University of Exeter

Course Code: 09

Self-funded Course Code: 09 - X

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
University of Exeter
College of Life and Environmental Science
School of Psychology
Washington Singer Laboratories
Perry Road
EXETER
EX4 4QG

DClinPsy@exeter.ac.uk
University of Exeter DClin Handbook

Programme Director: Professor Eugene Mullan
Selection Tutor: Dr Phil Gower

Introduction

Comment from a trainee:

"Training at Exeter has been a wonderful experience - it has given me the opportunity to cultivate knowledge and clinical skills to develop into an authentic practitioner. My practice has been enhanced through the opportunity to develop knowledge of different models and application of these to clinical work. The staff are supportive and flexible. They create a friendly environment in which they challenge and encourage me to meet professional goals."

The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme is the founding programme within our suite of over 20 postgraduate clinical training programmes. Exeter has been training Clinical Psychologists for over 40 years, and graduates have been influential in developing new approaches to the delivery of psychological treatments and innovations in practice in the UK and worldwide.

The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme is part of CEDAR (Clinical Education, Development and Research) which runs a portfolio of postgraduate clinical qualifying programmes training the next generation of clinical researchers and practitioners. The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme is supported by a number of major research groups including SMARTLab and the Mood Disorders Centre, both advancing the understanding and treatment of mood disorders, as well as the Centre for Adolescent and Adult Neuropsychology Research (CAN/CCNR). The new Sir Henry Wellcome Building provides a research clinic, a specialist bio-behavioural laboratory, and excellent teaching and conference facilities, which are used by the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme.

We value our strong collaborative relationship with clinicians within the NHS, who provide excellent placements and contribute to high quality teaching. In addition, we are fortunate to have an active group of people with lived experiences of mental health through the Lived Experience Group, who contribute to the delivery and shaping for the programme.

Why Choose Exeter?

Comment from a trainee:

"Inevitably the DClinPsy is a busy and demanding programme, however I have been really struck at Exeter not just by the array of great learning opportunities and experiences, but by the flexibility and kindness of the staff team (research, academic, clinical, and admin). To me personally, I have particularly valued feeling that the team works so hard to make sure that we enjoy the three years and support us each as individuals to help us to manage personal challenges, pursue our particular goals and interests, and to get the most out of the training experience."


  • Over 40 years’ experience in providing clinical psychology training.
  • Emphasis on adult lifelong learning exemplified in our problem-based learning approach.
  • Strong commitment to offer a broad theoretical base in the three major evidence based approaches to a level of enhanced eligibility for accreditation (CBT, Cognitive Analytic Therapy and Systemic).
  • Innovative leadership and reflective organisational practice teaching that develops resilience and the skills of trainees to be effective influencers within the NHS context.
  • Expertise in clinical neuropsychology and mood disorders.
  • Commitment to promoting diversity and challenging inequalities.
  • Strong service user focus.
  • Excellent range of research opportunities.

All of this in a beautiful campus with placement provision across Somerset and Devon providing access to a variety of cities, towns and both rural and coastal areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Commendation from BPS accreditation visit, 2015:

"The trainees appear to flourish as a consequence of the stimulating and progressive educational environment and the physical resources are impressive.... There is a dedicated and approachable staff team who are highly responsive to trainee and supervisor needs. There is clear evidence that the programme is well regarded by all stakeholders."

Entry Requirements - Essential Criteria

Selection processes and criteria are under continuing review and, whilst the information below is correct at the time of submission, the most up-to-date information will be on our website.

Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)

Applicants must have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS) when they apply to the programme and a BPS recognised undergraduate honours degree at 2:1 level. Only those candidates who have GBC will be considered. If you are an Open University graduate and are awaiting confirmation of your GBC status at the time of application, please contact the Programme Administrator to discuss this further.

Applicants who obtained a 2:2 honours degree in a BPS recognised undergraduate degree might be eligible to apply but would need additional minimum postgraduate (Masters level that has a clear research component) qualifications to demonstrate academic competence for a Doctoral level programme.

