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 Dougal Hare
Programme Administration Manager: Ms Kerrianne Trotman


The South Wales programme has a long and established pedigree, being founded in 1975 and in 1992 becoming one of the first courses in the UK to become a doctoral programme. The programme has strong links with health and social care services across west, east, south and mid Wales. The programme sits within the School of Psychology at Cardiff University and is supported by Cardiff University, local Health Boards and commissioners and ultimately the Welsh Government / Llywodraeth Cymru, which has devolved powers and a forward-looking approach to health and social care provision throughout Wales.

The programme is three years full-time and 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). Trainees are full-time employees of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) and registered postgraduate research (PGR) students of Cardiff University.

The programme aims to produce trainees who are highly-skilled and reflective scientist-practitioners, capable of working within a range of health and social care settings and in myriad social and cultural contexts. There is an emphasis on working not just at an individual 1:1 level but increasingly via consultancy, team-work and professional and service leadership.

As per all UK clinical psychology training programmes, the South Wales programme is generic in nature with approximately half of the programme time devoted to clinical placements with the rest divided between academic course work, research and private study. Against a background of training delivered in the core modules of adult mental health, older adult, intellectual disabilities and children and young people in Years 1 and 2, trainees are to further develop their expertise and competence through an extended elective placement in Year 3. The core therapy models for the programme are cognitive-behavioural therapy together with systemic practice and positive behavioural support. In addition, the programme increasingly places emphasis on neuropsychology and clinical health psychology and on work with both developmental and acquired disabilities.

Trainees gain experience and expertise in working within a variety of clinical settings through completing supervised clinical placements that are located across west, east, south and mid Wales and which offer the opportunity to learn the required range of skills, expertise and core competences.

The programme has 13 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.

The programme is located in central Cardiff in the School of Psychology, which is one of the largest and most prestigious psychology departments in the UK. It offers outstanding opportunities for postgraduate study, informed by internationally renowned cutting-edge research and its excellence in research was recognised in the 2015 Research Excellence Framework. DClinPsy trainees are part of the wider postgraduate community and are able to access seminars and social events hosted by the School. Cardiff University has a dedicated Graduate Centre for postgraduate students providing year-round, centrally-located social and study facilities to postgraduate students. The university also offers opportunities for students to learn Welsh via attendance at courses or through the wider adult learning community.

Cardiff has excellent transport links and offers many attractions as a backdrop for studying. There are international sports facilities encompassing rugby, cricket, football, athletics, swimming, sailing and kayaking in three new international stadia, the international sports village and the recent Cardiff Bay development. There are three national-standard concert venues and many other entertainment and cultural facilities including art galleries, museums and cultural centres. First-rate rock-climbing, inland kayaking, mountain biking and hill-walking are available in the beautiful and easily accessible hills and coastlines of south, west and mid Wales.

Entry Requirements

All candidates must be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS) when they apply and candidates who do not provide documentary evidence of GBC at the time of application will not be considered.

A 2:1 honours degree in psychology is the minimum entry requirement and candidates who have obtained GBC through completion of a recognised conversion course should specify this in the qualifications section of the application form and should be aware that that undertaking the conversion course per se is not regarded as evidence of completed postgraduate study.

Relevant UK experience of paid or voluntary work in a clinical, community or clinical-academic setting with client groups and in service settings directly relevant to clinical psychology is an essential requirement for all applications. This experience can be gained in a range of services and settings including the NHS, social providers, non-for profit and independent sectors and university settings. It is difficult to specify "relevant experience" given the diversity of suitable posts, but extensive periods of time spent working across a range of different settings is less important than experience that equips applicants with a realistic and pragmatic view of the profession and an awareness of the role of clinical psychologists and the people and services they work with. An understanding of the strategic, organisational and professional context in which clinical psychology operates is also required. The programme is doctoral level and applicants should be able to demonstrate that they have the ability to refer to and apply basic psychological knowledge and skills to clinical issues and that they have the potential to undertake further postgraduate study and research to doctoral level. In addition, the ability to reflect on and to learn from personal and professional experience and to use this to inform professional development and practice is also required in all applications.

