University of Glasgow - NHS Scotland

Course Code: 10

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Institute of Health and Wellbeing
University of Glasgow
Admin Building, Gartnavel Royal Hospital
1055 Great Western Road
G12 0XH

0141 211 3920

Programme Director: Professor Hamish McLeod


The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme is located within the thriving Mental Health and Wellbeing Research Group (MHWB). MHWB was originally established in 1947 and has a distinguished record of research, and undergraduate and postgraduate education. This is a multi-disciplinary group comprising the professions of clinical and health psychology, clinical neuropsychology, and psychiatry. An enduring strength of MHWB has been the very effective collaboration between the psychiatrists, clinical and health psychologists who compose most of its staff. We have many postgraduate students registered for PhD and MD degrees, and there is an excellent completion rate. MHWB is located within the Institute of Health and Wellbeing.

Overview of Programme

Our principal postgraduate commitment is to the management of the University of Glasgow - NHS Scotland Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Training Programme: over 80 clinical trainees are currently undertaking the Doctorate. The Programme is led by Professor Hamish McLeod (Programme Director). The team also includes Dr Gavin Richardson (Clinical Practice Director), Dr Breda Cullen (Research Director), Professor Andrew Gumley (Professor of Psychological Therapy), Professor Jon Evans, Dr Naomi White (Lecturer), Dr Karen McKeown (Lecturer), Dr Ellen Homewood (Clinical Tutor), Dr Joy Nisbet (Clinical Tutor), Dr Jess Fish (Lecturer) Dr Lynda Russell (Lecturer), Dr David Grinter and Dr Jala Rizeq. Other members of MHWB, including Professor Andrew Jahoda, Professor Rory O'Connor, Emeritus Professor Chris Williams, Professor Craig White and Dr Katie Robb, also contribute to both teaching and research supervision of the clinical trainees.

The University of Glasgow - NHS Scotland Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Programme is one of the oldest in the country, having started in 1957 at the Crichton Royal Hospital in Dumfries before moving to the University of Glasgow in 1960. In 2020 we celebrated our 60th anniversary of training in the University of Glasgow. For most of its history, a two-year Master of Applied Science (MAppSci) Degree in Clinical Psychology was offered. Trainees graduating from 1995 onwards have been awarded a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy). The DClinPsy is a full-time (46 weeks per year) programme taken over three years. About half of the time is spent on clinical placement with the rest divided between academic course work, research work and personal study. Trainees complete up to six clinical placements covering the required range of core competencies. The placements cover a wide range of training opportunities.

Over the years, the Programme has been run from a variety of locations having settled in the Administration Building at Gartnavel Royal Hospital in 1992. The Programme team are looking forward to moving location again in 2022, to a new purpose built site, close to the main University campus.

MHWB has a staff of clinical psychologists, clinical neuropsychologists, health psychologists and psychiatrists. MHWB has strengths in adult mental health, learning disabilities, neuropsychology, health psychology and psychological therapies. The Institute of Health and Wellbeing provides a thriving environment for learning, education and research. The Institute is a cross-disciplinary group comprising Public Health, General Practice and Primary Care, Biostatistics, Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment, Social Sciences and the MRC Public and Social Health Sciences Unit.

In 2005, the DClinPsy developed as a modularised programme structure in response to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). This enhancement of the programme was guided and informed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) Benchmarks for Clinical Psychology (2004) and the Criteria for the Evaluation of Clinical Programmes (CTCP) Accreditation criteria (2002). Since 2010, the Programme has been accredited by the Health & Care Professions Council.

The DClinPsy programme is collaboratively organised through NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and the University of Glasgow. Psychologists in NHS departments are closely involved in the Programme, through teaching, research supervision and other tasks. We regard clinical training as a shared responsibility and the Programme team work closely with health service colleagues to ensure the best quality training is provided.

