University of Surrey

Course Code: 28

PsychD in Clinical Psychology
University of Surrey
Department of Psychology

01483 682222

Programme Director: Ms Mary John
Admissions Tutor: Dr Catherine Huckle


Core Philosophy

The PsychD in Clinical Psychology Programme at Surrey is based at the Stag Hill campus in central Guildford and is proud to have been training Clinical Psychologists for almost 50 years.

We emphasise three things in particular: research; collaboration with service users, carers and professional colleagues; and reflective practice.

We aim to be a research-led Programme, recognising the generation of knowledge through practice-based evidence as well as qualitative and quantitative research.  The Programme is committed to the application of academic and research rigor to health and social care contexts.

We aim to facilitate the personal and professional development of trainees so that they are qualified to work as clinical psychologists in an evolving NHS. The training has strong links within our community and across the region and is actively developed in collaboration with regional psychologists, trainees, commissioners, and service users and carers to ensure that training is responsive to the NHS and client needs. The course emphasises the development of leadership skills so that clinical psychologists can integrate, operationalise and initiate the application of theoretical knowledge within community and public, voluntary and organisational systems.

As a Programme we incorporate our values into every element of the training. These are:

  • Integrity, honesty, compassion and empathy
  • Inclusive practice across the life-span and across settings
  • Commitment to innovation, improvement and creativity
  • Reflexive, interdisciplinary, evidence-based practice
  • Public and patient involvement in learning
  • Commitment to adult models of learning with an ongoing pledge to excellence
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Commitment to reduction in health inequalities and an increase in meaningful access to services for minority groups.

We are dedicated to recruiting candidates whose individual values and behaviours fit with our values and actively welcome candidates from minority groups and groups under-represented within the profession.

The Programme has been accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), validated by the University of Surrey and approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) (May 2014).

We are pleased to be able to extend beyond this to provide trainees with opportunities to have learning experiences recognised by external bodies. These include accreditation at the Foundation Level in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice for all trainees, and optional pathways leading to Level 2 accreditation with the BABCP and recognised learning contributing to post-doctoral qualifications in neuropsychology within the adult domain.

The Programme team maintain a compassionate stance which recognises the individuality of all, the need for connection and the need for even handedness and fairness in all our endeavours. We share the values of community psychology, promoting social justice wherever we can. We encourage reflective practice and foster a warm and approachable atmosphere to facilitate sharing and reflection as trainees progress through training.

Core Skills and Links with Regional Psychologists

Regional psychologists associated with the Programme provide training and supervision in the core and advanced competencies within all clinical psychology specialisms. This allows trainees access to a variety of excellent placements. These include: core placements involving work with adults, children and families, individuals with a learning disability, and older adults; as well as more specialist placements in areas such as rehabilitation, forensic, neuropsychology, health psychology, addictive behaviours, challenging behaviours and paediatrics. Placements are available using a range of therapeutic approaches, including cognitive/behavioural, systemic, psychodynamic, and third-wave approaches such as ACT, mindfulness and CAT. Opportunities are provided to gain experience of working with clients from a diverse range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, in urban and rural communities and across the life-span. Regional psychologists also contribute to the teaching units.

Geography, Demography and Travel

The teaching and administrative base of the Programme is at the University of Surrey Stag Hill campus in the town of Guildford. The clinical placements are typically based in South West London, Surrey and West Sussex and cover an area of great geographical and cultural diversity, from metropolitan districts of London; through urban and rural areas of Surrey and Sussex down to the South Coast. Trainees are expected to travel to placements (extending from South West London in the north, to the south coast at Worthing, and east/west from Chichester through Guildford to Redhill and Warlingham). Travel within placements may also be expected. Consequently, subject to reasonable adjustments in respect of any disability, trainees must possess a full valid driving license and have the unrestricted use of a car or motorcycle for work at all times. Trainees must be able to arrive at work at 9.00am and move between bases efficiently to meet service needs. Trainees are required to live within a reasonable travel time/distance from the Programme base. Application to the programme is considered acceptance by candidates that they will have to travel the required distances from their homes to the locations specified above. Some travel expenses related to placements are currently paid.

