Course Code: 20

Oxford Doctoral Course in Clinical Psychology
The Oxford Institute of Clinical Psychology Training
Isis Education Centre
Warneford Hospital

01865 226431

Academic Administrator: Angela Fox (for admissions queries)
Admissions Tutor: David Dean

Programme Director : David Murphy (acting)


The Oxford Doctoral Course in Clinical Psychology is part of the Oxford Institute of Clinical Psychology Training. It has over 30 years' history of excellence in training people to become effective Clinical Psychologists. Trainees benefit from having access to some of the best clinical and academic resources in the country via the University of Oxford, the NHS and other agencies providing health and social care. All trainees are affiliated to Harris Manchester College which is a small friendly college for students aged over 21. Successful completion of the three-year full-time course leads to the qualification of Doctor of Clinical Psychology (D.Clin.Psych) from the University of Oxford which confers eligibility to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council and to apply for Chartered status with the British Psychological Society. The only award that can be made is the D.Clin.Psych, no other exit award is available. The Course values partnership between the University, NHS, practising clinical psychologists, service users and other key partners, including the trainees themselves.

The Course supports trainees to become highly skilled, flexible practitioners, who are confident in their own ability to meet a range of needs in health and social care contexts. This is achieved through a dynamic and progressive academic programme; high quality placements in a broad range of specialty areas; and excellent research support and supervision. The philosophy of the Course stems from both the scientist-practitioner and the reflective practitioner models, and the Course is committed to drawing on a wide variety of theoretical orientations. Graduates from the Course will be equipped to practise at a high level of research and clinical competence, and within a reflective and ethical framework which will provide a foundation for further learning and development. The Course also prepares trainees to take leadership roles and enables them to develop the skills needed to influence services in which they work. This broad range of competencies is attractive to future employers and past graduates from the Oxford Course have gone on to occupy senior positions in clinical, academic and research settings. Most Course team members work clinically for part of the week and are able to use this experience to enhance the provision of clinical psychology training at Oxford. Course staff are engaged in research in a number of areas including leadership, clinical health psychology, eating disorders, learning disabilities, neuropsychology/neuroscience, stigma and clinical supervision. The Course has close links with centres of excellence for cognitive therapy, mindfulness, neuropsychology and spinal cord injuries. Trainees are given the opportunity to develop competencies in a range of different models including cognitive behavioural, systemic, life-span and psychodynamic and to deliver these in a variety of different ways. As training progresses trainees are supported to develop their own personal styles of working. The Oxford Course places an emphasis on developing leadership potential and leadership development is embedded throughout the Course including teaching which has been developed, and is delivered, in collaboration with the Oxford University Saïd Business School.

The Course has its own purpose-built building, the Isis Education Centre, located in the grounds of the Warneford Hospital, Oxford, which has well-equipped teaching rooms, seminar rooms, offices, computer facilities, kitchen and a common room. Clinical placements are located throughout the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and therefore trainees should be prepared to travel within this area (although consideration will be made for trainees with disabilities).

Throughout the three years of the Course, trainees are generally on placement three days a week and at the Isis Education Centre for teaching at least one day a week. The remaining day is allocated either to teaching, research activity, or private study depending on the stage of training. The academic programme is designed to synchronise with clinical placements in order to enhance and enrich the learning process.

The Oxford Course frequently updates the way in which training is delivered. These changes reflect our commitment to remain at the cutting edge of clinical psychology training and to fully meet the requirements for approval by the Health & Care Professions Council. We take pride in the overwhelmingly positive feedback from current and past trainees and have an excellent track record in listening and responding to trainee input in all areas of Course policy and procedure. The Course also has an active Service User and Carer Committee which advises on all key areas of the Course.

