Newcastle University

Course Code: 18

Self-funded Course Code: 18 - X

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
School of Psychology
Newcastle University
Ridley Building
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
NE1 7RU

Admissions enquiries: admissionsdclinpsy@newcastle.ac.uk

Programme Director: Dr Claire Lomax
Programme Administrator: Mrs Lynne Davison

Introduction

At Newcastle University, we are committed to developing excellent clinical psychologists with a strong value base and a commitment to evidence-based practice. Our Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme will equip you with the knowledge and skills required to deliver effective and cutting-edge evidence-based interventions, as well as an ability to critique and contribute to, the research literature. We place great importance on providing training which is grounded in NHS values and anti-discriminatory practice. Our aim is to develop compassionate, skillful and reflective scientist-practitioners who can work effectively with service users, provide leadership within psychological services and, in doing so, to benefit the wider society.

The programme is part of the School of Psychology within the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University and is delivered in partnership with the NHS and practising clinical psychologists in the northeast of England. It is a three-year, full-time programme which integrates research and clinical practice throughout all aspects of the training in order to prepare students for practice as professional clinical psychologists, eligible to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and for Chartered Clinical status with the British Psychological Society (BPS).

There is considerable clinical and research expertise within the programme team. The programme takes cognitive-behavioural therapy and family therapy as its main therapeutic modalities. There is a particular strength in neuropsychology with a pathway to support those trainees interested in specialising in clinical neuropsychology to build up an appropriate knowledge and experience base to aid later post-qualification specialisation. We offer a high quality research training to our students, and we encourage involvement in programmatic research and dissemination of the research output within peer-reviewed journal publications and professional conferences.

Our aim is to train a workforce that reflects the diversity of the client groups who use clinical psychology services. We seek to recruit a diverse group of trainees who share our values, and are active in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) throughout the programme, having an EDI sub-committee which includes widening access as a key remit. We are committed to providing a programme that equips trainees to consider and work effectively with issues around exclusion, and to deliver training and placements that are based on an understanding of the importance of the areas of diversity and inclusion.

Entry Requirements

Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership

All applicants must have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) and should have achieved this by the time they apply. This 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 area of study OR
  • A BPS approved conversion course that confers GBC. In short-listing, it is the conversion course grade rather than the undergraduate grade which we will take into account, for example, if an applicant has a 2:2 in a BSc in Chemistry, undertakes a psychology conversion course and gains a distinction, we will consider the distinction. Where the grade is not easily apparent, we will consider the non-psychology undergraduate degree as the equivalent (ie if an applicant has a BSc in Chemistry with a 2:1, undertakes a psychology conversion course that simply allocates pass/fail, we will consider the 2:1).

Academic qualifications

An undergraduate degree of 2:1 in psychology is required, or if a 2:2 is obtained there must be very clear evidence of subsequent academic achievement equivalent to a good 2:1 (eg relevant Master's degree at Merit or Distinction level). Applicants who are completing a PhD must have completed their studies before taking up a place on the DClinPsy programme.

Experience criteria

Applicants are required to have a minimum of 12 months full-time (or equivalent) recent experience in a field relevant to clinical psychology. This could be direct clinical or clinical research experience (which may be part of masters or doctoral research). Work experience in NHS and similar settings would be expected to have provided applicants with a critical awareness of the roles that clinical psychologists undertake, a general awareness of key current professional and organisational issues and applicants must be able to demonstrate some experience of applying psychological theory in a clinical setting. Please note: We are aware of the potential impact this year of COVD-19 on access to on-site experience for some. What we are interested in is what applicants have made of whatever relevant experience they have had, and how it demonstrates their understanding of the role of a clinical psychologist, regardless of whether that experience was face-to-face or through remote media.

English Language Ability

If English is not the applicant's first language, they will need to demonstrate a good level of proficiency in both written and spoken English by undertaking an English Language qualification accepted by Newcastle University for Graduate studies. A minimum score of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) band 7 for speaking and listening, band 8 for academic reading, and band 7 for academic writing is required.

Residence Requirements

For NHS places candidates require home/EU fees status. For self-funded places candidates require overseas fees status. Please see the Funding section below for more information.

