School of Psychology

DClinPsy Clinical Psychology

Become a competent and capable clinical psychologist. Receive training which emphasises psychotherapy, reflective practice, complex clinical issues and applicable research skills. As the first in the country to be approved through a joint partnership between the Health and Care Professions Council (HPC) and the British Psychological Society (BPS), and having run since 1982, this programme will enhance your psychological career and enable you to become a highly reflective scientist practitioner.

Key features
  • Benefit from service user involvement through working closely with the Service User and Carer Consultative Group. 
  • Widening participation in clinical psychology - candidates from diverse backgrounds and experiences are welcome.
  • Benefit from our commitment to producing competent and capable clinical psychologists who work as highly reflective scientist practitioners.
  • Become eligible to apply for registration as clinical psychologists with the Health and Care Professions Council, with the opportunity to gain Chartered Psychologist (C.Psychol) status, and full membership of the Division of Clinical Psychology with the British Psychological Society.
  • Take advantage of excellent relationships with local services in the South West of England; local clinicians are committed to supporting training and offer a wide range of placements in both rural and urban settings.
  • Select the current job description and person specification for the position of Trainee Clinical Psychologist.
Course details
  • Year 1

  • Each year of this programme begins with an extended teaching block, the remaining teaching is then spread regularly throughout the year. The remainder of your time will be spent on clinical placements with teaching interspersed to complement the clinical experience you gain. Over the duration of the programme you will also undertake year-long placement periods. During your first year of study you will work with children, young people and families, and people with learning disabilities. As a first year trainee you will also gain a foundation level qualification in systemic family therapy (independently accredited by the Association of Family Therapy).

    Core modules

    • Clinical Practice (Year 1) (CPSY620)

      Core competencies in clinical practice and psychological therapy are developed through supervised clinical placements usually with children, young people and people with intellectual difficulties. Emphasis is on the key themes of establishing effective therapeutic relationships; inter-disciplinary team working; assessment and formulation; intervention and evaluation; communication; training and consultancy; professional practice; supervision and personal development. Assessment is through a clinical study focussing on the cognitive behavioural model and by supervisors’ reports on placement.

    • Academic Competence (Year 1) (CPSY621)

      You will establish your knowledge in core course themes and philosophy, and learn about the psychological models associated with children, young people and families, and people with learning disabilities. You will also gain a foundation level qualification in systemic family therapy (independently accredited by the Association of Family Therapy). Assessment is by the group presentation of a Practice based Learning task based on clinical material.

    • Research 1 (CPSY622)

      This module introduces research for clinical psychology, public and service-user involvement, practical aspects, considerations and rigour in research, introductions to quantitative (including statistical packages, and psychometrics), qualitative (including content and thematic analysis, narrative analysis, interpretive phenomenological analysis and discursive methods) and Indigenous research methods. Assessment is by the submission of a Critical Journal Review Essay and an Outline Service Evaluation Proposal.

  • Year 2

  • In your second year, you will gain experience interacting with adults and older adults. In this year greater emphasis is placed on working with individuals.

    Core modules

    • Clinical Practice (Year 2) (CPSY623)

      You will consolidate the application of core psychological proficiencies usually in adult and older adult settings. Key themes are built upon from the first year and now include therapy models and organisational change. Learning is through supervised practice in adult services. The assessment is through a clinical study focussing on systemic work and integrative formulation and supervisors’ reports.

    • Academic Competence (Year 2) (CPSY624)

      You will learn about adults and older adults with emphasis placed on working with individuals. You will develop further critical thinking in the core course themes and core course philosophy underpinning clinical psychology. Assessment is through a Practice Based Learning Task based on clinical material.

    • Research 2 (CPSY625)

      In this module, time and consideration is given to the conducting of service evaluations, and practical aspects of the research process (supervision in clinical psychology research, ethics and making applications to ethics committees, and conducting systematic literature reviews). These aspects should assist trainees in the further development and conducting of their major research projects. Assessment is by a Full Empirical Project Proposal and presentation of a Clinical Service Evaluation.

  • Third year

  • Your third year is a time for consolidating your new skills and preparing for future work in the health service. This year will take account of current legislation and policy with regard to the role of clinical psychologists in the National Health Service. For example, emphasis has been placed on acquiring competencies in supervision, consultation and leadership in line with recent policy guidelines. Research activities bridge the academic and clinical components of the programme with time allocated particularly in year three for a major empirical research project.

