University of Leicester

Course Code: 15

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
University of Leicester
George Davies Centre
Lancaster Road
LEICESTER
LE1 7HA

0116 223 1639
clinicalpsychology@le.ac.uk

Course Director: Prof Noelle Robertson
Selection Administrator: Miss Penny Lorriman

Introduction

The Leicester course leads to a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) and eligibility for Chartered Clinical Psychologist status with the British Psychological Society. Completing this course provides eligibility to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council. The course is three years full-time. We are located in a new state of the art teaching facility on campus: the George Davis Centre.

The NHS Constitution outlines the core values which underpin all NHS services. This course reflects those values, and those of the local NHS Trust which employs the majority of our trainees. Our recruitment strategy maps with the Values Based Recruitment approach recommended by Health Education England.

The course reflects a competency-based approach to training. The aim is to develop trainees to graduate as reflective scientist-practitioners, able to take a flexible and responsive approach in a variety of service contexts in the evolving NHS. This will include developing knowledge and skills in four theoretical models (CBT, psychodynamic, systemic and community psychology) and neuropsychology; working with disadvantaged and diverse groups; engaging in reflective practice; and developing research capabilities, notably undertaking empirical work which makes an original contribution to the evidence base and profession, and developing competence in writing for publication.

The Systemic Practice module is currently accredited by the Association of Family Therapy meaning that trainees successfully attending teaching and completing relevant coursework can be awarded a statement of equivalence for foundation level systemic family therapy training.

The Leicester DClinPsy course is proud of its excellent reputation for training in cultural diversity and cultural competence. Both teaching and placement opportunities support competence in engaging with, and serving, clients from the diverse communities who comprise the vibrant, multi-cultural population of Leicester and the East Midlands. We have well-established international links with institutions in Cuba, Ethiopia, India and the USA, and encourage trainees to participate in reciprocal visits, enriching understanding of different models of professional practice, training, and healthcare delivery. The Course welcomes applications from the full range of cultural, socioeconomic, gender, sexual, dis/ability and ethnic backgrounds, as represented in the UK population in the 21st century.

Entry Requirements

Contextual Admissions & Widening Participation

Alongside many other courses, we at Leicester are reflecting on our admissions process below and how it may inadvertently favour those from certain privileged backgrounds and disadvantage others. We piloted the use of a contextual recruitment questionnaire for our 2021 intake and, where permission was given, took this into account as part of our selection process.  Our understanding is that there are plans to introduce contextual recruitment  as part of the national application process through the Clearing House for the 2022 cohort. This is something we remain very committed to at Leicester.

Academic

At the time of application applicants must have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) status and an Honours degree in psychology of a mid 2:1 (64%) or above. This is calculated as the total score for all modules/courses taken in the final two years of the degree, divided by the number of modules/courses taken during those final two years. Double weighting (or other weighting) of modules is taken into account in this calculation.  Some applicants will also have completed a further qualification such as a relevant Masters degree but these do not form part of the minimum academic criteria.

We will consider applicants who have completed a postgraduate conversion course if their initial degree was not in psychology. Please note that the initial degree still needs to be at a mid 2:1 or above.

The course can usually determine whether a candidate meets the academic criteria via the transcript supplied with their Clearing House application. If additional documents are required we will contact candidates directly. Failure to provide these, or absence of graduation of the required course, will prevent progression of the application.

Relevant Experience

Applicants must have completed the equivalent of at least one year paid, full-time experience in a work situation (clinical or research) which has brought them into contact with one or more client groups with whom clinical psychologists may work. This is calculated to the end of November 2021 (i.e. the month when applications close). People without this will not have their application progressed.

Covid-19 may have shaped the format of such paid experience (e.g. change in role to staff support, remote working, research changes focus etc). Any time furloughed would not count towards experience however, as the definition of furlough (temporary leave) means paid experience cannot have been gained during this time. Whilst we anticipate this may be disappointing for some, it is of vital importance to trainees (and thus the clients they serve) that they have sufficient pre-training experience to draw from. Indeed, whilst one-year is the minimum, the majority of successful applicants will have in excess of this.

