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Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

Course Description

About the course

Clinical Academic Programme -

The academic programme is based on a ‘core competency’ model (BPS, 2007) and comprises four main areas of teaching: Professional Practice and Personal Development; Therapeutic Models and Interventions; Research Methods in Clinical Psychology; and Client Groups and Client Contexts.

Each of these four areas is further divided into a number of specific teaching modules that span the three years of training and correspond as much as possible with the structure and sequence of clinical placements. An awareness of the issues of ethical practice and equality for all is highlighted in all modules. Particular consideration is given to the many ways in which issues relating to diversity and inequality impact on the work of practising clinical psychologists within the lectures, and all lectures are formally evaluated on this by the trainees. Additionally, there are specific lectures considering a wide range of diversity issues within the Clients in Context module taught across the three years.

Four models of psychological therapy are currently taught on the programme: cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), systemic and family psychotherapy, personal construct therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy. The content of the introductory CBT module is mapped onto the IAPT curriculum to enable trainees to include this in their portfolio of competencies, should they wish to seek employment where this is a specific requirement. More advanced training is provided in the third year of training. A previous trainee recently gained accreditation with the BABCP based on their CBT training at the University of Hertfordshire.

The academic programme is located within the overall programme philosophy which places particular emphasis on incorporating constructivist and social constructionist approaches to conceptualising psychological difficulties and their management. In line with the programme philosophy, an important aim of the academic programme is to train clinical psychologists who can understand and apply a range of psychological theories and approaches to both clinical practice and research. We teach our trainees to draw on multiple theoretical and evidence bases to develop individually tailored assessments, formulations, interventions and evaluations of complex psychological problems. We emphasise the flexibility to adapt and combine different approaches as a key competence, and our curriculum therefore aims to develop a broad, thorough and sophisticated understanding of various psychological theories and therapeutic approaches.

Service User Participation:

The DClinpsych course encourages service user and carers' participation in the training and have established a committee of service users and carers who consult and participate in the training course.

Problem Based learning -

Problem-based learning (PBL) forms an important part of clinical training at the University of Hertfordshire. As part of the academic programme trainees complete a series of small-group based PBL exercises, which aim to promote reflective, collaborative and self-directed learning.

Throughout the three years, trainees also participate in a series of small group discussions to consider academic papers and clinical cases. These discussions provide an academic context for trainees to integrate theory and research, to highlight theory-practice links, and to enable peer review of formulation and intervention plans. More formal case presentations are undertaken in the third year.

A unique feature of our clinical psychology training at UH is the access that our teachers and trainees have to a purpose-built, advanced simulation training centre.

The trainees are regarded as mature students, and for this reason an adult learning model is adopted. In line with this model and the overall programme philosophy, it is recognised that not only do trainees learn in different ways, but also that they can pursue their own perceptions of the material being taught and interpret it for themselves.

In line with HPC requirements for all clinical training programmes, all trainees selected will be informed of the various activities that form part of the academic curriculum (e.g., role-plays, problem-based learning, simulation training, small group discussions, etc). Consent to participate in all aspects of the academic programme will be sought prior to the programme commencing.

How to apply

All applications for funded places to the Doctorate are made through the national Clearing House for Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Psychology (http://www.leeds.ac.uk/chpccp)

Our next intake of Trainees will be at the end of September 2016. Application packs are available from the Clearing House from September 2015, and the deadline for applications is early December 2015.

Each academic year starts at the end of September or beginning of October with a compulsory four-week, full-time introductory block of teaching. This is followed by teaching all day on Thursdays and Fridays during term-time.

We are now accepting self funding trainees from September 2015: See below on how to apply.

Up to two fee-paying places, on our doctoral programme for International, European and British applicants, are available for entry in Autumn 2015. Fee-paying students will follow the same programme of study as trainees with NHS funded places.

Applications for our fee-paying places need to be made directly to the programme, using our application form. The closing date for these applications is 1st March 2016.

Overseas applicants are strongly advised to apply for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) from the British Psychological Society (BPS) before applying. For further details about how to go about this, please view the BPS website.

How to contact us

For further information, please contact the Course Administrators Ms Neeli Clarke () or Catriona Roy () or tel +44 (0)1707 286322 +44 (0)1707 286322

How to find us

We are based in the Health Research Building on the College Lane Campus. Where to find us - http://www.herts.ac.uk/contact-us/where-to-find-us/college-lane-maps-and-directions

Why choose this course?

The course has a particular remit to train clinical psychologists to take up NHS positions. Clinical psychologists working in the region support the course, and many are working in collaboration with the Programme Team to provide placement supervision, research supervision, teaching and skills workshops.
The DClinPsy Trainees attend the University for their lectures, seminars and tutor support, but also spend approximately three days per week on their clinical placements.


In line with the concept of the "scientist-practitioner", the programme of research aims to equip trainees with the knowledge and skills required to undertake high-quality research, appraise literature critically, and adopt an evidence-based approach to clinical practice, where possible. It also aims to foster in trainees an awareness of the need for, and motivation to undertake, research in clinical settings - both during their placements and after qualification - to contribute to the evidence base of the profession.

Visit the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology page on the University of Hertfordshire website for more details!

Entry Requirements

At least an upper second class honours degree in psychology recognised as conferring eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS) at the time of applying. Candidates with a lower 2(ii) need to demonstrate strong academic performance in a relevant higher degree and eligibility for GBC.

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