Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme
Department of Psychology
University of Bath
Course Administration and Admissions enquiries:
This programme at the University of Bath started in October 2011. It is a three-year training course with an annual intake and it leads to the degree of Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy). As a relatively new course, we have developed the programme to reflect recent advances not only in Clinical Psychology, but also in adult learning strategies and supervision. The course is well supported in this by the University of Bath and by local NHS Trusts.
Key features of the Bath course include:
The Bath course ethos reflects the core values of the NHS Constitution. Programme recruits individuals with the right attitudes and values to work in a professional, respectful and compassionate way with a full range of people presenting with distressing psychological difficulties. The Programme is committed to improving lives through promoting quality interventions. Trainees learn the importance of theory-practice links and how psychological theory informs clinical practice. Training draws on the full range of empirically-grounded psychological theory, including psychopathology alongside other areas of psychology such as social and developmental psychology. The emphasis of assessment and therapy is person-centred in the broad sense. The course training and placements are based on an understanding of the importance of equality, diversity and empowerment.
Trainees are supported to develop high levels of competency in academic, clinical and research domains through a learner-led model of training. They will learn to become highly capable scientist practitioners, able to skillfully blend the scientific basis of clinical psychology ("clinical science") with reflective practice and personally adapted approaches ("clinical art"). Through the acquisition of meta-competencies, trainees will feel confident to extend their skills to work with clients with varied needs that they may not have encountered in training or for which treatment models do not yet exist.
The course is designed to foster enthusiasm for learning, personal development and research. Trainees, supported by their course tutor and clinical supervisors, use a Personal Planning and Training Needs Assessment (PPTNA) from pre-training and throughout the course to work towards the acquisition of skills and goals that are meaningful for them.
Specialisation in the third year allows trainees the opportunity to shape their career pathway to suit the evolving NHS. Accreditations with BABCP and AFT put our graduates in a particularly strong position in terms of employment opportunities.
The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is one of a number of well-regarded postgraduate programmes offered by the Department of Psychology at Bath. Other programmes here include MSc programmes in Applied Clinical Psychology; Health Psychology; Forensic Psychology and an MSc in Research Methods.
The undergraduate degree in Psychology is well subscribed with high entry requirements and excellent ranking in UK league tables. The Psychology Department, and University of Bath more generally, has a very strong record in academic achievement, with excellent performance in the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).
The University of Bath campus is situated about one mile from Bath city centre, with regular buses to and from the University. Bath is a spectacularly beautiful city. Among attractions in the region are countless art and music activities spread over the year, including the prestigious annual Bath Festival and Glastonbury close by. The majority of trainees choose to live in Bristol, which is 10 minutes from Bath by train. Bristol is one of the largest UK cities and has a thriving art and social scene. It is regarded as a young person's city and is renowned for its cultural diversity and inclusivity. Bath and Bristol are both surrounded by beautiful countryside with the Cotswolds to the north, the Mendips to the south-west and, just across the Severn Bridge, the Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean. The coast at Weston-super-Mare or South Wales is also within easy reach as is London which is only an hour and a half by train.
Further information about the city of Bath and the university can be found at the University of Bath website.
The training course works in close partnership with NHS trusts in the South West region including: Avon and Wiltshire Partnership, 2gether, Oxford Mental Health, North Bristol NHS Trust, Sirona and Virgin Health, all of which provide excellent training placements.
Placements will be available over a large geographic area, spanning from Gloucestershire in the north to Salisbury in the south; from Weston-Super-Mare in the west to Swindon in the east. Consideration is given to trainees' circumstances in organising placements but placements in a particular location cannot be guaranteed and would restrict learning opportunities. The Personal Planning and Training Needs Assessment will form the main basis for consideration of placement requirements. Financial assistance may be provided to enable trainees to stay over in the more remote parts of the region to access placements.
Given the geography of the region, we strongly recommend that trainees have the use of a car and a current valid driving licence. Arrangements will be made for trainees unable to drive including through disability.