Degree qualifications awarded outside the UK are assessed by the BPS for eligibility for GBC. Usually GBC is conferred when an individual has completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology, or a postgraduate degree which includes a substantive period of study in Psychology. If your qualifications are from outside the UK, you must apply for membership of the BPS and they will check your qualifications as part of the application process.

Clinical Experience

All applicants require a minimum of one year of clinical experience of working with people with psychological needs, which ideally would be supervised by a clinical psychologist. Paid work as a psychology assistant (AP) or IAPT therapist/wellbeing practitioner are particularly valuable, however, voluntary work as an AP, Healthcare Assistant, or Support Worker also provide valuable experience. (Short part-time volunteer work or short placements during a first degree are normally insufficient on their own.) Experience can be gained in any type of environment, whether within the NHS or other health or social care settings. The purpose of experience is to help applicants develop the competencies needed for training such as resilience to working with psychological distress, a commitment to reflective practice and to gain a realistic sense of the clients with whom clinical psychologists work, and of the profession and its working practices.

Candidates whose experience is restricted to an academic research setting should ensure that they gain some familiarity with clinical populations and settings. Substantive voluntary posts may also be relevant, particularly when these are in statutory settings.

Driving licence

As the programme covers a wide and rural geographical area all applicants must possess a full valid driving licence at application (subject to reasonable adjustments for disability). All applicants are required to submit their full driving licence one week before interview date. If applicants cannot submit their driving licence documents they will not be eligible for interview. All candidates must undertake to meet the travel requirements of the programme.

References

All applicants must have one academic referee and one clinical experience referee. Academic referees should be a suitably qualified professional, be able to comment on an applicant's academic ability, and preferably have direct experience of the applicant's academic work or research experience. The clinical experience referee should be able to demonstrate the applicant's suitability for training as a clinical psychologist. Ideally this reference would be from a clinical psychologist and recent. Please note that it is not usually acceptable to have both references provided by academics or both by clinicians. If you intend to have both reference provided by academics or clinicians, you will be expected to justify this in your application form (in the Personal Statements section).

The Programme encourages applicants to carefully consider their referees as to their suitability to provide the information requested in the Clearing House reference forms.

Residence Requirements

At Exeter the commissioning body (Health Education England) has residence requirements that all applicants need to meet to be considered. We require applicants to meet residence requirements based on the NHS Bursary Scheme (see the NHS Bursaries website and their Personal Eligibility Calculator for details).

English Language Ability

The English language ability requirement for entry to the programme is a score of at least 7.0 on IELTS (Health & Care Professions Council Standard of Proficiency 1b.3). If English is not your first language, and your degree was not taught and examined in English, we require you to provide evidence that you meet the HCPC standard.

Selection Procedure

Commendation from BPS accreditation visit, 2015:

"The Lived Experience Group is an integral part of the training provision and is very creative and innovative its approaches, particularly with regard to trainee selection. The group clearly enhances the programme and trainee experience in a meaningful way."

Selection processes and criteria are under continuing review and, whilst the information below is correct at the time of submission, the most up-to-date information will be on our website.

The Programme seeks to select trainees who have the capacity to complete a highly demanding professional doctorate level training programme. In line with following an evidence-based approach, Exeter selects on the basis of the Competency Model which was developed following a job analysis of the trainee clinical psychology role (Baron & O'Reilly, 2012). The model specifies ten competencies that underpin successful trainee clinical psychologists. These are: intellectual ability and academic rigour; communication skills; self-awareness and openness to learning; personal maturity; warmth and empathy; resilience; organisation; autonomy and initiative; motivation and application; and contextual awareness. Please also see the Trainee Clinical Psychologist Person Specification available on our website.

Our hope is that an Exeter trainee will maintain and advance the standards of the Profession while providing excellent service to clients, carers and colleagues within the NHS and other health and social care settings. We therefore want to attract and select trainees who have the required competencies, as well as being able to demonstrate that their values and behaviours align with the values of the NHS Constitution.

Selection Process

Exeter expects to recruit for 11 training places in 2018, with Exeter University as the main academic base and locality bases in Somerset and Devon.

