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Psychology Dissertation

Policies and Procedures

Steps for Completing Dissertation Requirement

  1. Institutional Review Board
  2. Dissertation APA Format Clearance
  3. Continuous Enrollment Status
  4. Final Document Submission
  5. Degree Posting

For complete Psychology Dissertation requirements leading up to Dissertation clearance, please visit the PsyD Dissertation Resources Website.

1. Graduate & Professional Schools Institutional Review Board (GPS IRB)

For all studies involving human subjects: Once the doctoral candidate has successfully completed the Preliminary Oral Defense and made any necessary revisions, they must apply to the Graduate & Professional Schools IRB before commencing any study activities (including recruitment). They should prepare their IRB applications with the guidance of their chairperson. All doctoral students must receive GPS IRB approval after passing Prelims and before commencing with any research methodology (including recruitment activities). 

Details of the GPS IRB process and application forms are available at the Pepperdine Community webpage for Graduate and Professional Schools IRB.

Psychology Division Methods Review

For all studies involving human subjects: All GSEP psychology students conducting research with human participants must submit expedited or full review applications detailing their research and data collection methods. The first step in this process is submission of the IRB application to the Psychology Division Methods Review Committee for approval. This is required before submitting the application for GPS IRB review. For information about the Psychology Division Methods Review, see the Psychology Division Methods Review Policy, or contact the Psychology Division Methods Review Committee, Dr. Cary Mitchell, at 310-506-8553 or at

NOTE: Candidates must communicate with their chairperson when preparing the IRB application and also when there are proposed changes in research methodology. If changes impact human subject considerations, candidates need to submit modifications to the IRB for review and approval.

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2. Dissertation APA Format Clearance

When the candidate has obtained the approvals and signatures of the committee members, all doctoral candidates must submit their dissertations to the Dissertation Support Office for APA format review. A clearance by the Dissertation Office is required to ensure that Pepperdine University format requirements and APA style guidelines have been maintained.

Submission of Dissertation Manuscript

After notifying your Program Administrator, submit the following to the Manager of Writing Support:

Once the Manager of Writing Support has confirmed that all necessary forms and the dissertation versions are received, the student will receive an initial contact email outlining the process for APA Format Review. If any format changes are necessary after an initial review, the Dissertation Office will return the edited dissertation to the student so that the student can make revisions and resubmit an updated version. APA clearance will be given once all requested changes have been implemented.

The suggested submission deadline is six (6) weeks prior to the end of the term in which the degree is posted. Manuscripts will be accepted after this deadline for review; however the Dissertation Office may not be able to complete all the necessary arrangements in time for the degree posting that term.

Once the manuscript has been cleared for APA review, the cleared dissertation and clearance letter outlining the steps for final document submission will be emailed to the student. The APA Reviewer will then sign Appendix E confirming dissertation clearance.

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3. Continuous Enrollment Status

Dissertation students who have successfully completed their final oral defense and who have submitted all the necessary forms and dissertation manuscript for APA review by the drop/add deadline are placed in PSY 801 Dissertation Completion and are required to pay a fee of $100.

Students are eligible to enroll in PSY 801 for up to two consecutive terms. If the dissertation has not been cleared by APA and/or the dissertation submission to ProQuest has not been completed within two terms, the student will be re-enrolled in the appropriate PSY dissertation research course, or granted an extension.

Enrollment in the PSY 801 constitutes part-time students status (unless concurrently enrolled in PSY 780 Doctoral Internship), which will impact financial aid eligibility and loan deferment.

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4. Final Document Submission 

The following must be completed and submitted to the Dissertation Support Office in order for the student's degree to be posted. Also, all required paperwork, including the Final Internship Evaluation, must be in the student's clinical training file.

The dissertation must be uploaded for publishing and archiving using ProQuest ETD Administrator for Pepperdine GSEP. This will be the final PDF version of the dissertation that will be published, unless otherwise noted by the ETD Administrator.

Dissertation Submission

  1. ProQuest UMI/ETD Submission:

    Electronically submit your cleared dissertation to ProQuest ETD Administrator

    • Create a new user account to upload the final PDF version of the dissertation to UMI/ETD.
    • Select a publishing option (Traditional, Open Access, Open Access PLUS) and complete the agreement.
    • Personal bound dissertation copies and copies for the chairperson/committee members can be ordered through the UMI/ETD submission.
    • All fees are paid by credit card at the time of initial submission.
  2. Graduation Application: The Graduation Application is submitted to the Psy.D. Program Administrator after completion of predoctoral internship.

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5. Degree Posting

Once the Dissertation Support Office has received all the necessary items for the degree posting and the students has completed their predoctoral internship, the Office of the Registrar can indicate on the students' record that all degree requirements have been satisfied and the degree can be posted. Students' degrees are posted in the term in which this notification occurs, not necessarily in the term in which they have successfully completed their Final Oral Defense. Degrees will be posted at the following degree posting dates:

  • Fall: mid-October and the last day of the term

  • Spring: the last day of the term

  • Summer: the last day of summer session 1 or summer session 2

Degree completion and ability to use the credential of "Psy.D." occurs when degree requirements have been met. "Graduation" is defined as the date the doctoral degree is posted, not the date of the graduation ceremony itself which generally occurs only once a year in the Spring. To participate in the graduation ceremony, the candidates must have had their Final Oral Defense and passed with or without modifications at least one week prior to the ceremony and completed 1100 hours of internship. 

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