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Degree Requirements

Program milestones have been designed strategically to ensure a balanced combination of breadth and depth of expertise in clinical research and to build scholarship that enhances student marketability for academic careers in psychological clinical science.


  • Master's Project

    In order to obtain their M.S., clinical science doctoral students are required to complete a Master’s Project. The Master’s Project is a manuscript submitted for publication on which the student is lead author; it is based on the student’s independent research during years one and two of graduate training.

    The manuscript may be an empirical, review or conceptual paper. It will require approval from the student’s committee, consisting of their primary mentor and one additional reader (core or associated faculty). Students are expected to work closely with their mentor, exchanging drafts and revising the manuscript over the course of their second year. Students are required to provide their additional reader with a minimum of one month to review the manuscript and provide feedback. Readers may request a revised draft of the manuscript before providing approval. Students are expected to complete course requirements and submit their Master’s Project for publication by the end of spring semester of their second year.

    Completion of an approved Master’s Project is required for receiving the M.S. degree on the student's transcript and for advancing to doctoral candidacy. Students who have not completed an approved Master’s Project by the end of spring semester of their second year will be notified in writing of this Benchmark Pending following the annual student performance review and will meet with their primary mentor to plan systematically for timely completion of this requirement. Students who have not completed an approved Master’s Project by end of fall semester of their third year may risk losing their funding.

  • Candidacy Requirements

    Students who have completed the requirements for the Master’s degree are expected to advance to candidacy at the end of their third year of training. Advancing to candidacy requires successful completion of a two-part competency exam comprising the following:

    Dissertation Grant Application

    Students will submit a dissertation grant application (NRSA, R36, or equivalent) by the end of spring semester of their third year (corresponding to grant deadlines and in consultation with their primary mentor). Students are expected to work closely with their primary mentor on this application, and to seek consultation from additional faculty as needed.

    Candidacy Paper

    Students will submit their second lead-author manuscript for publication. The manuscript may be an empirical, review, or conceptual paper, but at least one of the two papers fulfilling program requirements (i.e., Master’s Project and Candidacy Paper) must be an empirical paper. The submitted manuscript will require approval from the student’s primary mentor and one additional reader (core or associated faculty). Students will submit the manuscript for publication by the end of spring semester of their third year.

    Students are encouraged but not required to work on their grant application and candidacy paper concurrently, as both are likely to reflect a comprehensive literature review and growing expertise in an area of research.

  • Dissertation

    Following advancement to candidacy, students will adhere to the University Graduate School requirements for a doctoral dissertation. This includes a specific timeline and completion of D-forms detailed on the UGS website:

    D-1 Appointment of a dissertation committee
    D-2 Advancing to candidacy (Note: D-2 will already have been submitted)
    D-3 Approval of dissertation prospectus
    D-5 Dissertation approved for defense

    Committee: Per UGS guidelines, dissertation committees will include three faculty members from within the psychology department (including but not limited to the clinical science program) plus one external member (must be FIU faculty). Students may invite a fifth member to join their committee from outside of FIU, with approval from UGS.

    Prospectus: Students will submit to their committee a copy of their dissertation grant application (submitted as part of the requirements for advancement to candidacy) plus an amendment that details how the research design will be revised in the event of no funding (e.g., changes to sample size, compensation guidelines, recruitment, or analytic method). Dissertation committee members should receive the prospectus at least two weeks prior to the committee meeting. Students will defend their prospectus during a two-hour meeting planned with the dissertation committee that includes a brief slide presentation (approximately 30 minutes) followed by question/answer period. Students are not permitted to serve food during their prospectus meeting. Potential modifications to research questions and design will be discussed. The final approved prospectus should reflect all required modifications and becomes a contract between the student and their committee for work to be completed.

    Dissertation: A doctoral dissertation can be based on varied methodology (e.g., quantitative or qualitative studies, original or secondary data collection, open trial or randomized trial, experimental or quasi-experimental designs). As is becoming the norm in this field, the doctoral dissertation can be a submission-ready manuscript in style and length. Accompanying the dissertation study are a curriculum vitae and reprints of the student’s publications that demonstrate the body of scholarship pertaining to or supplementing the dissertation. Students may request additional meetings with committee members as needed. In addition to content and formatting requirements set forth by the UGS, the final dissertation portfolio should include the following: (a) curriculum vitae, (b) reprints of student publications that demonstrate the overall body of scholarship pertaining to the dissertation, and (c) dissertation study. Students are encouraged to complete and defend their dissertations by the end of their fifth year, before leaving for internship. Students are expected to complete and defend their dissertations by the end of their sixth year.

  • Internship

    There are several ways in which we support our students to help them become competitive for the APPIC Clinical Psychology Internship match. First, two committees provide workshops, panel discussions, and presentations aimed at developing skills important to the internship match. The Professional Development Committee provides workshops to all students and includes information on CV preparation, tracking hours, ethics, and career paths and opportunities. The Internship Committee provides complementary workshops, panel discussions, and presentations (often in conjunction with the Professional Development Committee), but focuses more on supporting students during the year they are applying to internship. As such, the Internship Committee assists students with site selection, preparing the APPIC application, interviewing, and pre- and post-match support.

    Because our program is new, the Internship Committee coordinates with current faculty to contact internship sites of highest interest to our students. In this way, we can introduce our program to internship sites and inform them about the students we train. As noted in other sections of this manual, during the periodic planned evaluations of our students, we also review students’ progress toward developing a strong internship application.

    Steps Toward Applying for Internship

    1. All students are required to enter the APPIC Internship Match.
    2. Students are eligible to apply for internship during the fall semester of their fifth year. In order to enter the match and accept an internship, students must have achieved the following:
      • Master’s Project submitted for publication
      • Competency Examination, and must be in
      • Good Academic Standing (grades B- and above, overall GPA 3.0 or above)
      • Submission to the University Graduate School of the following D-forms:
        • D1: Appointment of Dissertation Committee
        • D2: Application for Candidacy
      • Dissertation Prospectus Meeting has been held and the appointed dissertation committee has approved the prospectus (or approval is pending, contingent on requested revisions and signature by chair).
      • D3 form (Dissertation Proposal) is pending IRB approval.
      • Coursework (75 credits) has been completed (or will be completed by December of the same year in which the student is applying)
      • A minimum of 3 Advanced Clinical Practicums (15 credits and 500 clinical hours) have been completed, including one that provides training in assessment, one that provides training in treatment, and one that serves as a breadth practicum.
      • Note: Students who wish to apply sooner than their fifth year are encouraged to discuss this with their primary mentor and then, with their mentor’s permission, submit a petition to the internship committee for early application. This option is most relevant for students who entered the program with a Master’s degree.
    3. Students will submit to the Internship Committee a list of internship sites to which they wish to apply. Lists will be due no later than September 15th. Students will receive feedback from the Internship Committee within two weeks of submitting their lists.
    4. Students will provide the DCT with materials (e.g., curriculum vitae, summary of research goals) to assist in preparation of the DCT statement. These materials are due no later than October 15th.
    5. In the event of a non-match during Phase I, students will enter Phase II. In the event of another non-match, students will discuss with their primary mentor, the DCT, and the Internship Committee; several options may be considered, including a possible in-house customized internship and reapplying the following year. These discussions will be held on a case-by-case basis and decisions will depend in part of funding available; training opportunities; and student goals, needs, and preferences.

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