18-month doctorate with no dissertation

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by sanantone, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. ikibah

    ikibah Member

    I would be very interested to hear about his experience.
  2. TMW2009

    TMW2009 New Member

    Well, I've tried to get ahold of him but it looks like he's dropped the class and emails are getting no response. If he responds to me, I'll make sure to post what I find out.
  3. cridgleysmith

    cridgleysmith New Member

    I am currently in the DBH program at Arizona State. When researching doctoral programs years ago, I had initially chosen and enrolled in a traditional PhD program in Clinical Psychology. I stumbled upon this one and connected to the integrated behavioral health care model because I had started an integrated program in a military primary care clinic as part of my Master's level internship. I started the DBH in Fall of 2013 and I anticipate graduating December 2015 at the earliest and December 2016 at the latest. I am on track for Fall 2015 graduation, but this assumes that I complete and defend my project successfully without any serious setbacks.

    This is a professional applied doctorate degree. It is not an academic PhD, so to compare them is like comparing apples to oranges. The PhD and DBH are both doctoral degrees with the title of Dr. awarded to the graduate; however, the focus and goal of each are very different. The DBH is an applied degree, not in traditional psychology but in in behavioral health. How many psychologists do you know are equipped to handle the behavioral issues surrounding diabetes, hypertension, cancer, obesity, and so on? Our classes include assessments and treatment methods, but also includes neuro and medical pathophysiology courses along with business courses aimed to teach DBH graduates how to manage their own practice and business models in primary care.

    The culminating project is not a dissertation, but that is what it feels like. It is actually only 3 credits... 1 credit across three semesters... It feels like it should be 10 across 3 semesters because we live and breath this project all day, every day. The project in most cases is an intervention developed by the student, applied to a population after passing the IRB (during the year-long internship that is also required), and evaluated for effectiveness before reporting the data and results in a professional paper.

    I feel that I am learning exactly what I need to be successful in professional practice, which does not require years and years and years of academic research. The clinical DBH program is only open to licensed mental health professionals and the course work is challenging. There are required weekly live lectures for each class and hours and hours of pre recorded lectures each week for each class. The required reading is a heavy load, but everything required services a purpose and I really feel like I have grown so much as a therapist and behavioral health clinician.

    If you have any questions about this program, please do not hesitate to ask. It is not for everyone... Not everyone has the goal of providing fast-paced behavioral/mental health care in primary care and medical clinics, but for those of us who do, this program is the perfect fit.
  4. islandcoli

    islandcoli member

    I'm curious about things like cost, pre-reqs etc.
    This sounds fascinating - especially
  5. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Maybe not relevant, but completing a project like this means your student loan grace period is ticking. Your loans go into repayment when you're only working on 1 credit.
  6. Pugbelly2

    Pugbelly2 Member

    I know this is an old thread, but I have asked one employee for a copy of his dissertation. It's rare, but it happens.
  7. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    For what reason?
  8. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    I don't know why Rich has never been asked, but at 2 job interviews BOTH asked me to explain what my thesis was about, and that's just for a MS. I would imagine it would depend, industry probably doesn't care- both mine were academics (1 in research 1 in teaching).
  9. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    My professors have told us that no one is going to read our dissertations after we defend them. We might be asked about them, but we won't have to turn over copies.
  10. Pugbelly2

    Pugbelly2 Member

    Because he struck me as being a bit disingenuous about his accomplishments and credentials. He rubbed me wrong. He never produced the dissertation.
  11. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    This thread kinda bugs me. My masters thesis was original work- I created something that didn't exist, and I know a sliver of information about something no one else has EVER known before. I feel like it's kind of a big deal (if only to me) and it was important (if only to me). So, I don't understand the purpose of going through the motions to only have your hard work shoved into a drawer and never be discussed. If that's the case, why even bother? It seems (if only to me) that a person should pick a better topic.
  12. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I think that's a very big deal and you should be proud of your achievement. Congratulations.

    Because most universities aren't in the publishing business. There are academics who use their thesis or dissertation as the basis for a book. In fact, I recently finished reading a fascinating book by Hella Winston which was based upon her doctoral research for a Ph.D. in Sociology. You'll notice that, despite it being doctoral research, it was published by Beacon Press. Left to her university it would be sitting in the bowels of the library. She had to get that book published. That likely involved quite a bit of work outside the actual research and the academic portion of her work.

    Did she "go through the motions?" Well, in a sense, I suppose she did. Just like going to class, studying and passing exams is "going through the motions" for a bachelors degree. She presented original research which was reviewed by a committee of experts, who also had to advance their respective fields through original research, and was deemed worthy to join their ranks. Now you think they should get you a book deal too?

    If you want your work to not sit in a drawer then you should submit it for publication as either a standalone book or for inclusion in a peer reviewed journal. If you don't want to do that you should probably just resign yourself to the fact that your thesis will remain in the back of the library with thousands of forgotten theses.
  13. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Sometimes people's dissertations are referenced by other researchers. Sometimes they are transformed into books that are readable for the public or perhaps textbooks for a specific sort of class. Sometimes people do a nice piece of research and it may not find a follower for a generation. Many people just move on to other areas of interest. I contacted a Mathematician about an issue related to "infinitesimals" and his reaction was "Oh, I haven't thought about that for years." He was happy to talk about it but he clearly had moved on. To him it was a rung on the ladder and he never really looked back.
  14. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Actually, we agree. I should not have implied that "sitting in a drawer" meant actually sitting in a drawer and not published in an academic peer review journal. I think the example you gave is a FANTASTIC one. She didn't let her hard work go to waste, and her work wasn't just a tick box on the way to graduation. She valued her hard work enough to push it forward. My college also didn't participate in ProQuest, so same story, you have to push it through yourself. I really felt that contributing to my field was (internally) very important. I don't know if I felt like that going in, but knowing what I know now, I do think completing a graduate degree without an OPPORTUNITY to contribute to your field in a meaningful way short changes the student; even if they don't know it.
  15. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    We have a Ph.D. (MIT) in our engineering department. Number of publications? Zero. Number of presentations? Zip. The guy hasn't written anything other than an e-mail since he completed his dissertation. He taught as an adjunct on-and-off over the past decade.

