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The UCL Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is the largest professional training course for Clinical Psychologists in the United Kingdom, and welcomes high-calibre candidates from the UK and abroad. The course provides a first-rate training in clinical psychology, leading to a doctoral qualification accredited by the UK’s Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Psychological Society (BPS). The Course’s overarching aim is to train independently minded, scientifically-oriented and compassionate clinicians capable of taking a leadership role in health services at home or abroad.

The UCL Course is at the forefront of many of the national and local developments and innovations which impact on the profession, and many members of staff are closely involved in NHS planning at both national and local level. We aim to equip trainees with the knowledge and skills they need to become effective clinical practitioners in a rapidly changing NHS. The Course has an explicitly pluralistic ethos and exposes trainees to a variety of approaches. It also encourages practice that demonstrates an awareness of equal opportunities and a sensitivity to the multi-cultural contexts routinely encountered in clinical work in London.

The course is three years in length and consists of a mixture of taught lectures, seminars and workshops running alongside a series of 6 placements based in clinical services in and around London. The academic programme is delivered by a highly experienced team of clinical psychologists, many of whom are world-leaders in their academic and clinical fields. The clinical placements provide trainees with opportunities to develop their skills under experienced supervision in a wide variety of contexts, using a broad range of models, and with a wide spectrum of clients.

As a course that is based in one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, UCL trainees have the opportunity to conduct high-quality research under the supervision of leading scientists in the field.

Core Purpose and Philosophy of the Course http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dclinpsy/docs/app_docs/core_purpose_and_philosophy

Applying to the Course

The course welcomes applications from interested candidates from the UK and EU. International candidates apply directly to UCL. Further details can be found on the following webpage: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/dclinpsy/international/

For details of the application process for UK and EU candidates, please choose from the options below.

At present trainees are full-time employees of the health service, and their University fees are paid directly by the NHS. Although there is a possibility that these arrangement may not apply to candidates entering programmes in 2017, this is unclear. As such, candidates should not be deterred from making applications.

This message will be updated as soon as more information is forthcoming.

The closing date for for receipt of applications for courses starting in Autumn 2017 is 1pm on 30th November 2016.

Further Entry Requirements

The UCL Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is a 3-year full-time programme which entitles graduates to apply for registration as a Clinical Psychologist with the Health Professions Council and as a Chartered Clinical Psychologist with the British Psychological Society.

Candidates need to meet some basic academic criteria. After that, they also need to demonstrate (by gaining some relevant clinical experience) that they have some awareness of the roles undertaken by clinical psychologists, are familiar with the sorts of clients psychologists see, and have an idea of the contexts within which psychologists work. In addition, they need to show that they have the appropriate personal characteristics needed to work effectively with a wide range of potentially vulnerable individuals, and to contribute to the work of fellow professionals in the NHS or equivalent organisations.


Candidates who have not achieved a good 2.1 may need to think carefully about whether it makes sense to pursue a training in Clinical Psychology, since it is unlikely that they will be offered a place on a Doctoral Course. However, we recognise that sometimes degrees under-represent someone's academic ability - for example, illness or major life-events may have meant that there were periods when it was hard to maintain a good standard of work. If this is the case applicants need to offer clear evidence of their academic capacity in their application. This evidence must be supported by an academic referee who has monitored the candidate's work and can clearly demonstrate that certain academic achievements results underestimate the applicant's academic abilities.

Candidates with a 2.2 will not usually be accepted on the course unless there is unequivocal evidence of subsequent academic achievement equivalent to a good 2.1. In practice this means obtaining a higher degree, but the type of degree needs to be thought about carefully. Some Masters degrees will not offer enough academic challenge, making it hard for an academic referee to make the unequivocal judgment about a student's ability that a course needs. The more academically demanding a course, the more likely it is that they will be able to do this.

Graduate basis for chartered membership
In order to be considered for a place on any training course in Clinical Psychology it is essential to have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)with the British Psychological Society (BPS), usually at the time of applying or certainly by the time shortlisting is completed (in February). Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership is the same as Graduate Basis for Registration: all that has changed is the name. So if you previously had GBR you will now have GBC. The usual way of obtaining this is by completing an undergraduate degree in Psychology, or by taking a qualifying exam or programme which confers eligibility.

Not all Psychology programmes confer eligibility for GBC. If you are unsure whether you are entitled to GBC you should check this with your programme staff or write to the BPS (St Andrews House, 48 Princess Road East , Leicester LE1 7DR; Tel: 0116 254 9568; e-mail: ) for more details.


Relevant clinical experience
In order to have a realistic chance of being selected it is essential to gain some relevant clinical experience before applying to the course. There are several reasons for this. It gives applicants a chance to test out whether work in this field is for them - it is much better to discover this before making a major career commitment. It also means that courses know that candidates' applications are realistic, and gives them an idea of how applicants have responded to the clinical work they have undertaken. Many trainees find that they make good use of their pre-training experience during training, so it is not 'wasted' time.

We know that asking for relevant experience causes people to think twice about applying for Clinical Psychology course. It means that there is a gap between completing an undergraduate degree and starting training, with no guarantee of getting on a course. This presents a real challenge to many people, not least a financial one. There is also a risk - widely recognised by courses - that potential applicants feel themselves obliged to work for a number of years in the hope of gaining enough experience to be taken onto a course. We know that most people work for around 1-2 years before getting on a course, and in most cases this should be sufficient.

Being clear about what counts as experience is hard to specify, especially because suitable posts vary enormously. As above, and very broadly, candidates should look for experience which gives them:

. an idea of what clinical psychologists actually do
. some direct clinical contact with the sort of clients psychologists work with
. an idea of what work with clients actually entails
. a sense of the organisational context in which clinical psychology usually operates

One common route is to find work as an Assistant Psychologist. These posts are advertised in the BPS Bulletin (distributed monthly to all members of the BPS) and also (although less frequently) in other relevant publications - for example, the health section of papers such as The Guardian.

As assistant posts are in relatively short supply, it is important to emphasise that they are not the only route to gaining relevant experience. For this reason applicants should think broadly about the possible options open to them. For example, employment in a social work context or as a nursing assistant in a psychiatric unit, or as a worker in a MIND Day Centre would be extremely valuable; all would count as relevant experience. Another route is to take a post as a research assistant, though the research should usually offer at least some direct involvement in a clinical area. It is worth remembering that a very "academic" research post would not give candidates much of a sense of how the clinical world operates, or how they react to the sorts of clients seen in clinical contexts.

There is something of a myth that applicants need to build an extensive 'portfolio' of experience, with more than one client group, and with a mixture of research and clinical experience. Speaking at least for selectors at UCL, we are not looking for this. We are looking for people whose posts map onto the bullet-pointed criteria just above, and who can show (and reflect on) the benefits of this experience in the way they present themselves. Basically it is the quality of experience - and what the person makes of it - that is as important as the quantity of experience.

Visit the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology page on the University College London website for more details!

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