We are keen to have selection procedures that are informed by current thinking on inequalities, and therefore we have active involvement in the selection process from people who have experience of services as well as team members and clinical psychologists, all of whom help ensure that we run a fair process and select the strongest candidates.

The selection process has three stages.

  1. Screening
    All applications are screened to ensure that candidates meet the essential criteria. Any applications that do not meet the essential criteria will not be put forward for short-listing. Essential criteria include (follow the links for further details):

    Screening processes are currently under review. Whilst the information above is correct at the time of submission, it may be subject to change. Of particular note, Exeter is considering the use of a screening process for short-listing applicants but the most up-to-date information will be on our website.

  2. Short-listing
    A short-list of candidates is identified by a short-listing panel comprising members of the programme staff and practising psychologists. Applications are rated according to short-listing criteria which are drawn from the competency model. The key domains are:
    • Intellectual ability - as evidenced by academic and research experience.
    • Psychological Practice - as evidenced by experience of working with people with psychological difficulties, experience of being supervised by a clinical psychologist, broader life experiences and their relevance to psychology and the values embodied in diversity, and contextual awareness of the NHS and/or health and social care settings.
    • Readiness for training - as evidenced by the applicant's resilience, motivation and application to complete demanding programmes of study, or work in demanding posts.
    • Communication skills - as evidenced through the quality of the application form.

    The top 20% of applicants, all of whom are deemed suitable for interview, are ranked. The highest ranked candidates are allocated to interview spaces, and the next 15 candidates are rank ordered onto the interview reserve list.

    Exeter encourages applications from candidates who have a disability but we do not operate the Disability Symbol scheme, as DClin programmes are exempt from the scheme. The Exeter programme adopts a different approach, and offers all applicants who are ranked in the top 20% and have ticked the disability box an interview.

  3. Interviews
    Candidates will be required to take part in one interview (evaluating research and clinical experience) and a group task co-produced by the programme and the lived experience group. A written task may also be required. We intend the time you spend with us to be respectful, constructive and supportive, and all candidates will be given a clear brief about what to expect when they are invited for interview. All selection tasks are designed to give candidates the opportunity to demonstrate the required competencies and values required for entry into the programme.

All offers of a place on a course are dependent on satisfactory satisfactory criminal record and health checks and compliance with health checks will be acted upon.

Equal Opportunities

The benefits of diversity within the profession are well understood, and the Programme is committed to proactively enhancing diversity both within the training community and the wider profession. We welcome applicants from diverse cultural and personal contexts, mature applicants with extensive life experience, and applicants with disabilities. Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age, disability, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, religion or belief. The selection procedures are designed to be fair, and informed by current thinking on broadening access, thereby enabling the Exeter programme to select the strongest candidates.

Candidates with disabilities are welcome to contact us to discuss the programme's capacity to meet their training needs. Please contact the Programme Administrator or the University AccessAbility department for further details.

Feedback

Due to the high numbers of applicants, the Programme does not give feedback to applicants who are not interviewed. Feedback on interview performance will be available on request after the selection process has been completed.

Funding

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 are paid on the first spine point of Band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scales. Currently, travelling expenses are paid for travel to placement, and University fees are paid directly by the NHS.

Candidates for 2018 entry should check for funding updates on the Clearing House Funding page.

International Applicants

Applications should be made via the Clearing House using Course Code 09 - X

We welcome applications from international and self-funding candidates who can secure financial support throughout the duration of training on the Programme. Such applicants must meet our entry criteria and also have overseas fees status.

For applicants with international qualifications, a copy of an appropriate transcript of all relevant qualifications (along with an official translation into English where appropriate) must be included with the application.

Please adhere to the advice given above regarding the additional documentation needed to support applications and the deadline by which this must be submitted to the Programme.

The offer of a place on the training programme is subject to the applicant gaining a successful police check from all relevant residences and an Occupational Health clearance prior to arrival in the UK. A successful Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is required on arrival in the UK. Failure to do so will lead to Exeter withdrawing their sponsorship and the applicant will be required to return to their native country.

