Teesside University

Course Code: 29

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law
Teesside University
Tees Valley

01642 342308

Academic Tutor (Recruitment and Marketing): Dr Sarah Craven-Staines
Programme Director: Dr SJ (Ash) Summers

We will be hosting an Online Open Evening on Thursday 2 September 2021.
For more information and to book a place please see our website.


The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is a joint enterprise between the University and the NHS. The University is responsible for providing a high quality training course which meets and indeed aspires to exceed the requirements of its regulatory bodies and clinical partners. The involvement of clinicians is essential in providing advanced, contemporaneous and specialist academic teaching, as well as highly competent supervision of practice-based learning.

The course commenced in 1996 and took an innovative and creative approach to training clinical psychologists which it has maintained for over two decades. The course has continued to develop, while maintaining its original ethos, so that today it is viewed as a flexible and contemporary training course with a well-established reputation for producing excellent clinicians. Trainee Clinical Psychologists are considered to be junior colleagues in the profession and an asset to NHS psychology services in which they practise under supervision.

The course aims to train clinical psychologists to be fit for practice for work in modern health and social care settings. They will be enabled to meet clinical need through the provision of a range of clinical skills and services at a high level of competence. This includes providing training, advice and guidance about the benefits and implementation of psychological theory and knowledge in all health and social care contexts. Graduates of the course will be able to work effectively with other colleagues in inter-professional contexts, demonstrating effective leadership as well as attributes commensurate with emerging specialist roles in contemporary health and social care services.

Clinical Psychology is a profession whose practice is based upon a body of psychological knowledge. The course is not founded on one theoretical position but adopts an open stance through the presentation of a breadth of theories. The core models covered are cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic, systemic, and cognitive analytical therapy. Other approaches are also included. The course aims to provide advanced knowledge, skills and experience to enable trainees to make an informed choice as to their own theoretical position.

The course emphasises the importance of collaborative, team and inter-disciplinary working.

Psychological formulation is at the heart of psychological intervention in health and social care and graduates will leave the course able to provide individualised formulations from several theoretical perspectives.

Graduates should be able to explain in a coherent, comprehensive and convincing manner how their practice is informed by their knowledge base.

Qualifying clinical psychologists must take a rigorous approach to the acquisition of knowledge, and be able to select and apply it in practice. They must be able to conceptualise, reflect, analyse and critically evaluate both underpinning knowledge and their own practice. They must be strategic and critical thinkers, able to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of proposals, and to anticipate the possible consequences of decisions or actions. The course aims to enable trainees to achieve all of these goals.

The value of development, both professional and personal, is fundamental at Teesside. Trainees should develop as reflective and ethical practitioners, who can recognise the psychological impact of their work on themselves, and who understand the importance of continuing professional development.

Teesside University is based in the North-East of England within the town of Middlesbrough, which is well located with good road and rail networks to the North, South and West of the British Isles. The region has its own international airport, with others in easy reach. The location provides easy access to the North Yorkshire Moors, the Yorkshire Dales and the beautiful North Yorkshire Coastline. It has the additional advantage of providing a good but inexpensive quality of life with accommodation within easy reach of the University.

The academic components of the course are mainly delivered within the University site, but periods of clinical practice take place within the wide geographical region ranging from Scarborough, Harrogate and York in the South to Durham and Newcastle in the North.

Course Management

The course is managed within the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law of Teesside University and conforms to the regulations and procedures of the School. There is a Course Board, which has responsibility for overall management and evaluation of the course. Members of the team have responsibility for key areas of course management and development. Trainees are represented within all key meetings and this contributes to effective communication. Involvement also includes University colleagues and nominated clinicians from the partner NHS Trusts.

Entry Requirements

Application to the course is via the Clearing House for Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Psychology.

At present the minimum entry requirements at the time of application include:

  • Applicants eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society from an accredited undergraduate degree or conversion course.
  • At least 12 months full-time equivalent relevant clinical experience. Normally, experience will have been acquired as a postgraduate in posts such as an assistant psychologist, mental health worker or nursing assistant. Please note: a) the cut-off date for the automated FTE calculations on the application will be the end of November (i.e. the month when applications close). Therefore, any additional experience following this point in time will not be included in the calculation b) we are aware of the impact of Covid-19 on gaining face-to-face clinically relevant experience; however; we continue to require 12 months full-time equivalent clinically relevant experience, even if this has been adapted due to Covid-19 (e.g. virtual experience).
  • Applicants who have shown a strong academic attainment in their undergraduate Psychology degree (2:1 or above). If candidates have a conversion degree, their result must also equate a 2:1 or above. Candidates with a 2:2 degree will be considered if they can provide evidence of their ability to work at postgraduate level, i.e.: they have successfully completed an academically relevant Masters programme with a research component.
  • Two strong references should be provided. One from a current employer or supervisor and one from an academic supervisor. If it is not possible to provide these, please give a clear explanation as to why an alternate referee has been chosen.

