The Doctor of Philosophy: Dissertation

Requirements for the Ph.D.

  1. 72 graduate credits, 24 of which must be research credits
  2. Completion of the Master’s degree
  3. Completion of all course requirements
  4. Successful completion of the Qualifying examination
  5. Completion of a one-year, full-time, approved clinical internship
  6. Completion of the doctoral dissertation

Time Limits for the Ph.D.

  1. Normal Minimum - 3 year
  2. Normal Maximum - 7 years; permission for additional time must be requested from the Graduate School via the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies. Extensions will be granted only for exceptional circumstances.
  3. The procedure for obtaining an extension on the time limits imposed upon the Qualifying Examination (six years), and the Ph.D. (seven years) has been revised. All such requests will receive an intensive review at a formal meeting attended by the student, the Committee Chair, the Area Coordinator, the Vice-Chair for Graduate Studies, and the Graduate Director. Only one extension per student will be approved by the Graduate Director.

The Doctoral Dissertation

  1. The doctoral dissertation is expected to be an original empirical study, representing an independent research effort on the part of the student.
  2. All research that involves human subjects must be submitted to and approved by the Rutgers Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to the collection of any data. Even studies that use existing data must be submitted for prior approval. Requirements, deadlines, and all forms are available at the website, All students must complete the Human Subjects Certification Program (HSCP) and successfully pass the HSCP exam before their research proposal will be approved by the IRB. Students are required to take the on-line course during their first semester. Instructions to access the on-line course and exam are at the ORSP web site A copy of the letter of confirmation upon successful completion should be shared with your research advisor.
  3. A formal proposal for the dissertation research must be presented to and approved by the student’s committee after the student is admitted to Ph.D. Candidacy. A formal meeting of the dissertation committee is required for approval of the proposal, and all members of the committee must review approve a written proposal.
  4. The Clinical Area requires students to defend their dissertation proposal by October 15 in the year that students are applying for Internship. Students who do not defend their proposal {successfully} by this date will not be allowed to apply for internship unless they petition for and are granted a waiver to do so, in writing, approved by the clinical faculty, indicating the reason for the delay and a specific credible timeline that student, advisor, and committee have agreed upon. For those who received a waiver, proposals must be defended prior to the deadline for submitting internship rankings in order to be eligible to accept internships; those who remain for an extra year will have a low priority for departmental funding.  
  5. Procedures and Regulations governing the Doctoral Dissertation:

a.     Ph.D. Dissertation Committee

i.      Complete the Dissertation Committee Form. This form may be obtained in Room 203, Psychology Department, Busch Campus or below. The completion of the form includes the concurrence and signature (to indicate that concurrence) of the Clinical Area Coordinator. You will be notified of the approval of your Committee by the Graduate Director. The form is then filed in the Office of the Vice chair for Graduate Studies.

ii.      The Committee consists of four members: A Chairperson who must be a member of the Graduate Faculty and two persons who may be either members or associate members of the Graduate Faculty. If fewer than two members of the committee are Psychology Department faculty, the Committee Chair must write a memo explaining why departmental faculty are not appropriate, and why selected committee members are appropriate. The fourth member of the Committee must be an "outside" member, defined as: a member or associate member of the Graduate Faculty in a program other than Psychology, or a qualified person from outside Rutgers University. In this case, approval must be obtained from the Graduate Director. Your Chairperson must furnish a paragraph describing the qualification of the outside member, along with a curriculum vita and mailing address of the individual.

b.     Final Examination

i.      Complete area course requirements: It is your responsibility to make sure you have completed area course requirements and that you have 48 course credits and 24 research credits for the Ph.D. degree.

ii.      Select a Defense Date: The date for the final defense must be cleared with your Area Coordinator. Since dissertation orals are public, the Graduate Psychology Office must be notified at least 2 weeks before the scheduled orals (date, time, place, and title of dissertation) so that notices can be sent to faculty and students.

iii.     Submit Final Draft: Normally, the final draft of the doctoral dissertation is prepared by the student with the guidance of his/her advisor and then submitted to the remaining doctoral committee members at least three weeks prior to the date of the final defense. Students are allowed one retake of the doctoral defense. The Graduate School allows one dissenting vote on the doctoral defense. A booklet entitled "Thesis Form: Style Guide for Thesis Preparation" is available in Room 203, Psychology Department, Busch Campus. You are required to submit an abstract not exceeding 350 words.

iv.      Prepare Candidacy Application: Obtain candidacy application from the Graduate School office (on which results of the Qualifying Examination were recorded). Submit to the Chairperson of your Committee. The Chairperson will record the results by signing Part II, A or B. It is then your responsibility to have it signed properly by your Committee.

v.      Submit Candidacy Application: Return to Senior Graduate Administrator Anne Sokolowski for processing prior to obtaining the Graduate Director's signature. Completed forms must be filed with the Graduate School office no later than three weeks before commencement (no later than announced deadlines for October and January).

vi.      Submit Final Dissertation: An electronic copy of the dissertation is submitted to the Graduate School, and one paper copy is given to the Psychology Department. Your dissertation must be converted to a PDF file and then submitted online at Five copies of the title page (the original on 100% rag cotton paper) are requested, plus three copies of the Abstract. It is necessary to bring the dissertation (along with the candidacy form) to the Graduate Psychology Office for approval before submitting it to the Graduate School.