Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme
Department of Psychology
University of Bath
Our programme at the University of Bath started in October 2011. It is a three-year training course with an annual intake and leads to the degree of Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy). Our programme reflects recent advances in Clinical Psychology, adult learning strategies, supervision and inclusive processes. Our programme is well supported in this by the University of Bath and by local NHS Trusts.
Key features of the Bath course include:
We place a strong emphasis on recognising the importance of inclusivity in clinical psychology and fully encourage applications from people with a wide range of different backgrounds. We ensure that People with Personal Experience (PPE) are involved in most aspects of our programme.
The Bath programme ethos reflects the core values of the NHS Constitution and we recruit individuals with the right attitudes and values who can work in a professional, respectful and compassionate way with a diverse range of people presenting with distressing psychological difficulties. We are committed to improving lives through promoting quality interventions. Trainees learn the importance of theory-practice links and how psychological theory informs clinical practice. Training draws on the full range of empirically-grounded psychological theory, including psychopathology alongside other areas of psychology such as social and developmental psychology. The emphasis of assessment and therapy is person-centred in the broad sense. The programme training and placements are based on an understanding of the importance of equality, diversity and empowerment.
Trainees are supported to develop high levels of competency in academic, clinical and research domains through a learner-led model of training. They will learn to become highly capable scientist practitioners, able to skillfully blend the scientific basis of clinical psychology ("clinical science") with reflective practice and personally adapted approaches ("clinical art"). Through the acquisition of meta-competencies, trainees will feel confident to extend their skills to work with clients with varied needs that they may not have encountered in training or for which treatment models do not yet exist.
Our programme is designed to foster enthusiasm for life-long learning, personal development, reflective practice and research. Trainees, supported by their course tutor and clinical supervisors, use a Personal Planning and Training Needs Assessment (PPTNA) from pre-training and throughout the programme to work towards the acquisition of skills and goals that are meaningful for them.
Specialisation in the third year allows trainees the opportunity to shape their career pathway to suit the evolving NHS. Accreditations with BABCP and AFT put our graduates in a particularly strong position in terms of employment opportunities.
Our programme also has strong links with Bristol University Clinical Neuropsychology courses. Our programme neuropsychology curriculum has been aligned with some of the taught content for the Bristol Diploma in Theoretical and Practical Neuropsychology. This provides the opportunity for our graduates to reduce the time and cost of specialist Neuropsychology training post qualification.
Our Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is one of a number of well-regarded postgraduate programmes offered by the Department of Psychology at Bath. Other programmes here include MSc programmes in Applied Clinical Psychology; Health Psychology; Forensic Psychology and an MSc in Research Methods.
The undergraduate degree in Psychology is well subscribed with high entry requirements and excellent ranking in UK league tables. The Psychology Department, and University of Bath more generally, has a very strong record in academic achievement, with excellent performance in the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).
The University of Bath campus is situated about one mile from Bath city centre, with regular buses to and from the University. Bath is a spectacularly beautiful city. Among attractions in the region are countless art and music activities spread over the year, including the prestigious annual Bath Festival and Glastonbury close by. The majority of trainees choose to live in Bristol, which is approximately 10 minutes from Bath by train. Bristol is one of the largest UK cities, renowned for its cultural diversity and inclusivity as well as a thriving art, music and social scene. Bath and Bristol are both surrounded by beautiful countryside with the Cotswolds to the north, the Mendips to the south-west and, just across the Severn Bridge, the Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean. The coast at Weston-super-Mare or South Wales is also within easy reach as is London which is only an hour and a half by train.
Further information about the city of Bath and the university can be found at the University of Bath website.
Our training programme works in close partnership with NHS trusts in the South West region including: Avon and Wiltshire Partnership, Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Mental Health, North Bristol NHS Trust, Sirona and Virgincare Health, all of which provide excellent training placements.
