What Will You Study

Our aim in training is to strike a balance between the interests of the individual trainee, formal professional training requirements, academic requirements appropriate for a doctoral level qualification, and the broader and developing needs of a clinical psychologist within the National Health Service.

Academic structure

The formal academic programme is organised on the basis of (at least) one full day teaching per week. In addition, trainees normally receive one full day per week for study and research time. There are nine curriculum strands which run through the three years of the programme: theory to practice, transferable clinician skills, personal development and reflection, physical and cognitive development across the lifespan, critical and community psychology, research, professional issues, assessment and quality assurance.

Clinical structure

Clinical placements are undertaken throughout the three years. Normally, all trainees undertake the same sequence of placements at the same time. It is anticipated that clinical training will start with a placement working with children and families, followed by work with adults, then older adults, and finally people with learning disabilities.

Each of the four placements lasts six months. In the third year, trainees undertake a longer placement of eight to nine months’ duration. Course staff visit each supervisor and trainee during placements to discuss progress.

Assessed work

Over the course of the three years trainees submit the following

  • Two professional issues assignments
  • Two placement presentations and reports
  • One systematic literature review

Please note that the assessments are currently under review and may differ for the 2015 intake.


Trainees are required to submit a service-related project and a thesis. The thesis is undertaken throughout the second and third year of training and comprises:

  • An ethics committee research proposal
  • A literature review, written in academic journal format
  • A research paper describing the study, written in academic journal format
  • A critical appraisal of the research project

Trainees are encouraged to submit their work to appropriate academic journals and to carry out their research in an area that a member of staff has expertise in. 

Development and support

The course uses a number of complementary support systems to facilitate trainees’ personal and professional development. In addition to supervision while on placement (including visits from clinical tutors) and informal peer support, there are bi-annual trainee progress reviews held with each trainee’s research and clinical tutors.

The review process provides an opportunity to discuss progress and your individual training needs. The support scheme also offers continuity of contact with two members of the course team over the three years of training. All trainees are invited to take advantage of a mentor system, in which all mentors are local clinical psychologists. There is also the opportunity to access a limited number of cognitive analytical developmental sessions.