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PSY8601 Psychology Doctorate Project A

Semester 2, 2014 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology, Counselling and Community

Contents on this page


Examiner: Paul Bramston
Moderator: Jan Du Preez


Co-requisite: PSY8020


The scholar-practitioner model of training in psychology has broad consensual acceptance within the applied profession. The professional doctorate therefore requires the student to be proficient in critically reviewing relevant theory and research to assist in the identification, investigation and resolution of current issues within the practice of psychology. This course provides the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive theoretical and empirical literature review related to a specific problem the student wishes to investigate and to design a research program consisting of at least two studies to investigate identified theoretical and practical issues.


This is the first of four project courses that contribute to the professional doctorate. The course involves selecting a topic and supervisor, conducting a thorough literature review, and developing a detailed thesis proposal that critically summarises the current substantive, practice and research methodology issues. The student will be expected to exhibit competence in conducting a thorough literature search using various data bases, identifying pivotal issues, formulating appropriate research questions and hypotheses derived from theory and empirical findings, and designing methods appropriate to investigating the research question(s). A written report (up to 8,000 words) will be submitted to the supervisor.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to demonstrate competencies in critically reviewing literature to address theoretical and practical questions and issues in the field, and designing research programs to further investigate these questions and issues. In general the student will be able to:

  1. demonstrate analytical, critical and creative thinking in postulating research hypotheses and problems;
  2. postulate new directions of research and new unsolved problems;
  3. write and summarise concepts in a professional and scientific manner;
  4. demonstrate competence in identifying and choosing procedures appropriate for addressing hypotheses, awareness of the limitations of the research plan they have chosen and account for these weaknesses and limitations; competence in assessing and addressing ethical concerns in research.


Description Weighting(%)
1. The subject of the thesis proposal will be proposed by the student and after consultation, will be finally determined by the student's supervisor. 100.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • American Psychological Association 2010, Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edn, APA, Washington, DC.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 30.00
Private Study 127.00
Supervisor Consultation 13.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. This course requires students to attend two half-day workshops for every semester that they are enrolled in the course until it is passed.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete the dissertation proposal satisfactorily, students must obtain a pass from the Examiner and one other marker in the Department and therefore be allocated a mark of 1. Any disagreement amongst markers will be arbitrated by the Program Co-ordinator.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of a passing grade, students must demonstrate, via the summative assessment item, that they have achieved the required minimum standards in relation to the objectives of the course by satisfactorily completing the dissertation proposal.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    As P is the only passing grade available for this course, all students who are qualified for a passing grade will be given a grade of P. Other students will be given either a Failing grade or an Incomplete grade.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations in this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Examiner.

  2. The Examiner in consultation with the Program Co-ordinator may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  3. The Faculty will normally only accept assessments that have been written, typed or printed on paper-based media.

  4. The Faculty will NOT accept submission of assignments by facsimile.

  5. Students will require access to email and internet access to UConnect for this course.

  6. The DISSERTATION proposal shall include: a comprehensive critical review of research in the field; a discussion of relevant theoretical and practical issues; a description of how the dissertation will make a contribution to the field; a list of all references cited; selection criteria for participants, describe the variables chosen, instruments/interview procedures to be used, interventions/treatments to be applied, administration procedures for consent of participants, and proposed methods for data analysis. Scientific justification of each segment of the research plan is essential. The report will conform to guidelines on the content, style and format of reports issued from time to time by either the USQ or the Psychology Department. The completed manuscript will not exceed 8,000 words. The manuscript will be submitted to the Examiner. Evaluation will be completed by the Examiner and one other member of the Department. The student will be graded as either Pass or Fail for this course upon approval of the proposal.

  7. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //