Trent: University of Lincoln and University of Nottingham

Course Code: 30

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
School of Psychology
College of Social Science
University of Lincoln
Sarah Swift Building, First Floor
Brayford Pool

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
Mental Health and Clinical Neurosciences
University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building, B Floor
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road

General enquiries should be directed to the Course Administrators:
(2022 entry will be administered by Amy Smith)
Nottingham Campus:
Amy Smith - 0115 846 6646
Lincoln Campus:
Claudia Richardson - 01522 886029

Co-Director (Academic and Research): Dr Danielle De Boos
Co-Director (Trainee Management and Practice Learning): Dr Mark Gresswell


The Trent (Universities of Lincoln and Nottingham) Programme is a multi-agency collaboration between Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust, Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation NHS Trust, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the universities of Lincoln and Nottingham. It is a three-year full-time programme, approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), and leads to a professional qualification in Clinical Psychology (Doctor of Clinical Psychology - DClinPsy). The Trent Programme trains people from diverse backgrounds to become resourceful clinicians capable of drawing on a broad range of psychological models and theories, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), to inform their practice as HCPC registered and BPS Chartered Clinical Psychologists.

Graduates from the Trent Programme combine the strengths of both scientist-practitioner and reflective-practitioner stances, are skilled in a variety of assessment, formulation and intervention techniques, are confident in using research methods to answer clinical questions, have organisational and service evaluation skills, and are aware of priority groups within the NHS. Our graduates have the confidence to perform as highly effective individual clinicians and in the leadership and consultancy roles expected of the clinical psychologist of the future. All of these qualities are highly marketable in today's competitive healthcare environment.

The Trent Programme has a number of distinctive features which may be attractive to you:

Selection Procedure

At Trent, we recognise that candidates have a range of strengths and interests, that trainees grow and develop over the course of the programme, and that qualified practitioners need a broad portfolio of competences. Therefore, our selection procedure involves exercises and interviews assessing your academic ability, clinical acumen, personal awareness, reflective qualities, written analytic skills and interpersonal competence and confidence. Over the course of your busy selection day we give you the opportunity to demonstrate your particular strengths and to tell us about your experience in a supportive yet challenging environment. We make sure that during the day you have many opportunities to socialise and share experiences with other candidates, to meet current trainees and staff, and to enjoy plenty of space to take time out and gather your thoughts. Even though selection days can be tiring, candidates in previous years have told us that most people found ours fair, balanced and even enjoyable.

Trainee Experience

As you would expect of doctoral level training, once you are on the Trent Programme, the tone of the selection day is reflected in your intensive learning experience, which has been described as "high demand and high support leading to high output and high reward". You start your training at Trent with a concentrated block of teaching, during which you assess your baseline competences on a range of dimensions, gain detailed and constructive formative feedback from tutors and colleagues, and develop your own learning plan. As you progress on the programme you have opportunities to reflect on your personal trajectory as a psychologist in training and discover your special talents and interests. Central to your professional development is our practice-based learning (PBL) approach to both teaching and assessment.

Practice-Based Learning

One of the defining characteristics of being a Clinical Psychologist is the constant requirement to integrate the theoretical knowledge base and scientific methods of psychology with sound practical competences within a professional and ethical framework. To help you grapple with this challenge we have designed your learning experience to be practice based from the very start. When you join the Trent Programme you will become a member of a learning group of four trainees collaborating to analyse and solve a range of problems that reflect clinical realities. Working with your group you will tackle issues arising within individual, group and systemic interventions using a variety of strategies and techniques. As part of this experience, you will consolidate your teamwork skills, enhance your understanding of group dynamics and reflect on your functioning in groups. PBL exercises are the core of the intensive initial teaching block and give you the confidence and skills to enjoy and make best use of the learning opportunities on your Foundation Placement.

