South Wales

Course Code: 26

South Wales Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology
School of Psychology
Cardiff University
Tower Building
70 Park Place
CF10 3AT

029 2087 0582

Programme Director: Professor Reg Morris
Selection Tutor: Dr Christopher Hartwright


The South Wales programme was founded in 1975 and enjoys strong links with health and social care services across west, east, south and mid Wales. The programme is supported by Cardiff University, local Health Boards and commissioners and ultimately the Welsh Government (Llywodraeth Cymru).

The Programme sits within the world-leading School of Psychology at Cardiff University. One of the largest psychology departments in the UK, this prestigious institution offers outstanding opportunities for postgraduate study, informed by internationally renowned cutting-edge research. Its excellence in research was recognised in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Our location affords opportunities for academic collaborations with research across many areas of psychology, including neuroimaging. Trainees are registered as postgraduate research (PGR) students over the course of the three year full-time programme and form part of the wider postgraduate community, providing access to seminars and social events hosted by the School. Cardiff University has a dedicated Graduate Centre providing year-round, centrally-located social and study facilities for Trainees, and the University also offers opportunities for students to learn Welsh via attendance at courses or through the wider adult learning community.

The programme provides clinical psychology training of the highest standard that meets the requirements of the Welsh Government along with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Psychological Society (BPS). Training is founded upon the increasingly devolved Welsh Government frameworks for policy and practice to equip graduates for employment in health and social care services in Wales. At the same time Trainees are encouraged to explore UK-wide, European and worldwide frameworks and approaches to enable them to appreciate alternatives and to draw upon the best practice and evidence available. The aim is to produce Trainees who combine a strong foundation in service values and the core principles and approaches of psychology with an evaluative, reflective and critical approach.

Successful completion of the programme leads to the award of Doctor of Clinical Psychology validated by Cardiff University. This qualification confers eligibility to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and Chartered Clinical Psychologist status with the British Psychological Society (BPS).

The programme aims to provide a broad-based training encompassing a wide range of perspectives and approaches. Particular emphases are:

  • Psychological therapies encompassing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and systemic practice. The programme is currently working towards accreditation with the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) and with the Association for Family Therapy & Systemic Practice (AFT).
  • Additional focus on positive behavioural support, clinical health psychology, and neuropsychology.
  • A commitment to foster the inclusion of service users and carers in the planning and delivery of training, and to provide Trainees with the knowledge, skills and values necessary to work with service users across a range of contexts.
  • The highlighting of issues of diversity and difference, including ethnicity and culture, disability and disadvantage and the special context of Wales and its devolved governance.
  • A strong theme of professional and compassionate practice, encompassing values, organisations, partnership working, team working and leadership.

Service User and Carer Involvement

Service users and carers are involved in key aspects of programme development and delivery. The programme has an established Psychology Service User and Carer Committee (PUCC) and we employ a service user consultant as part of the programme team. Service users and carers from the PUCC sit on programme committees to provide advice and guidance on involvement. Service users and carers are involved in a range of training-related activities including staff recruitment, trainee selection, teaching, research, assessment and feedback to trainees. Further opportunities for involvement are always being explored.

Entry Requirements

Minimum Entry Requirements

Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)

All applicants to the Programme must provide evidence of eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS) at the time of applying.


Candidates are required to have a minimum 2:1 degree in Psychology (or a different discipline where the candidate has achieved Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership via a conversion degree/diploma). In the interests of equity, if a candidate has completed a conversation degree in psychology, a 1st or 2:1 is still required in their original degree. Applicants with a 2:2 will not be considered. Candidates will need to submit a transcript of their undergraduate degree and any other qualifications (such as a conversion degree) they would like considered as part of their application.

Relevant Clinical Experience

Candidates will need to have a minimum of 12 months experience in a clinical and/or research setting relevant to clinical psychology; at least six months of which must be paid experience and highly relevant to training as a Clinical Psychologist (eg working as an Assistant Psychologist, Research Assistant on clinically relevant research project, Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, Clinical Associate Psychologist). Highly relevant clinical experience should include substantial interaction with people with significant health and/or psychological difficulties, ideally under the supervision of a Clinical Psychologist. Our short-listing criteria credit a maximum of two years full-time equivalent paid and highly relevant experience.

Additional Requirements

All applicants must have Home Fees Status and eligibility for employment by the NHS at the start of the programme (30 September 2020).

