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Psy.D. without Dissertation??

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Phipps, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Phipps

    Phipps Post-Doctoral Fellow 5+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    I was wondering what others think about this: earning a Psy.D. degree at a Professional School of Psychology (part of a well-respected private university) without the requirement of a dissertation. I am a little uneasy because I am not sure how much that would hurt me later on? I mean, people may not find out but what does that tell me about the quality of the program, it's level of difficulty, and importance of research??
    Any thoughts? :confused:
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  3. psich

    psich 2+ Year Member

    Mar 27, 2009
    That would be a big red flag IMO.
  4. busybusybusy

    busybusybusy 2+ Year Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Is there an alternative to the dissertation? I know IUP offers the ability to do a doctoral project in lieu of a dissertation. I would think as long as there was something comparable to a dissertation it wouldn't make too much of a difference. I would worry if there was nothing at all because it may not allow you to show your skills to the highest potential. I would imagine people who need to know (post-doc DCTs and clinical hiring managers) would know that a certain program didn't require it prior to meeting with you, so I don't think there would be much chance that no one would find out.
  5. Phipps

    Phipps Post-Doctoral Fellow 5+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    It looks like they have a "Major Area Paper" that needs to be completed by the end of the third year... -the program is APA accredited.
  6. ILGirl


    Jan 22, 2010
    Check out this post:

    Included in the post is a listing of the APA internship match rates.

    If your program is the one that I think it is, I am not too impressed by its match rates. Now, there may be some good reasons as to why their applicants don't match as successfully as other programs. This is something I would want to find out before deciding to attend their program.

    Also, it looks as if the major paper only accounts for two credit hours total. In general, that is less credit hours than for a master's thesis.
  7. Phipps

    Phipps Post-Doctoral Fellow 5+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Yep, two credit hours...sounds like you know the program I am talking about and I am aware that the match rate for APA accredited programs is roughly in the 50% range...:( what?? Wait another year, hope for acceptances...from other programs??
  8. Zigman

    Zigman Neuropsych Fellow 2+ Year Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    Phipps, I am intimately familiar with the program I think you are speaking of...feel free to PM me for some additional information.

    Edit: Nevermind, not the school I was thinking of.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2011
  9. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator Psychologist Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Jan 7, 2010
    From my understanding, completing a dissertation "project" rather than original research can be a significant hindrance if you're wanting to go into academia, or possibly even academic medicine. I also believe it could make your application to internship sites less competitive.

    I'm starting to blur all my facts and experiences together at this point, but I was either explicitly asked by an interviewer if my dissertation would include an actual study, or the APPIC application included a space to indicate this information. I'm guessing it's the latter, given that Ph.D. programs nearly universally require an experimental dissertation (as do many Psy.D. programs, of course).
  10. docjohng

    docjohng Founder & CEO, Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    Greater Boston
    Many Psy.D. programs do not require a dissertation; it says nothing about the quality of a program to use that as an indicator. It demonstrates a pretty significant disconnect from what the primary differences are between a Psy.D. (a clinical/practice professional degree, so why would you expect them to complete original research?) and a traditional Ph.D. (research focused and oriented in most clinical psychology programs).

    What is an interesting indicator is match rate. But I think most people agree the entire internship system is horribly broken as-is, so I'm not even sure that indicator is as valid as some people like to think. It suggests an artificial market place that is horribly unbalanced and needs balancing.

    Dissertations don't matter much unless you plan to pursue a career in academia. I can safely say that the vast majority of practicing psychologists who have no academic affiliation have done little research since grad school. And few clinical positions will be significantly looking at your dissertation. (In fact, in my experience, it seems most dissertations -- because of the archaic way they are published -- remain one of those areas of research that is virtually ignored once out of school.)

  11. KayJay85


    Sep 16, 2010
    I, too, am baffled by the extreme negative view of PsyD programs that don't require a dissertation when the reason there are two different degrees is that the emphases are different. :confused:

    However, I do not agree with the point above. Yes, the system is broken and there is a large imbalance, but the fact that so few programs account for the majority of unmatched applicants would make me seriously recoil from any program with a 50% match rate. Why take that gamble???
  12. psychmama

    psychmama 5+ Year Member

    Aug 14, 2008
    NYC Area
    I'm a recent PsyD graduate, and I'm glad we were forced to do a dissertation. It's hard enough to convince PhDs our degree is just a rigorous -- it's even harder if there's no capstone research project. I do agree that the emphasis in a PsyD program will usually be less research-based, but we're still being trained as critical consumers of research. One nice thing though, is the option of doing qualitative research. From what I've heard, this is harder to come-by in most PhD programs.
  13. Student4Life0


    Jul 7, 2010
    Well said. I will be starting a PsyD program in the fall, and I would not consider attending a PsyD program without the dissertation requirement. Yes, the PsyD may be a less research intensive degree, but it is still a clinical psychology degree nonetheless. I believe that the study of clinical psychology must include both clinical and research work. Even those that prefer to focus on clinical work will need to be able to read and understand research, and will hopefully be using research findings to inform clinical practice. Well, one would hope.
  14. Phipps

    Phipps Post-Doctoral Fellow 5+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Thanks all for your valuable feed-back!! I agree that a diss. should be a crucial element - if not, what does the diss. stand for?? ...isn't that a great statement...hours before my interview at a school c/out the requirement?
    Another reason for attending such a school might be that the theoretical orientation fits better, maybe. But then, maybe, it is more important to first focus on a broad ed and later on specialize re: theoretical orientation.

    Thanks, folks, and I am always interested in more/additional thoughts.
  15. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    The Beach
    Definitely go to a balanced program (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) if you want to do clinical work. Even clinical jobs may require some type of research related work...outcome studies, program development/enrichment, small qualitative/quantitative studies, etc. It doesn't apply across the board, but do you really want to take that chance?

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