Newcastle University

Course Code: 18

Self-funded Course Code: 18 - X

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
School of Psychology
Newcastle University
Ridley Building

General enquiries:
0191 208 7925

Programme Director: Claire Lomax
Admissions Tutor: Fiona Gullon-Scott
Programme Administrator: Lynne Davison


The clinical psychology programme at Newcastle is one of the longest established training programmes in the UK, having recently celebrated 50 years of practice. It is part of the School of Psychology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, at Newcastle University and is closely integrated with the NHS, particularly with our NHS colleagues in the local psychology services and those in Health Education North East which is part of Health Education England. It is a three-year, full-time programme which integrates research and clinical practice throughout all aspects of the training in order to prepare students for practice as professional Clinical Psychologists, eligible to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council and for Chartered Clinical status with the British Psychological Society (BPS).

The aim of the programme is to develop clinically competent and reflective scientist-practitioners who are able to contribute to and develop the knowledge base through the understanding, production and utilisation of research findings. Teaching and training draws on current research wherever possible, and trainees are required to demonstrate the links between theory and practice throughout their training. Our trainees need to develop and demonstrate competence in the current evidence-based and widely-practised aspects of clinical psychology. They are required to develop capability in the critical appreciation of relevant empirical literature and clinical theory in order for them to be able to appropriately draw upon and contribute to the research basis for clinical practice and solve relevant problems systematically.

We have strong and established links with our regional partners who provide considerable input and support to the programme. The programme has been developed and is supported by the close involvement of regional clinicians who contribute to the teaching on the course. Close links with the region's psychologists enable a wide selection of practical experience to be offered in a variety of general and specialist settings, both within urban and rural areas. All clinical placements for the first two years are provided within the geographical area we cover which extends from the Scottish Borders to Cumbria to North Durham. Trainees can undertake a final year elective placement reflecting their own interests and training needs. The academic teaching is delivered by programme staff, NHS staff and external contributors and is research-led and evidence-based, with the academic syllabus mirroring as much as possible the trainees' experience on clinical placement. The principal therapeutic models taught on the programme are cognitive-behaviour therapy and systemic therapy, and there is an emphasis on these two approaches in the first two years of training. Neuropsychology competences are also taught throughout the programme, and we are developing a pathway within the programme to support those trainees interested in specialising in clinical neuropsychology post-Doctorate to build up an appropriate knowledge and experience base to aid later specialisation. In the latter part of training, there are introductions to other approaches such as cognitive analytic therapy, mindfulness, interpersonal therapy, and other models where there is demonstrable or emerging evidence of their clinical effectiveness.

There is considerable clinical and research expertise within the programme team that help develop excellence in our trainees and graduates. We offer a very high quality research training to our students, and we encourage involvement in programmatic research and dissemination of the research output within peer-reviewed journal publications and professional conferences.

We seek to recruit a diverse group of trainees. Our aim is to train a workforce that reflects the diversity of the client groups who use clinical psychology services. We are therefore committed to providing a programme that equips trainees to think about and work effectively with diversity. Whilst the nature of training to be a clinical psychologist is demanding, we are committed to making reasonable adjustments to ensure that trainees with disabilities are not disadvantaged.

Entry Requirements

An undergraduate degree of 2:1 in psychology is required, or if a 2:2 is obtained there must be very clear evidence of subsequent academic achievement equivalent to a good 2:1 (eg relevant Masters degree at Merit or Distinction level). This qualification must confer Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the BPS, and individuals should have achieved eligibility for GBC by the time that they apply.

Graduates with a first degree in a field other than Psychology must have completed a BPS approved conversion course prior to application or completed the BPS exam conferring GBC, and will be expected to meet the same experience requirements as other applicants.

In addition, applicants are required to have a minimum of 12 months full-time (or equivalent) recent experience in a field relevant to clinical psychology. This could be direct clinical or clinical research experience (which may be part of masters or doctoral research). Work experience in NHS and similar settings would be expected to have provided applicants with a critical awareness of the roles that Clinical Psychologists fulfil, a general awareness of key current professional and organisational issues and must be able to demonstrate some experience of applying psychological theory in a clinical setting.

Please note: applicants who are completing a PhD must have completed their studies before taking up a place on the DClinPsy programme.

In practice, successful candidates will likely have a strong academic profile and also have undertaken relevant, paid, full-time employment after finishing their undergraduate degree. Besides these achievements we select applicants who demonstrate values appropriate to working in the NHS.

