The Staffordshire University Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) is an integrated 3-year full time course leading to a professional qualification in Clinical Psychology. It is a collaborative venture between the University and clinical psychologists in Shropshire and Staffordshire. The course is approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). The curriculum is based on the HCPC Standards of Education and Training and Standards of Proficiency and the BPS Accreditation Criteria. Graduates are eligible to apply for Practitioner Psychologist Registration with the HCPC and Chartered Psychologist status with the BPS.
Our curriculum is designed to develop clinicians who can draw on a broad range of psychological models and theories to inform their clinical work and who have the confidence to use a variety of research methods appropriate to addressing clinical questions. An important strand running through the course is the impact of society and context upon psychological wellbeing, and we attempt to ensure that issues of difference and diversity are fully addressed. We encourage our trainees to be alert to the changing health needs of the population, the NHS, and the research base that informs clinical practice. We encourage trainees to be mindful of power differences within professional relationships. We value service user and carer perspectives, and the active role service users/carers can play in the planning and development of services.
The course is full-time for three years and attendance at all course components is mandatory. The length of the course cannot be reduced through the accreditation of prior learning or experience.
Trainees' time on the course is divided between academic work, research, individual study time and clinical experience. Each academic year begins with a mandatory induction block of up to six weeks, plus mandatory NHS Trust training in Year 1, to prepare trainees for safe and effective practice in their supervised clinical work.
Academic teaching consists of workshops, lectures, seminars, and online learning. It covers a broad range of topics in psychology, providing the knowledge base for practice and training in clinical, professional, therapeutic, and research skills. Teaching in Years 1 and 2 is closely linked with the competencies that are assessed on placements, whilst teaching in Year 3 focuses more on specialist skills. Teaching is provided by course staff supported by Clinical Psychologists and Service Users from the course area and beyond.
Clinical placements are mostly located in services within NHS Trusts in Shropshire and Staffordshire where clinical psychology is a strong and well-developed profession. The Clinical Director is responsible for planning placements with each trainee to offer a coherent and effective experience. Clinical placements start after induction blocks and take place in a wide range of hospitals, clinics, community centres, and independent sector agencies. In Year 1 trainees are normally placed in the same geographical area as their employer. Trainees have a degree of choice over their third year clinical experience. During each year, trainees work with up to three Main Supervisors who assume responsibility for supervising the work over time periods ranging between 3 and 12 months (typically six months), amounting to a minimum number of placement days overall. Trainees may also undertake specific pieces of work with other supervisors. Each trainee develops an Individual Learning Portfolio which is drawn up by the trainee in discussion with the Main Supervisors, the Clinical Director/Tutor and their Personal Tutor.
The research component of the course encompasses research methods training (qualitative and quantitative methods) and the process of conducting clinically relevant research. Assessed research activities include critical appraisal of literature; a research proposal; a research methods examination; a service evaluation project; and a major research thesis incorporating a literature review, an empirical paper, and a summary report. Thesis papers should be of publishable standard and at least one paper must be submitted to a nominated journal. The thesis is initiated early in Year 1 and completed in the second semester of Year 3. There is considerable scope for choice of research topic and methodologies, provided that they are in line with national and/or local research priorities and with available supervision. Trainees are co-supervised by academics from Staffordshire University and local clinicians. Trainees have access to a wide range of University and NHS library and online resources to support research activity.
Other admission requirements
Candidates must have a minimum of one year full-time (or part-time equivalent) practical experience of working with people in a human service setting. Applicants with experience outside traditional health/caring settings are encouraged to apply, and should clearly outline how the experience is relevant to the profession and study of clinical psychology. If necessary, candidates should include further information to this effect about their relevant work experience in the personal statement section of the application form.
Relevant examples could include the demonstration of skills in: understanding different issues for people across the life-span; understanding the impact of different social circumstances on psychological distress and wellbeing; working with a range of other professionals; experience of psychometric assessment or other forms of assessment; assisting service users to have a voice; gaining some understanding or experience of the NHS and Social Care services etc.
Clinically related research may also be considered appropriate experience, but this would need to comprise involvement in the research process that has included direct client contact, thereby demonstrating appropriate skills. Completion of a higher degree would not in itself evidence sufficient research experience. Doctoral training is clinically, emotionally and academically demanding, therefore candidates need to demonstrate aptitude for this level of work and show how they will manage the demands of training.
Application and Selection Procedure
Applications to this course are made through the Clinical Psychology Clearing House. Full information about the application process, including entry criteria, can be found on the Clearing House website. The Staffordshire course entry is here: https://www.leeds.ac.uk/chpccp/Clin27Staffordshire.html
Applicants who meet the minimum criteria entry are invited to undertake a written exercise during February at Staffordshire University. The highest scoring candidates are invited to, or placed on a reserve list for, the interview stage of our selection process, subject to satisfactory references. Following this stage, offers are made to the most suitable candidates, subject to satisfactory Occupational Health screening and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.
Applicants must provide the names of two referees, one able to comment on academic achievement and one on relevant experience.
Health Education West Midlands (HEWM) funds the salaries and University fees of all trainees throughout their training. Trainees are employed by one of the NHS Trusts in the region, with associated NHS terms and conditions, on Band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scale.
HEWM will only fund EU/EEA citizens. Owing to pressure on placements, it is regrettably not possible to accept non-EU/EEA citizens and there are currently no self/non-NHS funded places.