All places on the South Wales DClinPsy programme are NHS funded via the Welsh Government / Llywodraeth Cymru and all applicants must be eligible for Home Fees Status, namely to have been resident in the UK for a minimum of three years at the time of application. There are currently no self-funded places on the South Wales DClinPsy programme for either home or overseas applicants and due to the UK leaving the European Union by 2019, it is envisaged that the South Wales DClinPsy programme will be closed to applicants from the 27 EU countries within the next two years.

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 accepted by Cardiff University). Further information can be found on the Cardiff University website.

As funding for the programme is provided by the Welsh Government / Llywodraeth Cymru in line with NHS workforce planning, a commitment to working in Wales on qualification is regarded as a definite advantage. Similarly, the ability to speak Welsh is desirable.

Cardiff and Vale UHB is an equal opportunities employer and the programme welcomes applications from all sectors of the community and from applicants from diverse backgrounds and with varied experience. All 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.

The essential and desirable requirements for the post of trainee clinical psychologist are outlined in the employee specification which is available on the programme website.


The academic reference is provided by someone able to comment on the candidate's performance on an academic course of study. The experience reference should normally be the current employer. Applications will not be considered at short-listing unless both the academic and experience references have been received. Where applicants do not have a reference from a current employer, they may be asked for one before an employment contract is issued as part of the pre-employment checking process.

Selection Procedure

Trainees are recruited annually and 17 training places were commissioned by the Welsh Government in 2017. 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.

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 assessment comprising both verbal and numerical reasoning tests. This online short-listing test is administered by the Lancaster DClinPsy programme.

Following the online short-listing, the application forms of the highest scoring applicants (N=100 in 2017) are then subject to a further short-listing procedure undertaken by experienced clinical psychologists, service users and carers and members of the programme team. Values-based recruitment is a priority for NHS Wales-funded training posts and selection is based on values and behaviours as well as knowledge and skills. Short-listed applicants will then be invited to a half-day interview to be held 15-17 May 2018. The interview currently involves a written exercise and two panel interviews focusing on academic & clinical and personal & professional competence. At interview, applicants are able to meet informally with current trainees not involved in selection decisions. Unsuccessful applicants are given the opportunity to speak to a member of the selection panels for feedback on their overall interview performance but the programme does not give individual feedback to applicants who are unsuccessful in gaining an interview.

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 alone 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 welcomes applications from Welsh speakers and there are Welsh speakers in the programme team and current trainee cohorts.

The Programme is guided by the Equality Policies of:
Cardiff and Vale UHB,
Cardiff University, and the
British Psychological Society Human Rights Policy Statement.

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 will be expected to meet the HCPC's 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 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

Eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the BPS at the time of application is a minimum entry requirement. 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.


Trainees are currently employed by Cardiff and Vale UHB as Band 6 Trainee Clinical Psychologists, travel and necessary accommodation and subsistence expenses are reimbursed according to Agenda for Change rules and University registration and examination fees are paid. Financial support is available via a personal development budget for attendance at approved courses and conferences.

However, applicants for 2018 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.

There currently no self-funded places, for either home or overseas applicants, on the South Wales DClinPsy programme and due to the UK leaving the European Union in 2019, it is envisaged that the South Wales DClinPsy programme will be closed to applicants from the 27 EU countries within the next two years.

Structure and Content

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

Module Details
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 Elective Year 3

Academic Programme

Academic teaching is organised around the modular scheme. Content relates to clinical placement experience in order to facilitate 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 in teaching blocks at the beginning and end of each module and individual teaching days throughout the module. Trainees are currently allocated one day a week for study.

Clinical Experience

The programme is supported by experienced psychologists from across the west, east, south and mid Wales regions. Supervised clinical experience is provided in the core areas of adult mental health, older adult, children and young people, and intellectual disabilities. During the final year, the elective module enables trainees to undertake a period of extended supervised clinical experience in an area determined by trainee competence development needs and areas of interest.

