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Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation may be either theoretical or experimental in nature or represent an effort at program development or evaluation and is completed under the guidance and supervision of our clinical or research faculty.

In a dynamic and emerging discipline such as clinical psychology, lifelong learning will be required throughout a successful career. University of the Cumberlands is committed to maintaining the tradition that research, together with writing and defending a significant doctoral dissertation, is the best possible preparation for a lifetime of learning. To that end, University of the Cumberlands requires every student to write an original doctoral dissertation that represents significant contribution to the field of clinical psychology.

The doctoral dissertation is an original written manuscript that (i) represents significant scholarship on the part of the student; (ii) presents the results of the student’s own clinical, theoretical or applied research; and (iii) either demonstrates the student’s novel application of existing knowledge to some aspect of clinical psychology; or represents, in and of itself, significant new knowledge.

Upon the submission of an unbound manuscript, a committee of three examiners will review and evaluate the student’s work. Typically, one member of the examination committee is a faculty member who has served as the student’s advisor during the preparation of the doctoral dissertation. The other two committee members are selected based upon the students interests or professional expertise needed in the execution of the project or professional expertise in a projects content area and are typically of doctoral level.

After the dissertation manuscript is submitted to and tentatively approved by the examining committee, an oral defense, or viva voce, is required as the final step of the dissertation process. Before recommending the award of the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology degree, the examiners must satisfy themselves that the thesis is clearly written in APA format, recognizes appropriately previously published work on the subject, and represents a useful contribution to learning.

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