Students are formally engaged in research throughout their stay in the program, enrolling for PSY 692 (Directed Research) or Dissertation (PSY 699) in each semester. Directed Research involves active collaborative research with the advisor on a topic of mutual interest. Initially, this is similar to an apprenticeship in which the advisor sets the topic, methods, and goals. With time, greater student independence is expected, with a defined, dissertation-oriented area of proficiency evident in the second year. Involvement and competence in research are prime considerations in faculty evaluations of student progress. Objective research accomplishments, such as paper presentations at conventions and publications in refereed journals, are important and students are strongly encouraged to publish in academic journals during their graduate school careers.
The doctoral dissertation requires scholarly development of hypotheses and empirical testing according to accepted standards of experimental methodology, and represents a significant, original contribution to scientific knowledge of psychological processes. Dissertation research may focus on participants from clinical, school, community settings, and/or undergraduate classes on campus.