Applicants who have not yet graduated from their undergraduate degree will not be considered at short-listing. Similarly, a Masters qualification will not be considered without full completion and graduation.

We can only consider applicants who meet home fees status and applicants must not require a work permit. If in any doubt about your fees status applicants should contact Teesside University International Admissions for clarification before applying.

We do not accept applications from international applicants who do not meet the criteria for home fees status.

The local NHS Trust ensures that all individuals accepting a place on the Course undergo Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service checks prior to starting. All offers of a place are subject to a satisfactory DBS and Occupational Health check.

Following the implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act (2005 amendment) and the Equality Act 2010, we encourage applicants to declare whether they have a disability in their application. The Course, in conjunction with the local NHS Trust, operates its selection procedures in line with the principles associated with the Disability Confident Scheme and in compliance with the Equality Act (2010). All applicants applying under the Disability Confident Scheme will be discussed at a Moderation Meeting with the relevant NHS Trust. We are not able to offer an interview to all of those who apply under the Scheme.

If you are an applicant to Teesside who experiences a disability and would like to discuss how it might affect your studies and the resources available to support you, please contact Teesside University Disability services on 01642 342277 or email disability@tees.ac.uk.

Selection Procedure

The selection process is reviewed and amended each year in line with feedback and the reflections of those involved. We have a Working Group that meets twice each year to review selection and recruitment processes. The Working Group comprises local clinicians, trainees, members of the course team, Service User representatives, the Recruitment and Marketing Tutor, and the Trust Liaison Officer. All participants have a role in enhancing the process. The group is also informed by the National Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology Recruitment Working Group, as well as the Teesside University Recruitment and Marketing Working Group. The admissions procedure is closely monitored on a yearly basis and adheres to the Selection and Admissions Policy for the course.

All applications are initially screened by members of the course team who review them according to minimum entry criteria. Following this the second sift of the applications is completed by a member of the course team and scores are given within the following areas:

  • An understanding of the importance and contribution research plays within the profession
  • Experience of carrying out research at a postgraduate level, with clear signs of dissemination. A good understanding of the role of a clinical psychologist and why you are choosing the profession
  • Experience of different psychological modules and clinical settings
  • Understanding of the importance of ones own development from a personal and professional perspective

Candidates who score highly within these areas and also reach our clinical and reference criteria, will be considered for interview. A proportion of the applications (a minimum of 20%) are rated by two reviewers.

For those who have declared a disability and reach our minimum academic, research, clinical and reference standards, they will be discussed at a moderation meeting following which a decision will be made with regards to offer of interviews. Due to the number of candidates we receive who declare a disability, we are unable to offer all an interview. Decisions are made in conjunction with the employing Trust.

A proportion of the full quota of applicants received (approximately 80) are then invited to interview.

Interviews are normally carried out in March/April each year by a team drawn from the course and local experienced Clinical Psychologists. We also have Service User/Carer representation on the clinical interview panel. The process on the day is supported by current trainees. Overall, the interview process is led by the Academic Tutor (Recruitment and Marketing) in conjunction with the Trust Liaison Officer. The two interview panels, clinical and academic/research, each last for approximately 30 minutes. The academic/research panel includes a short presentation from the candidate relating to a specific research question (10 minutes). This is followed by general questions relating to elements of the research process generally, including questions on design, analysis and interpretation of findings. The clinical panel includes questions relating to relevant skills and experience in line with the person specification of a trainee clinical psychologist. Anonymous feedback is obtained from attendees at the interviews and is used to help review our recruitment process. Please note: this process could be subject to change due to the Covid-19 status at the time of interviewing.

The public places high expectations and levels of trust on clinical psychologists, and the Teesside programme develops practitioners who can meet these expectations. It is hard work and challenging. Therefore, to work within the healthcare sector it is essential that you are able to demonstrate the core values embedded within the NHS Constitution (DOH, 2013):

  • Working together for patients
  • Respect and dignity
  • Commitment to quality of care
  • Compassion
  • Improving lives
  • Everyone counts

The course operates an equal opportunities policy that is consistent with Teesside University and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust and no applicant will be discriminated against on the grounds of age, race, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity or gender.