Entry Requirements

All applicants must meet the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society. Candidates are normally expected to have obtained a good (mid or high) 2:1 or 1st class honours degree, prior to submitting their application, and to have obtained at least one year of clinically relevant practical experience/employment following graduation. Examples of relevant experience include working as an assistant psychologist, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) worker, research assistant, and some healthcare assistant/support worker posts. Relevant voluntary work is also taken into account. Candidates who obtained their first degree in a subject other than psychology and go on to successfully complete a relevant conversion course are welcome to apply. Additional relevant academic and research achievements are also taken into consideration. Current undergraduates are not normally considered and applicants should note that if appointed, they should not simultaneously be registered for any other degree course (eg a PhD). Candidates for whom English is not their first language will need to provide evidence of English language proficiency and will be expected to have obtained Level 8 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with no elements below 7.5. The test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of the Course.

Applicants will be expected to have some understanding of the specific role of a clinical psychologist within the UK healthcare system and to be able to apply their knowledge of academic psychology and research in a clinical setting. In selecting candidates, the Course is looking in particular for people with a strong commitment to, and an interest in, working in the National Health Service and social care. A person specification is available on our website.

Applicants will not be disadvantaged in the selection process because of race, religion, age, disability, gender, social class or sexual orientation. Please see the Equal Opportunities policy on our website for further details. We encourage applications from candidates who have a disability, whilst we do not operate a guaranteed interview process but are committed to making all reasonable adjustments to the interview process. Applicants are asked to disclose any information that might affect fitness to practise or future registration under the Health & Care Professions Council. The Course makes reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of trainees with disabilities. Offers of places made to successful candidates are conditional on occupational health clearance (including the possibility of a health check) and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks.

Trainees are strongly encouraged to live within the geographical area covered by the Course (ie the three counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire stated above). International applicants who intend to return to their country of origin after completion of training will not be considered. We normally only accept candidates who are already eligible to work in the UK on a permanent basis. There is no requirement for applicants to have home fees status.

All general enquiries should be directed to Angela Fox (Academic Administrator) in the first instance.

Selection Procedure

Trainees are recruited annually and all applications are assessed by a team of Course staff and clinical supervisors. We expect to short-list 54 candidates for interview through a two-stage process. Each stage involves at least two independent raters. Applications are not anonymised at either stage of short-listing stage and referees' comments may be taken into account. Applicants who are offered an interview should contact Angela Fox (Academic Administrator) if they believe any reasonable adjustments need to be made to the selection process due to a disability. Short-listed candidates spend half a day at the Isis Education Centre, during which time they are observed participating in a group task and are given an individual interview. The interview is conducted by a panel composed of Course staff and local supervisors. The group task additionally has a service user or carer as one of its panel members. During the selection days candidates have the opportunity to meet with current trainees, who are not involved in the formal selection procedures but who are available to provide information and support. Following completion of this process, candidates are either offered a place, placed on a reserve list or informed that they have not been successful.

Due to the large number of applicants, we are normally unable to offer feedback to individual candidates who are not offered interviews. Candidates who are offered interviews but not a place are provided with the opportunity for individual feedback. Candidates who are placed on the reserve list for a place are also offered feedback if they are not subsequently offered a place.


Currently all trainees are appointed as trainee clinical psychologists on a fixed term contract for three years. A job description and person specification is available on our website. On entry to the programme, all trainees are appointed at the first pay point on Band 6 of the NHS pay scale with progression on annual increments. This applies even if trainees previously worked at a higher pay point. The employing authority is Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which is an Equal Opportunities employer. University and college fees are paid in full by the Course. All places on the programme are funded by Health Education England and we do not accept self-funding candidates. It is expected that there will be 17 places in our 2018 intake. However, this is subject to final confirmation from our local commissioners.

The Isis Education Centre at the Warneford Hospital is the designated base and where the majority of teaching takes place. Although NHS travel expenses policy does not reimburse travel from home to base, travel to placements is currently reimbursed, however, please note that the NHS policy only permits reimbursement of travel in excess of the usual home to base journey.

Please note that any changes to funding arrangements nationally will be updated on the Clearing House Funding page.