Residence

It is a requirement of our Commissioners that applicants have "home fees status". For further information please see the Funding section below.

Personal

Doctoral training is clinically, emotionally and academically demanding. Therefore you need to demonstrate your aptitude for this level of work. While training itself will help to develop your skills, the Course expects that you will have a high level of ability in academic, clinical and research areas, as well as being personally robust. There may be occasions when completion of assignments require you to work outside of your normal working hours, but many trainees find that with good time management this can be minimised. Fitness to Practise is a requirement of all professionals registered with the HCPC and the University of Leicester has a Fitness to Practise policy.

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. Commencing on the course is subject to enhanced DBS clearance, satisfactory enhanced health screening, and satisfactory references.

The course reviews both references supplied with your Clearing House application at the time of initial screening to confirm that they indicate you will be suitable and sufficiently able to complete the doctorate. Applications which are incomplete by the end of January 2022 (e.g. missing one or both references) cannot be considered and will therefore not be progressed. As part of routine pre-employment checks our employing Trust will also seek references from current/past employers before a contract of employment is offered.

Equal Opportunities and Diversity

The University and course is committed to developing a community that is fully inclusive, recruiting and retaining staff and students from all sectors of society. The University's full Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and other related information are available on our website.

We have a specific Diversity and Anti-discriminatory practice module, a Diversity steering group (which includes service-user and trainee input), and we aim to ensure that issues of diversity and oppression/privilege are attend to within and throughout training.

As part of our commitment to diversity we reflect on our anonymous applicant diversity data offered to us by Clearing House. Based on this we would like to highlight the following:

  • The University of Leicester is committed to equal opportunities for members of the LGBTIQ+ community and can provide access to an LGBTIQ+ mentor.
  • We welcome applications from all age groups.
  • We are proud that our data showed a greater diversity of applications from different socio-economic backgrounds.
  • We welcome applicants with a disability, with both the University of Leicester and Leicestershire Partnership Trust providing excellent support for those with disabilities.
  • We welcome applicants of all faiths, and none, as reflected in our Trust's Chaplaincy service.
  • We receive a high number of applications from BAME candidates. We are proud of this, and welcome applications from all ethnicities.

We are aware that reflecting on our application data is just one part of the process in widening access to the course (and thus the profession). We are keen to think about how we can improve access, ranging from "grass-root" level (e.g. inspiring interest in Clinical Psychology amongst under-represented groups in schools and undergraduate-courses) to those who are qualified (e.g. diversity and leadership).

As a course we are strongly committed to reflecting upon and developing our approach to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). This spans all aspects of the course including recruitment (of both trainees and staff), our curriculum and teaching, our assessments and research, our service user reference group, and our clinical placements. In addition to our long-standing Diversity, "Race" and Culture group, we have recently been awarded one year of additional EDI funding to further enhance the course in these areas, including developing a mentoring scheme to support aspiring clinical psychologists from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Other

For those whose first language is not English, a score of 8, with no element below 7.5, is required on the IELTS at the time of application. The course also accepts an equivalent score on TOEFL or PTE. For more information about our English language requirements please see the University of Leicester website.

Please note there are no Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) concessions, exemptions or advanced progression with regards to training and experience prior to entry onto the course, nor once on the course.

Furthermore, the University does not allow dual registration. Therefore candidates who are currently undertaking other University-level studies must have completed these prior to the start date of the DClinPsy (and if relevant for their application, by the time of application).