English Language Ability

If English is not the applicant's first language, they will need to demonstrate a good level of proficiency in both written and spoken English by undertaking an English Language qualification accepted by Newcastle University for Graduate studies. A minimum score of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) band 7 for speaking and listening, band 8 for academic reading, and band 7 for academic writing is required.

Residence Requirements

For NHS places candidates require home/EU fees status. For self-funded places candidates require overseas fees status. If you are unsure about your fees status please see the Clearing House residence requirements page.

International Applicants

Application for self-funded places is through the Clearing House using Course Code 18 - X.

We are able to offer training places to a small number of self-funding applicants with overseas fees status (ie not home/EU). Such applicants must meet the same entry criteria as those applying for NHS places and will follow the same programme of study as trainees with NHS places. We anticipate that the fees will be around £29,400 per annum (to be confirmed). International candidates will be expected to attend an interview in person in April/May 2020.

Equal Opportunities

Selection procedures conform to Newcastle University's Equal Opportunities Policy.

Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Trust (NTW) operates the "disability confident" system in line with the Equality Act (2010) and we welcome applications from candidates experiencing a disability. We will interview all who declare a disability on their application and who meet our minimum academic criteria for interview (please see the selection procedure section below for more details).

The programme will make all reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of candidates and trainees with disabilities, and there is a disability lead on the programme team who works to support the individual trainee and to ensure that all reasonable adjustments are made throughout training. A helpful guide for prospective applicants with disabilities is published by the HCPC.

Selection Procedure

There are several stages to the selection procedure. First, candidates' forms are screened and those that do not meet the basic entry criteria (such as absence of GBC, no home/EU fees status for candidates for NHS places, and less than 12 months clinically relevant experience) are excluded. Second, forms are rated by programme staff and regional NHS colleagues, and service user representatives. At this stage selectors rate the applicants' academic attainments, their clinical experience, and how they describe and evaluate their experience. Selectors are looking for evidence of academic ability, indicators of clinical aptitude, and qualities and values suitable for working in the NHS. We have minimum standards for invitation to interview, which are provided in our Application Guide for DClinPsy on our website.

Candidates invited to interview are expected to attend for half a day during which they have an interview that focuses on research, clinical and professional issues. The panel consists of a mixture of members of the programme team, representatives of the relevant NHS Trust, NHS clinical psychologists and service user and carer representatives. Candidates are also be required to complete a research task. There are opportunities to meet current trainees and to find out more about the programme. We usually interview around 50 applicants for 14 places.

Feedback regarding interview performance is offered to those who have not been successful in gaining a training place at any programme for that year, after the Clearing House deadline for all programmes to inform applicants of the outcome of their interviews.

Offers of places are conditional upon the offer and acceptance of a contract of employment from NTW subject to an enhanced criminal records check through the Disclosure Barring Service (DBS), satisfactory reference, medical clearance and any other required pre-training checks.


Candidates for 2020 entry should check for funding updates on the Clearing House Funding page.

The position for 2019 has been that there are 14 training places which are funded fully by the NHS. This support includes a salary, work-related travel expenses (including any overnight accommodation required as part of training), tuition fees and the University registration fee. All NHS trainees are currently employed as Trainee Clinical Psychologists on a fixed term contract lasting three years. Posts commenced at the bottom of Band 6.

Please see the section on international applicants if you are interested in self-funding.

Structure and Content

The programme is full-time for three years and all components are mandatory over that time, including the induction period. The length of the programme cannot be reduced through accreditation of prior learning or experience, all trainees being required to complete the full programme of training in order to qualify.


The academic teaching mirrors as much as possible the placement order. The programme begins with a two-week full-time induction teaching block, which follows a two-week NHS induction period. The remainder of the first year academic teaching continues for two days per week until the Christmas break, alongside three days on placement, and then one day per week alongside three days on placement and one study day per week. This continues until the end of the course, with the exception that there will be one full week teaching block during the week before each new placement transition.

The programme delivers a curriculum which is informed by the evidence base and social contexts, through which trainees gain knowledge and understanding of psychological theory and evidence, relating to specific client groups, presentations, psychological therapies, psychological testing, assessment, intervention and secondary prevention required to underpin clinical practice. The teaching programme tries to combine theoretical understanding with skills training and clinical practice by using a range of research-led teaching and learning strategies including lecturing, self-directed learning, workshops, small group sessions and debates. The topics taught guide the type of teaching utilised.