Postgraduate Training in Psychology at the University of Surrey

The University of Surrey as a whole has a strong professional and vocational tradition and the School of Psychology has an established history of providing training in applied and professional psychology and a large postgraduate contingent including Masters level postgraduate courses in Research Methods, Health, Environmental, and Social Psychology, plus the Psychology Conversion course and PGDip Intervention courses. At Doctorate level there is a PhD programme which runs alongside, providing a vibrant and supportive postgraduate research environment. The University has recently invested in the school with a significant multi-million-pound refurbishment programme providing state of the art research and teaching facilities.

The clinical psychology team have a diverse range of research interests, theoretical expertise and methodological innovations which fall into the following research themes:

Acute Distress

This research theme draws on our expertise to explore issues of acute distress in contemporary life in a range of settings with a range of populations. The theme is actively researching in: Young people and distress; Veteran distress; Perinatal and parental distress; and Distress and the environment.

Drugs, Alcohol and Addictive Behaviours

This research theme focuses on work around identification and intervention for legal and illicit substance use and misuse and encompasses other addictive behaviours such as gambling. Our activity is based on research that has clear relevance to reducing drug, alcohol or gambling-related harms.

Psychosocial Interventions

The Psychosocial Interventions research theme looks at the efficacy, effectiveness, process and experience of psychological and social interventions for psychological disorders and distress. The research we do spans topics from the process of change in group therapy for personality disorder, telepsychology or e-mental health, compassion focused therapies and interventions for people with long term physical health conditions and common mental health problems.

Self, Identity and the Lived Experiences

Broadly, our work is concerned with identity challenges and with the ways in which individuals manage the boundaries of self and the implications for health and wellbeing. Our ultimate aim is to use this knowledge to inform real world strategies and interventions to promote individual and societal mental and physical health. We consider "self" as a process, as an ongoing story that involves evaluation and a search for meaning. We are also interested in the ways in which people communicate their identity through self-representations.

Entry Requirements

We believe that the experience of training is enhanced when trainees are from diverse backgrounds and are committed to introducing and supporting diversity in the profession of clinical psychology. We actively welcome and encourage applications from candidates that are under-represented amongst clinical psychologists, and from candidates who have followed non-traditional career paths. Please visit our website or contact us for more information.

If you are currently enrolled on any other degree (eg a PhD or Masters programme) and have any outstanding requirements from another programme, you may be required to withdraw from that programme in order to take up a place or to continue your studies on a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership

Applicants must be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) from the British Psychological Society. An exception is made for those in the final year of their undergraduate degree. In these cases candidates may apply and any offer of a place is conditional upon achievement of the required degree mark from a programme that confers GBC.


Candidates are required to have a 1st class or 2:1 honours degree. This can either be:

  • A psychology degree which confers eligibility for GBC (1st or 2:1)
  • A degree in another subject (1st or 2:1) plus an accredited conversion qualification which confers eligibility for GBC

Applicants who hold a conversion qualification are required to send transcripts for their UNDERGRADUATE degree directly to the Admissions Team at Surrey. (Transcripts for GBC-accredited undergraduate degrees and GBC-accredited conversion courses, and for international qualifications at a similar level, will be provided through the Clearing House). An absence of a transcript will result in an applicant not being considered as there will be no means to verify the minimum requirements stipulated.

Applicants who attained a 2:2 undergraduate degree will only be considered if they hold either a completed Masters qualification (65% or above), or a completed Doctoral level qualification. These applicants (except those holding a doctorate) are required to send a transcript of their Masters degree directly to the Admissions Team at Surrey. Failure to provide this transcript will mean your application cannot be considered.

Please contact the Admissions Team for further discussion if you are unsure of the status of your academic experience.

English Language Requirements

All applicants whose first language is not English and whose university qualifications were not taught and examined in English (and completed within the last five years) must send evidence of their ability to communicate in the English language to the Clearing House, with their application. To be eligible to apply to the Surrey University programme, the minimum International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score required is 7.0, with a minimum of 6.5 in each component. Failure to provide this evidence will mean your application cannot be considered.