Selection Procedure

The process of selecting candidates is organised by a Selection Committee, which includes; course staff, representatives of our Service User Reference Group (SURG) and local NHS Trusts, and clinical psychologists working within the area served by the course. There are several stages:

  1. All applications are received and screened to ensure they meet minimum entry requirements. We write to all candidates (early February) to advise whether or not their application has progressed.
  2. Those meeting the minimum criteria are invited to undertake computerised screening tests. More information will be provided about these at this juncture.
  3. The top range of applicants on the computer test will have their written applications further reviewed and rated for factors such as relevant experience, academic credentials, their personal statement, references.
  4. We anticipate that from this, approximately 50 candidates will be invited to an Assessment Centre at the University of Leicester during the week commencing Monday 21 March 2022. Candidates will undertake three assessment tasks: a role-play, an interview and a written task, contributing to a final summated total score. Our trained assessors comprise members of the staff team, local clinical psychologists, and members of SURG. This also provides further orientation to the Course, an opportunity to visit the campus, and informally meet staff and current trainees.
  5. Candidates are ranked by total score and offers made to the top candidates, with a reserve list employed for other high ranking candidates. Deferrals are not permitted

Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications we are only able to provide individual feedback to those who progress to the Assessment Centre stages.

Funding

NHS funded places

In 2020 we were able to offer 15 commissioned NHS places for trainees. For 2021 we were proud to offer an additional three NHS places (total of 18), as part of the national 25% increase. In 2022, we anticipate being able to offer 18 places as part of the Health Education England increase in training places nationally.

Current trainees are full-time employees of the health service (Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust) 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 (but not to attend the University), and University fees are currently paid directly by the NHS.

As fees are currently paid by NHS Health Education East Midlands, it is a requirement of our Commissioners that applicants have "home fees status" (UK citizens or have "indefinite leave to remain" in the UK (i.e. UK permanent resident status) and be ordinarily resident in the UK for a minimum of three years prior to the first day of instruction in the 2022/2023 academic year, and during that time your residence was not wholly or mainly for full-time education).

The University of Leicester is the formal course base. Trainees will be placed in clinical departments throughout Leicestershire and Northamptonshire for their placement experience. Whilst every effort is made to take account of trainees' circumstances, placements do often involve travelling considerable distances, therefore it is likely to be less stressful and demanding for trainees if they live within the geographical boundaries of NHS Health Education East Midlands (Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, and Lincolnshire). We do very rarely offer placements within the wider Health Education East Midlands region only if we are not able to source appropriate placement experience within Leicestershire or Northamptonshire.

International applications for self-funded places

This year we are not accepting further applications for International trainees, due to the recent increase in NHS places. This will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Structure and Content

The Leicester Course is committed to integrating the three elements of training: clinical placements, academic teaching, and research, in a reflective way.

Clinical Practice Placements

Three days a week, a trainee's time is spent developing skills in clinical practice. Trainees are supervised by qualified clinical psychologists working in a wide range of services across Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. Placements are organised in line with the core competency approach to training. Trainees will undertake different placements with opportunities to develop competences in the required range of settings, clients and modes of work. Attendance at placements is mandatory, as is attending the University and NHS Trust induction programmes. Placement activity will be carried out in person and/or online in response to COVID-19 pandemic conditions.

Academic Teaching

Teaching is organised in blocks at the start of each autumn term, followed by set day/s of teaching for each year group. This is Monday and Tuesday in autumn term then Monday only for first year trainees, Tuesday for second year trainees, and Wednesday for third year trainees.

A range of teaching approaches is employed, including; lectures and workshops by clinical colleagues who are experts in their field, research methods to support trainees in academic course requirements, the use of actors for clinical skills teaching and regular reflective practice seminars across the three years. The four approaches featured in the course curriculum are: cognitive-behavioural (including recent innovations and integrative approaches), psychodynamic, systemic and community. The course has a strong commitment to engaging with diverse populations and service users, and this is reflected throughout the curriculum.

Attendance is mandatory at all teaching days through the three years of training. Occasional seminars are arranged across all cohorts and these are also mandatory. Trainees are allocated dedicated study days throughout the year, except during block teaching.

All teaching will be carried out in person and/or online in response to COVID-19 pandemic conditions.

