Learning Goals for Examinations
First Doctoral Examination (First Doc). The First Doc is a written document that must be orally defended in front of a three-member faculty committee. The main objective of the First Doc is for the student to demonstrate depth of knowledge in an area of clinical psychology and to demonstrate an ability to conduct scientific research. An additional objective is the development of scholarly written and oral presentation skills.
Second Doctoral Examination (Second Doc). The Second Doc is a written document that must be defended in front of a three-member faculty committee. The purpose of the Second Doc is to evaluate the student’s indepth knowledge about a specific area in psychology. The exam focuses on students’ understanding of a topic as well as demonstration of critical thinking relevant to basic psychological theories, methodology, ethical/legal issues and standards, diversity considerations, and integration of research in the chosen topical area. The area selected by the student typically relates to the student’s dissertation research, but it can be on any topic of the student’s choosing based on individual’s research interests. Students must successfully complete the Second Doc before they can apply to a predoctoral internship. Please see Appendix D for the procedures related to completing the Second Doc (pp. D37-D38).
The Dissertation/Third Doctoral Examination. The Doctoral Dissertation is the culmination of the students’ research training in psychology. The dissertation is defended orally before a committee of three faculty members and two external doctoral level psychologists. The committee must approve the topic and methodology before the student may begin data collection. Students must successfully defend their Dissertation proposal before they can apply for predoctoral internship. The Dissertation Defense/Third Doctoral Exam is an oral defense of the dissertation results as well as interpretation/discussion of the results. The expectation is that the idea for the research and its plan will be developed by the student, in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor. Students may, but are not required to, use the research topic from their Second Doc as a basis for the dissertation. All dissertations must be based on original research and must clearly demonstrate the candidate’s ability to work at the frontiers of the field.