Foundation Placements

Starting your first placement on a new training programme in a new environment can be a daunting experience. Our year-long Foundation Placements help you feel part of a team, establish a secure base, identify with a service, develop effective working relationships and work with longer-term cases. On the Trent Programme, Foundation Placements are usually in Adult Mental Health Services with an emphasis on CBT-based formulations and interventions; however, other Evidence-Based Practice models are introduced to encourage you to make critical comparisons and develop expertise in your preferred approaches.

Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Models

As a BPS-accredited training, the Trent Programme offers experience in CBT and other EBP models. During the first semester of the second year, we offer flexible options enabling you to study and develop competence in complementary and alternative EBP approaches. During the third year you may have the opportunity to consolidate your special interest through the choice of the third year specialist placement.

Research Pathways

Applying for doctoral level training indicates that you welcome the exciting challenge of in-depth enquiry and of making an original contribution to knowledge. However, many trainees who have worked outside an academic setting for some time may worry that their research skills have become rusty. Our research pathway is designed to increase your confidence by building up your research project through a number of stages, each of which attracts detailed formative feedback, contributes to your final research portfolio and provides you with two papers you can submit for publication. At Trent you will be asked to think about your thesis topic before the start of the programme, be provided with a list of potential topics to choose from and will have the opportunity to finish your thesis by the end of the first semester of your third year of training.

Entry Requirements

At time of application all applicants must have a good honours degree in Psychology recognised by the BPS as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). Candidates with a 2:2 degree will be considered if they have a higher degree as evidence of ability to complete a demanding postgraduate level programme.

Candidates should have previous supervised practical experience relevant to clinical training which demonstrates that they have the personal and intellectual resources, including writing skills, to pursue a challenging and demanding postgraduate training course. Postgraduate research experience will be an advantage. The capacity to be critical and analytical, to work in a self-motivated independent way and to set personal priorities is essential; innovative and entrepreneurial potential is highly desirable. Candidates should have a long-standing interest in clinical psychology and a strong understanding and commitment to the positive and unique contribution psychologists can make to the NHS and other healthcare providers. Excellent interpersonal skills at a level appropriate for dealing with people in distress and the ability to collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines are expected.

Candidates should note that with the Clearing House application the Relevant Experience Reference MUST be from your current employer.

The programme covers a large geographical area and teaching is provided at both universities, so being independently mobile is essential. Trainees should expect to travel for at least 2½ hours per day (between both universities and from base to placement).

Candidates whose first language is not English will be required to have a recognised English language qualification achieved no more than two years prior to admission:

  • A British Council IELTS overall minimum score of 7.5 with no element below 7.0, achieved no more than two years prior to admission.
  • Pearson Test of English Academic 73 (minimum 67).
  • CELE pre-sessional course final assessment of "Pass with High Distinction".

The selection procedure operates within the equal opportunities policies of the two Universities and the NHS partners, and no applicant will be discriminated against on grounds of race, religion, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation. Groups currently under-represented in clinical psychology are encouraged to apply, including men, individuals from ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. The Trent Programme is "Disability Confident".

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 the University of Lincoln and University of Nottingham websites 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.

All applicants are subject to the same selection process and criteria regardless of which partner NHS Trust they are based in.

Please note: the only entry to the programme is through Clearing House application and subsequent selection procedure. All trainees must undertake the full programme. RPCL or RPEL does not apply.

Selection Procedure

The purpose of selection is to find the best candidates both for the academic programme and for the partner NHS Trusts. All offers of a place on the course are dependent on satisfactory criminal record and health 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.

Written Screening Exercise and Short-Listing

Candidates who meet the essential criteria (see our Person Specification pdf or Person Specification in Word) including supportive references, one of which MUST be from a current employer, will be invited to attend a written screening exercise: a 45-minute computer-based task that aims to assess writing ability, communication skills, and broader critical thinking.

