Oxford Doctoral Course in Clinical Psychology
The Oxford Institute of Clinical Psychology Training and Research
The Oxford Centre for Psychological Health
Isis Education Centre
Programme Director: Prof Paul Salkovskis
Admissions Tutor: Dr Matthew Knight
Director with oversight of admissions: Ms Lorna Hogg
The Oxford Doctoral Course in Clinical Psychology is part of the Oxford Institute of Clinical Psychology Training and Research (OXICPTR), at the Oxford Centre for Psychological Health. It has a long 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, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and other agencies and Trusts providing health and social care.
All trainees are affiliated with one of three University of Oxford Colleges; Green Templeton College, Harris Manchester College, or St Cross College. College allocation is undertaken by the Course in conjunction with the Colleges; unfortunately we are unable to consider individual requests for specific College allocation.
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, Experts by Experience, and other key partners, including the trainees themselves.
The Course supports trainees in the process of becoming highly competent and flexible scientist-practitioners, who are confident in their ability to meet a range of needs in health and social care contexts. This is achieved through a research led academic and skills training programme; high quality placements in a broad range of specialty areas; and excellent research support and supervision. The philosophy of the Course stems from the reflective scientist-practitioner model, and the Course is committed to drawing on a range of empirically supported and grounded theoretical orientations including Cognitive-Behavioural Therapies and Systemic (Family) Therapy. Graduates from the Course will be equipped to practise at a high level of research and clinical competence, and within an empirically grounded 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, competencies and meta-competencies needed to contribute to and influence services in which they work. This broad range of skills 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. Course team members are all clinically and/or research active 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 but not confined to anxiety disorders, CBT, clinical health psychology, eating disorders, intellectual disabilities, neuropsychology/neuroscience, older adults, psychosis, stigma, Systemic/Family therapy, transdiagnostic psychological processes, and working with children.
The Course is part of the Oxford Centre for Psychological Health, which also includes and integrates the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre (OCTC) and the Oxford Health Specialist Psychological Intervention Clinic (OHSPIC). The course also has close links with specialist mindfulness, neuropsychology and spinal cord injuries units. Trainees are given the opportunity to develop competencies in most areas of clinical psychology practice. Training takes a life-span developmental perspective. As training progresses trainees are supported in developing their own personal styles of working.
The Oxford Course frequently updates the way in which training is delivered. This reflects our commitment to work at the cutting edge of clinical psychology training and research and to fully meet the requirements for approval by the Health & Care Professions Council. We have achieved foundation level accreditation of the programme with the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT), and the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) - level two. We are currently applying for Intermediate level accreditation with AFT. We are committed to the meaningful involvement of Experts by Experience within all strands of the training programme including within Admissions.
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. Teaching may also take place in other Trust locations and within the Thames Valley footprint, as well as online, or in blended online and face-to-face sessions.
Throughout the three years of the Course, trainees are generally on placement three days a week and at the Isis Education Centre / Warneford Hospital site for training, study and research for up to two days a week. Teaching blocks occur in each year also. The academic programme is designed to align with clinical placements in order to enhance and enrich the learning process.
Clinical placements are located throughout the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, and potentially beyond as required, and are allocated primarily on the basis of training needs. Therefore, trainees must be prepared to travel within this area, and potentially beyond as required (although reasonable adjustments will be made for trainees with disabilities and caring responsibilities). Trainees are required to have, or have access to, a car for the duration of Clinical Psychology training. Travel expenses are given for trainees' journeys to clinical placements where that journey distance exceeds the distance from trainees' home to base (Warneford Hospital). Expenses are also provided for required travel within placements (e.g. community visit to a client's home). Mileage is paid at the NHS training rate to exclude the home to base distance as per Trust policy.
Trainees are required to live within the limits dictated by the University of Oxford for the duration of training (although individuals may apply for exemption under exceptional circumstances).
All candidates must meet Essential criteria and will be assessed at short-listing according to how well they meet Desirable criteria. Please see our website for details and to view our Eligibility Checklist.