    Core modules

    • Clinical Practice (Year 3) (CPSY626)

      The application of core psychological proficiencies at advanced level are consolidated. The key themes from the second year are developed. Learning is through supervised practice in a range of services. The assessment is through a clinical study focussing on organisational intervention and supervisors' reports.

    • Academic Competence (Year 3) (CPSY627)

      You will develop further critical and reflexive thinking, analysis and synthesis within clinical psychology and prepare for commencing professional practice in the NHS. There will be a focus on current legislation and policy with regard to the role of clinical psychologists in the National Health Service. You will acquire competencies in supervision, consultation and leadership in line with current policy guidelines. Assessment is based on the Systematic Literature Review underpinning the major empirical research project.

    • Research 3 (CPSY628)

      In this module, full attention is placed on assisting trainees to complete and write up their major research projects, and to facilitate their submission and preparation for the examination of their portfolio of outputs (literature / systematic review, research article, and reflective statements). These aims are reflected in the architecture and focus of the taught sessions. We start with helping trainees to complete and write up literature / systematic reviews (which are to be submitted for assessment early in the module); then working with reflective statements; and then, in a special day-long event held in November, third year trainees will be asked to present their research work to the first year trainees. We then turn our full attention to the writing up and completion of the research article component. The portfolio of outputs is assessed via written submissions and viva voce examinations; in preparation for this, third year trainees will have the opportunity to undertake a 'mock viva' towards the end of this module (July). We complete this module with a final session on considering research into the future.

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements

We invite applications from people who are qualified to train for three years, full time, at doctoral level to become clinical psychologists who will be eligible for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council. The programme is based at the University of Plymouth and trainees have placements in Cornwall, Plymouth and South Devon.

We have two entry requirements.

One is a degree in psychology, or other degree plus a conversion course (at diploma or masters level), and eligibility at the time of application for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS). We do not have specific requirements for applicants' degree classification. We welcome applicants with an interest in learning from their life experiences, both personally and professionally.

The second entry requirement is relevant experience of at least one year whole time equivalent (not including undergraduate placements). This will preferably comprise evidence of several months in a single role. It is helpful to have had clinical experience that has been supervised by a qualified clinical psychologist and to have current understanding of the profession of clinical psychology. Please see the entry requirements section of our website for further details about relevant clinical experience provided by our Clinical Lead.

Our English proficiency requirement is IELTS (7.0) in all components or a TOEFL score of 93.

The course welcomes applicants from diverse cultural and personal contexts, mature applicants with extensive life experience. We welcome applications from people with disabilities, please contact us to discuss your specific situation. The University operates an equal opportunities policy. The recruitment and selection processes for the Plymouth Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme comply with the University of Plymouth Admissions Policy.

For further general entry requirements please visit the Clearing House website.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

Applicants must be eligible for home fees status. For questions about fee status please check the Clearing House website or UKCISA website.

Current UK trainees are full-time employees of the health service and have annual leave and other benefits in line with usual NHS entitlements. On entry to the programme all trainees commence on the first spine point of Band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scales. Travelling expenses are currently paid for travel to placement and University fees are currently paid directly by the NHS.

We are no longer recruiting international self funded applicants.

For specific questions please contact Michele Thomas, Course Administrator.


All applications for postgraduate courses in Clinical Psychology are made via:
The Clearing House
Fairbairn House
71-75 Clarendon Road,
Leeds, LS2 9PL.
Telephone: +44 113 343 2737or visit www.leeds.ac.uk/chpccp
For specific questions please contact Michele Thomas, Course Administrator 

Nicole Parish presented her research at the final of the Vitae Three Minute Thesis competition

 Studying at University of Plymouth has really encouraged me to take a critical look at all aspects of my practice, and this presentation will be a great way to showcase my work to a distinguished audience.

Nicole’s doctoral thesis is centred around the collaborative work necessary in accurately diagnosing cases of autism.

Find out more about Nicole's D.Clin.Psy research

DClinPsy Clinical Psychology at University of Plymouth

Find out more about the programme in our video 

Staff teaching on the DClin course