Research

A report of a small-scale project involving placement-based research will be submitted in the second year. In addition, a more extensive research project of clinical relevance must form the basis of a doctoral thesis submitted in the third year. In line with the doctoral status of the Course, this thesis must constitute an original and substantial contribution to knowledge and/or clinical practice. Thesis requirements are conducive to supporting publication in a scholarly journal. Trainees choose their own research topic, but this is often shaped by the availability and expertise of supervision. At present core staff research interests include: clinical health psychology; diversity, identity and anti-discriminatory practice; health professional behaviour change; issues for people with intellectual dis/ability; issues for those living with genetic conditions; psychology and the climate change crisis; and wellbeing and resilience of staff groups and student populations.

Trainees are allocated 30 research days to be taken in the second and third years.

Assessment

Assessment is based on the academic, research and clinical components of training and the trainees' ability to integrate these areas. The emphasis is on continuous assessment of core competencies and learning from ongoing feedback. Assessment formats vary in recognition that trainees have different strengths in different styles of assessment, and include:

  • Written assignments: critical appraisal, literature review, case studies.
  • Exam: a computerised statistics test.
  • Clinical skills assessments: video assessments, actor assessments, clinical viva.
  • Small-scale research project: service evaluation.
  • Clinical placement performance ratings.
  • Doctoral thesis: examined by an internal and an expert external examiner.

To be awarded the degree, trainees must achieve a satisfactory standard in all elements of the assessment.

Support

The Leicester DClinPsy Course places considerable importance on trainee support, wellbeing and development, and offers a number of mechanisms for this:

  • Each year cohort has an identified Academic Tutor, who together with their identified Line Manager act as Year Tutors with responsibility for communications and overseeing all aspects of training (clinical, professional, academic and personal). The Academic Tutor provides general guidance and support specifically for academic aspects of training. You will also have a Clinical Tutor for each year of training with specific responsibility for supporting you on clinical placements.
  • As well as ongoing support/guidance, a developmental perspective is maintained through meeting once a year with an allocated Developmental Tutor.
  • The identified Line Manager ensures trainees are managed consistently according to NHS policies and procedures and, along with the clinical tutors, provides guidance and support for clinical aspects of training.
  • Trainees can request a local clinician who can act as an independent and confidential Mentor who can provide an additional source of support.
  • A "buddy system", in which each new trainee is allocated a second year trainee, also operates to provide an informal source of support on any issues or worries.
  • There is a system of Reflective Practice Seminars led by a course staff member and a local clinician in which trainees discuss clinical cases and dilemmas in a reflexive way in groups of up to eight trainees.
  • The Course structure includes several mechanisms whereby trainees are represented on operational and strategic committees, and there are monthly liaison meetings for each cohort with their tutors.
  • Trainees can access free University and Trust wellbeing support services.

Staff

Dr Jon Crossley - Clinical Tutor (currently on secondment within region)
Dr Kate Duckworth - Clinical Tutor
Mr Carl Gudgeon - Course Secretary (Clinical)
Dr Joanne Herdman - Clinical Tutor
Dr Ceri Jones - Lecturer
Dr Arabella Kurtz - Senior Clinical Tutor (currently on secondment within region)
Miss Penny Lorriman - Placement Administrator/PA to Course Director
Dr Alexander Margetts - Acting Senior Clinical Tutor/NHS Line Manager
Dr Steve Melluish - Head of Clinical Practice/NHS Line Manager
Dr Gareth Morgan - Lecturer
Ms Aphrodite Papailiadi - Course Administrator (currently on maternity leave)
Dr Helen Reader - Clinical Tutor
Prof Noelle Robertson - Course Director
Mrs Maria Tosh - Course Secretary (Academic)
Dr Alice Welham - Lecturer

Most academic staff are employed full-time by the University.  The majority of clinical tutor staff also hold clinical posts and work part-time for the course. More information about the staff involved with the course can be found on the School of Psychology website.

Please note that all the above information was correct at the time of going to press. Any major changes to this information will be communicated to our applicants as required.