Applicants may either be graduates or those who are in their final year of an undergraduate psychology degree. In all cases, applicants must have at least 12 months full-time (or equivalent if part-time) relevant experience at the point of application. Applicants are not expected to have extensive previous experience in a range of settings. What is important is that applicants can demonstrate that their relevant experience has allowed them to apply psychological principles in practice. Applicants must also show what they have learnt from this experience and how it has allowed them to gain a realistic sense of what working as an applied psychologist in clinical or health settings means. Examples of relevant experience include working as an assistant psychologist, Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) worker, research assistant, and some healthcare assistant/support worker posts which involve working with clinical populations, in communities or with school populations and have been supervised by a registered psychologist. We are aware that the experience gained within some roles may have been impacted by Covid-19. We would urge you to consider your experience as described above – in these unprecedented times, what opportunities have you had to apply psychological principles in practice, and what exposure have you had to the role of clinical psychologists during a global health crisis?

Applications on the basis of clinical or health-related research experience will only be considered if this research experience involved direct contact with clinically-relevant groups involving the application of direct methods of assessment or testing (eg psychometric tests, diagnostic interviews, biological samples, experimental designs, semi-structured interviews). Applicants may have attained their experience in either a paid or voluntary capacity. Mature applicants or those with experience outside of traditional healthcare settings are strongly encouraged to apply if their experience is relevant. It is important that experience is sustained and recent (ie gained within the past three years).

When stating the duration and dates of your experience, this information must be complete and accurate. Any gaps of longer than four months from the start of your undergraduate degree should be accounted for on your application.


If applicants are not using their current employer as their clinical referee, they must explain why or their application will not be accepted. Where an applicant has more than one current relevant employer, they must indicate their reason for choice of clinical referee in the Personal Statements section of their application.

Applications are expected to be well written, demonstrating a good grasp of the English language. Values are expected to be in accordance with those encapsulated in the NHS Values.

Communication with the Clearing House and the University will be considered in our selection process and unprofessional communication, bullying or verbal intimidation will not be tolerated.

Selection Procedure

At the University of Surrey we are constantly working on reviewing and updating our selection processes. Please check our website for the latest information.

Written Test

Applicants satisfying the minimum criteria, as specified in the Entry Requirements section above, will be invited to sit a written test. More details on the nature of the tests will be provided on invitation to attend. The Surrey test will comprise three components - all of which will be done on the written test day on a computer. These will be a multiple choice section; a situation judgement test; and a test of ability to assimilate and communicate written information.

The written test is conducted jointly with the Salomons Programme, Christ Church Canterbury University and the University of East London Programme. We plan for the written test for all programmes to take place on Saturday 13 February 2021 (subject to the Covid-19 alert level and restrictions). Due to the courses operating different minimum entry requirements relating to past work experience and academic credentials, applicants applying to more than one of these three courses may be eligible to take the test for one course but not the others

Short-listed candidates will be advised in their invitation email which test centre they are required to attend to take the written test.

Applicants with disabilities will be given appropriate support to sit the test. Extra time will be given to those with dyslexia. Candidates must advise us if they have a need for particular additional support for the test by 9 February 2021 with supporting evidence (subject to Covid-19 alert level and restrictions). Failure to provide details and evidence by this date will mean that special support cannot be arranged.

All applicants must possess a full valid driving licence by the date of the written test (subject to reasonable adjustments for disability). All applicants are required to bring their photo card with them on the day of the written test. This will also be used to document photographic proof of identity. If applicants cannot bring the required document they will not be eligible to sit the written test. No other forms of identification will be accepted. If applicants are sitting the test at one of our partner institutions they will also be required to send a scanned copy of their driving licence to the Surrey Admissions Team prior to the written test.

If a candidate is unable to drive and meets the DDA criteria they are required to bring their passport as proof of identity.

Communication with applicants about the written test and subsequent interview procedures will take place by email. Therefore, applicants are advised to regularly check the email address used for their Clearing House application, including their junk folder, throughout this period in order to avoid missing any important communication from us.

Copies of past test papers may be downloaded from the Salomons programme website, however, the exact format of the test may be altered from year to year.

Please note that the Surrey, UEL and Salomons programmes operate independent post-test short-listing procedures and the material presented here regarding short-listing and interviewing applies to the Surrey programme only.