The applications and references of candidates who have passed the written test will, if necessary, be rated and ranked by a short-listing panel, comprised of programme staff and clinicians from our partner trusts, who assess applications for evidence of academic ability, relevant experience, motivation, aptitude, and suitability for training, related to the selection criteria. The highest ranked candidates who have passed the written test will be invited for interview.

The date for the selection written screening exercise is fixed. It will take place on Saturday 26 February 2022 and will probably be conducted online.

Applicants who require special arrangements in order to participate will be required to supply supporting evidence.

All applicants are required to show photographic proof of identity on the day of the screening; if this cannot be supplied they will not be eligible to sit the exercise.

Communication with applicants about the written screening exercise will be by email. Therefore, applicants are advised to regularly check the email address used for their Clearing House application, including their junk folder, to avoid missing any important communication from us.

Selection Interviews

Interview panels consider personal, professional, clinical and academic abilities in the context of NHS values-based recruitment. Each panel will rate candidates on scales related to our Person Specification pdf or Person Specification in Word, entry requirements etc. During selection candidates are asked if they have a strong preference for a "Home" Trust, but this information is not used in rating the candidates.

Ranking the Candidates

Candidates' scores from all interviews and the pre-selection written exercise will be combined and the candidates placed in rank order. The successful candidates will be those who attain the highest ranked scores overall.

Allocating Candidates a Training Contract

The highest ranked candidates will be offered a place on the programme and a training contract with a particular "Home" Trust consistent with any stated "strong preferences". Currently training contracts are similar irrespective of the Home Trust and all candidates will be enrolled at both universities. Trainees based in Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation NHS Trust will be registered for the degree of DClinPsy with the University of Lincoln and undertake their foundation placement in Lincolnshire. Trainees employed by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will be registered with the University of Nottingham and will undertake their foundation placement in Nottinghamshire. Trainees employed by Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust may be registered with either University but will normally undertake their foundation placements in Derbyshire.

In a situation where there are more expressed "strong preferences" for one of the geographical areas than there are training contracts available, the highest ranked candidates will have their preferences met first and other candidates will be allocated to the remaining geographical area. Thus, although a candidate's preferences will be taken into account, all applicants must be willing to be based in any one of the three NHS partner trusts, to undertake placements in the geographical area covered by the trust and to be registered with either university. If you decline the NHS Home Trust you are offered, you will be declining your position on the programme.

Reserve List

A number of less highly ranked but acceptable candidates will be placed on a reserve list. Any remaining vacant programme places will be filled by working down the reserve list in order, regardless of any stated location preferences.


Feedback will be given to all candidates selected for interview but only on completion of the selection process.


For 2021 entry, successful candidates were employed as Trainee Clinical Psychologists by the appropriate local NHS Trust on a three-year fixed term contract, with registration for the degree of DClinPsy as a condition of employment. There were 24 funded places available for 2021 entry. The programme currently only accepts trainees who are funded through NHS training commissions.

Our current trainees are full-time NHS employees, have annual leave and other benefits in line with usual NHS entitlements, and receive travelling expenses for all journeys associated with the training programme. On entry to the programme all current trainees commenced on the first spine point of Band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scales. All educational training costs are currently paid by Health Education England; some monies are available to contribute to research costs.

Structure and Content

The overall purpose and philosophy of the programme meets the changing clinical, organisational and training needs of the NHS through:

  • Provision of high-quality training in Clinical Psychology leading to the award of a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC, and chartership with the BPS.
  • Advancement of critical, scholarly, evidence-based approaches to the theory and practice of Clinical Psychology, which will make a significant contribution to the profession.
  • Promotion of professional practice that is sensitive to differences arising from gender, class, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and other cultural concerns and is delivered from a theoretically informed ethical stance.

The developmental structure of the programme can be summarised as "from the individual, through groups to society". In other words the course begins with a focus on working with individuals, progresses to working with groups and families, and finally focuses on working at the societal level with systems and organisations. This developmental trajectory is complemented by the acquisition of research skills and an emphasis on taking an evidence-based approach to clinical practice. In clinical psychology, theory and practice cannot be divorced from each other. At the heart of the programme is a holistic view of clinical work based on the integration of theory and practice and the seamless interweaving of clinical and research skills.