Applicants must demonstrate a sufficient command of the English language. Applicants for whom English is not their first language will be required to demonstrate English language ability to the standard of Level 7 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), taken no more than two years before the proposed date of entry (or an alternative English language test accepted by Cardiff University).

In line with NHS workforce planning, a commitment to working in Wales post qualification is regarded as a definite advantage. Similarly, the ability to speak Welsh is desirable.


Applications must be accompanied by both a clinical/experience reference and an academic reference. Applications will not be considered at short-listing unless both the academic and experience references have been received. Further references will be required if offered a place on the programme.

Candidates will usually need to have a good reference from their current employer or supervisor, unless they have only been in post for a short period of time, in which case they could consider asking a recent employer/supervisor who has known them for longer. The academic reference should be provided by someone able to comment on the candidate's performance on an academic course of study.

Equal Opportunities

Cardiff and Vale UHB is an equal opportunities organisation and the programme welcomes applications from all sectors of the community and from applicants from diverse backgrounds, applicants with disabilities and applicants with varied experience. Applicants are asked to notify the programme of any access or facility requests in advance of the interview so that reasonable adjustments can be put in place.

Selection Procedure

All applicants to the South Wales programme are required to undertake an initial short-listing test in the form of an online general mental ability (GMA) assessment comprising both verbal reasoning and deductive reasoning tests. Details of how to complete the GMA assessments will be emailed to all candidates in early 2020. Candidates will have a two week window in February 2020 to complete the assessments. Applicants scoring at or above the 40th centile on both the verbal reasoning and the deductive reasoning tests (N = 114 in 2019) are then subject to an anonymised paper short-listing procedure undertaken by members of the Programme Selection Sub-Committee. Short-listing is based on academic performance, research experience, relevant clinical experience, and evidence of a candidate's knowledge, skills, personal qualities and values. The programme typically short-lists 54 candidates. The ability to speak Welsh fluently is also considered.

Short-listed candidates will be invited to interview on either 30 March, 31 March or 1 April 2020. The interview currently involves a written exercise and two panel interviews focusing on academic & clinical competence and on personal & professional competence. You may also be asked to retake the online general mental ability assessment on the day of your interview. During the day you will also have time to meet informally with current trainees not involved in selection decisions.

Please note: Due to the high number of applicants, the Programme does not give feedback to applicants who are not interviewed. Candidates who are unsuccessful at interview are given the opportunity to speak to a member of the selection panels for feedback on their overall interview performance. Written feedback is not available.

Welsh Language

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified high calibre candidates. However, the legal status of the Welsh language in all areas of life in Wales (particularly health and social care), means that the Programme welcomes applications from Welsh speakers. The "Strategic framework for Welsh language services in health, social services and social care 2016-2019" emphasised that the use of the Welsh language is especially important for many vulnerable people and their families who need to access services in their first language, such as older people suffering from dementia or stroke who may lose their second language or very young children who may only speak Welsh. In support of this, the South Wales Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology would be keen to support trainees who are fluent Welsh speakers, or learning to speak Welsh, to apply so that the strategic vision of the Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Cardiff University of offering and providing services through the medium of Welsh can be closer to being fulfilled.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board also provide a range of facilities and resources to support staff who wish to learn or are learning Welsh to develop or improve their skills, or to increase their confidence in using their Welsh language skills in practice. In terms of future developments, the programme is also looking into the feasibility of offering training and supervision through the medium of Welsh as well as having the ability to offer the opportunity to present written and verbal work in Welsh.

Equality and Diversity

The programme is committed to the principle of equality of opportunity and to providing an environment where respect is shown to all and where individuals are valued and supported in achieving their full potential. The programme aims to ensure equality of opportunity for all applicants applying to the programme and to create conditions whereby applicants are considered solely on the basis of merit and that no individual is discriminated against. Diversity of background among applicants is welcomed and the programme acknowledges the need to remove barriers to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of trainees from historically excluded populations who are currently under-represented.

The Programme is guided by the Equality Policies of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Cardiff University.

Fitness to Practise Requirements

The offer of a place on the programme is subject to appropriate NHS and university fitness to practise checks and also to satisfactory clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) (previously Criminal Records Bureau). With regard to whether applicants with offences or cautions can be offered a training place, the relevant policies of Cardiff and Vale UHB will be consulted as appropriate.