Essential criteria include the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society. Candidates are expected to have obtained a 2:1 or 1st class honours degree and to have obtained significant clinically relevant work experience which could be in the context of a degree placement or research post. Note that candidates applying in the final year of their undergraduate degree will be considered although the offer of a place will be conditional on achieving at least a 2:1 class degree. Examples of relevant experience can 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 Masters level conversion course are welcome to apply. In this case, grades on conversion courses will be considered in place of those in a first degree, i.e. Merit as 2:1 and Distinction as 1st class honours. Additional relevant academic and research achievements are also taken into consideration including higher degrees and qualifications giving access to higher education. Applicants should note that if appointed, they should not simultaneously be registered for any other degree course (e.g. a PhD). Candidates currently undertaking a PhD are expected to have successfully completed this with only minor corrections outstanding by the September start date of the training course.
Candidates for whom English is not their first language, and who have not completed a degree in English, will need to provide evidence of English language proficiency at the higher level required by the University of Oxford. Please see the University website for acceptable tests and minimum scores at the higher level.
Applicants will be expected to have some understanding of the specific role of a clinical psychologist within the UK National Health Service and be committed to the values set out in the NHS Constitution. They should be able to apply their knowledge of academic psychology and research in clinical settings. 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.
The Oxford Course only accepts candidates who are already eligible to live and work in the UK on a permanent basis. Applicants are required to have home fees status and should meet NHS bursary eligibility.
All applicants are required to send scanned copies of their academic qualifications (including A-Level or equivalent, undergraduate, and postgraduate) directly to the course at the point of their application to the Clearing House. For candidates with international qualifications undertaken in a language other than English, an official English translation is required. Candidates who subsequently attend interview are required to bring the original certificates/transcripts to their interview.
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, we are committed to making all reasonable adjustments to the interview process. Applicants are required to disclose any information that might affect fitness to practise or future registration under the Health & Care Professions Council. The Course also makes reasonable adjustments throughout training 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 & Barring Service checks. 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.
All general enquiries should be directed to the course.
The Oxford Course 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 to recognise individuals with strong potential for success at doctoral level and within the profession, who otherwise might not have been identified.
The Clearing House will circulate a survey to collect Contextual Admissions data separately from the application form. The Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology have agreed the questions in this survey, which have evidence for improving the inclusivity and equity of recruitment processes. Completion of this survey is optional.
It is anticipated that for 2022 entry the Oxford Course will be monitoring the Contextual Admissions data for audit/research purposes, to consider developments to selection processes in future years. Data may be used also to create reports for external agencies such as Health Education England.
Trainees are recruited annually, and all applications will be assessed by a team of Course staff and clinical supervisors according to pre-defined criteria. We expect to short-list approximately 100 candidates for interview through a multi-stage process which will include information provided on the application and referees’ reports. Following eligibility checks (e.g. right to work), past academic qualifications are scored. An academic score threshold is set which allows approximately half of applicants to proceed to the detailed short-listing stage. This is a pragmatic measure to reduce the number of applicants to a level that can be managed at short-listing. The threshold score is not made public as it will change each year depending on the strength of applications received.
Approximately 100 candidates are selected from the short-listing stage and these candidates will be invited to interview at the Isis Education Centre. Desirable criteria scored at short-listing include: clinical and research experience, evidence of publications and dissemination, additional qualifications, skills and abilities not previously scored and evidence of suitability to train as a clinical psychologist and health professional within the NHS.
Candidates invited to attend interview will undertake a clinical task developed in collaboration with Experts by Experience, requiring timed written answers to a filmed clinical scenario, and an interview which covers clinical, research and academic aspects. All candidates are asked pre-specified lead questions and there are clear criteria for ratings. Candidates will also hear brief presentations from the course team, and have the opportunity to meet with current trainees and course staff including some 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. All applicants invited for interview will be asked if they require any reasonable adjustments to be made to the selection process due to a disability; this is irrespective of whether candidates have indicated on the application that they wish a disability to be taken into consideration or not.
In the event of the course not being able to hold face-to-face interviews and/or clinical task on-site, an alternative online format will be used. In this event, further information would be available on our website and communicated in advance to applicants.