Structure and Content

The programme is registered at Post Graduate Research (PGR) level and all modules of the programme are research informed.

Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

There is no provision in the Exeter degree regulations for Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning. The Programme is full-time for three years and attendance at all programme components is mandatory over that time, including the induction period. The length of the Programme cannot be reduced through the accreditation of prior learning or experience: all trainees are required to complete the full programme of training in order to qualify.

Clinical component

The clinical component focuses on supervised practice using research and evidence-led approaches to delivering psychological science and practice in healthcare. In Year 1 placements are within child and young people's services and services for people with a disability. In Year 2 placements are with adults, both working age and older adults. The third year is more varied and is crafted around the trainees learning needs and specialisation choices. Trainees have an opportunity to engage in a service-led research project, whilst on placement and engage with research literature (including a critical evaluation of this) to inform their clinical practice. Trainees in the 2018 intake will be allocated a placement base within Somerset and Devon.

Comment from a trainee:

"I really value how reflective the Exeter course is and appreciate the diversity of teaching on modalities that I find really inspiring (e.g., systemic, psychodynamic and CAT). I will be entering third year in a few months and I feel the structure of the course has allowed me to grow into my own unique style of clinical psychologist."

Commendation from BPS accreditation visit, 2015:

"Sophisticated process of placement allocation that appears to take in to account the experience and learning needs of trainees across all three years."

Academic component

The academic component focuses on teaching on psychological science/practice in healthcare, with assessments on critical appraisal of research evidence, application of research evidence to clinical practice, with an emphasis on theory-practice links, and developing implementation science skills. Learning at Exeter is facilitated through lectures, self-directed study and problem-based learning. Teaching is delivered by the programme team, local clinicians and national leaders in their field. Over the three years trainees are assessed through clinical practice reports, problem-based learning presentation and written assignments and an essay.

Commendation from BPS accreditation visit, 2015:

  • "The underpinning ethos of the programme is clearly articulated and the strong emphasis on ethical practice is evident and highly regarded."
  • "The programme has long standing expertise in the use of problem based learning and this approach is highly valued by trainees as a stimulating learning tool."
  • "The range of learning across psychological models is broad and allows the trainees to exercise some degree of choice in developing their specialist skills."

Research module

Through the research module trainees will be encouraged to become independent research practitioners and critical consumers of clinically relevant research. The research module assumes a good understanding of undergraduate-level statistics and research methods, and encourages trainees to develop their critical and analytic skills, strengthening their understanding of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, using the MRC Complex Interventions Framework . In Year 1, alongside PhD students, the trainee is registered with MyPGR and starts a service-related research project, which is co-supervised by a clinical supervisor and an internal research supervisor (research tutor). Work on the DClinPsy thesis also begins at the start of the programme, with trainees being assigned a research supervisor in their field of research interest by the middle of the first year. Research supervisors are normally at least senior lecturer grade and have an active research programme of their own. The trainee works closely with their research supervisor to create a theory-driven research thesis. Formal regular research supervision is provided throughout, monitored by MyPGR. The trainee submits a research proposal for assessment (both written and oral assessment) at the beginning of Year 2. In Year 3, the trainee submits a research thesis (comprising a structured literature review and empirical paper) for examination by viva (with an internal and expert external examiner). Research, is therefore, an integral part of the programme and runs throughout the three years of training.

A generous allocation of study time is given to trainees to compete assignments and pursue their thesis.

Support

We take the health and welfare of trainees very seriously and there are a number of support systems and structures in place. Trainees meet regularly on an individual basis with an appraiser who provides an overview of academic, research, and clinical development. A clinical tutor provides support for all matters to do with placements and supervision.

Research thesis supervisors are allocated in Year 1 and work with the trainee until the thesis is passed. In addition, research tutors and research stream leads provide additional research support throughout the three years of study. Trainees are strongly encouraged to have a mentor. Trainees are encouraged to develop "buddy" relationships with second and third year trainees. There is also a reflective group experience which runs for the duration of the programme.

Staff

The programme team have a wide range of clinical experience and research interest and details can be found on our website along with details on CEDAR and MDC.