The DClinPsy Programme is one of the largest postgraduate taught courses in the College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences. Alongside other courses such as the Masters in Public Health and the Masters in Primary Care, postgraduates on the DClinPsy programme can access College and University level advice and support, including attending courses offered to research postgraduates. Within Mental Health and Wellbeing, the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology sits alongside the MSc/Diploma in Clinical Neuropsychology, and the MSc in Global Mental Health.

Aims of Training

The core aims of the degree of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology are to provide trainees the skills, knowledge and values:

  • to be committed to reducing client distress through the systematic application of knowledge derived from psychological theory and evidence
  • to be committed to enhancing client psychological wellbeing, and maximising client independence, self understanding and self worth through applying knowledge derived from psychological theory and evidence
  • to develop working alliances with clients, including individuals, carers and services, in order to carry out psychological assessment, develop a formulation based on theory and knowledge, carry out psychological interventions, evaluate the work and communicate effectively with clients, referrers and others
  • to work as skilled scientist practitioners and skilled applied researchers for employment as Chartered Clinical Psychologists
  • to work effectively with a range of clients in a range of differing settings
  • to work effectively in a range of indirect ways to improve psychological aspects of health and healthcare
  • to work effectively with systems relevant to clients, and enable other service providers to develop psychologically informed ways of thinking
  • to understand and embrace the core purpose and philosophy of the profession
  • to conduct research which enables the profession to develop its knowledge base, and monitor and improve the effectiveness of its work
  • to manage a personal learning agenda involving critical reflection to enable transfer of knowledge and skills to new settings and problems.

In common with many programmes, we have a strong cognitive behavioural orientation, although there is substantial commitment within the academic programme and clinical practice to other psychotherapeutic approaches including systemic therapeutic approaches and third wave CBT approaches.

Scientist Practitioner

The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology aims to confer high quality research skills that support both clinical and research practice. The University of Glasgow is fortunate in having a very high proportion of senior NHS staff with PhDs and active research interests. Mental Health and Wellbeing provides a dynamic research environment and has a robust programme of research into mental health with which the trainees are encouraged to affiliate, during the course of their training. This research programme aims to improve understanding of psychological disorder through the systematic study of relevant predisposing, precipitating and perpetuating factors and processes. Central to our work is the recognition of the multi-factorial nature of such developmental and maintaining factors, and so we adopt a bio-psycho-social-developmental framework.

Reflective Practitioner

Professional and personal development is recognised and actively encouraged throughout the Programme. The Programme has paperwork and procedures in place, in line with BPS standards (BPS 2019), and relevant guiding documents, to embrace an agenda of reflective practice in the context of professional development. These measures include self-assessment and reflective writing in Reflective Notes (completed for each clinical placement), Reflective Accounts (as part of the Clinical Research Portfolio) and Individual Learning Plan Review (completed annually to reflect on long term competency development). These procedures aim to ensure that trainees "monitor and review their own progress and develop skills in self-reflection and critical reflection on practice" (BPS Standards, 2019) and are "cognisant of the importance of self-awareness and the need to appraise and reflect on their own practice" (Benchmark Statement, QAA, 2006). Through developing skills in reflective practice, we encourage trainees to identify and define their own abilities, provide evidence of competence development for review with supervisors and tutors, and take these transferable skills on into the workplace (Continuing Professional Development). This approach engenders self-awareness, increasing autonomy and an insightful approach to life-long self-directed learning. The process also has organisational and accountability implications, allowing the University of Glasgow - NHS Scotland Doctorate in Clinical Psychology to produce qualified clinicians who are capable and competent.

Organisation of Training

The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is provided by the University of Glasgow in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and the NHS (Scotland). The programme covers a wide geographical area, including Ayrshire and Arran, Highland, Lanarkshire, and Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The geographical area is varied in terms of rural, urban and inner city populations. Psychologists in departments throughout these areas are closely involved in the programme, including placement provision, teaching, research supervision and co-ordination of teaching modules. We regard clinical training as a shared responsibility and academic staff work closely with health service colleagues to ensure the best quality training is provided.

