The Doctoral Capstone Project, Dissertation and Mentor
The Doctoral Capstone Project (PsyD) and the Doctoral Dissertation (PhD)
The doctoral capstone capstone project, PsyD or doctoral dissertation, PhD is to be undertaken with the objective of enhancing the candidate’s professional and personal status, as well as contributing to the area of knowledge in which the candidate is concentrating. The doctoral capstone project or dissertation may be a traditional research study, book, guide, video production, business plan, or any capstone project that demonstrates quality graduate research.
IUGS advocates a capstone project or dissertation which will benefit the candidate’s career path or the field in which the candidate is or plans to be involved.
I. IUGS assessment criteria for capstone projects and dissertations
A) An appropriate objective of the study.
B) The ability of the candidate to integrate the material to meet the objectives of the study.
C) The depth and quality of the primary and/or secondary research.
D) The extent and depth of the bibliography
E) The integration of citations to support the quality of the study.
II. There are up to five persons on a capstone project or dissertation committee and this committee is comprised of:
A) The Dean or Associate Dean;
B) The mentor and;
C) One to three faculty members.
The Doctoral Capstone Project for the Doctor of Psychology, PsyD and the Doctoral Dissertation for the Doctor of Philosophy, PhD
The PsyD capstone project and the required oral examination are constructed to test the candidate’s knowledge and competencies primarily as a practitioner in his or her profession.
The PhD dissertation and the required oral defence are constructed to test the candidate’s knowledge and competencies primarily as a researcher in his or her profession.
Step 1. The candidate should discuss with the Dean or Associate Dean, the potential subject(s). The student should then prepare a one or two-page outline. Approval by the Dean or Associate Dean of the subject and general content is necessary.
Step 2. The candidate must obtain a mentor. The mentor must possess a relevant doctoral degree. The mentor is to assist the candidate in reaching the successful completion of the capstone project or dissertation. The mentor must submit his or her vitae for the Dean or Associate Dean’s approval and the mentor approval form must be sent by the student to the Dean or Associate Dean for approval. Included in the approval form is a statement that the mentor has read all appropriate content on the website that is relevant to the beginning, middle and the end of the writing process. If the candidate does not have an appropriate mentor, the Dean or Associate Dean will provide one. The importance of the mentor cannot be overemphasized. The mentor’s relationship to the candidate, the subject and the research are vital in expeditiously producing quality research. The mentor is to be the primary contact with the Dean or Associate Dean as the capstone project or dissertation progresses. The candidate and the mentor should develop a realistic timetable for completion for the outline and sections of the capstone project or dissertation.
Step 3. Upon approval of the topic by the Dean or Associate Dean, the candidate will submit an annotated, integrated outline and bibliography of two to four pages for the PsyD, capstone project or PhD, dissertation. It is to be approved by the candidate and mentor, and signed and submitted to the Dean or Associate Dean for approval. This completes Research I.
Step 4. The PsyD capstone project final annotated outline and bibliography is typically between four to eight double-spaced pages and the PhD dissertation final annotated outline and bibliography is typically between six to twelve double-spaced pages.
The outline will be used as the table of contents for the dissertation and/or the capstone project. The supporting documentation will be used primarily for footnotes and end notes.
The longer and more detailed the outline, the greater the opportunity for a completed quality capstone project or dissertation. The written annotated, integrated outline and bibliography should represent fifty to eighty-five percent of the total time of the undertaking. The annotation is a critical component of this outline. The capstone project or dissertation is not primarily a writing endeavour, but rather one of research and structure. This completes Research II.
Step 5. After the Dean or Associate Dean’s approval of the annotated, integrated outline, the primary interactions will be between the candidate and the mentor. The Dean or Associate Dean is to be contacted only if major problems or questions arise. The mentor will provide quarterly updates on the candidate’s progress.
The object of the course is to enhance the research and design abilities of the candidates. Both primary and secondary research techniques and competencies will be enhanced through the development of the capstone project. The result of this research will be the foundation and the design of the PsyD capstone project or the PhD dissertation to be approved by the Mentor, Dean or Associate Dean.
The Oral Examination for the Doctor of Psychology, PsyD and the Oral Defence for the Doctor of Philosophy, PhD
The doctoral candidate will present to the Mentor, Dean or Associate Dean approximately one hundred fifty pages of double-spaced research which includes a bibliography, charts, graphs, appendices or any material relevant to the research. After the research has been reviewed and accepted by the Mentor, Dean and Associate Dean, the research will be the basis for the questions to be asked at the oral examination for the PsyD capstone project or the oral defence for the PhD dissertation
The candidate will appear before a panel of at least three experts, including the Dean and Associate Dean, for the capstone project oral examination or the dissertation oral defence, lasting one and one half to three hours.
The capstone project oral examination and the dissertation oral defence are divided into two parts. The candidate will summarize the capstone project or dissertation. For the remaining time, the examiners will question the candidate on the research, the findings, the conclusion and any matters relevant to the capstone project or dissertation. At the end of part one, the candidate will be requested to leave the room.
The examiners will discuss the quality of the candidate’s oral exam or oral defence. The candidate will return to the room and be informed if he or she has passed. If there are further questions to be asked, the candidate will be required to take part two. If at the end of part two the candidate has not satisfied the examiners, he or she will have failed and must retake the oral exam or oral defence at a later date.
The candidate must employ a mentor. The mentor is to:
- Interact with the Dean or Associate Dean on behalf of the candidate;
- Assist the candidate in Research and Design I & II.
- Approve the candidate’s course content for Research and Design I & II.
- Assist and stimulate the candidate in the development of the capstone project or dissertation.
- Approve the final capstone project or dissertation draft submitted to the Dean or Associate Dean.
The candidate may select his or her mentor. If the candidate desires, a mentor will be assigned by the Dean or Associate Dean. If the mentor is selected by the candidate, the mentor’s curriculum vitae must be submitted to the Dean for approval. Mentors are required to have a relevant doctoral degree. The mentor should have the competency and motivation to assist the candidate in the completion of the capstone project or dissertation.