Structure and Content

The Course is full-time for three years and attendance at all course components is mandatory over that time, including the induction period. The length of the course 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.


The academic programme is carried out over three 10-week terms in each year of the Course. Following a 4-week induction block, academic teaching closely parallels the clinical experience of trainees on placement, taking a developmental and life-span perspective. Teaching modules include: adult mental health; children, young people and families; learning disability; older people; health psychology; neuropsychology; substance abuse; leadership, psychology and the law; professional issues; professional reflection; and research in clinical settings. Clinical skills and a variety of theoretical and therapeutic models including cognitive-behavioural, systems, psychodynamic psychotherapy and group work are taught and opportunities are available to encourage trainees to integrate these into their clinical work. Year 1 teaching focuses on adult, child and life-span issues. In Year 2 the teaching focus is on ageing, chronic conditions and disabilities, whilst in Year 3 attention is given to professional themes and advanced interventions.

The Course aims to encourage creative self-directed learning and where possible the academic programme provides workshops, seminars and interactive sessions, rather than formal lectures. Teaching is delivered by Course staff, clinical supervisors working in the three counties, external lecturers and service users. The academic curriculum is regularly revised to incorporate new ideas and equip trainees with the necessary skills to work effectively in the changing NHS culture. Recent innovations to the academic programme include a trainee organised advanced therapeutic skills option and greater emphasis on enabling trainees to develop leadership skills.


There is an excellent choice of placements in the area covered by the Oxford Course. These cover a wide range of specialty areas and theoretical models. Clinical placements enable trainees to develop a comprehensive portfolio of clinical skills, so that by the end of training they should be well prepared to start working in the area of their choice. Trainees will normally complete five placements over the three years of the Course. Four of these placements are usually in the areas of adult mental health; children, young people and families; people with learning disabilities; and older people. These placements are approximately 5½ months in duration and trainees will normally spend between 60 and 70 days on each placement. Placements are fully integrated with the academic programme. Over the course of training, trainees may express preferences for the opportunity to develop particular clinical competencies. These preferences are considered by the trainee's clinical tutor alongside the availability of supervision and their individual training needs. At regular intervals, there are scheduled individual discussions with the trainee's clinical tutor about future learning needs. In the third year of the Course, trainees will normally complete one 12-month placement which will cover a wide range of clinical competencies. A further aim of this placement is to equip trainees with additional skills such as leadership, consultancy, supervision and effective team-working to meet the needs of the modern NHS. There is a wide range of third year placements available, these are allocated on the basis of trainee interests and learning needs. Placements are carefully monitored and clinical tutors visit three times over the course of each placement. To help facilitate the effective development of clinical and professional competence, trainees normally keep the same clinical tutor throughout their training.

The development of clinical competence takes place on placement and through workshops and teaching blocks organised throughout the Course. Workshops are provided in a variety of therapeutic approaches (eg, cognitive, behavioural, systemic, psychodynamic) and in various aspects of working with priority NHS groups. Trainees are encouraged to work wherever possible with staff from other professions. Trainees normally receive a minimum of one hour formal individual clinical supervision each week whilst on placement in addition to less formal supervision and support.


Trainees are taught the skills to carry out clinical research in a professional context by Course team members who are actively involved in research themselves. Trainees are encouraged to carry out research and audit projects on placement and are supported by their clinical supervisors and Course staff to do this. Formal teaching is provided on research design and methods and on applied statistics and analysis of qualitative data. Some of this teaching takes place in the Oxford University Department of Experimental Psychology, where trainees are able to take advantage of state-of-the-art computing laboratories. Trainees also have good access to statistical and computing resources at the Course base. Trainees complete a dissertation during the second and third years of training. There is a wide pool of experienced research supervisors in the three counties; these include Course staff, local clinicians and researchers based in local universities. Potential topics for dissertations include those related to the research interests of Course team members which include health psychology, eating disorders, neuropsychology, resilience, clinical supervision, learning disabilities, psychosis, bipolar disorder and mental imagery. Submission of research conducted whilst on the Course for publication is encouraged, and many trainees have gone on to have papers accepted in peer-reviewed journals. Trainees also benefit from an individualised approach to research tutoring, which is designed both to increase confidence in carrying out research and to develop the necessary skills. As with clinical tutoring, trainees normally keep the same research tutor throughout the three years of training.


