School of Psychology & Counseling

Dissertations -
Doctoral Program in Counselor Education & Supervision

The dissertation is the culminating experience of the Doctor of Philosophy in any field of study. A dissertation serves two important functions. First, it is a demonstration of research, analytical and writing skill at the highest level of scholarly endeavor. The individual who plans, conducts, writes and defends a dissertation has shown that she or he is capable of pursuing a line of inquiry that requires the mastery of a large knowledge base, proficiency in analytical tools including statistics and narrative analysis, and the ability to articulate the meaning and application of that knowledge to both mentors and peers.

Secondly, the dissertation advances knowledge. Scholarship is advanced by the creative pursuit of answers to complicated questions. Dissertations are not just “really big class projects,” but serve to advance the method of addressing significant social concerns and problems. In that regard, dissertations are public documents designed to advance the culture.

For doctoral students in the program there is a third important function. The knowledge advanced by dissertations reflects aspects of the wonder of God. Holding to the belief that “all truth is God's truth,” scholars in this program are encouraged to comprehend, reveal and communicate the truth of God as it relates to the understanding of human development and care giving.

The dissertation process begins early in the Ph.D. experience. Students are encouraged to pursue lines of inquiry, develop research agendas with faculty and participate in research groups. Papers and projects required in the core courses can facilitate the formation of dissertation projects, along with consultation and discussion of emerging ideas with the faculty.

During the summer semester of the second year, students complete CES 700 Dissertation Proposal. This course focuses on the requirements and details of the dissertation process. During this time, students will seek three scholars to form the dissertation committee and guide them through their project. Chapters one and two of the dissertation are created in draft form as the final project for this class. These chapters, consisting of a comprehensive literature review, research questions and method of inquiry to answer the questions will comprise the dissertation proposal that the student will defend to their dissertation committee. This typically occurs in the fall of the third year, after the successful completion of comprehensive examinations. Students must submit an application to the SPC Human Subjects Review Committee and receive approval to complete their research prior to beginning their study.

Doctoral candidates, the formal term used for students who have completed the academic requirements for the doctoral degree, work closely with their dissertation chair and committee to complete their research, analyze its meaning and significance, and present it in cogent and succinct written form. Click here for the Dissertation Checklist.

The dissertation defense is the final and culminating experience of Ph.D. studies. It will consist of a public meeting in which the doctoral candidate formally presents the dissertation project, explains findings of the study and articulates its relevance to significant social problems.

Dissertations are a reflection of the student's comprehension of and capacity to address complex issues. The title of “Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education & Supervision” is reserved for scholars who achieve the highest level of academic performance. Examples of dissertations from scholars who have completed the Doctoral Program in Counselor Education & Supervision at Regent University are available on the dissertation database page.

See our dissertation guide!

Regent University