The offer of a place on the programme is also subject to satisfactory pre-employment health assessment. A health condition or disability will not necessarily preclude the offer of a place on the programme unless it impairs fitness to practise. Applicants are expected to meet the HCPC recommendations with regard to fitness to practice (HCPC Guidance on Health and Character, 2009). These recommendations include the requirement that students' health should enable them to complete training "safely and effectively". Applicants with a health condition or disability should take advice from their health practitioner about fitness to enter training and will be given an early opportunity to notify the programme so that reasonable adjustments can be made.

Applicants should note that acceptance on the programme and successful completion thereof is not a guarantee of registration with the HCPC, which has set standards for conduct, good character and fitness to practise (see HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics).

Accreditation of Prior Learning

The Programme is full-time for three years and attendance at all Programme components is mandatory, including the induction period. The length of the Programme cannot be reduced through the accreditation of any prior learning, experience or research work and trainees are required to complete the full Programme of training in order to qualify.


All places on the South Wales DClinPsy programme are NHS funded via the Welsh Government / Llywodraeth Cymru. There are currently no self-funded places on the South Wales DClinPsy programme for either home or overseas fees status applicants.

Trainees are recruited annually and 17 training places were commissioned by the Welsh Government in 2019. Workforce data for Wales indicates a need for expansion in Clinical Psychology training and the Welsh Government has invested significantly in the infrastructure of the training programme.

Current trainees are employed by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) as Band 6 Trainee Clinical Psychologists. Travel and necessary accommodation and subsistence expenses are currently reimbursed according to Agenda for Change rules, and University registration and examination fees are currently paid. In addition, each trainee is afforded a personal research budget of £400 and a generous personal development budget of £1,000.

However, applicants for 2020 entry are advised to check the Clearing House Funding page and the Cardiff University programme website for updates.

Training contracts are for a period of three years and are offered on the strict understanding that applicants will submit themselves for assessments linked to the DClinPsy programme and maintain their registration for the DClinPsy programme.

Structure and Content

Training is co-ordinated within a set of five modules over the three years.

Module Area Year
Module 1/2 Older Adult / Adult Mental Health Year 1
Module 3/4 Children and Young People / Intellectual Disabilities Year 2
Module 5 Extended placement Year 3

Academic Programme

Academic teaching is organised around the modular scheme. Content relates to experience on clinical placement in order to facilitate the integration of theory and practice. The programme is informed by the core competence framework of the BPS, which forms the basis for the HCPC standards of proficiency for clinical psychologists.

Academic teaching is delivered via teaching blocks at the beginning of each module and during individual teaching days throughout each module. Trainees are currently allocated one day a week for self-directed study and also receive a generous £1,000 budget over the course of training in support of their continued professional development.


The programme has a system of continuous assessment of clinical, academic, research and professional competence. Trainees submit five integrated assignments based on clinical material from placement together with two academic assignments over three years. The programme does not currently use examinations.

Trainees competence development is evaluated by the clinical supervisor on each clinical placement. Emphasis is placed on supervisors using a range of modes and methods of evaluation including observation, evaluation of written work, and in vivo assessment of clinical skills.

Clinical Experience

We work closely with experienced and inspiring clinical psychologists from across west, east, south and mid Wales to ensure trainees experience a range of high-quality clinical placements. In the first year, Trainees gain supervised clinical experience in adult mental health services and in older adult services. During the second year Trainees gain experience in services for children and young people, and in services for people with a diagnosis of intellectual disability. During the final year our trainees have a wealth of clinical placements to select from (over 60 in 2018/19) to continue developing specific clinical interests and skills.

The populations served by the programme are varied and encompass the metropolitan cities of Cardiff and Swansea, the post-industrial South Wales valleys and the predominantly rural communities of Monmouthshire and West and Mid Wales.

Regional Placement Model

In 2018 the programme introduced a regional placement model, whereby Trainees are allocated to one of six Welsh Health Boards for the first two years of training. Trainees are asked to submit Health Board preferences when they are short-listed for interview. Placement allocation carefully considers Trainee preferences and personal circumstances (such as family and/or carer responsibilities and personal disabilities) and successful candidates are informed of the Health Board they have been allocated when they are offered a place on the Programme. Health board allocation is not considered until the Selection Committee has approved the list of preferred candidates.

