Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience - King's College London

Course Code: 12

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience
King's College London
PO Box 78
4 Windsor Walk

020 7848 0152
Twitter icon @KingsDClinPsy

Programme Director: Dr Katharine Rimes
Programme Co-ordinator (Admissions): Kayleigh Rawlings


Welcome to the UK's oldest clinical psychology training programme. The three-year Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is based within the Department of Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King's College London.

The IoPPN is a world leader in the research, study and practice of psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience and related disciplines. Our world-class research-led learning experience attracts the very best students from around the world who enjoy unrivalled learning opportunities. Further information about the IoPPN and about the Department of Psychology can be found on the KCL website.

Located within the grounds of the world famous Maudsley Hospital, the Programme values the scientist-practitioner model for clinical psychology and integrates theory, research and practice in all aspects of the Programme. This integration is embodied in the way the Programme team and many clinical academics within the Department of Psychology provide clinical sessions within the NHS, by the many practice placement supervisors who teach on the Programme and undertake research and in the way the curriculum is developed and kept up-to-date through partnership with local NHS colleagues and clinical academic colleagues.

Programme Orientation

This Programme is underpinned by a biopsychosocial framework. This framework identifies biological, psychological and social factors that contribute across the life-span to the development and maintenance of psychological difficulties and mental disorders, or conversely to wellness and resilience. Our understanding of this framework is that it is linked to a continuum view of psychological difficulty. Thus, the Programme seeks to understand psychological difficulty from an assumption of commonality of experience and human potential.

The Programme takes cognitive-behavioural therapy as its main therapeutic modality, reflecting the world-leading expertise within the department and wider Institute, and its evidence base. It also has particular strengths in family therapy, neuropsychology, mindfulness-based interventions, clinical health psychology, and the opportunities for research across the Institute are excellent. A further strength is the cohesive and comprehensive range of both local and national specialist placement opportunities across three world-renowned NHS Trusts - South London and Maudsley, King's College Hospital, and Guy's and St Thomas' - known collectively as King's Health Partners. A final strength is the vibrant and diverse communities within South East London, and the Programme values and positively promotes diversity.

Training Objectives/Final Qualification Obtained

The Core Purpose of the Programme is:

"to benefit service users, carers and wider society through training clinical psychologists who are skilled in evidence-based psychological assessment and intervention, who produce applied research of the highest quality and impact, and who will become leaders within the NHS, clinical academia and beyond."

This core purpose is achieved by training students to demonstrate all Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) Standards of Proficiency and British Psychological Society (BPS) required competencies for practising clinical psychologists, thereby conferring eligibility to apply to join the HCPC register of applied psychologists and become a practising clinical psychologist.

The Programme aims in partnership with all stakeholders to train clinical psychologists who:

  • Embody the scientist-practitioner ideal;
  • Are skilled in evidence-based psychological assessment, formulation and therapy;
  • Will become leaders within the NHS;
  • Conduct high quality applied research to advance psychological knowledge and therapy;
  • Are self-reflective and self-aware;
  • Embody compassion, dignity and respect in all areas of their work;
  • Use their overarching meta-competencies in a wide range of settings to respond creatively and flexibly to new challenges and to create positive change;
  • Take responsibility for meeting all standards of professional proficiency and ethical conduct set out by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Trainees on the Programme are key stakeholders, helping to shape the Programme's development and evolution through participation in training committees and feedback systems. The Programme promotes and values trainees' professionalism in all areas of training.

Trainees are represented on key Programme training committees and hold year group meetings with the Programme Director and other senior Programme staff. Trainees also lead a number of working parties which inform programme development, including the Increasing Access Committee and Service User Involvement Working Party. As well as enhancing the quality of the Programme, these experiences provide trainees with opportunities to develop skills in leadership and systemic working.

Experts by Experience/Educators by Experience

Alongside trainees, service users and carers are key stakeholders with representation on key committees and working parties. Service users and carers are involved in a number of sessions within the teaching curriculum directly via co-producing or co-delivering. Service users also provide input into teaching, assessment, governance, trainee research, selection and placement feedback. Each interview panel includes a service user or carer.