Clinical Experience

Clinical placements allow trainees to acquire and demonstrate the basic and specific competences that are required to successfully complete clinical psychology training, as outlined by the HCPC and BPS criteria. These competences can be demonstrated in a broad range of clinical contexts, so trainees can expect to work with different groups of clients in different settings, gaining experience of different therapeutic models and approaches. Specifically, there are five clinical placements to be completed during the three years of the programme, four of which are in the core areas of adult mental health, learning disability, child and adolescent services, and older adults. In the third year trainees have the option of selecting an elective placement, and the region offers a considerable choice of elective placement experience in a range of specialist services and regional centres (eg neuropsychology, physical health, psychosis, forensic, or specialist therapy settings). In choosing their elective placement, trainees are encouraged and helped to balance their training needs with their personal preferences.

Placements are organised by clinical tutors on the programme and monitored by them during visits to the placements. Feedback will be sought from trainees and supervisors regarding progress through the placement. In order to pass the clinical requirements of the programme, trainees are required to demonstrate and evidence generic and therapy-specific competencies, as well as evidencing professional development. Personal and professional development is assessed throughout training through reflective writing completed after placements and this is drawn together in the third year of training into a portfolio. In this piece of work, trainees are required to demonstrate the development of their capacity to critically and systemically reflect on their training experience and the impact of the programme on their personal and professional development.


The core aim of the research training programme is to enhance proficiency in research as an integral part of the scientist-practitioner role of the clinical psychologist. The research component of the programme has four main parts:

The Research Models and Methods Programme, which aims to introduce the different types of clinical research carried out in the various clinical settings, and to teach the basic research skills required, including both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

The Empirical Paper, which aims to provide the opportunity to carry out a single, clinically-related project from conception to conclusion, including both written and verbal presentation.

The related Literature Review is an opportunity to develop skills in analysing, synthesising and evaluating a relevant sample of empirical papers related to the project, and this makes up the Large Scale Research Project along with the Empirical Paper. To facilitate these aims the programme provides both theoretical and practical training.

Theoretically, the Research Models and Methods Programme introduces the different types of clinical research carried out in various clinical settings and enables you to understand the research skills required, both qualitative and quantitative. The content of this programme includes: familiarisation with research models; conception of an idea; reviewing the literature; single case design and methodology; qualitative research; using computerised statistical analysis; applying for ethical approval; and communicating completed research.

The practical aim of the programme is achieved through the empirical project, the literature review and the related and more minor assignments (eg research proposal, critical review). The empirical project is supervised by a field supervisor and a research tutor, having been vetted first by an independent "project panel". The Research Models and Methods Programme are timed to facilitate thought and planning in this area and in relation to the review paper.

The aim of the service or practice-based research project is to enable students to develop their practice-based evidence skills, in parallel with their other research skills. The focus is to provide students with the opportunity to structure appropriate data collection to address a practice- or service-related question. It may be appropriate to carry this out whilst on placement, but it may be done in other contexts or settings. Supervision for this research is provided from within the programme team and from NHS colleagues.


Assessments are an integral and important part of the training. To complete the programme successfully the student must satisfy the examiners in all components of the programme (academic, professional, clinical and research). The programme uses a range of assessment methods, formative and summative, as appropriate to assessing the learning outcomes related to clinical, academic and research competences. Assessments include clinical placements, in vivo demonstrations of clinical competencies, case studies, research projects and written essays.


A range of support systems are built into the programme with the aim of supporting trainees through the known stresses of training. Trainees are allocated a personal tutor who maintains regular contact with tutees and remains available to them throughout their training for practical, informational and emotional support. The personal tutor aims to help trainees to develop their personal and professional awareness, and reflect on their academic and clinical development throughout the programme.

There are a number of other supportive relationships available to trainees. We have a buddy system where each newly appointed trainee is allocated a buddy who is a trainee from the year above. Contact is made prior to the start of the programme and often continues throughout. There is also a mentor system where every trainee who wishes to be provided with a mentor is allocated a qualified clinical psychologist with the aim of developing a confidential and supportive relationship across training and who can also provide advice and guidance on professional matters.

Access to the occupational health services within the NTW is available (which includes staff counselling services). As postgraduate students of the University, the Student Wellbeing Service is also available.


Dr Claire Lomax - Programme Director
Dr Anna Chaddock - Academic Director
Prof Mark Freeston - Research Director
Ms Theresa Marrinan - Clinical Director
Mrs Lynne Davison - Programme Administrator
Dr Fiona Gullon-Scott - Research and Academic Tutor
Dr David O'Sullivan - Clinical Tutor
Dr Gary Robinson - Academic Tutor
Dr Lucy Robinson - Research and Academic Tutor
Dr Jacqui Rodgers - Research Tutor
Miss Alex Charlton - Clerical Assistant
Mrs Karen Clark - Clerical Assistant