Aligned Training Pathways

As a response to workforce planning needs, all trainees are affiliated to an Aligned Training Pathway including Generic, Older Adults, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, and Forensic. Trainees complete all core elements of the DClinPsy Programme in accordance with British Psychological Society (BPS) and Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) guidance on the training requirements to qualify as clinical psychologists. The principle underlying aligned training pathways is one of increasing experience with defined clinical populations and service contexts without altering either competences required or Trainee workload. Further information is available on our website about aligned training pathways.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

Accreditation of prior learning (APL) is applied to candidates who have completed either the MSc in Applied Psychology (Healthcare) for Children and Young people at the University of Edinburgh or the MSc in Psychological Therapy in Primary Care (MSc PTPC) provided jointly by the Universities of Stirling and Dundee. These programmes, which are also funded by NES, have significant clinical practice (placement) components. Eligibility for APL does not confer advantage during the selection process, however for those successful applicants that meet the criteria for APL, the duration of the programme is 31 months. Further details are available on our website about APL. All places in the 2022 intake will be full-time.

Entry Requirements

All 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.

Essential criteria

Applicants should hold at least a 2:1 honours degree in psychology, from a British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited psychology degree programme that confers the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC).

If the applicant's first degree is not from a BPS accredited psychology degree programme then an applicant must have been subsequently awarded a qualification that confers the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society. That qualification must have been awarded a 2:1 degree or equivalent (an average of 60% or higher) on a Masters level conversion.

We expect eligible candidates to have worked either under the supervision of a Clinical Psychologist or been supervised in a relevant context in which Clinical Psychologists work (e.g. NHS, Academic or Third sector organisation or research setting).

  • Applicants will demonstrate that they have the necessary values that align with the Profession and the NHS in Scotland.
  • Applicants will demonstrate that they have relevant experience working with client groups relevant to the practice of Clinical Psychology.
  • Applicants will be able to demonstrate an understanding of, and some experience in, the use of psychological models in informing change oriented and recovery work.
  • Applicants will be able to demonstrate what they have learned from their experience in terms of the applications of psychological models and theories to the work, and in terms of being able to reflect on their own personal/professional development.
  • Applicants should demonstrate a good understanding of the role of clinical psychologists in the current NHS context.

In addition to the above you are expected to submit a good quality application, that will be assessed by two clinical psychologists, who will be looking for your psychological mindedness and your value base. In order to demonstrate this, you should ensure that you answer the questions in the Personal Statements section.

International applicants whose first language is not English, are required to demonstrate their proficiency in English via the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) prior to appointment. A score of 8.0 or higher must be achieved, with no element of the test falling below 7.5.

Candidates must be eligible to work in the UK without restriction.

We do not consider applications from final year undergraduates.

Please note that the MSc in Psychological Therapy in Primary Care and the MSc in Applied Psychology for Children and Young People have been designed as an innovation in the training structure for Applied Psychologists and provide MSc graduates to NHS workforce roles. NES funds these training roles and will not consider candidates for the University of Glasgow - NHS Scotland Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Training Programme who apply while in receipt of NES funding for the MSc in Psychological Therapy in Primary Care or MSc in Applied Psychology for Children and Young People. This means, if you are currently enrolled on either the MSc in Psychological Therapy in Primary Care or the MSc in Applied Psychology for Children and Young People, you would not be eligible to apply to the University of Glasgow - NHS Scotland Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Training Programme in the current intake (i.e. September to November 2021 application window for 2022 intake).

Desirable criteria

Experience working within an occupational setting with populations experiencing mental health problems or disabilities is an advantage. This may be in the form of practical clinical experience or clinically orientated research experience. In addition, while experience working with Clinical Psychologists is an important advantage, more broadly we look for evidence that candidates are able to relate their relevant experience to training in clinical psychology and the profession more generally. Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek information about the profession of clinical psychology in order to identify the characteristics and knowledge they possess that will make them an excellent candidate for Doctoral training.

We expect candidates to provide a reference from their most current substantive employer at the time of their application to training. If this is not the case candidates should advise on their application why their current employer is not providing a reference. NHS employers may seek additional references from current/recent employers.

