University of Surrey

Course Code: 28

PsychD in Clinical Psychology
University of Surrey
Department of Psychology

01483 682222

Programme Director: Ms Mary John


The PsychD in Clinical Psychology Programme is a three-year practitioner doctorate which seeks to provide high calibre professional clinical psychology training based on a coherent synthesis of psychological theory, research and clinical practice. The Programme meets the Standards of Education and Training required by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), which is the regulatory body that approves postgraduate courses in clinical psychology. Successful completion of the Programme confers eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as a Practitioner Psychologist. It is a legal requirement that anyone who wishes to practice as a clinical psychologist in the UK is Registered with the HCPC. Therefore, all Programme graduates need to apply to the HCPC for registration prior to commencing practice. A registration fee is payable to the HCPC by the applicant (see the HCPC website for current information on fees).

The Programme is also accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) allowing successful trainees to be eligible for chartered membership. The Programme promotes critical engagement with the discipline of Clinical Psychology and reflective practice within a scientist practitioner framework. We aim to facilitate the personal and professional development of trainees so that they are qualified to work as clinical psychologists in an evolving NHS. The training is actively developed in collaboration with regional psychologists, trainees, commissioners, and service users and carers to ensure that training incorporates the latest practice evidence and is responsive to the NHS and client needs.

The Programme actively promotes the NHS Values which are enshrined within the NHS Constitution. These are: Everyone counts; Respect and dignity for all; Improving people's lives; Compassion; Working together for patients; and Commitment to quality of care. The Programme team is dedicated to recruiting graduates whose individual values and behaviours align to those of the NHS. These NHS Values are aligned with the Programme's Values. These are: Integrity, honesty, compassion and empathy; Inclusive practice across the life-span and across settings; Commitment to innovation, improvement and creativity; Reflexive, interdisciplinary, evidence-based practice; Public and patient involvement in learning; Commitment to adult models of learning with an ongoing pledge to excellence; Effective communication and interpersonal skills.

The Programme has been accredited by the BPS, validated by the University of Surrey and approved by the HCPC (May 2014) and has gained accreditation from the BABCP for the CBT pathway. The programme team are currently waiting for the Association of Family Therapy to visit the programme to consider accrediting the systemic element of the training programme at the Foundation Level in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice.

We believe that the experience of training is enhanced when trainees are from diverse backgrounds. We encourage applications from minority groups.

Core Programme Philosophy and Aims

A core philosophy of the Programme is the importance of the application of academic and research rigor to health and social care contexts. Additionally, the Programme stresses the need for clinical psychologists to be responsive to changes within the health and social care sectors. As such, the course emphasises the development of leadership skills so that clinical psychologists are able to integrate, operationalise and initiate the application of theoretical knowledge within community and public, voluntary and organisational systems.

We seek to select and promote the development of trainees who will contribute to the health service through:

  • A commitment to acting in accordance with the values enshrined in the NHS Constitution.
  • A commitment to the maintenance and delivery of high quality clinical practice grounded in respect for clients from all ethnic, religious and social backgrounds.
  • The application of reflective, rigorous and flexible thinking to all aspects of clinical psychology practice.
  • An ability to utilise and evaluate psychological theories, knowledge and practice from a wide-ranging clinical, scientific and research base.
  • Competence in selecting psychological theory, research and practice appropriate to the context and client groups to which they are applied.
  • The ability to function effectively in a range of social, cultural and organisational environments.
  • Self-awareness of their personal and professional development, and the implications for clinical practice.
  • Active engagement with service users' and carers' views and priorities.
  • A commitment to working within multi-disciplinary settings and with colleagues from other disciplines and to facilitating other health and social care professionals to incorporate appropriate clinical psychology ideas into their practice.
  • An ability to bring leadership to their organisation.
  • The capacity to work according to the BPS Code of Ethics and Conduct 2018, and the standards expected by the HCPC.

Core Skills and Links with Regional Psychologists

Regional psychologists associated with the Programme provide training and supervision in the core and advanced competencies within all clinical psychology specialisms. This allows trainees access to a variety of excellent placements. These include: core placements involving work with adults; children and families; individuals with a learning disability; and older adults; as well as more specialist placements in areas such as rehabilitation, forensic, neuropsychology, health psychology, addictive behaviours, challenging behaviours and paediatrics. Therapeutic placements with a focus in cognitive/behavioural, systemic, interpersonal psychotherapy and psychodynamic approaches to intervention are available. Opportunities are provided to gain experience of working with clients from a diverse range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and across the life-span. Regional psychologists also contribute to the teaching units.