Placements will be available over a large geographic area, spanning from Gloucestershire in the north to Salisbury in the south; from Weston-Super-Mare in the west to Swindon in the east. Consideration is given to trainees' circumstances in organising placements but placements in a particular location cannot be guaranteed and would restrict learning opportunities. The Personal Planning and Training Needs Assessment will form the main basis for consideration of placement requirements. Financial assistance may be provided to enable trainees to stay over in the more remote parts of the region to access placements.
Given the geography of the region, we strongly recommend that trainees have the use of a car and a current valid driving licence. Arrangements will be made for trainees unable to drive including through disability.
Our programme seeks to recruit trainees who show evidence of a commitment to the core principles of clinical psychology and the specific ethos and philosophy of the Bath course. We are committed to enhancing inclusivity throughout clinical psychology and strongly encourage applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds to apply. Along with other DClinPsy programmes, as part of our commitment to making our profession more inclusive, our programme is intending to use contextual information throughout our selection process. For more information about this please see the equal opportunities section below.
Please note: We value both the quality of clinical experience (e.g. working alongside a clinical psychologist, delivering psychological therapy) and evidence that this experience has enhanced a candidate's potential to become a capable clinical psychologist (demonstrated through what they have made of their experience).
All candidates who are offered a place will need to provide a copy of their degree certification for verification before course commencement. You may also be asked to provide the programme with sight of the original documentation at the commencement of the programme. If a candidate is found to have given false information in their application, their application will be cancelled and they will not be offered a place on the programme.
Candidates for whom English is not their first language will be required to provide proof that they possess an adequate level of English competence. This should be an IELTS test taken no more than a year prior to the application date, with a minimum score of 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each element. Grade C or above in GCSE English would also be considered adequate as would completion of a degree in an English-speaking country studied for a period of at least three years.
Our programme will ensure that admissions processes are undertaken in compliance with the Equality Duty (including those laid out in the Equality Act). We are committed to making our programme and profession more inclusive and diverse and we encourage applications from candidates from BAME backgrounds, mature or second career applicants, candidates with a disability, and other groups which are currently under-represented in clinical psychology.
The Clearing House will circulate a survey to collect Contextual Admissions data separately from the application form. The Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology have agreed the questions in this survey, which have evidence for improving the inclusivity and equity of recruitment processes. Completion of this survey is optional, however if you are able to answer any of the questions which provide some additional background about you, and you are happy to provide this to us via the Clearing House, then we would encourage you to do so.
We will in due course provide further details on our website about how we will use the data collected in the survey e.g. as part of our selection processes; for audit/research purposes to consider developments to selection processes in future years; to create reports for external agencies such as Health Education England (which commissions many of the training programmes); etc.
Our programme will make all reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of interview candidates and trainees with disabilities and there is a disability lead on our programme team who works to support the individual trainee to ensure that all reasonable adjustments are made throughout training.
The ethos of the Bath Programme is consistent with the core values of the NHS Constitution and of inclusivity and equality. We aim to recruit individuals from many differing backgrounds, with a wide variety of life and work experiences, aptitudes and talents. We aim to recruit individuals who have the ability to form meaningful and productive connections with the full range of vulnerable people and to always act in their best interests. The willingness and capacity to develop and manage these connections in a compassionate way in clinical, research and other roles depends in part upon their personal qualities, values and beliefs which we assess throughout our selection procedure. We intend to use contextual information as part of this process, and so encourage applicants to provide such information as relevant.
Our doctoral level training course is academically demanding so we evaluate academic achievement, clinical and research experience and personal qualities in the short-listing process.
Applications are short-listed based on the following criteria:
Approximately 60 candidates will be short-listed for interview (this figure may change if the number of commissioned places changes). Candidates will receive an email confirming the outcome of their application. We will not be in a position to give candidates who are not short-listed detailed feedback and would refer candidates to the course essential and desirable criteria.
The interview process involves one interview which will last for approximately 30 minutes.
The interview will assess skills and aptitude in clinical, research and academic areas. The interview panel is comprised of three members: a member of programme staff, a regional clinical psychologist, and a person with personal experience (PPE). Final decisions are made following the interview process and will be largely based on performance in the interview day and the application. A ranked reserve list is also drawn up.