The programme seeks to recruit trainees who show evidence of a commitment to the core principles of clinical psychology and the specific ethos and philosophy of the Bath course.
Important note: All candidates applying to the Bath programme are required to complete an additional statement of values as part of the application process. This must be submitted directly to the course no later than 5.00pm on Friday 6 December 2019. Applications without this additional statement of values will not be considered.
Further information on how to submit can be found in the Selection Procedure section below and on our website.
We value both the quality of clinical experience (eg working alongside a clinical psychologist, delivering psychological therapy) and evidence that this experience has enhanced a candidate's potential to become a capable clinical psychologist (demonstrated through what they have made of their experience).
All candidates invited to an interview will be asked to bring their original A-level and all degree certificates for verification. If a candidate is found to have given false information on their application form, their application will be cancelled and they will not be offered a place on the programme.
Candidates for whom English is not their first language will be required to provide proof that they possess an adequate level of English competence. This should be an IELTS test taken no more than a year prior to the application date, with a minimum score of 8.0 with at least 7.5 in each element. Grade C or above in GCSE English would also be considered adequate as would completion of a degree in an English-speaking country studied for a period of at least three years.
The course operates an equal opportunities policy and candidates will not be disadvantaged in the selection process or through training because of race, religion, age, gender, social class or sexual orientation. We welcome candidates from diverse backgrounds including mature or second career applicants. We encourage applications from candidates who have a disability and are committed to making all reasonable adjustments to the interview process.
The programme will make all reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of trainees with disabilities and there is a disability lead on the programme team who works to support the individual trainee to ensure that all reasonable adjustments are made throughout training.
In addition to submitting the Clearing House application, we ask all applicants to complete an additional question to demonstrate their suitability for the Bath programme.
The ethos of the Bath Programme is consistent with the core values of the NHS Constitution. We aim to recruit individuals from differing backgrounds, who have a variety of experiences, aptitudes and talents. The Programme is committed to improving quality through an evidence-based and empirically-grounded approach, whilst at the same time encouraging personal qualities such as reflection, creativity, innovation, collaboration, and leadership. We recognise that Clinical Psychology relates in a reciprocal way to wider organisational, social and cultural contexts. We aim to recruit individuals who have the ability to form meaningful and productive connections with the full range of vulnerable people and to always act in their best interests. The willingness and capacity to develop and manage these connections in a compassionate way in clinical, research and other roles depends in part upon their personal qualities, values and beliefs which we recognise are hard to capture within the confines of the Clearing House application. Candidates applying to Bath will therefore be required to submit a response to a further question asking them to reflect on and tell us how well they feel they are suited to joining the Bath Programme.
Applicants should follow the link above to the University of Bath website for details of the question and how to submit. We will accept submissions from early September and the final deadline for submitting a response is by 5.00pm on Friday 6 December 2019. Any applicants who do not submit a response before this deadline will not be considered further.
We will email all applicants in late November/early December (shortly after the Clearing House closing date) to remind them of the deadline.
All correspondence relating to the admissions process will be sent via email to the email address provided on the Clearing House application. Applicants are advised to check their email regularly throughout the process, including junk/spam folders, to ensure that they do not miss any correspondence relating to their application.
This doctoral level training course is academically demanding so we use an academic score to filter candidates prior to short-listing. The academic score is based on academic performance from A-level through to postgraduate degrees. We have evaluated our selection procedures and have data to support the use of past academic achievements as a valid predictor of performance in selection and future performance on the Programme. Please be aware that it is possible to achieve an academic score over the cut-off with relatively low A-level scores (whether this is due to A-levels having been taken many years previously or under-achievement at A-level). Performance at degree level and postgraduate qualifications are also considered. Consideration is given to candidates who performed poorly in past academic examinations who are able to evidence mitigating circumstances at the time.
Further information about the scoring process can be found on our website.
