The dissertation is an original research project with the student as first author. It may take place within the context of an ongoing research program, but the student is responsible for conducting all phases of the project with support from his/her mentor(s) and Dissertation Committee. All dissertations must have IRB approval from both Universities; some may also require IRB approval from the VA or other agencies. Please discuss this with your mentor at the time you decide the topic of your dissertation.

Dissertations represent empirical studies. The dissertation can be a single document, or can be three first-authored manuscripts describing empirical studies and combined with an introduction and discussion (see website on 3-Paper Dissertation Option).

Dissertations are expected to incorporate rigorous scientific design, including methods and analytic approaches appropriate to the aims of the dissertation, and with attention to the need for statistical power, reliability, validity, and replicability. Dissertations completed for the JDP are typically quantitative in analytic approach, or represent a combination of quantitative and qualitative analyses (i.e., mixed methods). A well-designed and well-executed qualitative dissertation may be acceptable, but students considering this approach should consult closely with their mentors and the Co-DCTs before proceeding.

(Approved by Steering Committee, Spring 2017)