Creating A Top-Quality Doctoral Dissertation In Psychology: Tips And Ideas


If you’re pursuing a doctorate in psychology, you will have numerous career options at your disposal. You can go into academic research, teach college students, or go into clinical practice to treat patients with mental health issues. The last obstacle between you and your doctorate, however, is your doctoral dissertation. Your dissertation, also known as a thesis, is a long paper detailing original research that you have performed. It will then be evaluated by a thesis committee, where you’ll be required to present your research and defend your methodology, premises, and conclusions.

There are many potential topics and subjects that you could consider for your research. Psychology is a field of study that integrates aspects of the natural sciences, like neuroscience and medicine, with aspects of the social sciences. This provides for a wide range of potential thesis topics, from the role of the prefrontal lobes in decision-making to the influence of social set and setting on substance abuse behaviors.

Whatever you choose to write about, your thesis can be a nerve-wracking process. As long as you create a solid dissertation and know what to expect at your review, however, you will do an excellent job and walk away with a valuable doctoral degree in a field with a lot of career potential.

Tips for Your Psychology Thesis

Here are a few useful tips that you can consider as you undertake your research and write your psychology doctoral dissertation:

  • Don’t hesitate to switch advisors if you feel that it’s necessary. When you’re doing your dissertation, you’ll have a faculty member who will serve as your advisor. If your advisor doesn’t seem right for you or your project, it’s perfectly acceptable to switch. Look for an advisor who’s an expert in the subdiscipline in which you’re working, with whom you get along well, and who can offer valuable guidance and insights.

  • Don’t let yourself get stressed. Psychological stress is terrible for your ability to work creatively and efficiently. It’s also bad for your mental and physical health. Give yourself ample time to work on your dissertation, and take a couple of days off occasionally if you need to.

  • Budget for printing. This is something that it’s easy to forget about until the very last minute.Your thesis paper will be one of the longest things you’ve ever written, and printing can easily become expensive. Make sure you account for this when you’re getting close to finishing the project.

  • Don’t compare yourself to your peers. Comparing yourself to everyone else will do nothing but make you feel stressed out. Focus on yourself and your own work, and work at a reasonable pace that works well for you.

  • Don’t wait until the last minute. This is one of the most important projects that you will ever undertake. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to complete your work at a pace that won’t overwhelm you.

  • Be prepared for your committee review. Attend reviews for other people in your department ahead of time, to get an idea of what to expect, and what types of questions will be asked.