two years of our program. In addition, it is expected that graduate students will submit their Master’s Thesis work for review for publication, with this publication often being used as part of the Comprehensive Competencies that graduate students must submit to the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. faculty prior to being admitted to Doctoral Candidacy (ideally during the Third Year in our program).

What if I already have a Master’s Degree? Graduate students who already have a Master’s Degree and who have completed an empirical Master’s Thesis upon entry into our program can have their Master’s Thesis document reviewed by our Clinical Psychology Ph.D. faculty. If our Clinical Psychology Ph.D. faculty deem this project to be acceptable and to be consistent with those Master’s Theses completed as part of our program, these graduate students may have their Master’s Thesis requirements waived. These graduate students will not be required to complete an additional Master’s Thesis.

Dissertation. After Master’s Thesis requirements have been completed and graduate students have been admitted to Doctoral Candidacy, graduate students will develop and conduct a Doctoral Dissertation project. Similar to the Master’s Thesis, graduate students are expected to develop an original idea, write a Dissertation proposal (which is presented to a four-faculty Dissertation committee), conduct the research project, write up their findings in a formal Dissertation manuscript, and present these findings to their Dissertation committee in a formal meeting. It is expected that graduate students will propose their Dissertation project prior to applying for Internship and will complete their remaining Dissertation requirements prior to or during their Internship year.

Other Research Opportunities. In addition to graduate students’ Master’s Thesis and Dissertation work, Clinical Psychology Ph.D. faculty have clear expectations that graduate students should be involved consistently in research. As a result, our graduate students are involved with several additional research projects during their graduate studies, are presenting regularly at state, regional, national, or international conferences, and are publishing their work in peer-reviewed scientific journals.