IoPPN - King’s College London

Department of Psychology | School of Mental Health & Psychological Sciences
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience | King’s College London

Course code:


Course length:

3 years (full-time)


You can email any enquiries after checking all 6 pages below plus the links to our website, twitter and padlet pages, which cover most FAQs

Administration email:

[email protected]
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About the programme

Programme Structure 

The Programme is a full-time, demanding commitment. 

In each year, trainees spend three days a week on supervised clinical practice placements (Tuesdays to Thursdays) with Mondays and Fridays dedicated for teaching and research. Attendance at all course components is mandatory. Trainees are also expected to undertake their own independent learning.

Academic teaching, research supervision and clinical supervision are mainly carried out by members of the Department of Psychology or other departments within the Institute of Psychiatry, or by clinical psychologists working within King's Health Partners, giving the programme an overall cohesion and sense of community. The Programme also receives specialist contributions to its academic teaching from invited outside speakers and experts.

The length of the Programme cannot be reduced through the accreditation of prior learning or experience. All trainees are required to complete the full Programme of training in order to qualify and while on the Programme, all trainees take annual holiday entitlement within set time periods to fit in with teaching and placement attendance requirements. Of their 27 day annual leave entitlement, trainees are currently allowed up to 5 days flexible leave per academic year in line with the Programme annual leave policy.

a) Curriculum 

The overall structure and curriculum of the programme are aligned with  the requirements set out by the Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) Standards of Education and Training, the criteria of the British Psychological Society and the expectations of NHS England who commission the programme.

The programme delivers teaching based on research, theoretical literature, practice-based experience and lived experience (expert by experience and carer input). Teaching is provided in lectures, workshops, seminars and tutorials. Methods of delivery include, discussions, polls, case example, role-plays, video displays, and didactic teaching. This is designed according to the material to be covered and the stage of training. Trainees are encouraged to contribute to the process; significant aspects of learning and development will come from each other.

Lectures present theories and research findings, with some focus on practice. Workshops and clinical skills workshops have a more experiential and practical focus and include the use of role-play and video recordings. Reflective practice is supported through facilitated  and unfacilitated experiential groups. In addition, we offer a simulation session led by a patient educator where trainees work with trainees from other health disciplines as an MDT. Placements are conceptualised as key teaching and learning opportunities. This range of approaches is intended to fulfil the different learner needs and offer the trainees opportunities to reflect critically on theoretical issues and their application to their clinical practice with diverse   communities and research.  Partnership and trainee leadership in curriculum design and delivery are encouraged throughout the programme. For example, small group seminars and tutorials require the trainees to read specific research papers and present critical appraisals to other trainees and staff. Presentations take place in all three years: in years 1 and 2 trainees present about their clinical practice, and in year 3 findings from their research thesis.

The Curriculum comprises of teaching streams that are led by academic clinicians and NHS service-based specialist clinicians. This curriculum is revised through consultation processes with NHS specialists, trainees, service users and NHS commissioners. A foundational theme that sits across all the teaching streams is that of culture, diversity, equality, and inclusion. The specific teaching streams fall under the following headings:

  • CBT Fundamentals
  • Adult General
  • Adult Addictions
  • Adult Anxiety
  • Adult Forensic
  • Adult Mood
  • Adult Psychosis
  • Ageing
  • Child
  • Clinical Health Psychology
  • Clinical Skills
  • Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Culture, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Diversity
  • Family Therapy
  • Intellectual Disability & Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Leadership 
  • Additional Therapy Approaches
  • Professional Issues
  • Reflective Practice & Reflective Case Discussions
  • Research, Assessment and Methodology
  • Supervision
  • Trauma

The teaching on the programme aims to support trainees to develop and demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills in the following areas:

  • Working effectively with all service users and carers 
  • Working effectively with systems having an impact on clients 
  • To gain the ability to understand and evaluate the evidence base relevant to clinical psychology practice 
  • To conduct research that enables the profession to develop its knowledge base and to monitor and improve the effectiveness of its work
  • To learn to effectively represent a psychological perspective in communications with service users, carers and members of other professions, and assume positions of leadership 
  • To understand fundamental ethical principles legal frameworks and standards and how to ensure these are adhered to in all areas of their work
  • To enhance the ability to think about your work in a reflective manner 
  • To develop the ability to work in partnership with diverse service users, carers, and stakeholders to design and delivery of services.  

b) Clinical Placements 

Trainees undertake six 6-month placements. The four ‘core' areas of the Programme are Adult and Child mental health (year 1) and Older adults and Intellectual disability (year 2); the third year comprises two specialist or supplementary placements. The majority of placements are located within South London and are accessible via public transport links. Trainees prior experience and future career preferences are taken into consideration in placement allocation. 

There is a wide, exciting range of specialist placement opportunities for trainees to choose from in the third year of training, at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KCH), Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) and in other organisations.  SLaM provides the widest range of NHS mental health services in the UK. 

In line with the goals of the NHS long term plan, placements offer trainees opportunities to work in local clinical pathways improving access to services for people from our diverse local communities. 