In 2019 Trainees were allocated to Health Boards as follows:

Health Boards
Health boards TraineesĀ (2019)
Aneurin Bevan UHB 4
Cardiff and Vale UHB 5
Cwm Taff Morgammwg UHB 2
Swansea Bay UHB 2
Hywel Dda UHB 4
Powys THB 0

We hope that the regional model will give trainees some predictability and stability regarding clinical placements during clinical training, enabling Trainees to opt to live across south, west, east and mid Wales (and further afield) depending on their individual circumstances and preferences. We are very pleased to say that many trainees continue to work in south Wales on qualifying, and we are committed to supporting candidates from outside Wales to put down firm roots and start a new life here.


Clinically-relevant research forms a substantive part of clinical training on the programme. All trainees undertake both a Small-Scale Review Project (SSRP) whilst on placement within the first two years of training and a doctoral standard Large-Scale Research Project (LSRP), which is completed over the three years of training and examined by viva voce examination in Year 3.

All LSRPs are part of ongoing or emerging programmes of clinical and scientific research led by experienced supervisors in the DClinPsy programme team, the wider School of Psychology and associated research centres at Cardiff University and research-active supervisors in the NHS and Third Sector organisations. Current research programmes are focused on neuro-rehabilitation, impact of trauma and adverse experiences, forensic clinical psychology, emotional dysregulation, eating disorders, recovery in mental health services, autism and neurodevelopmental disorders, intellectual disability and genetic disorders, clinical health psychology, post-traumatic growth and CBT training.

The emphasis on the South Wales DClinPsy programme is on high quality empirical research that is "close to practice" and that will readily benefit service users, clinicians and the wider profession. To this end, the research methods and techniques for the LSRP are selected according to what is required to address particular research questions. The programme can draw upon expertise in clinical trials work, psychometric and behavioural measure development, behavioural phenotyping, neuroscience and psychophysiological methods, Q methodology, Grounded Theory and Repertory Grid technique. Trainees are encouraged to collaborate with their peers, both within and across cohorts as well with other researchers and practitioners in other disciplines including medicine, genetics and neuroscience.

Both the LSRP and SSRP are supported by teaching on research, service evaluation and audit. All trainees are supported to disseminate their work appropriately and publication is expected. To facilitate this, the LSRP is written up as a portfolio thesis that includes both a systematic literature review and an empirical research paper written for submission to specific journals. In addition, trainees are supported to present their work at national and international conferences as well to local services and service users.


The programme team is committed to supporting trainee personal and professional development and a range of systems are in place to facilitate this. These include:

  • An appraisal tutor for the three years of training to monitor and support trainee competence development throughout training.
  • A professional mentor for the three years of training who is a clinical psychologist independent of the programme team and not normally involved in the assessment of trainees. Professional mentors provide an opportunity for trainees to reflect on and make sense of their experience of training and to consider personal professional issues.
  • A buddy system is in operation whereby more experienced trainees support trainees new to the programme and this is co-ordinated by the trainees themselves.
  • Cardiff and Vale UHB Employee Wellbeing and Occupational Health Services.
  • Cardiff University student counselling and disability support service.
  • Regular trainee meetings. Trainee involvement in the programme is highly valued and trainees have representation on key programme committees.
  • Regular (6 weekly) reflective practice groups throughout training.


The programme has 12 staff with a wide range of expertise and interests and who undertake clinical work or clinical research in addition to their role with the DClinPsy and hold substantive or honorary positions with Cardiff University. The team receives excellent in-house administrative and technical support.

Professor Reg Morris - Programme Director
Dr John Fox - Clinical Director
Dr Dougal Hare - Research Director
Dr Jennifer Moses - Academic Director
Dr Louise Waddington - Therapies Director
Dr Christopher Hartwright - Senior Clinical Tutor & Selection Tutor
Dr Victoria Samuel - Senior Research Tutor
Dr Christopher Hobson - Senior Clinical Tutor
Dr Heledd Lewis - Senior Clinical Tutor
Dr Helen Penny - Senior Academic Tutor
Dr Marc William - Senior Academic Tutor
Dr Aimee Puddock - Senior Clinical Tutor
Kerrianne Trotman - Senior Programme Administration Manager
Linda Hill - Personal Assistant/Programme Co-ordinator
Andrea Osborne - Programme Secretary