Geography, Demography and Travel

The teaching and administrative base of the Programme is at the University of Surrey campus in the town of Guildford. The clinical placements are based in South West London, Surrey and West Sussex and cover an area of great geographical and cultural diversity; from metropolitan districts of London, through urban and rural areas of Surrey and Sussex down to the South Coast. Trainees are expected to travel to placements (extending from South West London in the north, to the south coast at Worthing, and east/west from Chichester through Guildford to Redhill and Warlingham). Travel within placements may also be expected. Consequently, subject to reasonable adjustments in respect of any disability, trainees must possess a full valid driving licence and be able to drive and have the unrestricted use of a car or motorcycle for work at all times including community based work. Trainees must be able to arrive at work at 9.00am and move between bases efficiently to meet service needs. Trainees are required to live within a reasonable travel time/distance from the Programme base. Application to the programme is considered acceptance by candidates that they will have to travel the required distances from their homes to the locations specified above.

Postgraduate Training in Psychology at the University of Surrey

The University of Surrey as a whole has a strong professional and vocational tradition and the School of Psychology has an established history of providing training in applied and professional psychology and a large postgraduate contingent including Masters level postgraduate courses in Research Methods, Health, Environmental, and Social Psychology, plus the Psychology Conversion course and PGDip Intervention courses. In addition at Doctorate level there is a PhD programme which runs alongside the practitioner doctorate in Clinical Psychology. This provides a vibrant and supportive postgraduate research environment. The research facilities and expertise are of a high standard with the School of Psychology moving into newly refurbished premises.

Close research and teaching links exist between the Programme and the wider School of Psychology. Research related to the clinical domain includes: public health and the promotion of wellbeing; food and consumer behaviour; health psychology including reproductive and sexual health, eating disorders and sleep; obsessive-compulsive disorders; intervention research including CBT, mindfulness and therapeutic communities; the effects of trauma, violence and offending including PTSD, and domestic violence; child and family research including the concept of recovery in children, shame, anger and other manifestations distress in young people, as well as specific areas such as foster care; theory and treatment of personality disorders; autistic spectrum disorders including identity issues; service provision for adults with learning disabilities; psychosis including the meaning of psychotic experiences, recovery from psychosis and cognitive processes in psychosis; brain injury and neuro-rehabilitation; user involvement in research and training; and organisational issues such as leadership, workplace bullying and stress. Within the broader School of Psychology there is considerable expertise in pure and applied psychology. Trainees will be expected to do their research within the interest and expertise areas of the Programme team or the broader School of Psychology and are likely to be joining a programme of research which has the benefit of providing additional support from peers and colleagues. Programme team members have expertise in quantitative, qualitative and mixed methodologies.

Entry Requirements

The Programme particularly welcomes applications from candidates from groups that are under-represented amongst clinical psychologists, and from candidates who have followed non-traditional career paths. It is Programme policy that no applicant will be discriminated against on grounds of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or religion.

If you are currently enrolled on any other degree (eg a PhD or Masters programme) and have any outstanding requirements from another programme, you may be required to withdraw from that programme in order to take up a place on a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership

Applicants must be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) from the British Psychological Society. An exception is made for those in the final year of their undergraduate degree. In these cases candidates may apply and any offer of a place is conditional upon achievement of the required degree mark from a programme that confers GBC.


Candidates are required to have an honours degree. This can either be:

  • A psychology degree which confers eligibility for GBC (1st or 2:1)
  • A degree in another subject (1st or 2:1) plus an accredited conversion qualification which confers eligibility for GBC

Applicants who attained a 2:2 undergraduate degree in Psychology will only be considered if they hold either a completed psychology Masters level qualification (65% or above), or a completed PhD in a relevant subject area. These applicants (except those holding a PhD) are required to send a transcript of their Masters degree directly to the Admissions Team at Surrey. Failure to provide this transcript will mean your application cannot be considered. Applicants who attained a 2:2 undergraduate degree in another subject area will only be considered if they hold a completed psychology Masters level conversion qualification (65% or above).

Applicants who hold a conversion qualification are required to send transcripts for their UNDERGRADUATE degree directly to the Admissions Team at Surrey. (Transcripts for GBC-accredited undergraduate degrees and conversion courses, and for international qualifications at a similar level, will be provided through the Clearing House). An absence of a transcript will result in an applicant not being considered as there will be no means to verify the minimum requirements stipulated.