Clinical placements are allocated taking into account a range of factors including trainee competence development needs, supervisor availability and exceptional personal circumstances such as a disability or primary carer responsibilities. The populations served by the programme are very 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. As a result, placements across west, east, south and mid Wales are utilised and, subject to reasonable adjustments, candidates must undertake to meet the travel requirements of the programme in order to complete their clinical placements.


Clinical psychology is an evidence-based profession and research forms a substantive part of clinical training on the South Wales programme. All trainees on the South Wales DClinPsy programme undertake both a Small-Scale Review Project (SSRP) whilst on placement in Year 1 and a doctoral standard Large-Scale Research Project (LSRP), which is completed over the three years of training and examined by a viva voce examination in Year 3.

All of the LSRPs are part of ongoing or emerging programmes of clinical and scientific research that are led by experienced supervisors in the DClinPsy programme team, the wider School of Psychology and associated research centres at Cardiff University and, very importantly, research-active supervisors in the NHS and Third Sector organisations. Current research programmes are focussed on neuro-rehabilitation, forensic clinical psychology, recovery in mental health services, autism and neurodevelopmental disorders, intellectual disability and genetic disorders, clinical health psychology, post-traumatic growth, CBT training. Applicants should be aware that the continuation of personal research work from a previous Masters or PhD is not facilitated on the South Wales programme and applicants undertaking PhDs must ensure that they are not dual registered if accepted onto the South Wales DClinPsy Programme.

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 and the programme can draw upon expertise in clinical trials work, psychometric and behavioural measure development, behavioural phenotyping, 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, evaluation and audit and all trainees are expected to disseminate their work appropriately and publication is strongly encouraged. 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, and trainees are encouraged to present their work at national and international conferences as well as in local services and to service users.


The programme has a system of continuous assessment of clinical, academic, research and professional competence. The assessment portfolio is designed to support competence development in making theory-to-practice links. Competence on each clinical placement is assessed in the context of the clinical portfolio via evaluation by the clinical supervisor followed by internal and external moderation. Emphasis is placed on supervisors using a range of modes and methods of evaluation including in vivo assessment. Five integrated assignments based on clinical material from each of the modules and two academic assignments are also submitted. Research competence is assessed via one SSRP and the LSRP thesis, which is submitted in the final year for viva voce examination. The programme does not currently use examinations.

Service User and Carer Involvement

Service users and carers are involved in key aspects of programme development and delivery. The programme has an established Service User and Carer Committee (SUCC) and service users and carers from the SUCC 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. A service user and carer mentoring scheme is currently being piloted. Further opportunities for involvement are always being explored.


The programme team is committed to supporting trainee personal and professional development and a range of systems are in place to facilitate this. Trainees are provided with opportunities to engage in reflective practice activities and this is the subject of ongoing consultation and review. Trainees are allocated a team member as appraisal tutor and the appraisal tutor remains with them for the three years. It is the appraisal tutor's responsibility to monitor and support trainee competence development throughout training. Trainees are also allocated a professional mentor who is a clinical psychologist independent of the programme team and not normally involved in the assessment of trainees. Professional mentors remain with trainees throughout the three years of training and provide an opportunity for trainees to reflect on and make sense of their experience of training and 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 operate Employee Wellbeing and Occupational Health Services, and Cardiff University has a student counselling and disability support service. Regular trainee meetings are also supported. Trainee involvement in the programme is highly valued and trainees have representation on key programme committees.


Professor Reg Morris - Programme Director
Dr John Fox - Clinical Director
Dr Dougal Hare - Research Director & Selection Tutor
Dr Jennifer Moses - Academic Director
Dr Victoria Samuel - Senior Research Tutor
Dr Sara Davies - Senior Clinical Tutor
Dr Chris Hobson - Senior Clinical Tutor
Dr Heledd Lewis - Senior Clinical Tutor
Dr Louise Waddington - Senior Clinical Tutor
Dr Sue Channon - Senior Academic Tutor
Dr Chris Hartwright - Senior Academic Tutor
Dr Helen Penny - Senior Academic Tutor
Dr Marc William - Senior Academic Tutor
Ms Kerrianne Trotman - Programme Administration Manager
Ms Linda Hill - Personal Assistant
Mrs Andrea Osborne - Programme Secretary