Due to the volume of applications in recent years, we regret that we can only provide feedback to those applicants who attend the interviews. The feedback will be given after the completion of the recruitment process and applicants should submit a written request for feedback to the Admissions Team via email or by post. Unfortunately, due to the volume of requests and our own recruitment pressures we are not in a position to provide feedback prior to that time nor are we able to provide feedback face-to-face or via the telephone.

It is important to note that each year every application is treated as if it is a first time application, and alongside other applicants.

We will not usually allow you to enrol onto a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology if at that time you are enrolled on any other degree, e.g. a PhD or Masters course. If you have any outstanding requirements from another programme when the clinical course starts, 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.

Our programme 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 us 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, however if you are able to answer any of the questions which provide some additional background about you, and you are happy to provide this to us via the Clearing House, then we would encourage you to do so.

We will in due course provide further details on our website about how we will use the data collected in the survey e.g. as part of our selection processes; for audit/research purposes to consider developments to selection processes in future years; to create reports for external agencies such as Health Education England (which commissions many of the training programmes); etc.


Currently 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 current trainees commenced on the first spine point of Band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scales. Travelling expenses are currently paid for travel to placement, and University fees are currently paid directly by the NHS. You can download the job description and person specification from our website.

Structure and Content

The course draws upon the Scientist-Practitioner and Reflective-Practitioner models of working. The overall purpose of the course is to produce competent clinical psychologists who are eligible for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a clinical psychologist, as well as being able to apply for Chartered status with the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Trainees are exposed to a wide range of therapeutic approaches within a strong academic course that runs concurrently with periods of clinical practice. There is a comprehensive research component running throughout the three years culminating with the production of advanced independent work (thesis) in Year 3. Integral to this is a developmental framework of individual tutorials looking at levels of competency and skill, centred on the Personal and Professional Development component of the Programme.

Yearly individual progression tutorials take place to monitor progress and development.

The course is developmental and integrated with a focus upon building competencies and transferable skills across different settings and client groups. The University operates a modular system. Each member of the course team is responsible for the design and co-ordination of several modules across the three years.

The course is full-time for three years and attendance at all 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 course of training in order to qualify.


A significant amount of the teaching is conducted by practising NHS clinical psychologists and covers a wide range of theoretical orientations and approaches, including contemporaneous, as well as more established, interventions.

Teaching sessions are themed around theoretical knowledge building and the applications of this knowledge within a clinical setting. Methods of delivery are varied and trainee feedback is an integral part of the evaluation and modification of the academic programme. Trainees are introduced to core life-span teaching in Year 1, which is built upon in Year 2 within a special needs context. Year 3 looks at more complex and specialist presentations and service delivery sites. Legal skills and organisational approaches are now key elements of the teaching in the final year.

Trainees are allocated protected private academic study time but there is some flexibility in how this is taken. We expect trainees to attend all the teaching sessions unless prior approval is gained for absence.


Practice-based learning occurs in six placements, each of approximately six months duration, over the three-year programme. Adult learning is facilitated and supported by application of evidence-based theory. As a result, placement supervisors should have theories of supervision and adult learning which inform and guide the supervisory process and which they can share with trainees. Trainees are expected to establish a self-directed programme of learning in conjunction with their clinical tutor and placement supervisors. The establishment, maintenance and development of a positive supervisory relationship are critical to the learning experience on placement and the course seeks to support and enhance the supervisory relationship in its documentation and at all points of contact with supervisors and trainees on placement. The personal is inextricably bound with the professional practice of a Clinical Psychologist, and Personal and Professional Development are part of a common process which underpins all learning and practice as a Clinical Psychologist. Personal reflection is a central element by which knowledge, competence and understanding are enhanced.

In the first two years of training, trainees have placements in the three life-span groups (children/adolescents, working age adults and older adults) as well as a placement in learning disability services (either child or adult services). In the third year the trainees will have two elective placements (including therapy, organisational and long term placement options) in which the trainee has a personal interest. The placements are planned in discussion with the trainee so that any particular preferences for clinical area are taken into account.

Normally, throughout the three years of the course, supervised practice will occupy three or four days of the week, with half a day protected during term-time as private clinical study. An individual pathway of clinical experience is devised for all trainees from when they begin the course in order to ensure a comprehensive and complementary series of experiences are gained. We expect trainees to attend each placement for a minimum of 56 days, excluding sickness and annual leave.

A tightly monitored assessment and evaluation procedure themed around clinical competencies is in place for each placement. This is co-ordinated by the trainees clinical tutor who will follow the trainee throughout their three years of training.