Please contact the Admissions Team for further discussion if you are unsure of the status of your academic experience.

English Language Requirements

All applicants whose first language is not English and whose university qualifications were not taught and examined in English must send evidence of their ability to communicate in the English language, to the Clearing House, with their application. To be eligible to apply to the Surrey University programme, the minimum International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score required is 7.0, with a minimum of 6.5 in each component. Failure to provide this evidence will mean your application cannot be considered.


Applicants may either be graduates or those who are in their final year of an undergraduate psychology degree. In all cases, applicants must have at least twelve months full-time (or equivalent if part-time) relevant experience at the point of application. Applicants are not expected to have extensive previous experience in a range of settings. What is important is that applicants can demonstrate that their relevant experience has allowed them to apply psychological principles in practice. Applicants must also show what they have learnt from this experience and how it has allowed them to gain a realistic sense of what working as an applied psychologist in clinical or health settings means. Examples of relevant experience include working as an assistant psychologist, Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) worker, research assistant, and some healthcare assistant/support worker posts which involve working with clinical populations and have been supervised by a clinical psychologist.

Applications on the basis of clinical or health-related research experience will only be considered if this research experience involved direct contact with clinically-relevant groups involving the application of direct methods of assessment or testing (eg psychometric tests, diagnostic interviews, biological samples, experimental designs, semi-structured interviews). Applicants may have attained their experience in either a paid or voluntary capacity. Mature applicants or those with experience outside of traditional healthcare settings are strongly encouraged to apply if their experience is relevant. It is important that the minimum 12 months of experience has been gained within the past three years. Previous experience will add weight to your application.

When stating the duration and dates of your experience, this information must be complete and accurate. Any gaps of longer than four months from the start of your undergraduate degree should be accounted for in your application.


If applicants are not using their current employer as their clinical referee, they must explain why or their application will not be accepted. Where an applicant has more than one current relevant employer, they must indicate their reason for choice of clinical referee in the Personal Statements section of their application.

Applications are expected to be well written, demonstrating a good grasp of the English language.

Values are expected to be in accordance with those encapsulated in the NHS Values.

Applications can only be considered from candidates who have home fees status. Please see the Funding section below for further details.

Selection Procedure

Written Test

Applicants satisfying the minimum criteria, as specified in the Entry Requirements section above, will be invited to sit a written test. More details on the nature of the tests will be provided on invitation to attend. The Surrey test will comprise three components, all of which will be done on the written test day on a computer. These will a multiple choice section; a situation judgement test; and a test of ability to assimilate and communicate written information.

The written test is conducted jointly with the Salomons Programme, Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of East London Programme. The written test for these programmes will take place on Saturday 15 February 2020.

Due to the Surrey, Salomons and UEL courses operating different minimum entry requirements relating to past work experience and academic credentials, applicants applying to more than one of these three courses may be eligible to take the test for one course but not the others.

Short-listed candidates will be advised which test centre they are required to take the written test at in their invitation email.

Applicants with disabilities will be given appropriate support to sit the test. Extra time will be given to those with dyslexia. Candidates must advise us if they have a need for particular additional support for the test by 11 February 2020 with supporting evidence. Failure to provide details and evidence by this date will mean that special support cannot be arranged.

All applicants must possess a full valid driving licence by the date of the written test (subject to reasonable adjustments for disability). All applicants are required to bring their photocard licence with them on the day of the written test. This will also be used to document proof of identity. If applicants cannot bring the required document they will not be eligible to sit the written test. No other forms of identification will be accepted. If applicants are sitting the test at one of our partner institutions they will also be required to send a scanned copy of their driving licence to the Surrey Admissions Team prior to the written test.

If a candidate is unable to drive and meets the DDA criteria they are required to bring their passport as proof of identity.

Communication with applicants about the written test and subsequent interview procedures will take place by email. Therefore, applicants are advised to regularly check the email address used for their Clearing House application, including their junk folder, throughout this period in order to avoid missing any important communication from us.

Copies of past test papers may be downloaded from the Salomons programme website, however, the exact format of the test may be altered from year to year.

Please note that the Surrey, UEL and Salomons programmes operate independent post-test short-listing procedures and the material presented here regarding short-listing and interviewing applies to the Surrey programme only.