Promoting Diversity / Equal Opportunities

The University of Glasgow and NHS Scotland Boards are committed to promoting diversity and welcome applications from under-represented groups. The selection process will not discriminate against any applicant on the grounds of gender, transgender status, race, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity.

The Programme participates in the Disability Confident Scheme: applicants who identify themselves as a disabled person and wish to participate in the guaranteed interview scheme who meet the minimum entry criteria by achieving a score of 12 or higher, as rated by two independent members of the short-listing panel, on our short-listing criteria.

Our programme is considering developing contextual recruitment processes. This is based on evidence that contextualising individuals' achievements using additional information about their educational, social and economic background can lead to fairer and more inclusive selection processes. In particular, this information could help us to recognise individuals with strong potential for success at doctoral level and within the profession, who otherwise might not have been identified.

The Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology or GTiCP (a group involving representatives from Programmes across the UK) have agreed a set of questions, based on current evidence, that are likely to improve the inclusivity and equity of recruitment processes.  The Clearing House will circulate this survey to collect Contextual Admissions data separately from the application form. 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.

What do we look for in candidates?

When selecting candidates for our Programme we are interested in how candidates reflect on, and portray, their experiences and strengths. We pay attention to candidates' reflections on their experiences in relation to:

  1. Evidence of academic strength
  2. Evidence of strength in research
  3. Exposure to experience in relevant settings
  4. Approach to professional issues
  5. Values and ethics

Based on these criteria we assess candidates' overall readiness for training in clinical psychology. We expect that our candidates will bring different profiles of strengths based on their pathways and experiences towards training. We ensure that candidates meet minimum criteria across all of these domains. We especially look for evidence that candidates have reflected on their educational and occupational experiences as a means of gaining insight into clinical psychology generally, the roles of clinical psychologists in the NHS, the competences underpinning clinical psychology and the demands of training in clinical psychology.

Selection Procedure

Prospective candidates should check our website for updates regarding the selection process.

All offers of a place on a course are dependent on satisfactory criminal record and health checks.

All applicants must have the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS) or demonstrate clearly that they will receive this prior to commencing training, on completion of a particular qualification. We will check the status of your qualification against the information available on the BPS website, and we may ask you to produce proof that your qualification confers GBC in the form of a letter from the BPS. We may withdraw the offer of an interview or a place on the programme if this proof is not available.

The selection and appointment procedures reflect the close involvement of our NHS partners, and their wish to encourage recruitment of trainees into their locality. First, all applications are scrutinised by a panel of NHS Board representatives or clinical supervisors and programme organisers. At least twice as many candidates as places are short-listed on the basis of the entry requirements. On the basis of candidates' applications, the short-listing panel considers evidence of ability to reflect on relevant experience, motivation and academic ability. Following short-listing candidates are provided with information regarding NHS Boards. Prior to interview, candidates are asked to indicate their preferences for the NHS Boards in which they wish to be considered to undertake their training.

In light of the Government restrictions, over the last two years, the interview process has consisted of a single interview lasting 45-50 minutes. Panels have combined clinical and academic staff and questions have covered research and practice. In previous years, the selection process included two interviews: a clinical interview and an academic interview, followed by Structured Role-Play Scenario. The aim of role-play is to enable the assessment of candidates' interpersonal and reflective skills. The role-play scenario depicted a work-based situation involving an interaction with a colleague with whom you have a professional relationship. The role-play is observed by two trained role-play assessors normally including at least one clinical psychologist. Role-plays are conducted with actors who are experienced in working with undergraduate and postgraduate students in the College of Medicine at the University of Glasgow. Further written details about the interview process are provided to candidates who progress to the interview stage of the selection process.

Final details of the 2022 interview process will be published on our website.

Involving people with Lived Experience

The Programme works closely with a group of colleagues that identify as having lived experience of mental health problems and incorporate their views into our selection procedures. People with lived experience are represented as stakeholders on our Selection Subcommittee and have contributed directly to the development and refinement of our selection criteria. From 2017, people with lived experience have also participated in observing candidates during role-plays and they will contribute directly to the selection decision-making in this context.