Successful candidates are notified by telephone as soon as possible after the interviews. Unsuccessful candidates are notified by email in the first instance and offered the opportunity to talk to a member of the programme team to receive feedback.
We currently have 14 commissioned places. Applicants should note this may change depending on local NHS requirements (and in the last two years we have had an increase in commissioned places to 24 places). We will inform candidates who are invited to interview how many places have been confirmed for the year of entry. Please note, however, that we often receive confirmation of number of places very late in the process, sometimes after the Clearing House closing date.
Offers will be subject to occupational health clearance and Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks.
As a fully-accredited BABCP programme (Level 2) all trainees are expected by the BABCP to be registered as student members of the BABCP for the duration of the programme. Further information about costs can be found on the BABCP website.
The academic teaching on our programme will work in tandem with clinical placements. The academic curriculum in the first year will cover core competencies and the knowledge required for clinical practice with adults of working age and later life. Working with children and adolescents, people with learning disabilities and neuropsychology are the main topics covered in the second year. The third year will in general emphasise the development of higher-level competencies and meta-competencies including supervisory, management and leadership abilities. There is a progressive shift from first to third year from supervision towards mentoring, peer supervision and supervising others. Teaching topics in the first two years are mandatory; there will be some opportunity to choose topics in the third year. Two days per week are allocated to academic work, this includes days of teaching and for personal study.
Our programme emphasises the integration of university-based theoretical and skills training with clinical practice by using a range of research-led teaching and learning strategies including lecturing, workshop-based training, problem-based learning, small group sessions and debates, aligning teaching methods to intended learning outcomes. Some academic work is carried out as part of clinical placements, with integrated clinical/academic teaching being delivered by supervisors.
The clinical/research/academic integration will be enhanced by teaching which will be conducted both by programme staff and clinical psychologists from across the region as well as national experts and people with personal experience.
Clinical Psychology trainees are recruited on to our programme with an extremely wide range of prior experience, training and ability. Many trainees at this early stage will already have particular aspirations and career pathways in mind. It is also very clear in the evolving NHS that the role of the clinical psychologist is becoming ever more diverse and, to be fit-for-purpose, programmes need to have the capacity to support a degree of specialisation. With this in mind, our programme has developed a Personal Planning and Training Needs Assessment (PPTNA) to enable our programme to work collaboratively with trainees, from pre-training through their entire training experience, to shape their clinical experience to meet their specific needs, career plans and aspirations.
The PPTNA includes sections on skills and experiences prior to training, a personal development plan to meet future aspirations, core and advanced skills and also professional practice. The PPTNA is cumulative and will be an important tool in identifying the suitability of placements and priorities within placements.
Half of the time during training is spent in supervised clinical practice. Clinical practice placements are typically six months in duration and after the first few weeks, three days per week are allocated to work on clinical placements. Clinical Psychology with Working Age Adults is the first placement with a graded introduction via clinical observation and additional time in the classroom for teaching and skills training. Placement experience will then extend to a more independent case-load as the first term and placement progresses. The second placement in the first year of the programme is with Older Adults and the psychology of later life. In some instances, however, a trainee may commence their first placement in a Later Life service if they have the appropriate previous experience. In the second year the placements are in Children and Young People's Services and Learning Disability services, and the final year usually comprises a Clinical Health and Elective placement.
We are increasing options for extended, year-long placements. This may involve ageless services in the first year (covering competencies for working age adults and later life), or specialist services in the third year, where certain therapeutic models (e.g. DBT) or client groups (people who are harder to engage or have more severe and complex needs) require more extended contact. There may be some flexibility however in timings and placement arrangements according to training needs and interests, as long as competencies in the core areas have been attained. A clinical health placement is not mandatory if trainees have had this kind of experience in another placement and wish to develop other specialist skills.
At the moment during COVID-19 some of our placements are taking place remotely. It is not clear at the time of publication what our working practices on placement will look like in October 2022. At present we ask that trainees follow what their supervisor is doing with regards to whether to go into placement or work remotely, with the exception of those trainees with underlying health conditions for whom remote working might be advised. This is assessed on a case by case basis.