The Programme is based predominantly within King's Health Partners (an Academic Health Sciences Centre) which comprise King's College London and three of the highest rated NHS Foundation Trusts in the country: South London and Maudsley, King's College Hospital, and Guy's and St Thomas'. The majority of placements are located within South London and are accessible via public transport links.

HCPC Approval and BPS Accreditation

The Programme meets the standards of education and training required by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), the statutory regulator for practitioner psychologists in the UK. Successful completion of the Programme confers eligibility to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council as a clinical psychologist.

The Programme is also accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and graduates of the Programme are able to apply for Chartered Membership and full membership of the Division of Clinical Psychology.


The following commendations were made about the Programme from our most recent BPS Accreditation Visit:

"Research base for this Programme is excellent. A cutting-edge research culture of international significance"

"Fresh, innovative and contemporary feel to this Programme"

"Trainees have access to a wide range of excellent placements, including those in the third sector, and clinical supervisors who are at the forefront of developments in clinical practice"

Our Programme Commissioners have also stated:

"The Programme have excellent standards of partnership working with service providers and a well engaged, vibrant study body"

Entry Requirements

Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)

All applicants to the Programme must have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the BPS, preferably at the time of applying, but certainly by the time short-listing takes place (usually in February). GBC is obtained by completion of:

  • an honours degree that has psychology as the main field of study or
  • a Masters or Doctoral degree that has psychology as the main field of study or
  • a recognised conversion degree that confers eligibility for GBC. The Programme does not distinguish between types of accredited conversion degree or course centres where these are undertaken. Completion of a conversion degree means that during our short-listing process, we would weight your undergraduate degree in a different discipline the same as a psychology degree.

Any applicants who are uncertain about the status of their degree should check with the BPS that they qualify for GBC.

Current Undergraduates

Applications from current undergraduates still completing their undergraduate degree or conversion programme at the time of the application cannot be considered.

Academic Qualifications

Applicants should include full grade or pass mark details for all school leaving qualifications (whether A level or equivalent). Grades relating to any non-UK qualifications must be in a format that will allow conversion to a UK equivalent.

Normally, candidates are required to have a minimum 2:1 degree in Psychology, or different discipline where the candidate has achieved Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society via a conversion diploma. Candidates without the required minimum degree class must provide evidence of academic achievement at postgraduate level. All applications are enhanced by evidence of a postgraduate qualification relevant to clinical psychology.

A full transcript should be submitted as evidence of a BPS accredited qualification, along with proof of GBC status. If submitting a transcript in another language, the candidate must also provide an English translated copy.

Experience Criteria

It is important for applicants to demonstrate clinical competence, reflective practice and a realistic understanding of the profession including its diverse role within the NHS.

Applicants are expected to have the equivalent of at least six months' full-time equivalent (FTE) relevant clinical experience or employment, either paid or voluntary, prior to submitting their application. Although high-quality clinical experience gained during an undergraduate placement, or voluntary work undertaken before degree completion can count towards the six months FTE total, it is not regarded as sufficient on its own.

It is important that any such experience acquired is described in detail in the application. Experience can be gained in any type of environment, whether within the NHS, another healthcare body or in private practice. The length of experience can be gained in a number of roles but should equate to six months in total when adding up the FTE months of relevant experience within your application.

Positions for relevant experience include Assistant or Research Psychologists. Other roles are also considered as long as they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Supervision by a clinical psychologist
  • Familiarity with clinical populations and settings
  • Substantive (voluntary) position (preferably within a statutory setting, eg Local Authority Mental Health volunteer)
  • Face-to-face contact with service users (eg graduate primary care worker, nursing or healthcare assistant)
  • Applying/disseminating research

Please note that candidates without experience of carrying out assessments, behavioural interventions and observations and/or treatment programmes with clients in a clinical or research capacity are very unlikely to be short-listed for interview.

Research experience is essential; candidates should have a sound understanding of basic research methods and experience in conducting research. Academic publications are also valued, but not essential, and should be described in the application. Academic publications must have been accepted for publication by peer-reviewed journals to be considered in the selection process. Please note that publications listed may be verified during the short-listing process.

Due to the high application ratio for places on the Programme, it is highly unlikely that candidates who do not have clinical experience as well as research experience will be successful in the short-listing process.

Please note that the Programme admissions team are unable to provide careers advice or advice on further postgraduate study to potential applicants.