Placements are offered in a variety of specialisms and settings, including primary care, secondary care, inpatient, secure settings and non-statutory organisations. We are fortunate to have many national services across the Trusts, meaning that trainees have access to a number of specialist placements. Placements may be based in the community or hospital settings. 

There is a wealth of specialist and innovative neuropsychological placements available across the organisations enabling to gain neuropsychological competencies across the three years. Those trainees with career aspirations in neuropsychology are identified and supported throughout their three years on the course. 

In addition to the direct clinical work, a key emphasis is placed on trainees developing leadership competencies on placements and gaining experience of working collaboratively with service users and carers, as well as learning skills in working alongside allied health and social care workers in multidisciplinary settings.

Clinical supervisors are predominantly clinical psychologists but may also include clinical health psychologists, counselling psychologists, CBT therapists, forensic psychologists and psychotherapists.  A lead supervisor, who is a clinical psychologist, is identified for each placement.

The Programme’s minimum expectations in relation to the amount, frequency and nature of supervision that should be in place are guided by the BPS Guidance on Clinical Supervision. The total contact between the trainee and the supervisor is expected to be at least three hours a week.  

c) Research 

By May of the final year, trainees are required to submit a doctoral level research thesis of between 25,000 to 55,000 words. 

The thesis is comprised of: 

  • Service-Related Project
  • Empirical Project
  • Systematic Review

The Service-Related Project is completed in the first year, supervised by a clinical placement supervisor.  Trainees gain experience of conducting an NHS-related project that will inform service development.  Recent projects have directly investigated issues of equality and diversity in service provision.  

The Empirical Project and Systematic Literature Review are completed in the second and third year, supervised by a main and second supervisor.  Staff in the Department of Psychology and wider Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience offer research expertise and supervision in a wide range of clinical topics.  Most trainees are able to choose their research topic based on their interests and learning needs, and to co-create a research project with their supervisors.  Trainee research is supported by the rich research environment at King’s, including close links with the department of Biostatistics & Health Informatics.  The programme curriculum includes teaching on qualitative and quantitative research methods.  Projects are written up in a format ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.  Many trainees go on to publish their research in academic journals.  Advice and support is provided in the final year for trainees who may wish to pursue a clinical-academic career.  We have mentored a number of newly qualified graduates to secure competitive personal doctoral and post-doctoral fellowship awards to pursue clinical research.

Please see the Psychology Department website for details of staff research interests.  Further information on research at the IoPPN can be accessed via

d) Assessment

A developmental, competency-based approach is taken to assessment, combining formative and summative assessment methods.  Please note that a number of the summative assessments undertaken by trainees in the third of training will be dependent on their pathway (either BABCP Level 2 or AFT Intermediate).

The failure of two placements, or of an examination resit, or resubmitted/resat case studies, case conferences or assessments of clinical competence, or the viva examination, will constitute a Programme failure. No lesser exit award is available under the Programme.

Summative Assessments (all trainees)

  • Qualifying examinations are held in June of the first year. The pass mark is 50% and trainees who fail are allowed to re-sit on one occasion in August.
  • Case Presentations: In the first year of training, trainees are asked to present a case that demonstrates their CBT knowledge and skills. In the second year of training, trainees are asked to present a case where they have worked with more than one person in the room, and to offer a systemic formulation and treatment plan to assess their knowledge and skills in systemic practice. 
  • Case Studies: Early in the second year of training trainees will need to submit a CBT case study that will demonstrate theory practice links and reflection on their learning and development as CBT therapists. 
  • All six practice placements are graded Pass/Fail by placement supervisors. 
  • The research thesis is assessed at a viva by two external examiners. 
  • Research Progress Report: Trainees submit a report on their research progress every 6 months, which is formally reviewed by their supervisor and a panel of research tutors; a satisfactory outcome of the review is required for progression. 
  • Further to the above, all trainees are also required to pass three assessments of clinical competence by the end of the second year to qualify from the Programme – this is based on in vivo assessment of clinical work. Two of these assess CBT competencies using the CTS-R or equivalent CBT rating scales. The third assesses cognitive assessment competencies.

Summative Assessments (Pathway dependent – 3rd Year of training)

  • AFT Intermediate Pathway. Those on the Family Therapy Intermediate training pathway will submit a case study that demonstrates theory practice links and reflection in systemic therapy, alongside a recorded session with commentary. They will also carry out an additional case presentation of systemic work.
  • BABCP Level 2 Pathway.Those on the BABCP level 2 pathway will submit an additional CBT case study, carry out an additional case presentation of systemic work and a further assessment of clinical competence using the CTS-R or equivalent CBT rating scales.

Formative Assessments 

In addition to summative assessment, the Programme provides formative feedback and assessment in a variety of ways, including: 

  • Annual appraisals
  • Statistics test in the first year of training
  • Leadership project proposal in 3rd year of training
  • Trainee led research showcase in 3rd year of training (presenting findings from their research thesis)

Trainees receive presentation skills training in the third year of study from an external specialist.

Last updated:

23rd August 2023