Consistent with the aim to train competent scientist-practitioners, and our commitment to evidence-based practice, the course has a strong research element. There are three main research projects within the course: main research project, literature review and a service-related research project. There is some flexibility as to the timing of these projects according to topics and scheduling of relevant placements. All research projects need to be completed by May of the third year. All research assignments should be of a standard and in a style suitable for publication in an appropriate journal, rather than as a thesis which then has to be rewritten for publication. It is hoped that this will help trainees develop skills in writing for publication and ensure that much of the high-quality work conducted by trainees finds its way into journals. Trainee projects are often presented at national and international conferences, such as the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy conference. As a Bath programme trainee, you will be encouraged and supported to disseminate your work from early in the Programme.
Assessments are an integral part of the degree. Our programme has worked hard to ensure that assessments are varied and interesting useful learning experiences in their own right. Assessments include case studies, clinical placements, research project, literature review, service-related research project, and a reflective narrative of development as a clinical psychologist.
A core part of our programme focuses on enabling every trainee to become the type of clinical psychologist they want to be. Everyone comes on to training with different life experiences, interests and aspirations and we aim to support the flourishing of each individual. Throughout all three years of training the Personal and Professional Development Unit supports trainees in developing reflective practice, leadership skills, awareness of inclusivity and equality, and we involve PPE throughout training.
This includes an optional eight-week mindfulness course, not to qualify trainees in delivering mindfulness but, to provide a first stage in working towards such competencies. The mindfulness course is an opportunity to experience the psychological processes and effects that support the delivery of evidence-based mindfulness interventions. It also offers personal skill development in stress management, self-awareness and reflection. Mindfulness is one part of our broader commitment to supporting trainees' health and wellbeing.
Our programme at Bath has both Level 2 accreditation with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) and Foundation level accreditation with the Association of Family Therapy (AFT). Both accreditations are highly prized additions on our programme. However, eligibility for BABCP and AFT accreditations are not requirements for passing the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.
A trainee who passed all DClinPsy programme assessments, yet did not meet all the requirements for BABCP Level 2 and/or AFT Foundation level accreditations, would still pass the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. In such rare circumstances the trainee would be included in the DClinPsy pass list sent to HCPC, but would not be included in the pass list sent to BABCP nor issued with a Foundation in Systemic Family Therapy Training certificate.
Training is a life-changing process, which can be life-enhancing, but which can also be challenging at times. At Bath, we are committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of our trainees and we help trainees to develop resilience and a healthy work-life balance. A range of support options will be available for trainees in recognition of individual differences and preferences.
Support systems include personal tutors (clinical psychologists from the Region who are knowledgeable about the course but not part of the programme team); buddies (other Bath trainees); clinical tutors and termly reflective sessions with the programme team. One of the main supports for trainees is members of their own peer group so there will be an emphasis on facilitating team building within each year group.
The University also provides a range of support services and activities for postgraduate students.
All academic staff on the programme are research and clinically active. Please see staff profile pages on the University of Bath website for further information about particular areas of interest.
Professor Paul Chadwick - Programme Director and Chair of Board of Examiners
Dr Jo Daniels - Senior Lecturer and Academic Director
Dr Elizabeth Marks - Senior Lecturer and Clinical Director
Dr Jennifer Allen - Reader and Research Director
Dr Cara Davis - Lecturer
Dr Pamela Jacobsen - Lecturer
Dr Maria Loades - Senior Lecturer
Dr Josephine Millar - Lecturer
Dr Rachel Paskell - Lecturer
Dr Cathy Randle-Phillips - Senior Lecturer and Admissions Tutor
Dr Gemma Taylor - Lecturer
Dr Vuokko Wallace - Lecturer and Admissions Tutor
Professor Gregory Maio - Head of Department
Rachel Nee - Programme Manager
Amanda Atherton - Programme Administrator
Dan Clifford - Programme Administrator
Sara Swan Capper - Programme Administrator