    He's a good engineer. But his true talents are as an engineering manager.

    Without sounding like I'm disparaging him, he very much ticked a box. I asked him about his doctorate once. He told me he thought he wanted to teach. He thought he wanted to be an academic. Halfway through his doctoral program he realized he hated doing the sort of research that would be expected of him. More than that, he absolutely hated undergrads who majored in engineering with no passion for the field (i.e., they got into it because they thought it would make them a lot of money then tried to avoid doing math).

    He stuck with his program. He finished his dissertation. And thereafter, he worked jobs that could have been had with a B.Eng. or, at most, an M.Eng. He told me that if he had a do-over he would have gone into a masters program and called it a day.

    I think there are people, besides him, out there who view a doctorate as the pinnacle of academic achievement (which isn't wrong, in and of itself). It would be like me saying I want a doctorate in Human Resources so that I could be the HR Mack daddy at work. While a doctorate might well be the top degree in your field (assuming your field isn't fine arts) the expectation that you are going to contribute meaningful and original research to the field escapes a lot of people. And even if they know about that expectation I think a lot of people don't fully grasp what that really means.

    Worse than that, I think there are people who honestly don't "get" that their dissertation should be the beginning of their original and meaningful contributions to their field.

    So, I didn't mean to criticize you, and I apologize if my post came off that way. But I absolutely mean to criticize the seemingly prevalent notion that dissertations are a box to be checked; an attitude often held by people who want to collect degrees rather than advance their fields.
  16. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    My plan is to turn my dissertation into at least one publication. In some fields, mostly fields of psychology, a PhD is often used for jobs outside of academia.
  17. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    An excellent goal, kudos.

    Well, a PhD can be used outside of academia in almost any field.

    If someone wanted to be a clinical psychologist and didn't want to do research I would have to ask them, "Why are you getting a Ph.D. instead of a Psy.D. then?"

    Just because something is often used in a certain way doesn't mean it is the most appropriate use.

    A Ph.D. is a research degree. If you're not interested in research it is a bit of an odd choice, in my opinion.
  18. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    PhD programs in psychology are more abundant than PsyD programs, and PsyDs are less likely to be funded. Most practicing psychologists have a PhD. Also, you still have to write a dissertation for a PsyD with the exception of a couple of programs; and, PhD programs in clinical and counseling psychology still prepare people for licensure. I/O psychology is not a licensed field, but getting a PhD to work as a consultant is the norm. They are doing research, but they are doing applied research.
  19. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    Ha ha. I bet he was surprised someone called him out on his BS!
  20. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Also, research and clinical practice are hardly mutually exclusive. There are a good number of practicing psychologists (Psy.D., Ph.D. or Ed.D.) who do publish. Just as there a number of engineers with doctorates who are researching and publishing.

    I'm only talking about those individuals who, at the outset of their studies, say "I'm going to be a clinician who is not going to do any research once my degree has been awarded." I don't know how many people actively think that. But there are certainly people who have no desire to advance their respective field through research. For them, getting a research degree is a bit of an odd choice.

    As for abundance, I just did a quick search on the APA website. A search for ALL Psy.D. programs yields 77 results. All Ph.D. programs yields 305 results. If we narrow the search to only specializations in Clinical Psychology, the Psy.D. is cut down to 64 while the Ph.D. is cut down to 175. Yeah, there are more Ph.D. programs. But there aren't so few Psy.D. programs that they are an unreasonable approach. I also recognize that some Psy.D. programs are more research centered than others. I'm sure there are Ph.D. programs which similarly fluctuate in terms of research/clinical practice.

    There are also I/O Psy.D. programs. As you've stated it isn't a licensed field. So the utility of the degree in that case is going to depend upon the employer.

    So yes, my statement was overly broad. An individual would likely do well to apply to a variety of programs and find the one that struck the balance that meets their goals.

    But, for those individuals who have zero desire to work in academia or conduct research the Psy.D. is probably going to be a more reasonable choice. Are there exceptions? Of course. Are there programs that differ from these generalities? Naturally. Will both lead to licensure? Yes. But I'm speaking in terms of optimal fit.

    Consider the gentleman at my company with the MIT Ph.D. I asked him what he would have done, academically, if he had a do-over. Without skipping a beat he told me he would have completed the one year M.Eng at Cornell instead. For the work he does the M. Eng would have helped him meet all of his goals. He would have spent less time on research (which he disliked) and he would have had the degree in one year.

    The Psy.D.s I have looked at are typically fixed length unlike a Ph.D. They follow a curriculum similar to other first professional doctoral degrees (M.D., D.M.D., D.V.M.). This program allows for students with Masters to transfer directly into the third year of the program (which is four years). In short, it's different. The focus is most clearly on clinical practice. Is there research? Yes. But it isn't the primary focus.

    So again, if someone says "I have no desire to do research and I don't really want to be an academic" I would definitely wonder why they would choose a Ph.D. over a Psy.D. (though, my earlier link does note that some Psy.D's do find a place in academics).

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