All applicants must have one academic referee and one clinical experience referee. Applicants without two completed references will not be considered.

Academic referees should be able to comment on an applicant's academic ability and preferably have direct experience of their academic work or research experience.

The clinical experience referee should be able to demonstrate an applicant's suitability for training as a clinical psychologist. Ideally this reference would be from a clinical psychologist and recent. If this is not possible, the rationale for the selection of that particular referee should be detailed in the application.

Applicants should request for their references to be anonymised (eg "they"). Please note that applications which include references written by family members will not be considered.

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

Please note: a number of healthcare organisations have a policy of providing standardised references for all employees and will not provide personal references. We do not accept these references and would not be able to consider applications where these are received.

Home Applicants

Applicants for NHS places must have:

  • Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership status (GBC); and
  • the right to work in the UK without restriction for the duration of the training contract; and
  • be eligible for Home fees status.

International Applicants

Those who do not qualify for Home fees status can apply for a self-funded place as an international candidate via the King's College London admissions portal. Please see our online prospectus for further information on how to apply.

English Language Requirement

Candidates for whom English is not their first language will be required to provide evidence of English language proficiency. The minimum level is: IELTS score of 7.0 (with no element below 6.5). Please see the King's College London postgraduate entry requirements regarding other English Language Proficiency Tests that are accepted (Band B).

Equal Opportunities

The Programme is committed to ensuring that all applicants are treated solely on the basis of their merits, abilities and potential without receiving any unjustified discrimination or unfavourable treatment on grounds such as age, disability, marital status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, trans-status, socio-economic status or any other irrelevant distinction. We are committed to increasing the diversity of the profession and encourage applications from suitably qualified candidates from all sections of the community.

Further information on Diversity & Inclusion at King's can be found on our website.

The Programme will not use equal opportunities data during the selection process.

Please note: King's College London does not currently subscribe to the "Disability Confident Scheme" (also known as "double tick").

Candidates short-listed for interview should discuss any access arrangements or request any reasonable adjustments as soon as possible.

Mature Students

There is no age limit for applicants to the Programme. All applicants are treated solely on the basis of their merits, abilities and potential, and applications are scrutinised on this basis alone.

Selection Procedure

Applications are anonymised and short-listed for interviewees and reserves by two members of the Programme Selection Sub-Committee. Short-listing is based on academic performance before and at undergraduate study, any postgraduate education or research, relevant clinical experience, personal statement, and references.

There are no assessment tests or formal presentations. If you are short-listed, you will be invited for one interview lasting approximately 30-40 minutes with a panel of three members of the Programme Selection Sub-Committee, which includes a service user or carer.

The interview will consider a candidate's communication and leadership skills, alongside suitability for the Programme and profession. An applicant's academic and research experience and knowledge, clinical experience, capacity for self-reflection and knowledge of current issues affecting the NHS will also be covered.

Please note that due to the high numbers of applicants, the Programme does not give feedback to applicants who are not interviewed. Feedback is offered to all candidates who are interviewed by telephone.

Candidates enrolled on any other degrees at the point of application, eg a PhD or Masters Programme, must have completed their degree in advance of starting the Programme. If you have outstanding requirements from another programme when the course starts (beginning of October), you may be required to withdraw from that programme in order to continue your studies on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.


Training as a clinical psychologist involves working with children and vulnerable adults.  Throughout the selection process and the training programme we will take stringent measures to ensure that the clients that trainees work with are kept safe. Please see the general information on this website about Fitness to Practise, Criminal Records checks, Health Assessments, and other checks for more details.


Home Fees Applicants (NHS Places)

Current Home fees status 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 placement, and University fees are currently paid directly by the NHS.

The Programme interviews 4 candidates per place on offer and expects to interview at least 84 candidates for 2021 entry. 26 places were available for 2020 entry and 21 for 2019.

Please also see the generic Trainee Job Description and Person Specification available on this website.

Overseas Fees Applicants (Self-funded Places)

Those who do not qualify for Home fees status can apply for a self-funded place as an international candidate via the King's College London admissions portal. Please see our online prospectus for further information on how to apply.