Interview Days

Following the written test, an interview short-list is prepared by the Programme Team. This is based upon the outcome of the written test scores. Short-listed candidates are invited to attend a day selection procedure that will take place on either the 6, 7 or 8 April 2020. The day will include interviews assessing academic, clinical, professional, personal and communication skills. Candidates will be assessed according to the NHS Values. All contact with the Course will be seen as providing potential information relating to these. Interview panels consist of NHS Psychologists, Programme Team members, service users and carers, and a third year trainees.

Criminal Records Check and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

Given all trainees will be working with vulnerable adults and children an Enhanced Criminal Records (CR) Check is compulsory and will be conducted by the relevant NHS Trust. Criminal records checks are made through the Disclosure & Barring Service. An Enhanced CR check will disclose any criminal convictions and police cautions, reprimands or warnings, whenever they occurred. Organisations that make CR checks must comply with the CR code of practice which means that any information obtained via a CR check is used fairly and kept securely. The CR fee is paid by the relevant NHS Trust. Disclosure of such information does not automatically act as a bar to enrolment on the Programme. However, should any criminal record be disclosed, this would require further investigation and discussion, prior to possible acceptance on the Programme.

Health Checks

Prior to commencement on the course an Occupational Health Assessment will be undertaken by the relevant NHS Trust. The purpose is to screen trainees in line with Department of Health guidance for healthcare workers with regard to immunity and immunisations for infectious diseases. Additionally, it is undertaken to assess current health status with regard to any additional support individual students may need to assist them throughout the course, with a view to future fitness to practise.

Fitness to practise is a requirement of all professions registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). During training (which the HCPC refers to as pre-registration), monitoring of fitness to practise is the responsibility of the course.

Concerns about fitness to practise can be raised during the selection process, including the manner and tone of written and verbal communications with the course centre at any stage of the selection process, as well as behaviour both during and between interviews for those candidates called for interview.


Current trainees are full-time employees of the health service and have annual leave and other benefits in line with usual NHS entitlements. On entry to the programme all trainees commenced on the first spine point of Band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scales. Travelling expenses are currently paid for travel to placements, and University fees are currently paid directly by the NHS.

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

Owing to the funding arrangements for this course, currently applications can only be considered from Home students. The University classifies students as "home" or "overseas" for fees purposes, based on the Education (Fees and Awards) Regulations 2007. Further information regarding fees classification is available from the UK Council for International Student Affairs or from the Student Fees and Funding Office in the University Registry.

The programme offered 32 places in 2019 (numbers for the 2020 intake are unconfirmed at the time of going to press).


There is a limited amount of postgraduate accommodation at the University. In order to be considered for accommodation, application should be made to the University Accommodation Office (01483 682466). The Accommodation Office can also provide advice in finding local rented accommodation.

Structure and Content

Training commences with a mandatory six-week teaching block that offers experiential therapy skills training in preparation for the first placement. The Course as a whole comprises three main areas as follows.

Clinical placements

Currently trainees all complete an initial year-long core adult placement in the first year. In the second year, trainees complete two of the following core 6-month placements: children and family, older people or learning disability services. In the third year, trainees undertake two 6-month placements split between a specialist placement and the remaining core placement (ie in children and family, older people or learning disability services). While it is expected that trainees will continue to undertake core placements and a specialist placement, there may be some changes as to how these are arranged over the three years. Throughout the three years of training, trainees will have regular opportunities to link theory and practice through discussions within small personal and professional development groups, through problem-based learning exercises and through regular meetings with their tutors and mentor. These discussions will also provide an opportunity for reflection, personal and professional learning, exploration of difference and diversity, and the transferability of clinical competencies and knowledge across placements. Placement days are scheduled on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Study time relating to academic work and clinical work is allocated within the timetable.

Assessment is via written and oral reports of clinical activity, supervisor evaluation on placement an audio recording assignment and placement log-books.