There is an integrated research teaching component that begins in Year 1 and culminates in the submission of advanced independent work (thesis) during May in the third year. This research is then examined by means of an oral examination over the summer. The research tutor has overall responsibility for co-ordinating the research training for the course, which includes monitoring of the trainees small-scale project (service evaluation/audit) and advanced independent work (thesis). In addition to the research tutor, the trainee is also provided with both an academic and field supervisor to help support them in their progress with their thesis. The course team have varied research interests, and there is a wide scope of possible research topics for trainees to pursue within the local catchment area.


Assessments are evenly spread out across the three years and range in type including essays, case presentations, a court report, defence of a report in a mock court, reflective portfolios and clinical practice evaluations. There are no written examinations. There are both formative and summative assignments throughout the course, which support trainees and facilitate learning. All aspects of the Teesside course involve a comprehensive feedback audit cycle, which ensures the course is continually monitored and adapted according to current need. Trainee evaluation is an integral part of this, and this can range from giving anonymous written feedback about individual teaching sessions to verbal feedback within various forums with members of the course team.


Personal and Professional Development

The course has in place a tutorial system that enables the monitoring of trainee progress throughout the academic year. Tutorials are held to cover the academic, clinical and research components of the course. These are then reflected upon with the Personal and Professional Development (PPD) Tutor to facilitate personal and professional growth. In addition, the course operates a personal mentor scheme whereby each trainee is allocated a personal mentor who is independent of the course and provides informal and confidential personal support to aid the trainees personal and professional development. There is also an effective buddy system in place, which helps provide peer support between the year groups. The course team also co-ordinates PPD Reflection and Development Groups within cohorts.

Trainees also have access to the University Counselling and Support Services and the Occupational Health Services of the respective NHS Trust. Student Services offers a wide range of professional and advisory services to help students make the most of their time at University and to assist students with any problems that they may experience throughout their student life.

Fitness to practise is a requirement of all professions registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (if you need more information about fitness to practise please see the HCPC website). During training, monitoring of fitness to practise is the responsibility of course centres.

Concerns about fitness to practise could also 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.

During selection, course centres may take note of issues that could significantly impair trainees capacity to practise in an open and reflective manner, e.g. whether an individual is open to feedback about any relevant concerns, shows appropriate self-awareness in relation to difficulties that impact on their capacity to work, and is willing to work collaboratively with relevant staff to address (and hopefully to overcome) any issues.

Course centres may require other checks to be completed before training can start, such as the following. Trainees may need to provide evidence of their identity or status by, for example, providing their passport, photocard driving licence etc. Trainees may need to verify their qualifications by, for example, providing original certificates and other relevant documents. The trainees employment and training history may be checked. This may involve collecting additional references from current and previous employers e.g. to verify dates of employment etc.


Dr SJ (Ash) Summers - Programme Director
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Special areas of interest include Learning Disability, Leadership, Working with Diversity and Ethical Decision-making.

Dr Angela Prout - Lead Clinical Tutor
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Special areas of interest include Personality Disorders, Complex Trauma Presentations, Organisational Issues and CAT.

Dr Richard House - Clinical Tutor
Clinical Psychologist
Special areas of interest include Community Psychology and Psychosis.

Dr Jayne Finch - Senior Lecturer / Clinical Tutor
Clinical Psychologist
Special areas of interest include complex trauma and trauma informed care, Cognitive Analytic Therapy, cross system working and asset-based community development

Dr Lisa Caygill - Academic Tutor
Clinical Psychologist
Special Areas of interest include Attachment, Looked After Children, Systemic and Psychodynamic approaches.

Dr Sarah Craven-Staines - Academic Tutor (Recruitment and Marketing)
Clinical Psychologist
Special areas of interest include Cognitive Analytic Therapy, supporting the emotional wellbeing of staff in mental health services, working with older adults and supervision.

Dr Alan Bowman - Research Tutor
Clinical Psychologist
Special areas of interest include visual hallucinations, neuropsychology, health psychology, chronic pain, Acceptance and Commitment therapy.

Dr Kathy Burrows - Senior Lecturer / PPD Tutor
Clinical Psychologist and Systemic Family Practitioner
Special Interests in Child and Family Psychology, Personal and Professional Development, Supervision, and Systemic approaches

Dr Chris Wilson - Principal Lecturer
Research interests include visual perception and attention, attention to and perceptions of risk and related decision making, human factors in technology, behaviour in online environments, and exploring the use of virtual environments as an experimental tool for examining cognitive and visual processes.

In addition the course is supported by a number of other academic staff from the University as well as a large number of Honorary and Special Lecturers from within the NHS, in addition to input from service user and carer representatives.