Interview Days

Following the test described above, an interview short-list is prepared by the Programme Team. This is primarily based upon the test scores. Short-listed candidates are invited to attend a day selection procedure that will take place on either the 12, 13 or 14 April 2021. The day will include interviews assessing academic, clinical, professional, personal and communication skills. Candidates will be assessed according to the NHS Values. All contact with the Course will be seen as providing potential information relating to these. Interview panels consist of NHS Psychologists, Programme Team members, service users and carers, and a third year Trainee Rep.

Criminal Records Check and the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS)

Successful candidates will be employed by the NHS. Given all trainees will be working with vulnerable adults and children an Enhanced Criminal Records (CR) Check is compulsory and will be conducted by the employing NHS Trust. Criminal records checks are made through the Disclosure & Barring Service. An Enhanced CR check will disclose any criminal convictions and police cautions, reprimands or warnings, whenever they occurred. Organisations that make CR checks must comply with the CR code of practice which means that any information obtained via a CRB check is used fairly and kept securely. The CR fee is paid by the employing Trust. Disclosure of such information does not automatically act as a bar to enrolment on the Programme. However, should any criminal record be disclosed, this would require further investigation and discussion, prior to possible acceptance on the Programme.

Health Checks

Prior to commencement on the course an Occupational Health Assessment will be undertaken by the employing NHS Trust. The purpose is to screen trainees in line with Department of Health guidance for healthcare workers with regard to immunity and immunisations for infectious diseases. Additionally, it is undertaken to assess current health status with regard to any additional support individual students may need to assist them throughout the course, with a view to future fitness to practice. This is particularly pertinent in the current Covid19 Pandemic.

Fitness to practise is a requirement of all professions registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). During training (which the HCPC refers to as pre-registration), monitoring of fitness to practise is the responsibility of the course.

Concerns about fitness to practise can be raised during the selection process, including the manner and tone of written and verbal communications with the course centre at any stage of the selection process, as well as behaviour both during and between interviews for those candidates called for interview.


Current 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 will start on the first spine point of Band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scales. Travelling expenses are currently paid for travel to placements, and University fees are currently paid directly by the NHS.

Owing to the funding arrangements for this course, currently applications can only be considered from Home students. The University classifies students as "home" or "overseas" for fees purposes, based on the Education (Fees and Awards) Regulations 2007. Further information regarding fees classification is available from the UK Council for International Student Affairs or from the Student Fees and Funding Office in the University Registry.

The programme offered 30 places in 2020 (numbers for the 2021 intake are unconfirmed at the time of going to press).


There is a limited amount of postgraduate accommodation at the University. In order to be considered for accommodation, application should be made to the University Accommodation Office (01483 682466). The Accommodation Office can also provide advice in finding local rented accommodation.

Structure and Content

Training commences with a mandatory six-week teaching block that offers experiential therapy skills training in preparation for the first placement. The Course as a whole comprises three main areas as follows.

Clinical placements

Our placements focus on developing the full breadth of clinical competencies working with people across the life-span in a variety of settings, including working with adults, children and families, older people and people with learning disabilities, as well as a final year specialist placement. Throughout the three years of training, trainees will have regular opportunities to link theory and practice through discussions within small personal and professional development groups, problem-based learning exercises and regular meetings with their tutors and mentor. These discussions will also provide an opportunity for reflection, personal and professional learning, exploration of difference and diversity, and the transferability of clinical competencies and knowledge across placements. Placement days are scheduled on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Study time relating to academic work and clinical work is allocated within the timetable.

Assessment of clinical competence is via written and oral reports of clinical activity, supervisor evaluation on placement, an audio recording assignment and placement log-books.


Assessment of research competencies is summarised below. The research portfolio includes either a literature review and an empirical paper, or two empirical papers. All are examined at viva at the end of the three years. This body of work should demonstrate research skills at doctoral level showing the required level of competency and innovation. The Major Research Project must include empirical work judged to constitute a contribution to knowledge or practice, and evidence of originality should be demonstrated by the discovery of new facts or by the exercise of independent critical judgment. Progress for research is judged at the six-month research reviews.

Teaching Units

Academic content comprises four core competence domains that run across all three years of training.

Clinical applications

This focuses on adult presentations and neuropsychology (all three years), children, young people, and families, people with learning disabilities, adults in later life, long-term health conditions (Year 2), and addictions, personality disorders, forensic and legal issues (Year 3).

