University of Sheffield

Course Code: 24

Self-funded Course Code: 24 - X

Clinical Psychology Unit
Department of Psychology
University of Sheffield
Cathedral Court
1 Vicar Lane
S1 2LT

0114 222 6570

Programme Director: Dr Georgina Rowse
Programme Administrator: Sarah Barnett


This three-year doctoral programme is organised by the University of Sheffield, in collaboration with local Psychology Services, and is currently commissioned by Health Education England. The Programme is approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). On successful completion of the Programme, trainees are eligible to apply for registration with HCPC and chartered status with the BPS.

The orientation of the Programme is specifically to promote the unique contribution which psychology can make to the delivery of healthcare. Key elements of this contribution are supported through the development of personal and professional skills underpinned by compassion, respect, and valuing people. The Programme actively supports trainees to employ psychological theories and formulations to inform the content of their clinical work, with the aim of enabling service users to feel empowered and supported in improving their lives.

The design of the curriculum and academic programme reflects and responds to the demands of the clinical and service context in which clinical psychologists work. We have a commitment to providing a high quality training, which equips people to work with clients and services, in a way which embodies core NHS values of respect, dignity, quality, empowerment and compassion. We provide trainees with academic and clinical tutors who support their learning and development across the curriculum.

The Programme actively supports trainees in the integration of theory with practice and places great importance on conducting and utilising applied research to a high standard and with academic rigour.

The core purpose of the Programme is to train people to become high quality practitioner clinical psychologists who are able to meet and influence the future client and organisational needs of the National Health Service. This development and training is underpinned by innovative approaches to applied clinical and psychological services research. We encourage the study of a broad range of evidence-based approaches. All trainees are supported in the development of academic knowledge and clinical skills around the use of cognitive behavioural therapy, and at least one other model of therapy. Particular emphasis is placed upon developments concerned with organisational skills and service evaluation. This is based upon a commitment to understanding the elements which contribute to high quality services; which are effective for people who use those services; and which reflect the values of the NHS and the health and social care agenda of improving lives, and working together for patients. Sensitivity to and awareness of the needs of priority groups within health and social services is key in relation to this.

The Programme is committed to supporting the development of skills in team working and clinical leadership.

The Programme is based within the Department of Psychology, which has outstanding facilities for research and teaching and an excellent research record; over 80% of our research is internationally excellent or world leading in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Placements are made available principally within the following locations: Barnsley, Doncaster, Scunthorpe, North Derbyshire, Rotherham and Sheffield. Trainees are expected to travel as required to placements, some of which may involve significant commuting time.

Entry Requirements

The expectations and demands placed upon Clinical Psychologists in the NHS change and develop in response to the needs of client groups, and the evolving ways in which services are funded and developed to meet those needs. The expansion and development of a broader range of services for psychological wellbeing in recent years is reflected in a change in the nature and complexity of the clinical, consultancy and leadership roles of Clinical Psychologists.

We review our admissions process annually, to ensure that we continue to train Clinical Psychologists who can work effectively in a changing and increasingly challenging NHS context. This increase in complexity is reflected in the work trainees undertake on placement from the very beginning of training.

In addition we are exploring options with regards to contextual admissions and we may modify our entry requirements for 2021 to reflect this. Please therefore check our Programme webpages for updates.

Please ensure you have read the frequently asked questions section of our Programme web pages and all the relevant course information we provide before you consider contacting the Programme with any enquiries as this can often answer the query. You can also find information about the course in the Alternative Handbook.

We cannot respond to individual requests to comment on or advise you as to the suitability of your existing or planned qualifications; courses of study; or relevant experience prior to the submission of your application.

We receive a high number of applications to the programme each year. Not all applicants who meet the minimum criteria will be successful in gaining an interview. In relation to our updated entry criteria, you may find that whilst you have previously been successful in being offered an interview, this may not be the case this time. For a more detailed account of our entry criteria, please download our short-listing criteria from our website.

Minimum Entry Criteria

In order to meet our minimum entry criteria, candidates must meet the entry requirements below and achieve a minimum score of 9 on our short-listing criteria from two independent members of our short-listing panel.

Academic Criteria
  • A good 2:1 or 1st class Honours Degree in Psychology, which is accredited by the British Psychological Society. We do not normally consider candidates who have achieved a 2:2 in their undergraduate degree even with subsequent higher education qualifications*.
  • A good 2:1 or 1st class degree in another undergraduate subject and a postgraduate psychology diploma/conversion course accredited by the BPS. Applicants whose first degree was not in psychology must submit a transcript of the postgraduate course of study which confers GBC.

