Ah…the Doc Project. Sometimes referred to (affectionately?) as the DP. I’m just beginning to form a relationship with my DP and I would describe the connection as tenuous at best. During the second year of the PsyD program, we all take a course on Research Methods. Many of my fellow students talked about being in a constant state of anxiety throughout the two hours class, overwhelmed at the idea of coming up with an idea, much less actually producing…something.
As a third-year student, I am responsible for putting together my doc project committee (consisting of two PsyD faculty members and someone else). Thankfully, I managed to secure two of my favorite professors early on. Advice for future students? Start talking to professors early…as in the start of the second semester of your second year. MSPP tries to develop guidelines for professors to follow regarding when they can commit to being on a committee but, in my experience, people have their own way of doing things. Some say they need to wait until the end of the semester. Others put you on an “unofficial list” to fill spaces that open up later.
I absolutely empathize with people in my year who are still looking for a DP chair. Students further along in the program are at various stages of finishing their doc projects. When they do, space opens up. I’m sure everyone will have people to fill our committees at some point, but whether or not those people will have a similar working style as you or be interested in your topic is somewhat up in the air. That being said, the faculty at MSPP is top-notch and I am sure they all are supportive and knowledgeable about the DP process.
Yes, the idea of the doc project is overwhelming. At the same time, MSPP gives you a lot of freedom about the type of project you want to work on. For example, I’m combining my interests in treating children who have experienced trauma with my background in creative writing to produce a therapeutic children’s book. That’s the plan so far, anyway. Overall, the doc project offers an opportunity to explore an area of psychology for which you have a passion. Everyone finishes at some point. “It will get done” will probably be my mantra for the next two years. Yes, there will be ups and downs along the way, but it will get done.