MSc Clinical Associate in Psychology

How to apply

The potential apprentice will be required to complete an Initial Needs Assessment (INA) with the support of their employer and the University to ensure the apprenticeship programme is an appropriate solution to their skills development needs.

The employer should or can request the Initial Needs Assessment by emailing apprenticeships@plymouth.ac.uk.


Apprentices do not pay any course fees – costs are covered by the government and/or employer

Funding models for employers

We can support employers in accessing funding via the apprenticeship levy or provide alternative funding options to minimise or eradicate any up-front cost to the organisation.

There are currently two funding models:

  • Fully-funded: Levy paying organisations
  • Co-funded: Non-levy organisations and levy who have exceeded their levy contribution. 

Fully-funded

If the annual pay bill of your organisation exceeds £3 million you will pay for your apprenticeship training through your levy account. If you have exceeded your levy contribution you will fund apprenticeship training through the co-funded model – to better understand how this will work please contact us.

Employer contribution: Employee salary only

Apprentices contribution: £0


Co-funded

If you are a non-levy paying organisation (the annual pay bill of your organisation is less than £3 million) or you are a levy organisation who has exceeded their pot, the government will financially co-support your apprenticeship training – they will contribute 95 per cent of the costs and the employer will contribute 5 per cent.

Government contribution £15,200

Employer contribution £800

Apprentice contribution £0

PSYC7990: Assessment, formulation and therapeutic skills

PSYC7991: Psychological interventions: Cognitive behavioural therapies and beyond

PSYC7992: Accredited clinical practice

PSYC7993: Professional, ethical and evidence-based practice

PSYC7994: Advanced professional practice: Leadership, consultation and service improvement

PSYC7995: Building Clinical Competency

A variety of assessment methods will be used including:

  • reflective statements
  • clinical case reports
  • observed clinical assessments
  • supervisor evaluation of clinical competence
  • CPD log
  • clinical portfolio
  • service evaluation
  • objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)
  • complex clinical case discussion.


Our programme, developed in partnership with service-providers and users, builds on the University’s distinguished track record in doctoral training in Clinical Psychology, providing high quality clinical training for Clinical Associates (BPS accreditation pending). 

The Clinical Associate programme reflects Plymouth’s recognised expertise in community psychology, social inclusion and systemic approaches to assessment, formulation, intervention and evaluation/research. 

We support trainees as they develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to be able to integrate different psychotherapeutic models, and to work effectively where individuals have complex needs. 

The School of Psychology draws on the expertise of an extensive network of local clinicians, trainers, and service users, all of whom contribute to scheduled teaching activities. This diverse expertise provides trainees with a broad range of clinical perspectives and insights.

Recruitment and selection is led by employers, in collaboration with the University. Posts will be advertised on jobs.nhs.uk from November 2020.

Alongside their qualifications, all applicants for the CAPs programme must submit a personal statement demonstrating the necessary academic and professional skills, knowledge and experience for this intensive programme. Applicants should describe why they are interested in pursuing applied psychology training and what their hopes are for their future clinical career. 

Who is the course for? 

Our CAPs training programme is designed for people who have a background in psychology who are already working within the NHS. This might be in physical or mental heath contexts.

Areas of specialisms

  • @ Adult mental health
  • @ Early intervention in psychosis
  • @ Learning disability
  • @ Neuropsychology
  • @ Paediatrics
  • @ Forensic psychology

Course facts

Duration: 18 months

Hours of study per week: Varies across the programme, but equivalent to 7.5 hours per week.

Delivery type: Mixed. Online, face-to-face and clinically based on placement.

Entry requirements: Graduate Basis of Eligibility (GBE) membership of the British Psychological Society plus: 1) Minimum 2:2 degree in Psychology giving Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership within the British Psychological Society plus qualifications in English and Mathematics at level 2.

Programme specification

Core Skills

  • ? Psychological therapy
  • ? Assessment and formulation
  • ? Leadership
  • ? Training and teaching
  • ? Consultation
  • ? Service evaluation
  • ? Reflective and ethical practice
  • ? Therapeutic alliance

Benefits to the employer

CAPs offer employers a number of significant benefits. Firstly, they allow a much needed additional option for increasing the psychological workforce in both mental and physical health contexts. They also offer the opportunity to manage their workforce more effectively and provide development options for members of staff. 

CAPs currently train as apprentices which also allows employers to draw on an apprenticeship levy to subsidise their staffs training costs to a MSc level.

Benefits to the apprentice

Training as a CAP will allow clinical career progression within the field of clinical psychology and mental health whilst also being in paid employment. You will be trained in a cutting edge clinical models whilst at the same time become competent at applying systemic and critical through to your clinical work. 

The course puts a significant emphasis on supporting trainees, supervisors and employers to maximise your professional and personal development.

Through the University, you will have access to engaging and practically-based teaching methods and a meaningful and vibrant research environment. We have also developed innovative teaching methods to actively link the academic teaching to your clinical practice.

A significant proportion of your training will be spent within your clinical placement under the direct supervision of a qualified clinical or counselling psychologist.

CAP degree apprenticeship staff