*We use performance in the undergraduate degree as one of our main academic entry criteria. A good undergraduate degree reflects a robust performance across a broad range of modules and examination processes. The undergraduate degree also provides the greatest equality of access to programmes of study for all students at the tertiary level of education. However, we do consider any mitigating circumstances regards undergraduate degree qualifications and as a programme are exploring options regarding contextual admissions, and may adapt our entry requirements for 2021 to reflect this. As mentioned please therefore check our Programme webpages for updates.

Research Criteria
  • Direct experience of conducting a research project either at an undergraduate level or in subsequent work. Stronger applications will provide evidence of postgraduate research experience in academic or clinical contexts.
Accreditation of your degree

We do not consider applicants currently studying psychology as undergraduates.

Clinical Experience
  • Applicants will demonstrate that they have clinically relevant experience working with client groups relevant to the practice of Clinical Psychology.
  • Applicants will be able to demonstrate an understanding of, and some experience in, the use of psychological models in informing change oriented and recovery work.
  • Applicants will be able to demonstrate what they have learned from their experience in terms of the applications of psychological models and theories to the work, and in terms of being able to reflect on their own personal/professional development.
  • Applicants should demonstrate a good understanding of the role of clinical psychologists in the current NHS context. Stronger applications will provide evidence of direct experience of working with and supervision by a Clinical Psychologist.

Disability Confident scheme

  • In line with the Equality Act 2010 and our Disability Confident status, we welcome applications from applicants with a disability, and encourage candidates to declare whether they have a disability within the Basics - Disability Scheme section of their application.
  • Applicants with a disability who meet the minimum entry criteria by achieving a score of 9 or higher, as rated by two independent members of the short-listing panel, on our short-listing criteria, will be offered an interview.

Travel and Driving

  • All trainees will be expected to travel to placement.
  • A current driving licence is highly desirable, but not essential. For non-drivers travel on public transport will be expected, to allow you to access our wide range of placement opportunities.
  • Adjustments for disability can be made.

English language

If English is not your first language and your university qualifications were not taught and examined in a majority English speaking country, as identified on the University of Sheffield web pages, you need to submit evidence of your ability in English language with your application. The IELTS test requirement for this programme is a minimum score of 7.0 overall with no element below 6.5 or an equivalent qualification at this level as listed on the University of Sheffield web pages. Please see the University of Sheffield English Language Requirements web pages for more details.

Residence Requirements

  • You must be eligible for home fees status in order to apply for an NHS place (see the Funding section below for further details).
  • We offer a small number of additional places to international self-funded candidates who are not eligible to apply for NHS places eg they have overseas fees status (see the Funding section below for further details).

Equal Opportunities and Diversity

  • The Programme operates an equal opportunities policy and no applicant will be discriminated against on grounds of ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexuality or gender.
  • Candidates with knowledge and experience of other cultures or minority groups are particularly welcome to apply.

We are exploring options regards contextual admissions and we may modify our entry requirements for 2021 to reflect this, this may involve utilising equal opportunity data in our admissions process. However individual candidates will need to consent to this information being shared with programmes for the purpose of admissions.

Selection Procedure

The short-listing criteria have been updated for 2021. Please download our short-listing criteria from our website and review them for further details.


Applications are rated by members of the selection committee according to a set of criteria covering academic, clinical, research, and interpersonal skills and experience. The criteria are based on the trainee job description and person specification. We review the academic and experience references as part of our short-listing process; please take care to choose referees who can adequately comment on your academic and clinical readiness for training.

All applications are rated against our criteria. We normally interview up to 64 applicants. Applicants who apply under the Disability Confident system and who meet the minimum criteria (a score of 9 or above from each short-lister) on our short-listing criteria will be offered an interview (see Disability Confident section above for more information).

All other applications are ranked and those with the highest number of points on our short-listing criteria are invited for interview. We will form a reserve interview list of up to 25 candidates. If any alterations are made to this process these will be made clear on our programme webpages.

Applications which are incomplete, ie lack the relevant references or degree transcripts, will not be entered into our short-listing process. It is your responsibility to provide the Clearing House with all the relevant information to support your application.


After successful short-listing, candidates are invited to attend the University. The interview day has three components:

  1. Group Task:

    During this task you will be asked to engage in discussion with other candidates on a topic provided within the task. You will also be asked to reflect on this process as part of the task. Members of the selection panel observe the task. We are interested in competencies relating to interpersonal communication; relationship skills, and reflective skills in this task.

  2. Interview:

    You will have an individual interview with a panel usually made up of programme team academic and clinical staff, a local NHS placement supervisor and an expert by experience. The focus of the interview is on knowledge of research and relevant clinical knowledge. You will also be asked to engage in a short clinically-oriented role-play.

    We are interested in your readiness for training; your understanding of the role of clinical psychology in the NHS; and your ability to think on your feet, and consider issues from a psychologically informed perspective in your responses to the questions.