Teaching Units

2014 saw the implementation of the new curriculum which was developed in partnership with all stakeholders associated with the programme. The review reflected the changes in the Health and Social Care sector and will ensure our trainees are equipped to become applied psychologists with skills and knowledge in leadership, consultation, supervision and organisational issues. Teaching, workshops and research are scheduled for Mondays and Tuesdays. Attendance at induction blocks and weekly teaching sessions is mandatory. The taught units of the Course include the following and may span more than one academic year:

  • Adults in Later Life
  • Building a Therapeutic Alliance
  • Complex Psychological Presentations and Evidence Based Interventions
  • Children, Young People and Family
  • Leadership and Organisational Issues
  • Long Term Conditions
  • Neuropsychology
  • People with Learning Disabilities
  • Professional Practice
  • Personal and Professional Development Learning Groups
  • Research Methods
  • The Social Context of Clinical Psychology
  • Therapeutic Models and Processes - Attachment Theory
  • Therapeutic Models and Processes - CBT
  • Therapeutic Models and Processes - IPT
  • Therapeutic Models and Processes - Systemic Approaches

Assessment is undertaken through a variety of methods, including: clinical skills assessments; problem-based learning exercises; reflective accounts; and oral presentations of clinical work (summarised below). From 2014 new assignments have included a report of clinical activity requiring single case statistics and an audio recording of clinical activity. All assignments should demonstrate ability for critical and reflexive thinking, knowledge of psychological theories and their application to practice, as well as an understanding of clinical and professional issues.


Assessment of research competencies is summarised below. The research portfolio includes a literature review, a research proposal and an empirical paper. All are examined at viva at the end of the three years. This body of work should demonstrate research skills in a variety of domains and cover exploratory, descriptive and confirmatory strategies. The Major Research Project (MRP) must include empirical work judged to constitute a contribution to knowledge or practice, and evidence of originality should be demonstrated by the discovery of new facts or by the exercise of independent critical judgment. Progress for research is judged at the six-month research reviews.

Timetable of Assignments

Year 1
  • WAIS Interpretation Report
  • Service-Related Research Project proposal and assignment
  • Clinical Skills Assessment: Practice Report of Clinical Activity
  • Clinical Skills Assessment: Audio Recording of Clinical Activity
  • Clinical Skills Assessment: Report of Clinical Activity (N=1)
  • MRP Proposal
Year 2
  • MRP Literature Review
  • Report of Clinical Activity
  • Personal and Professional Learning Discussion Group Process Account
  • Oral Presentation of Clinical Activity
Year 3
  • MRP Empirical Paper
  • Portfolio submission
  • Report of Clinical Activity
  • Viva Voce Examination of the major research component of the Programme, specifically the MRP Literature Review and MRP Empirical Paper

At the end of the Programme, trainees submit an e-thesis which includes their literature review and empirical paper and an outline of the work they have covered on the academic and clinical aspects of the course. If the programme gains accreditation with the Association of Family Therapy and Systemic practice, trainees will be expected to submit a portfolio of work evidencing their systemic competencies towards the end of the course.


Personal and Professional Development

The Programme has a strong emphasis on personal and professional development and support. This model of support was developed jointly with trainees, and is reviewed on an ongoing basis. It recognises the diversity of individual needs and provides opportunities for regular support from a variety of sources. These include access to tutors; various forms of peer group support including a "buddy" system and participation in personal and professional learning development groups; a University confidential counselling service; and a mentoring scheme involving psychologists external to the Programme. Detailed Programme handbooks and assignment guidelines are provided.

Clinical reviews are held with Teaching Fellows following each placement in order to identify developing training needs. An annual appraisal is held with the Teaching Fellow which attends to competency development utilising the BPS Competency and Knowledge and Skills Frameworks. Research reviews also occur on a six-monthly basis with research supervisors and this information feeds into the overall appraisal which focuses on trainee progress in all Programme areas, and identifies current strengths and developmental needs. This facilitates future choices in relation to placement, research and academic activities. It also enables the Programme team to identify further support resources should they be needed.

Programme Staff (alphabetical order)

Prof Thorsten Barnhofer
Dr Freddie Byrne - Teaching Fellow
Sharon Galliford - Chair of Advisory Group
Dr Kate Gleeson - Principal Teaching Fellow
Dr Lucy Hale - Teaching Fellow
Dr Paul Hanna - Research Director/Senior Lecturer
Dr Nan Holmes - Clinical Director
Dr Catherine Huckle - Teaching Fellow
Dr Jane Isles - Teaching Fellow
Ms Mary John - Programme Director/Senior Lecturer
Dr Chrissie Jones - Senior Lecturer
Charlotte King - Administrative Officer (Programme)
Babs MacLean - Administrative Officer (Placements)
Dr Alesia Moulton-Perkins - Senior Teaching Fellow
Dr Bob Patton - Lecturer
Dr Gemma Perman - Teaching Fellow
Dr Laura Simonds - Senior Teaching Fellow/Examinations Officer

The non-clinical staff of the School of Psychology and practising colleagues in the Region provide other academic support.