Degree In Sight

Students who choose a dissertation topic that overlaps with other disciplines may want to expand their research beyond the psychological literature. In these cases, students may find that journals within education, medicine, communication, biology and sociology are relevant to psychology.

For example, Eleni Dimoulas, a sixth-year doctoral student at the University of Florida, bridges together health and psychology in her dissertation, "Adequacy of treatment for anxiety disorders in Medicaid," which integrates the traditional clinical psychology literature of anxiety disorders with epidemiology and health services research.

To integrate health services and clinical psychology, Dimoulas:

  • Familiarized herself with the different theories in the psychology and health literature.

  • Took classes outside the psychology department. She tapped classes in health policy, epidemiology, statistics and research methods from her university to gain greater exposure outside of clinical psychology.

  • Developed a multidisciplinary dissertation committee. Having a health services professor on her committee who represented a different perspective helped shape her lit review, organize her thoughts and form a theoretical basis in health services, she says.

"I carved out my own little niche," she says of her dissertation, which she hopes to defend in the summer.

—M. DITTMANN