1. Purpose
    1. Provide an opportunity for the student to demonstrate competence in professional activities related to experimental psychopathology. The primary focus is on scientific competence, but that need not be an exclusive focus.
    2. Although we believe it is legitimate for the examination to focus on a defined area of special interest to the student, there should also be an opportunity to probe for knowledge and skills in broader areas.
    3. The agreed-upon procedure is based on the concept that the comprehensive examinations should assess important skills that are relevant to future professional activities.
    4. The comprehensive exam requires that the student write an evidence-based review paper that allows for examination of the student’s competence in a content area as well as their competence in writing and conceptualization. The review article may include a general area of the student’s interest and may encompass the dissertation area, but must be broader than the dissertation. Here are some examples of acceptable relationships between the review paper and the dissertation:
      1. The review paper is on treatment of substance use disorders, and the dissertation is on treatment of heroin addiction in adolescence.
      2. The review paper is on the etiology of eating disorders, and the dissertation is on the etiology of bulimia nervosa.
      3. The review paper is on assessment of stress in children, but the dissertation is on assessment of stress in physically abused children.
  2. Content and Format
    1. Students will write a critical review paper in a broad topic of their interest within Experimental Psychopathology.
    2. Topics should be chosen primarily by the student in consultation with the chair of the guidance committee.
    3. Proposal
      1. The student will prepare a brief written proposal which will include the title of the paper, and the relation to the student’s dissertation. This is to ensure that while the comprehensive exam may include the dissertation topic, the project is broader than the dissertation.
      2. The proposal should be approved in writing by
        1. the student
        2. the guidance committee chair
        3. at least one of the Experimental Psychopathology track co-leaders; the approval process can be done via email.
    4. Review Paper
      1. The review paper should be a scholarly review of a topic in experimental psychopathology. It should represent a contribution to the literature in that it critiques existing studies, integrates and interprets results and proposes improved conceptualizations, intervention approaches, measurement methods, and/or experimental design.
      2. The topic should not be the same as a paper the student previously wrote although it can be on a different aspect of the same general topic.
      3. The paper may encompass the dissertation area, but must be broader than the dissertation.
      4. The general guideline for length is 20 double-spaced pages plus references and tables.
      5. The paper represents the work of the student. Prior to the formal review, the student will not receive any feedback or input, or reviews of the draft from any faculty members.
  3. Review of the Exam
    • Instructions for submission of Experimental Psychopathology Comprehensive Exam.
    • Students are required to inform track chairs at least two weeks in advance of the exact date the exam will be submitted. This advanced notice will facilitate completion of the review since reviewers are not always available for a specific time frame nor is it always possible to complete the review immediately upon submission.
    • Reviews will be completed as close to the two week and one week windows as possible, but track chairs cannot guarantee it will occur within that exact time frame. It is the student’s responsibility, therefore, to submit the exam in sufficient time to allow for review, revision, and final review.
    • Students planning to apply for internship in the fall must submit their exams by August 1. Failure to comply may result in your internship applications being delayed as completion of the major area of study comprehensive exam is a requirement for Advancement to Candidacy. Students are not allowed to apply for internships unless they have been Advanced to Candidacy.
    1. Review papers will be reviewed anonymously by two JDP faculty members.
      1. One reviewer should be from UC San Diego and one from SDSU
      2. Up to one reviewer may be a member of the student’s guidance committee
      3. At least one reviewer will not be a member of the guidance committee
      4. The guidance committee chair will not be a reviewer. A co-chair is also excluded if that person substantively contributed to topic selection.
    2. Potential reviewers are recommended by the student and/or their guidance committee chair, but the reviewers are assigned by the area leader and are anonymous to the student.
    3. It is the joint responsibility of either the SDSU or UC San Diego major area of study leader to facilitate the reviewer’s written feedback in a timely manner.
    4. The Review Process
      1. The reviewers will provide specific written feedback on strengths and weaknesses of the exam. The narrative feedback is essential for the educational value of the requirement.
      2. Each reviewer is encouraged to pose two questions to the student that probe potential areas of weakness or areas that are not addressed in the document. This method allows reviewers to assess broader areas of competence in experimental psychopathology.
      3. Students have one week to submit 3-5 page, double-spaced, written responses to each of up to four questions (two from each reviewer). References should be included.
      4. Reviewers then score the entire comprehensive exam as passed or not passed. Additional written feedback may be provided at this time.
      • Passing should not be a function of whether the review is publishable as is, but rather a demonstration of an adequate level of competence to function as a specialist in experimental psychopathology.
  4. Timing
    1. The exam does not need to be turned in at the same time by all students.
    2. The comprehensive exam period can begin at the beginning of the third year. It is recommended that the students complete their projects by the end of May in their third year. Final deadlines are listed, but students are encouraged to finish well before these dates.
    3. Recommended Timeline – As some students remain an extra year before leaving for internship, the following timeline is only a recommendation:
      1. Comprehensive exam proposal signed and placed in the student’s file by the end of May of the third year.
      2. The project should be submitted for review by August 1 of the fall in which the student would like to be advanced to candidacy.
      3. Initial review should be completed as close as possible to two weeks, but no later than four weeks from the date the project is submitted.
      4. Students have one week to prepare written responses to the questions.
      5. The reviewers have approximately one week to respond to the answers and grade the comprehensive exam.
      6. The review process takes a minimum of one month and all students must have final reviews completed by the end of September of the year they applying to internship.
      7. Although it is suggested, it is not required to have passed the comprehensive exam prior to defending the dissertation proposal.
      8. If one or both reviewers do not pass the student, a plan for remediation must be developed by the guidance committee chair and one of the major area of study co-leaders. This written plan must be approved by the program Co-Directors