A short-list of candidates will then be drawn up by short-listing panels comprising members of the Programme team and regional clinical psychology representatives. Applications are short-listed based on the following criteria:
Approximately 60 candidates will be short-listed for interview (this figure may change if the number of commissioned places changes). Candidates will receive an email confirming the outcome of their application. We will not be in a position to give candidates who are not short-listed detailed feedback and would refer candidates to the course essential and desirable criteria.
The interview process involves one interview which will last for approximately 30 minutes. There will also be an associated task.
The interview will assess skills and aptitude in clinical, research and academic areas. The interview panel is comprised of three members: a member of programme staff, a regional clinical psychologist, and a person with personal experience. Final decisions are made following the interview process and will be largely based on performance in the interview day, the task and the application form. A ranked reserve list is also drawn up.
Successful candidates are notified by telephone as soon as possible after the interviews. Unsuccessful candidates are notified by email in the first instance and offered the opportunity to talk to a member of the programme team to receive feedback.
We currently have 14 commissioned places, however applicants should note this may change depending on local NHS requirements. We will inform candidates who are invited to interview how many places have been confirmed for the year of entry. Please note, however, that we often receive confirmation of number of places very late in the process, after the Clearing House closing date.
Please see the Conditions of Service for further details of current arrangements.
Candidates for 2020 entry should check for funding updates on the Clearing House Funding page.
Offers will be subject to occupational health clearance and Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.
As a fully-accredited BABCP programme (Level 2) all trainees are expected by the BABCP to be registered as student members of the BABCP at the time of commencing studies on the programme. Further information about costs can be found on the BABCP website.
The academic teaching on the course will work in tandem with clinical placements. The academic curriculum in the first year will cover core competencies and the knowledge required for clinical practice with adults of working age and later life. Working with children and adolescents, people with learning disabilities and neuropsychology are the main topics covered in the second year. The third year will in general emphasise the development of higher-level competencies and meta-competencies, including supervisory, management and leadership abilities. There is a progressive shift from first to third year from supervision towards mentoring, peer supervision and supervising others. Teaching in the first two years is mandatory; there will be some opportunity to choose topics in the third year. Two days per week are allocated to academic work, this includes days of teaching and days for personal study.
The course emphasises the integration of university-based theoretical and skills training with clinical practice by using a range of research-led teaching and learning strategies including lecturing, workshop-based training, problem-based learning, small group sessions and debates, aligning teaching methods to intended learning outcomes. Some academic work is carried out as part of clinical placements, with integrated clinical/academic teaching being delivered by supervisors.
The clinical / research / academic integration will be enhanced by teaching which will be conducted both by course staff and clinical psychologists from across the region as well as national experts and people with personal experience. From the beginning of the course, some teaching days will take place in NHS settings elsewhere in the region as "away days" hosted in a variety of sites. These sessions will also be an opportunity for trainees to familiarise themselves with the range of NHS and social care services across the region.
An optional eight-week mindfulness course is included in the curriculum as part of personal and professional development and reflective practice. This course does not qualify trainees to deliver mindfulness-based therapies, but is the first stage in working towards this competency. By taking part in the mindfulness course, trainees have an opportunity to experience the psychological processes and effects that support the delivery of evidence-based mindfulness interventions (Rimes & Wingrove, 2011). They may also benefit from enhanced stress management, self-awareness and reflection skills. Mindfulness is one part of our broader commitment to supporting trainees' health and wellbeing.
Clinical Psychology trainees are recruited on to the course with an extremely wide range of prior experience, training and ability. Many trainees at this early stage will already have particular aspirations and career pathways in mind. It is also very clear in the evolving NHS that the role of the clinical psychologist is becoming ever more diverse and, to be fit-for-purpose, courses need to have the capacity to support a degree of specialisation. With this in mind, the Bath course has developed a Personal Planning and Training Needs Assessment (PPTNA) to enable the course to work collaboratively with trainees, from pre-training through their entire training experience, to shape their clinical experience to meet their specific needs, career plans and aspirations.
The PPTNA includes sections on skills and experiences prior to training, a personal development plan to meet future aspirations, core and advanced skills and also professional practice. The PPTNA is cumulative, and will be an important tool in identifying the suitability of placements and priorities within placements.