Trainees are required to complete three (5,000 word) essays and these are normally linked to placements. One of the essays will relate to a clinical topic, one to professional issues and one will take the form of a critical review. Trainees also complete two research projects during their training: one Service Related Project (4,500 words) in the first 18 months of the Course; and a Dissertation (15,000-25,000 words) in the second and third years, drafted in a journal paper format. The dissertation is a substantial piece of empirical work, which must make a significant and substantial contribution to the field of knowledge in clinical psychology and can lead to publications in peer reviewed journals.

Clinical competence is assessed in a number of ways. At the end of each placement, supervisors carry out an evaluation of the trainee's clinical competence and trainees submit a log-book summarising their clinical experience. The latter includes a self-assessment of clinical competence. Trainees also submit for formal assessment five (6,000 word) clinical studies (Integrated Clinical Reports), two each in Years 1 and 2 and one in Year 3.

To complete the Course successfully trainees must pass all these assignments. Additionally, in order to proceed to the third year of the programme, trainees must have passed a mid-Course Review in which progress in completing placements and assignments in Years 1 and 2 is assessed. They must also have gained approval for their third year dissertation proposal.


The Course provides a broad range of support systems that trainees can use flexibly depending on their individual needs and preferences. Each trainee is allocated a Clinical Tutor and a Research Tutor. Clinical Tutors are responsible for co-ordinating and monitoring the clinical placement experience for each trainee, and facilitating and supporting the development of clinical competencies across the three years of training. Research Tutors facilitate the development of each trainee's research competence, and provide individual support with the service related project and the research dissertation. Academic Tutors also meet regularly with trainees to discuss academic and general Course related issues.

Personal and professional development is facilitated through supporting reflective practice in a variety of ways, including professional reflection seminars, trainee-led reflection sessions, and six-monthly confidential Individual Trainee Review meetings with a member of Course staff. There are also opportunities to participate in peer reflective-practice groups and a mindfulness meditation class for trainees (subsidised by the Course).

Additional support includes a "Buddy" system where each new trainee is offered support from a trainee in the year above. There is an optional Personal Tutor system where trainees can select a Personal Tutor, from a list of local clinical psychologists, for confidential mentoring. There is also a list of local therapists available for trainees who decide to self-fund personal therapy.

Trainees attend annual Course away-days and provide representatives to attend various Course committee meetings. This provides opportunities for professional development and ensures that trainees influence decisions that are made about the Course.


The core staff with day-to-day involvement with the Course are:

Programme Director - David Murphy (acting)

Clinical Tutors

Dr Sue Clohessy - Clinical Tutor, Supervisor Training Lead and Director of Postgraduate Certificate in Supervision of Applied Psychological Practice
Dr David Dean - Clinical Tutor and Admissions Tutor
Dr Kathryn Evans - Clinical Tutor and Professional Development Programme Lead
Dr Helen Jenkins - Clinical Tutor and Personal & Professional Development Lead
Dr Nigel King - Clinical Tutor and International Route Support Programme Leader

Research Tutors

Dr Myra Cooper - Senior Research Tutor
Dr Susie Hales - Research Tutor
Dr Olivia Hewitt - Research Tutor

Academic Tutors

Dr Nargis Islam - Academic Tutor
Dr Matthew Knight - Academic Tutor

Administration Team

Ms Kaur Kooner - Institute Manager (temporary)
Mrs Angela Fox - Academic Administrator
Mrs Karen Johnson - Clinical Administrator
Dr Jane Pollock - Statistical Advisor
Mr Jonathan Boucard - IT Co-ordinator