  3. Academic Task:

    This is a two-part task performed under exam conditions. Part One covers basic mathematical understandings relevant to your capacity to carry out basic mathematical calculations, and to understand and critically evaluate basic statistics. In Part Two, you will be asked to read and critically review a brief paper, this will be conducted on a laptop provided. We are interested in your capacity to read, understand and critique psychological research and to succinctly communicate this understanding in a coherent written format.

Normal University adjustments for disability are offered to candidates who can provide evidence of need. We appreciate that this may include quite sensitive information. If you have any concerns about providing this you can discuss it with a member of the admissions team. Any information provided as evidence is separate from the interview process and is not shared with the interviewing team.

In line with clinical psychology as a reflective profession we engage in ongoing review of our procedures, and potential candidates should therefore check for updates on our website relating to the 2021 process for both short-listing and interviewing before the deadline for applications.


We recognise that the interview day is busy and many people feel anxious. Our current trainees provide support for the candidates throughout the interview day. These trainees are not involved in any evaluation of the candidates and are available to answer questions, and help candidates to navigate the department as they attend each part of the interview process. We also provide a quiet room for candidates who may prefer some time away from the other interview candidates during the process.

Offers of a training place

Offers are subject to candidates satisfying Enhanced Disclosure & Barring (DBS) checks; Occupational Health screening procedures; Human Resources requirements; and providing agreement to the sharing of information between the University and the NHS as part of the training process. Entering the profession of clinical psychology involves adhering to appropriate standards of professional behaviour. Offers are also subject to the requirement of signature of an Entry Agreement, which clearly articulates these responsibilities. The University of Sheffield is committed to ensuring that all candidates for professional training programmes are fully appraised of such requirements, prior to application for any course. A copy of this agreement is provided to candidates for information with any offer of interview and is also available on the Programme website.

Feedback Policy

Due to the large numbers of applicants to the Programme, the anonymisation of applications, and the administrative load of the admissions process, we are unable to offer feedback on the short-listing process. However, if you attend for interview we aim to provide telephone feedback sessions following the completion of the interview process. These feedback appointments are available to candidates who have not been successful in the interviews.


Trainees are based, wherever possible, for a majority of their clinical placements within an area in commuting distance of the University. It is strongly recommended that trainees take up residence in the South Yorkshire area. Candidates must be prepared to move between any of the Trusts in the Region and occasionally to adjoining Regions for some placements.

NHS Funded Places

You must be eligible for home fees status in order to apply for a funded place on the Programme. Candidates for 2021 entry should check the UKCISA website in light of possible alterations to fee status: UKCISA Brexit - Impact on fees status assessments. If your status is not clear then you may be asked for additional information by the University admissions team prior to your application being reviewed by our short-listing team.

Current NHS funded 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 are paid on the first spine point of Band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scales. Travelling expenses are paid for travel to placement (over and above the distance of the trainees home to the programme base. We do not pay travel from home to work. Please consider the financial costs of this for yourself if you are intending to live at a distance from the course base), and University fees are paid directly by the NHS. Placement accommodation costs are not available.

International Self-Funded Places

We offer a small number of additional places to international self-funded candidates. Currently these places are only available to candidates who are not eligible to apply for NHS funded places eg they have overseas fees status. All other Entry criteria are the same as for NHS funded places. Please see the Programme web pages for further details.

Application for these self-funded places is through the Clearing House using Course Code 24 - X.

Structure and Content

The fundamental structure of the Programme is a hybrid of day-release teaching, mini-teaching blocks (usually one or two weeks duration) and clinical placements. During the first year, trainees attend a three-week introductory block consisting of academic teaching and clinical skills training. This is followed by two 5-month placements focusing on core skills and individual work, separated by a two-week mini-block. In the first year, trainees attend the University for between one and three days per week during term-time. In subsequent years, trainees attend the University for one day each week, with the remaining four days being for clinical work (three) and private study (one). The second year consists of two 5-month placements, whilst the final year consists of two 5-month placements with some choice of specialisms (in conjunction with learning needs and competency development) and which may be combined as one or two year-long placements. Each placement, except the final one, is preceded by a mini-block (of one to three weeks), designed to prepare trainees for the following placement.


The general structure of the curriculum has been designed around four themes: Psychological Models, Theories and Evidence Base; Research Skills; Clinical Skills; Professional and Ethical Skills. These four themes run through the three years of training. As each theme develops throughout the three years, it reflects a move from direct client work, to working with groups of clients, staff and consultancy, through to organisational interventions. It is intended that most of the "core" teaching will take place in Years 1 and 2. This will leave Year 3 for more specialist teaching, consolidation and preparation for professional practice and learning. Year 1 intended learning outcomes focus on working with adults across the life-span, primarily in one-to-one work; Year 2 intended learning outcomes extend this to include working at the systems and organisational level, developing this work with children, families and people with a learning disability. Year 3 intended learning outcomes include working with more complex issues, and extension and consolidation of learning and skills achieved in Years 1 and 2.