Due to the large number of applicants, unfortunately we are unable to offer feedback to individual candidates who are not offered interviews. Candidates who are offered interviews are provided with the opportunity for individual telephone feedback. This includes candidates who are placed on our reserve list.
Current trainees are employed as trainee clinical psychologists on a fixed term contract for three years. A job description and person specification is available on our website. Under present arrangements (which are under review, see below), on entry to the programme all trainees are appointed at the bottom of Band 6 of the NHS AfC pay scale and progress in terms of increments on the basis of NHS terms and conditions which apply at the time. This applies even if trainees have previously been paid at a higher level in the NHS. The employing authority is Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which is an Equal Opportunities employer. University and college fees are currently 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 36 places in our annual intake for 2022. However, this is subject to final confirmation from our local commissioners. It is possible that the number of places may rise.
The Isis Education Centre at the Warneford Hospital is the designated base and where the majority of teaching takes place. NHS travel expenses policy does not reimburse travel from home to base, however travel to placements is currently reimbursed subject to the NHS policy for mileage in excess of the usual home to base journey.
The Course is full-time for three years and attendance at all course components is mandatory over that time, including the induction period. Periods of fixed leave are set at the Easter and Christmas breaks with additional allowance to be taken across the year during placement days. Larger blocks of leave can be taken during the summer months at times when no teaching is scheduled. These are up to two weeks as permitted within Trust guidelines. Any requests for longer duration of leave requires approval by the Programme Director and is only considered under exceptional circumstances.
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. There is no part-time variant of the course available.
The academic programme is carried out over three terms in each year of the Course. Following a four-week induction block, academic teaching closely parallels the clinical experience of trainees on placement, taking into account developmental and life-span perspectives. Teaching topics include: adult mental health; older people; children, young people and families; intellectual disability; clinical health psychology; neuropsychology; substance misuse; leadership; professional issues; professional reflection. There is a strong emphasis on research skills, with training in design and analysis across the three years. A number of therapeutic models are taught, with cognitive-behavioural and family/systemic approaches forming the core of the curriculum.
The Course aims to encourage creative self-directed learning where possible and the academic programme includes skills focused workshops, seminars and interactive sessions such as problem-based learning in addition to lectures. Teaching is delivered by Course staff, clinical supervisors working in the region, external lecturers and experts by experience. 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. Attendance at all teaching sessions is mandatory.
There is an excellent range 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 generic and specialist clinical competencies, 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 or six placements over the three years of the Course, however, the course is experimenting with some year-long placements in the first year. First and second year placements typically cover the core areas of adult mental health; older people; children, young people and families; and people with intellectual disabilities. However, in some cases, trainees may need to extend the acquisition of competencies in these specialist areas into the third year. Placements are usually approximately five and a half 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. The course works closely with trainees through the three years to map a training journey that as far as possible meets trainees’ individual training needs and reflects interests. These needs and preferences are considered by the trainee's course tutor, in conjunction with the clinical team, alongside the availability of supervision. At regular six-monthly intervals, there are scheduled individual discussions with the trainee's course tutor about progress and further learning needs. Third year placements will cover a wide range of more advanced/specialist clinical competencies. A further aim of this third-year placement period 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, and options in terms of placement configuration (six-month and year-long); these are allocated on the basis of trainee learning needs, interests and career aspirations. All placements are closely monitored and assessed.
The development of clinical competence takes place on placement and through skills-based workshops and teaching blocks organised throughout the Course. Workshops are provided in a variety of therapeutic approaches, including cognitive/behavioural and family/systemic 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 amounting to at least three hours contact time in total per week.
Trainees are taught the skills to carry out clinical research in a professional context by Course team members who are themselves actively involved in research. Trainees are also 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. Trainees also have good access to statistical and computing resources at the Course base. Trainees work on three clinically focused research projects throughout the three-year period of training; these are submitted together in a research portfolio which is examined at viva voce examination in the third year. The three research projects are a Service Improvement Project (SIP, with a Quality Improvement emphasis), a Systematic Review of the Literature (SRL), and a Theory Driven Research Project (TDRP). These projects can include qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Support with research is provided by the Experimental Psychology Department of the University of Oxford. Research will normally be conducted on clinical samples. 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. All research submissions are in the form of manuscripts suitable for publication. Many past trainees have gone on to have papers accepted in peer-reviewed journals.
