The thesis: a guide for external supervisors (2014 cohort onwards)


The thesis is the largest piece of research work undertaken by trainees on the Lancaster Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Trainees usually begin work on this in the second year of study and submit in May of their third year of study. They are normally examined during the summer of their third year.

Information about the assignment

The thesis consists of an investigation involving human participants within a subject of relevance to the theory and practice of clinical psychology, with the results constituting a substantial contribution to existing knowledge. In terms of scope, the DClinPsy thesis is less than a PhD and only includes one research chapter. Trainees should aim to produce work that is of a publishable standard. The word count limits for the three papers within the thesis are 8,000 words for the literature review, 8,000 words for the research paper and 4,000 words for the critical appraisal. It is expected that the literature review and research paper are submitted for publication.

For more information on the assignment please see the Thesis process guidance for trainees in the online handbook.

For a list of titles of the theses submitted by trainees in the past 10 years please see the Previous thesis topics section of the online handbook.

Approximate timeline for the assignment

Year Period Actions
2 June/July You will be contacted by the course for potential project ideas.
By December Your project ideas circulated to trainees, and you will be approached by trainees interested in your project ideas. Please feel free to contact the Research Coordinator if you have any questions at this point
December/ January You will work with your trainee and their academic supervisor to make the idea suitable for a thesis in content and methodology. Negotiate a research contract between you, the trainee and the academic supervisor. This document outlines the responsibilities of the various individuals involved.
3 December - January You should start receiving initial drafts of the thesis from the trainee.
March/April You should receive a final draft of the thesis from the trainee.
May The trainee submits the thesis
June The trainees present their findings at the third year presentation day which you will be invited to attend.
June - July The trainee attends the viva examination.
August You can now finalise publication plans with the trainee.


The trainees present their findings at the third year presentation day in the June of their final year. This event is an opportunity for the trainees to showcase their research to peers, programme staff, course stakeholders and service users. The day is a stimulating experience and we very much welcome field supervisors to attend. The presentation day will usually feature a seminar from a guest speaker. Copies of presentations from previous years can be downloaded from the programme website. An invitation is circulated around May; please contact Sarah Heard (details below) for more information.

Contact details

For more information about the practical arrangements for the thesis please contact Sarah Heard, Research Coordinator, either by phone, 01524 592754, or email, Please contact Bill Sellwood, Research Director ( with any other queries.

Previous thesis presentations