In accordance with the current HCPC Standards for Education and Training and with current BPS accreditation criteria, the teaching programme is based on HCPC Standards of Proficiency and BPS core competences. The academic programme has been designed to mirror the planned acquisition of competences on placements.

Year 1

During the first year of the course, the emphasis is on acquiring basic clinical skills and practising them in one-to-one settings. These basic clinical skills are taught in the Professional Skills module in Semester 1, delivered primarily at Lincoln University. Trainees also start the first research module. Trainees have a year-long two-part Foundation Placement in their Home Trust during the first year. The first part of the placement focuses on assessment and formulation, the second on intervention and evaluation. Clinical placement work is introduced in the first semester and gives trainees the opportunity to practise the skills they have been taught at the university, to work with longer term cases and to become familiar with how a clinical psychology service operates. During the second semester the Individual Client Interventions module is taught at Nottingham University on a day release basis, while continuing the research module in which trainees produce a systematic literature review. Throughout most of the programme trainees have one day per week for private study and during certain parts of the programme also have a day per week for research.

Year 2

The aim of Year 2 is for trainees to consolidate previous skills and to begin to develop competences with people with intellectual disabilities, children and adolescents, and older adults, during two core placements of six months each in a clinical area different from their Foundation Placement. These placement experiences are supported by two academic modules: Integration and Specialist Options, which emphasises EBP alternatives to CBT; and Life-span Development. During Year 2 trainees also work towards completion of their research portfolios for submission midway through Year 3.

Year 3

During Year 3 the focus of the programme moves towards developing skills for working with small groups and families and then on to working with systems and at an organisational level. The teaching and orientation of the placements reflects this shift. There are two taught modules: Families, Groups and Indirect Work (taught at Lincoln during Semester 1); and Systems and Organisations (taught at Nottingham during Semester 2). In their third year, trainees undertake two more placements and may have the opportunity to choose one of these placements in a specialised area. It may also be possible for trainees to have a choice in their final placement, but the main purpose of the placement is to ensure that any client groups, areas of work, Standards of Proficiency and Competences not addressed by the previous placements, but required by the HCPC and the BPS, have been achieved.


The programme makes particular use of PBL and associated assessments during the first and third years. Trainees are assessed using a combination of assessed role-play interviews and presentations as well as written exercises. The programme also uses case studies, essays, oral presentations and vivas to assess trainee progress.


The course operates two schemes to support trainees: a "buddy scheme" and a "mentor scheme". The buddy scheme pairs up first year trainees with trainees already on the course to provide informal support and to help build relationships between different year groups. The mentor scheme enables trainees to make contact with a qualified clinical psychologist in the Trent region for support throughout training.


Andy Benn - Clinical Tutor, Nottinghamshire
Danielle De Boos - Programme Co-Director
Hayley Cooper - Senior Clinical Tutor, Nottinghamshire
David Dawson - Research Tutor
Faye Devlin - Clinical Tutor, Lincolnshire
Mark Gresswell - Programme Co-Director (Trainee Management and Practice Learning)
Mark Hudson - Academic/Research Tutor
Hannah Merdian - Research Tutor
Nima Moghaddam - Research Tutor
Roshan das Nair - Senior Research Tutor
Claudia Richardson - Lead Administrator, Lincoln
Rachel Sabin-Farrell - Senior Academic Tutor
Thomas Schröder - Professor of Clinical Psychology
Amy Smith - Course Administrator, Nottingham
Sharron Smith - Senior Clinical Tutor, Lincolnshire
Jennifer Taylor - Assistant Course Administrator, Lincoln
Anna Tickle - Academic/Research Tutor
Sarah Wilde - Academic Tutor
Richard Wylde - Assistant Course Administrator, Lincoln