Research competence is primarily assessed through the research portfolio. This must be evaluated as making a significant contribution to the field of knowledge in clinical psychology.
Clinical competence is assessed in a number of ways. At the mid-point and end of each placement, supervisors carry out an overall evaluation of the trainee's clinical competence and trainees submit a log-book summarising their clinical experience. Trainees also submit for formal assessment five clinical studies (Integrated Clinical Reports, ICRs), two each in Years 1 and 2, and one in Year 3, and are required to pass two direct assessments of clinical competence for each placement. To pass each placement, trainees are also required to submit two formal structured observations of their supervisor, or other appropriate psychological therapist, and two of their supervisors observing them. Direct observation and live supervision are viewed as very important aspects of the training experience.
To complete the Course successfully, trainees must pass all these assignments. Additionally, to proceed to the second half of the programme, trainees must pass a mid-Course Review in which progress in completing placements, academic assignments and research proposals is assessed.
All trainees are allocated a course tutor who is responsible for facilitating and supporting the development of clinical, academic, research and professional competencies across the three years of training. They are also the first point of contact for all personal and professional issues, including leave requests, and are the trainee's line manager. Trainees complete a Training Needs and Aspirations Assessment (TNAA) where they rate their competence and experience prior to starting training. This is reviewed and revised as experience and competence develops as part of the annual appraisal process.
Personal and professional development is also facilitated through supporting reflective practice in a variety of ways, including opportunities for trainees to participate in a mindfulness meditation class. Additional support includes a "Buddy" system where each new trainee is offered support from a trainee in the year above. There is a Personal Tutor system where trainees are allocated a Personal Tutor/Mentor from a list of local clinical psychologists, for confidential mentoring and support. Further personal support options are available as appropriate.
Trainees attend annual Course events and provide representatives to attend key Course committee meetings, including co-chairing the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC). These provide opportunities for professional development and ensure good two-way communication between staff and trainees in all year groups, and also ensure that trainees have the opportunity to influence decisions regarding the Course.
The core staff with day-to-day involvement with the Course are listed below. Please see our website for further information, including staff research interests.
Professor Paul Salkovskis - Programme Director
Ms Lorna Hogg - Clinical Director
Professor Craig Steel - Academic Director
Dr Ciorsdan Anderson - Clinical Tutor and Lead for Supervision Training
Dr Kathryn Evans - Clinical Tutor and Professional Development Programme Lead
Dr Susannah Jenner - Clinical Tutor
Dr Nigel King - Clinical Tutor
Dr Sarah Lack - Clinical Tutor
Dr Fiona Williams - Clinical Tutor
Dr Myra Cooper - Senior Research Tutor
Dr Brynjar Halldorsson - Research Tutor
Dr Matthew Hotton - Research Tutor
Dr Louise Johns - Senior Research Tutor
Dr Rebecca Knowles-Bevis - Research Tutor
Dr Joanna Adams - Course Tutor
Dr Sarah Coles - Course Tutor
Dr Nicola Collett - Course Tutor
Dr Matthew Knight - Academic & Admissions Tutor
Dr Nicola Lane - Course Tutor
Dr Fiona McFarlane - Course Tutor
Dr Reena Vohora - Academic Tutor
Dr Sasha Walters - Course Tutor
Ms Tracy McAteer - Head of Operations
Ms. Tamzen Carty - Admissions, Accreditation & Audit Administrator
Ms Angela Fox - Academic Administrator and PA to Director (Academic)
Ms Povanasvarie Govind - Centre Administrator and PA to Programme Director
Ms Theresa Pedlar - Senior Institute Administrator
Ms Deryn Southam - Clinical Administrator and PA to Director (Clinical)