Structure and Content

The Programme is intensive. The start date for the first year is at the beginning of October. In each year, trainees spend three days a week on supervised clinical practice placements (Tuesdays to Thursdays) with Mondays and Fridays dedicated for teaching and research. Attendance at all course components is mandatory.

Clinical Placements

Trainees undertake six 6-month placements. The four "core" areas of the Programme are Adult and Child mental health (Year 1) and Older Adults and Intellectual Disability (Year 2).

The third year comprises two elective or specialist placements of a trainees choosing. There is a wide, exciting range of elective placement opportunities within South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), King's College Hospital Foundation Trust, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Trust and in other organisations.  SLaM provides the widest range of NHS mental health services in the UK.


Academic teaching, research supervision and clinical supervision are mainly carried out by members of the Department of Psychology or other departments within the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience; or by clinical psychologists working within King's Health Partners, giving the Programme an overall cohesion and sense of community. The Programme also receives specialist contributions to its academic teaching from invited outside speakers and experts.

The teaching curriculum is delivered through a combination of lectures, workshops, seminars and tutorials. Lectures present theories and research findings, with some focus on practice. Workshops and clinical skills workshops have a more experiential and practical focus, and include the use of role-play and video recordings. Reflective practice is supported through facilitated experiential groups. Placements are conceptualised as key teaching and learning opportunities. This range of approaches is intended to fulfil the different learner needs and offer the trainees opportunities to reflect critically on theoretical issues and their application to their clinical practice and research.

The broad curriculum teaches all Standards of Proficiency for Clinical Psychologists set out by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), and the BPS accreditation criteria for training in Clinical Psychology. The teaching and learning methods fall under the following headings:

  • Adult General
  • Adult Addictions
  • Adult Anxiety
  • Adult Forensic
  • Adult Mood
  • Adult Psychosis
  • Research Assessment and Methodology
  • Ageing
  • Child
  • Clinical Health Psychology
  • Clinical Skills
  • Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Communication and Dissemination
  • Diversity
  • Family Therapy
  • Intellectual Disability and Neuro-developmental Disorders
  • Leadership
  • Other Therapy Approaches
  • Professional Issues
  • Reflective Practice and Reflective Case Discussions
  • Supervision

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 and while on the Programme, all trainees take annual holiday entitlement within set time periods to fit in with teaching and placement attendance requirements. Trainees are allowed up to five days flexible leave per academic year in line with the Programme annual leave policy.


By May of the final year, trainees are required to submit a research thesis of between 25,000 to 55,000 words.

The thesis is comprised of:

  • Service-Related Project (conducted in the first year)
  • Empirical Project and Systematic Literature Review (conducted in the second and third years)

The Service-Related Project will have a clinical supervisor.

The Empirical Project and Systematic Literature Review will have a main and second supervisor. Projects are written up in a format ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. Staff within the Department of Psychology and wider Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience offer research expertise and supervision in a wide range of topics. Please see our website for details of staff research interests.


A developmental, competency-based approach is taken to assessment, combining formative and summative assessment methods.

Qualifying examinations are held in June of the first year. The pass mark is 50% and trainees who fail are allowed to re-sit on one occasion in July.

All six practice placements are Graded Pass/Fail by placement supervisors.

Trainees are also required to pass three assessments of clinical competence to qualify from the Programme. These assess generic therapy skills, cognitive therapy and cognitive assessment competencies.

The research thesis is assessed at a viva by two external examiners.

The failure of two placements, or of an examination resit, or resubmitted assessments of clinical competence or the viva examination, will constitute a Programme failure. No lesser exit award is available under the Programme

In addition to summative assessment, the Programme provides formative feedback and assessment in a variety of ways, including annual appraisals and trainee-led conferences which take place in all three years: in Years 1 and 2 trainees present themed talks on clinical practice, and in Year 3 findings from their research thesis. Trainees receive presentation skills training in the third year of study from an external specialist.


The Programme has a number of support systems in place to ensure that trainees are well supported and to create a stimulating and rewarding environment for trainees to develop personally and professionally during their training.