Half of the time during training is spent in supervised clinical practice. Clinical practice placements are typically six months in duration and after the first few weeks, three days per week are allocated to work on clinical placements. Clinical Psychology with Working Age Adults is the first placement with a graded introduction via clinical observation and additional time in the classroom for teaching and skills training. Placement experience will then extend to a more independent case-load as the first term and placement progresses. The second placement in the first year of the programme is with Older Adults and the psychology of later life. In the second year the placements are in Children and Young People's Services and Learning Disability services, and the final year usually comprises a Clinical Health and Elective placement.
We are increasing options for extended, year-long placements. This may involve ageless services in the first year (covering competencies for working age adults and later life), or specialist services in the third year, where certain therapeutic models (eg DBT) or client groups (people who are harder to engage, or have more severe and complex needs) require more extended contact. There may be some flexibility however in timings and placement arrangements according to training needs and interests, as long as competencies in the core areas have been attained. A clinical health placement is not mandatory if trainees have had this kind of experience in another placement and wish to develop other specialist skills.
Consistent with the aim to train competent scientist-practitioners, and our commitment to evidence-based practice, the course has a strong research element. There are three main research projects within the course: main research project, literature review and a service-related research project. There is some flexibility as to the timing of these projects according to topics and scheduling of relevant placements. All research projects need to be completed by May of the third year. All research assignments should be of a standard and in a style suitable for publication in an appropriate journal, rather than as a thesis which then has to be rewritten for publication. It is hoped that this will help trainees develop skills in writing for publication and ensure that much of the high quality work conducted by trainees finds its way into journals. Trainee projects are often presented at national and international conferences, such as the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy conference. As a Bath course trainee, you will be encouraged and supported to disseminate your work from early in the Programme.
Assessments and examinations are an integral part of the degree. The course has worked hard to ensure that assessments are varied and interesting useful learning experiences in their own right. Assessments include case studies, clinical placements, research projects, a group debate task, a literature review, service-related research project, and a reflective narrative of development as a clinical psychologist.
Written examinations are held in March/April of the first year and consist of two 2-hour papers: Empirically Grounded Psychopathology, and Assessment and Treatment in Clinical Psychology.
Training is a life-changing process, which can be life-enhancing, but which can also be challenging at times. At Bath, we are committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of our trainees and we help trainees to develop resilience and a healthy work-life balance. A range of support options will be available for trainees in recognition of individual differences and preferences.
Support systems include personal tutors (clinical psychologists from the Region who are knowledgeable about the course but not part of the course team); buddies (third year trainees); clinical tutors and termly reflective sessions with programme team. One of the main supports for trainees is members of their own peer group so there will be an emphasis on facilitating team building within each year group.
The University also provides a range of support services and activities for postgraduate students.
All academic staff on the programme are research and clinically active. Please see staff profile pages on the University of Bath website for further information about particular areas of interest.
Professor Paul Chadwick - Programme Director and Research Director
Dr Jo Daniels - Senior Lecturer and Academic Director
Dr Catherine Butler - Senior Lecturer and Clinical Director
Dr Cara Davis - Lecturer
Dr James Gregory - Lecturer
Dr Emma Griffith - Lecturer
Dr Pamela Jacobsen - Lecturer
Dr Maria Loades - Senior Lecturer
Dr Elizabeth Marks - Lecturer/Admissions Tutor
Ms Josephine Millar - Lecturer
Dr Rachel Paskell - Teaching Fellow
Dr Cathy Randle-Phillips - Lecturer/Admissions Tutor
Dr Anna Strudwick - Teaching Fellow
Dr Gemma Taylor - Clinical Tutor
Professor Gregory Maio - Head of Department and Chair of Board of Examiners
Rachel Nee - Programme Manager
Simone Osborne - Programme Administrator
Dan Clifford - Programme Administrator
Sara Swan Capper - Programme Administrator