Current trainees are funded via NHS Education for Scotland.

Trainees currently on the programme are employed as Trainee Clinical Psychologists in one of the four NHS Boards. In addition, educational costs for current trainees are paid by NHS Education for Scotland. Self-funded trainees will not be considered.

The University of Glasgow is responsible for the provision of the programme and the award of the Doctorate. NES is responsible for commissioning training numbers, contracting with the University of Glasgow for the delivery of the programme, employment of the clinical practice education staff and contracting with NHS Boards for training numbers and training capacity. Presently Trainee Clinical Psychologists are employed by one of four NHS (Scotland) Boards: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Highland, NHS Lanarkshire, and NHS Ayrshire and Arran. The NHS Boards are responsible for all aspects of current trainees' employment and pay progression. They are responsible for providing clinical placements and clinical supervisors. In this context, current Trainees are responsible and accountable to the University of Glasgow as postgraduate students, and responsible and accountable to their employers as employees.

Structure and Content

The programme follows a modularised structure, which integrates academic teaching, clinical practice education and research training. This process underpins the commitment of the Programme team to maximising the synergy between the clinical, academic and research components of training and reflects explicitly our commitment to an integrative educational process. One initiative to develop from the process of modularisation has been the creation of integrated courses. For example, in the first year there are two integrated Adult Mental Health clinical-academic modules which combine learning outcomes embedded in academic teaching and clinical practice education.

Modular Structure

Year 1 Modules

Foundations of Clinical Psychology
Foundations of Clinical Practice 1
Foundations of Clinical Practice 2
Foundation Knowledge, Understanding and Skills
Service Based Evaluation 1

Year 2 Modules

Children/Young People and Families Theory and Practice
Learning Disability Theory and Practice
Research Methods
Research Practice 1
Advanced Professional Practice 1
Service Based Evaluation 2

Year 3 Modules

Advanced Practice 1
Advanced Practice 2
Psychology and the Law
Research Practice 2
Advanced Professional Practice 2

Clinical Attachments

These are integrated into the modular structure. The attachments cover a wide range of training opportunities. A car is very useful, however those who cannot drive for medical reasons will not be disadvantaged.


The Glasgow Programme encourages trainees to develop a range of high quality research skills that will support their clinical and research practice following qualification. At the end of three years trainees are required to prepare a research portfolio, which reflects a variety of research methodologies. Glasgow is fortunate in having a very high proportion of senior NHS staff with PhDs and active research interests. The Unit of Mental Health and Wellbeing provides a dynamic research environment and staff research interests cover a very wide spectrum. Trainees are required to integrate their research project with staff expertise.


Each trainee is allocated a University Advisor whose remit is to oversee their progress through training. In addition, there is a system of Academic, Research, and Clinical Tutors who co-ordinate the integration of training within each year. The Programme has a number of mechanisms to provide personal and professional support and development (e.g. mentoring) and these are used flexibly to suit trainee needs. We value trainee involvement in developing a responsive programme. Regular meetings are held with trainees to discuss any problems or other issues. Trainee representatives are invited to attend Programme Organisers' meetings and the Programme Strategy Committee meetings. At an informal level, trainees are usually very supportive of one another.


The programme is run by the following group of Programme Organisers:

Professor Hamish McLeod - Chair in Clinical Psychology & Programme Director
Dr Breda Cullen - Research Director
Professor Andrew Gumley - Chair of Psychological Therapy
Professor Andrew Jahoda - Chair of Learning Disabilities
Dr Naomi White - Lecturer
Dr Karen McKeown - Lecturer
Dr Jess Fish - Lecturer
Dr Lynda Russell - Lecturer
Dr Gavin Richardson - Clinical Practice Director
Dr Ellen Homewood - Clinical Tutor
Dr Joy Nisbet - Clinical Tutor
Mrs Lynsay Coulter - Student Support
Mrs Carol Lang - Student Support
Ms Sophie Garden - Clinical Practice Administrator