Clinical skills and interventions

This focuses on CBT and introduction to psychodynamic ideas (Year 1), systemic (Years 2 and 3), and psychodynamic, IPT, DBT, Schema-focused therapy, CAT, and community interventions (Year 3).

Personal and professional development

This focuses on critical social issues in clinical psychology (Year 1), professionalism and leadership (all three years), and specialist topics in critical and community psychology (Years 2 and 3). In addition, PPD groups run regularly throughout the three years of training.

Clinical Research

This focuses on developing skills to design, conduct and critique different types of research and is delivered through a combination of online learning and self-assessment as well as tutorial groups. There are also dissemination workshops and a trainee research conference.

Timetable of Assignments

Assessment is undertaken through both formative and summative assignments in a variety of formats including: clinical skills assessments; problem-based learning exercises; reflective accounts; and oral presentations of clinical work (summarised below). The emphasis on formative feedback is to support trainees to gain the appropriate level of engagement with the material as there is a recognition that moving from a masters to doctorate level requires some adjustment. The Surrey course does not use exams to evaluate performance.

All assignments should demonstrate ability for critical and reflexive thinking, knowledge of psychological theories and their application to practice, as well as an understanding of clinical and professional issues.

Year 1
  • PBL: WAIS Administration and interpretation task (f)
  • Service-Related Research Project proposal and assignment (s)
  • Clinical Skills Assessment: Practice Report of Clinical Activity (f)
  • Clinical Skills Assessment: Report of Clinical Activity (N=1) (s)
  • Clinical Skills Assessment: Audio Recording of Clinical Activity (f)
  • MRP Proposal (f)
Year 2
  • Report of Clinical Activity: Formal Assessment (s)
  • Systemic Written Account of Group Discussion (f)
  • Oral Presentation of Clinical Activity (s)
Year 3
  • Systemic Account of a Clinical Scenario (s)
  • Report of Clinical Activity (s)
  • Leadership Task (f)
  • Portfolio submission (s)
  • Thesis submission (s)
  • Viva Voce Examination of the major research thesis submission (s)

(s = summative, f = formative)


Personal and Professional Development

The Programme has a strong emphasis on personal and professional development and support. This model of support was collaboratively developed with trainees and is reviewed on an ongoing basis. It recognises the diversity of individual needs and provides opportunities for regular support from a variety of sources. These include access to tutors; various forms of peer group support including a "buddy" system and participation in personal and professional learning development groups; a University confidential counselling service; and a mentoring scheme involving psychologists external to the Programme. Detailed Programme handbooks and assignment guidelines are provided.

Clinical reviews are held with Teaching Fellows following each placement in order to identify developing training needs. An annual appraisal is held with the Teaching Fellow which attends to competency development utilising the BPS Competency and Knowledge and Skills Frameworks. Research reviews also occur on a six-monthly basis with research supervisors and this information feeds into the overall appraisal which focuses on trainee progress in all Programme areas, and identifies current strengths and developmental needs. This facilitates future choices in relation to placement, research and academic activities. It also enables the Programme team to identify further support resources should they be needed.

Programme Staff (alphabetical order)

Dr Rachel Ames - Teaching Fellow
Dr Freddie Byrne - Teaching Fellow
Dr Tina Cohen - Senior Teaching Fellow
Dr Hannah Frith - Principal Teaching Fellow
Ms Sharon Galliford - Chair of Service User and Carer Advisory Group
Dr Lucy Hale - Teaching Fellow
Dr Paul Hanna - Research Director & Senior Lecturer
Dr Catherine Huckle - Admissions Tutor & Teaching Fellow
Dr Jane Iles - Clinical Director & Senior Teaching Fellow
Ms Mary John - Programme Director & Senior Lecturer
Dr Chrissie Jones - Senior Lecturer
Mrs Charlotte King - Administrative Officer (Programme)
Ms Babs MacLean - Administrative Officer (Placements)
Dr Jen Mance - Teaching Fellow
Dr David Murphy - Senior Teaching Fellow
Dr Bob Patton - Lecturer
Dr Gemma Perman - Teaching Fellow
Dr Laura Simonds - Academic Director & Senior Teaching Fellow

The non-clinical staff of the wider Psychology Department and practising colleagues in the Region provide other academic support.