Equal Opportunities

The programme is committed to ensuring that all applicants are treated fairly and confirm to Newcastle University's Equal Opportunities Policy.

We are part of the "disability confident" system in line with the Equality Act (2010) which means we will interview all who declare a disability on their application and who meet our minimum academic and experience criteria for interview (please see the Selection Procedure section below for more details).

The programme will make all reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of candidates and trainees with disabilities, and there is a disability lead on the programme team who works to support the individual trainee and to ensure that all reasonable adjustments are made throughout training.

Selection Procedure

Applications are anonymised and short-listed for interview by programme staff, regional NHS colleagues, and service user representatives. Short-listing is based on academic performance, relevant clinical experience, personal statement and references. We have minimum standards for invitation to interview, which are provided in our Application Guide for DClinPsy on our website.

Candidates are invited to attend for half a day during which there will be two interviews: one of which is focused on research, clinical and professional issues and comprised of a panel made up of a programme team members and NHS clinical psychologists; and one involving questions from a panel of service user representative colleagues. There will be opportunities to meet current trainees and to find out more about the programme.

Feedback regarding interview performance is offered to anyone who has been unsuccessful in gaining a training place at any programme for that year. This will be provided after the deadline set by the Clearing House for programmes to inform applicants of the outcome of their interviews.

Offers of places are conditional upon the offer and acceptance of a contract of employment from the employing NHS Trust (Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear) subject to an enhanced criminal records check through the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS), satisfactory reference, medical clearance and any other required pre-employment checks.

Funding

Home fees applicants (NHS places)

Home/EU fees status trainees are full-time employees of the NHS. On entry to the programme, all trainees are commenced on the first spine point of Band 6 for Agenda for Change pay scales.

Overseas fees applicants (self-funded places)

We are able to offer training places to a small number of self-funding applicants with overseas fees status (ie not home/EU). Such applicants must meet the same entry criteria as those applying for NHS places and will follow the same programme of study as trainees with NHS-funded places. You would be expected to attend an interview in person or by remote video link in April/May 2021 and applications should be made through the Clearing House using Course Code 18 - X.

Structure and Content

The programme is full-time for three years and all components are mandatory over that time, including the induction block of teaching. The length of the programme cannot be reduced through accreditation of prior learning or experience.

The academic teaching is delivered by the programme team, NHS staff and external contributors and is research-led and evidence-based, with the academic syllabus mirroring as much as possible the trainees' experience on clinical placement. The principal therapeutic models taught on the programme are cognitive-behaviour therapy and systemic therapy, and there is a strong emphasis on these two approaches in the first two years of training. In the latter part of training, there are introductions to other approaches such as cognitive analytic therapy, mindfulness, interpersonal therapy, and other models where there is demonstrable or emerging evidence of their clinical effectiveness.

Curriculum

The academic teaching is aligned with the order of placements. The programme begins with a two-week full-time induction teaching block, which follows a two-week NHS induction period. The remainder of the first year academic teaching continues for two days per week until the Christmas break, alongside three days on placement, and then one day per week alongside three days on placement and one study day per week. This continues until the end of the course, with the exception that there will be one full week teaching block during the week before each new placement transition.

The programme delivers a curriculum which is informed by the evidence-base and social contexts, through which trainees gain knowledge and understanding of psychological theory and evidence, relating to specific client groups, presentations, psychological therapies, psychological testing, assessment, intervention and secondary prevention required to underpin clinical practice. The teaching programme aims to combine theoretical understanding with skills training and clinical practice by using a range of evidence-based teaching and learning strategies including lectures, self-directed learning, workshops, small group sessions and debates. The topics taught guide the type of teaching utilised.

Clinical Placements

Trainees undertake four 6-month placements to ensure they acquire and demonstrate the competences that are required to successfully complete clinical psychology training, as outlined by the HCPC and BPS criteria. These competences can be demonstrated in a broad range of clinical contexts, so trainees can expect to work with different groups of clients in different settings, gaining experience of different therapeutic models and approaches. The choice of an elective placement in the third year allows for specialisation and a chance to pursue interests regarding future career pathways. The region is able to offer a considerable choice of elective placements, available in specialist services and regional centres (eg neuropsychology, physical health, psychosis, forensic, or specialist therapy settings).