  • Before joining the Programme, each new trainee is contacted by their "buddy" (one of the current first year trainees) to facilitate their transition onto the Programme.
  • Each trainee is allocated a personal support tutor - a qualified clinical psychologist available for confidential advice and support who is available to meet at least once per term throughout training.
  • Each trainee is also allocated a clinical tutor who will visit them on placement throughout the three years to maximise continuity, support and development.
  • Each trainee is allocated an appraisal tutor from within the Programme team to support progression across all aspects of the Programme.
  • Reflective practice groups and themed reflective case discussions run throughout training, which provide an opportunity for trainees to reflect on training and the impact of clinical work.
  • Orientation meetings are scheduled in the timetable to facilitate transition into the following year of study and to encourage trainee engagement. At the end of the final year there is an exit meeting to allow trainees to give their feedback to the Programme Team about their experiences of the Programme as a whole.
  • The Student Services Department of King's College London offers counselling, welfare and medical services. These services can be accessed through the Student Services office based at the King's College Denmark Hill campus.
  • Counselling and Occupational Health support is available through South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.


Alongside access to KCL student and SLaM staff facilities, there is a dedicated common room on campus specifically for DClinPsy Trainees which offers access to NHS and student computers, personal lockers, telephone, free printing services and other resources.


As key stakeholders on the Programme, Trainees help to shape the Programme's development and evolution through representation and participation in committees and working parties including: the Training Programme Committee, Practice Placement Sub-Committee, Curriculum Sub-Committee, Diversity & Inclusion Sub-Committee, Increasing Access Committee and Service User Involvement Working Party.

Trainees provide feedback on practice placements in three ways:

Trainees currently provide seen feedback to their supervisors at the mid and end points of their practice placements.  The feedback consists of completing ratings of all applicable aspects of their practice placements and supervision on a three-point scale. Trainees provide additional information on any categories that have been identified as not meeting expectations and give general overall comments on the practice placement.  These feedback forms are scrutinised by the clinical tutor(s) for each cohort during the mid-placement review process and at the conclusion of each practice placement. The end of placement ratings are also scrutinised and analysed to provide an overview of all of the placement feedback for audit and reporting purposes.  Trainees also meet individually with their clinical tutor during the mid-placement review.

Each cohort provides collective feedback on their experiences of supervision at the end of the academic year. They are asked to highlight helpful practices in the context of clinical supervision and to generate recommendations for the enhancement of supervision.  This feedback is incorporated into the annual supervisor training and disseminated to supervisors and Trust psychology staff through a range of mechanisms.

A representative from each trainee cohort attends the Practice Placement Sub-Committee in order to contribute to the overall delivery of clinical placements and to provide additional feedback.

For the curriculum trainees give feedback in two primary ways. First, anonymous feedback surveys are collected following all teaching sessions including tutorials, lectures, seminars and workshops. Second, each year group gives collective feedback on each teaching block. This involves trainee groups meeting and reflecting on each stream of the teaching programme, and completing a feedback form. A representative from each cohort attends the curriculum sub-committee meeting to present a summary of this feedback. Additional opportunities for trainees to provide feedback on the curriculum and assessment procedures are also available as part of their mid-placement reviews and annual appraisal meetings.


Dr Katharine Rimes - Programme Director, Reader in Clinical Psychology
Dr Patrick Smith - Research Director, Reader in Clinical Psychology
Dr Idit Albert - Academic Director, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Dr Lucia Valmaggia - Head of Selection, Reader in Clinical Psychology
Dr Tim Meynen - Joint Clinical Director, Trainee Manager
Dr Majella Byrne - Joint Clinical Director, Trainee Manager
Dr Matteo Cella - Research Tutor, Clinical Lecturer
Dr Barbara Barter - Clinical Tutor, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Dr Kate Johnston - Clinical Tutor, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Dr Troy Tranah - Clinical Tutor, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Dr Steven Livingstone - Academic Tutor, Clinical Psychologist
Dr Teuta Rexhepi-Johansson - Clinical Tutor, Senior Clinical Psychologist
Dr Nicola Reynolds - Clinical Tutor, Senior Clinical Psychologist
Dr Sarah Carr - Clinical Tutor, Clinical Psychologist
Mark Ballham - Training Programme Manager
Kayleigh Rawlings - Training Programme Administrator (Research & Admissions)
Hannah Farrell - Training Programme Officer (Placements)
Ciara McDermott - Training Programme Officer (Curriculum)
TBC - Clinical Tutor
TBC - Academic Tutor