Clinical Psychology - Seattle Pacific University


Clinical Psychology
Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Ave. W

Suite 107
Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206-281-2839
Fax: 206-281-2695


Training & Research: Clinical Research

Research plays a large role in the development of doctoral psychologists. You will have three major research-oriented opportunities in the doctoral program.

Research Methods & Statistics

The doctoral program requires all students to take a rigorous, comprehensive course sequence in statistics and psychometric theory. This sequence begins with basic statistical and data analysis skills, and progresses to more complex modeling.

  • CPY 7020 Statistical Methods
  • CPY 7031 Research Methods & Statistics I
  • CPY 7032 Research Methods & Statistics II
  • CPY 7033 Research Methods & Stats III: Master's Research Project
  • CPY 7010 Psychometric Theory & Test Construction

Research Vertical Teams (RVT)

All SPU clinical psychology doctoral students participate in research vertical teams (RVT), which are ongoing programs of research. RVT are led by core faculty members and include students from all years.

Students meet with their RVT weekly or biweekly to work with their faculty advisor on their program of research. Students will be involved in theory development, “operationalization,” data collection, analysis, and/or write-ups of empirical research for presentation at professional conferences and publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Advanced students will get to the point where they independently direct an aspect of their faculty advisor's research, while training or mentoring newer members of the RVT.

Dissertation Preparation & Defense

The dissertation is a student’s masterpiece. It shows that a student knows an area of research in the field of psychology in depth, and is at a level of understanding to make an independent contribution to the field, evaluate an old problem in a new way, or identify a new problem or area of concern in the field.

The dissertation is a learning process, a major component in doctoral training, and an important demonstration of independent and creative thinking. The dissertation from start to finish is the student’s project, and at the end of the process the student will have become an independent contributor to the advancement of the field of clinical psychology.

Three Primary Stages of the Dissertation

  • Students choose a dissertation committee. Throughout the program sequence, students will enroll in dissertation credits and work in a mentoring relationship with their dissertation committees to prepare their dissertations.
  • Students prepare a research proposal that includes both the theoretical framework for their proposed study and the proposed research methodology. Following the proposal, students must obtain Institutional Review Board approval to begin data collection.
  • Once data has been collected, students prepare for their final defense by analyzing their data, writing their results section, and preparing a comprehensive discussion of those results.
Students’ dissertation committees must approve the students’ work at the proposal and at the final defense.