Clinical Skills teaching is workshop-based and seeks to cover major models of therapeutic interventions. Professional and Ethical Issues teaching is directed at the professional basis of clinical psychology and the wider context of psychological contributions to the organisation and management of healthcare services. Throughout the three years, trainees are introduced to a wide range of research methods and approaches including both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Issues of diversity are considered throughout the three years and aim to encourage the integration of such issues as race, gender, disability, sexuality, power and class across all the programme subject areas.

In addition to the four themes described above, there are also research presentations, clinical case workshops, departmental seminars etc. In total, approximately 800 hours are devoted to academic-clinical activities, including lectures, seminars, workshops, and presentations etc over the three years of training.


Clinical placements are organised to link with the academic programme wherever possible. The placements in Year 1 (Placements 1 and 2) are directed at obtaining experience in working with individuals; typically these placements involve adult services (adult mental health, older adults, neuropsychology, continuing care or health psychology). Placements in Year 2 (Placements 3 and 4) are directed towards services for families, groups and wider systems (such as that involved in many learning disabilities and child settings). A range of placements is available in the third year, depending on competency development needs. These may include: Rehabilitation, Primary Care, Psychotherapy, Neuropsychology, Substance Misuse and Forensic Work. Trainees are expected to work within a range of hospital and community settings and with a full range of client groups over the course of training.


A strength of the Sheffield Programme is its close relationship to a productive and research-orientated Department of Psychology and the newly formed PEARLS (Psychotherapy Evaluation and Research Lab Sheffield). Many opportunities exist for high quality research supervision and teaching. A particular emphasis of the research skills teaching is to encourage trainees to adopt approaches and methods, which are suited to the needs of the NHS. Trainees are required to conduct projects both in applied clinical research and also in service evaluation. The choice of large-scale research project will depend on the availability of appropriate supervisory expertise. In order to enhance the quality of the research supervision provided and the quality of the research completed, we aim to link trainee research with existing expertise within the CPU and specific NHS priorities. The Programme Team has diverse clinical research interests (see our website for details).

Personal and Professional Development

The Programme acknowledges the need for personal and professional development incorporating opportunities to reflect on one's practice as a fundamental part of training, and a sound base for reflective practice once qualified. A range of systems exists to facilitate this development. These include the personal and professional development module; a system of personal mentors; personal tutors; a "buddy system"; and specific teaching on resilience. The philosophy is to acknowledge the personal and professional demands of clinical training and to provide a range of options for support which allows trainees choice in effectively meeting their needs.


The Programme is assessed via Continuous Assessment, which includes the following procedures:

  1. Academic-clinical projects (total three) specifically conducted whilst on placement. These are a literature review, a single case study, and a service evaluation project.
  2. Series of written short-answer questions based on directed readings.
  3. Clinical Practice Reports (total four).
  4. Research thesis.

Clinical competence is assessed at the end of each placement by the trainee's clinical supervisor(s). Each trainee is rated by their supervisor(s) who make an overall recommendation of pass or fail to the Programme examiners, with whom the final decision rests. Clinical skills are also assessed within the University during the first year of the Programme, via an observed clinical skills assessment.

A personal review/appraisal system is also implemented, in addition to the formal assessment system.

Successful completion of training on the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology Programme in Sheffield will provide eligibility to apply to the Health & Care Professions Council for registration as a Practitioner Clinical Psychologist.



Please see our website for details of staff research interests.

Prof Gillian Hardy - Unit Director
Dr Georgina Rowse - DClinPsy Programme Director
Dr Liza Monaghan - Director of Clinical Practice

Academic staff

Prof Michael Barkham - Director of Centre for Psychological Services Research (CPSR)
Prof Nigel Beail - Honorary Professor in Clinical Psychology
Prof Glenn Waller - Professor in Clinical Psychology
Prof Richard Bentall - Professor in Clinical Psychology
Dr Jamie Delgadillo
Dr Vyv Huddy
Dr Charlotte Wright

Clinical Tutor staff

Dr Katharine Boon - Senior Clinical Tutor
Dr Katherine Hildyard - Senior Clinical Tutor
Dr Paddy Howes - Clinical Tutor
Dr Catharine Kay - Clinical Tutor
Dr Kate Rayner - Clinical Tutor

Administrative staff

Mrs Sarah Barnett - Unit Administrator
Mrs Rachel Hill - Administrator
Mrs Jacquie Howard - Administrator
Ms Sharon Keighley - Administrator
Mrs Sue Maskrey - Administrator
Mr Amrit Sinha - Administrator

In addition, many clinical psychologists who act as supervisors and teachers on the Programme, and academic staff of the Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield hold honorary appointments.