Internship and Dissertation Requirements


The doctoral degree requires the completion of a dissertation, which is consistent with the professional training model employed by Spalding University. Students are encouraged to obtain a copy of the SOPP Dissertation Guidelines (available through the School’s main office) early in their program and to think of a topic throughout their pre-dissertation course work. The psychology faculty can help in this effort. Students work with a dissertation chair and committee, who provide guidance and feedback throughout the dissertation process. Typically, students complete their dissertation requirements in their final year.

Questions about Dissertation should be directed to Dr. Ken Linfield, Director of Graduate Training.

Qualifying Examination

Students are required to sit for the Doctoral Qualifying Examination the summer prior to the completion of their last year of course work. The exam consists of two distinct steps: 1) the submission of an extensive written description of a clinical case, and 2) an oral exam covering diagnosis and treatment, assessment, and ethics.

Questions about the Qualifying Exam should be directed to Dr. Ken Linfield, Director of Graduate Training.

Predoctoral Internship

After all academic course work is completed, with the exception of dissertation, each SOPP doctoral student is required to complete a Predoctoral Internship as part of their program of study. The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) defines the Predoctoral Internship as is defined as,

A psychology internship is an organized training program which, in contrast to supervised experience or on-the-job training, is designed to provide the intern with a planned, programmed sequence of training experiences. The primary focus and purpose is assuring breadth and quality of training (

SOPP students are expected to apply nationally for internship placement and must apply to APA accredited sites (strongly encouraged) or sites that meet APPIC guidelines. Students must successfully complete their internship in no less than 9 months and no more than 24 months, as evidence by formal certification of completion by the internship site’s director of clinical training or her/his appointed designee from the site’s professional staff.

Questions about the Graduate Practica Program should be directed to Dr. Brenda Nash, Director of Clinical Training.