Placements are available over a large geographic area, spanning from the Scottish Borders in the north, to Cumbria in the west and in the south to North Durham. Given the geography of the region, we strongly recommend that trainees have the use of a car and a current valid driving licence. Arrangements will be made for trainees unable to drive because of disability.

Placements are organised by the clinical tutor team and monitored by them during visits to the placements. Feedback is sought from trainees and supervisors regarding progress through the placement. In order to pass the clinical requirements of the programme, trainees are required to demonstrate and evidence generic and therapy-specific competencies. Personal and professional development is assessed throughout training via reflective writing assignments completed on each core placement, which is then drawn together in the third year of training into a portfolio. This allows trainees to demonstrate the development of their capacity to critically and systemically reflect on their training experience and the impact of the programme on their personal and professional development.

Research

The core aim of the research training programme is to enhance proficiency in research as an integral part of the scientist practitioner role of the clinical psychologist. The research component of the programme has four main parts:

  • The Research Models and Methods teaching module, which provides an introduction to basic research skills, as well as the different types of research carried out in various clinical settings, including both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
  • The Empirical Paper, which aims to provide the opportunity to carry out a single, clinically-related project from conception to conclusion, including both written and verbal presentation.
  • The related Literature Review is an opportunity to develop skills in analysing, synthesising and evaluating a relevant sample of empirical papers related to the project. This makes up the Large Scale Research Project along with the Empirical Paper and are submitted in May of the final year.
  • The Service Based Project provides the opportunity to address a service-related research question, with supervision provided by the programme team and NHS colleagues. The aim of the service-based project is to enable students to develop their practice-based evidence skills, in parallel with their other research skills. This is usually carried out within one of the clinical placements, but it may be done in other contexts or settings.

Assessment

The programme uses a range of assessment methods, formative and summative, as appropriate to assessing the learning outcomes related to clinical, academic and research competences. Assessments include clinical placements, in vivo demonstrations of clinical competencies, case studies, presentations, research projects and written essays.

Support

A range of systems are built into the programme with the aim of supporting trainees through the known stresses of training. Trainees are allocated a personal tutor who maintains regular contact with tutees and remains available to them throughout their training for practical, informational and emotional support. The personal tutor aims to help trainees to develop their personal and professional awareness, and reflect on their academic and clinical development throughout the programme. Each trainee is also allocated a clinical tutor, who monitors their clinical and professional skill development on placement and liaises closely with their placement supervisors.

There are a number of other supportive relationships available to trainees. Before joining the programme, each new trainee is allocated a "buddy" from the year above. Contact is made prior to the start of the programme and often continues for the remainder of training. Trainees are also able to access both the occupational health services within CNTW (which includes staff counselling services), as well as Student Health and Wellbeing Services provided by Newcastle University.

Co-production

Trainees are key stakeholders on the programme, and as such, are actively encouraged to help shape the training programme via feedback systems, representation at Student-Staff committee and through representation on our various programme committees (including Clinical, Academic, Research and EDI). Our Expert by Experience (EbE) colleagues are also important stakeholders within the programme, and we have an active Expert by Experience (EbE) group called KEEN (Knowledge Exchange Experience Network) which is co-facilitated by trainees, staff and EbE colleagues. This feeds directly into the programme management and aims to optimise collaboration between experts by experience, trainees and the programme team. Such collaboration has included joint teaching, mentoring, research input, involvement in selection, and more.

Staff

Dr Claire Lomax - Programme Director
Dr Anna Chaddock - Academic Director
Prof Mark Freeston - Research Director
Ms Theresa Marrinan - Clinical Director
Dr Fiona Gullon-Scott - Research and Academic Tutor
Dr Lucy Robinson - Research and Academic Tutor
Dr Sarah Thwaites - Clinical Tutor
Dr Suzanne Kearney - Clinical Tutor
Dr David O'Sullivan - Clinical Tutor, CNTW Trainee Manager
Mrs Lynne Davison - Programme Administrator
Miss Alex Charlton - Clerical Assistant
Mrs Karen Clark - Clerical Assistant