North Thames - UCL

University College London
Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology (CEHP) | Division of Psychology and Language Sciences (PaLS) | Faculty of Brain Sciences

Course code:


Course length:

3 years (full-time)


020 7679 1897

Administration email:

[email protected], [email protected]

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About the programme

Assessment (across all three years of the course)

Trainees submit four clinical reports over the three years (Assessment and Transcript reports in Year 1, Service-Related Project report in Year 2 and an Optional Format Report in Year 3). 

Trainees complete a total of four ‘open-book’ examinations (meaning that trainees can refer to lecture notes, textbooks and other information sources). These happen in late May / early June in Year 1 (Paper 1: Theory and application of clinical psychology methods and Paper 2: Research Methods in Clinical Psychology) and Year 2 (Paper 3: Theory and application of clinical psychology methods and Paper 4: Statistics).


 Course Structure Year 1 


First year of teaching starts with a 4 1/2 week Induction block (5 days per week) where trainees learn about the course, our support structures and prepare to start placement. Teaching then takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays over three terms, when we start covering a range of Units, including Assessment & Formulation, Cultural Competence, Central Themes, Professional Issues, Intervention (CBT, Psychodynamic in year 1), Neuropsychology and Research Methods.  

Our core curriculum priorities across the years are Active Learning and Cultural Humility. Trainees join a range of seminars throughout training with the following starting in year 1: Clinical Seminars, Reflective Practice Seminars and Social Graces seminars. 

Following the induction block of 5 days a week teaching, trainees move to having teaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

All years attend one masterclass and three end of term conferences, co-organised with trainees and open to regional supervisors.


First year placements tend to be yearlong and are in Adult Mental Health. We allocate trainees to a range of services from primary care, e.g., IAPT services, to specialist and secondary care services, e.g., inpatient services, CMHTs, Early Intervention for Psychosis services. Trainees complete an allocation questionnaire ahead of joining the course where they set out their experience prior to training. This helps allocators identify which service setting would best match their current level of skills and knowledge in adult mental health. All placements are considered as 6-month blocks, so trainees will have two mid-placement reviews and two end of placement reviews during these yearlong placements.


The research component is taught in three modules – Research Methods in year one, Statistics in year two, and a Project Support module across all years.

There is no research activity in term one of the first year, to allow time for trainees to gain common practice skills. Below is a rough timetable for the typical research project across the first year of training:

  • Trainees conduct a Service-Related Project, which is submitted in term one of the second year of training. This will normally derive from first year placements and will provide the opportunity to learn how quality improvement and service evaluation take place in the NHS.
  • Term 2 - Decide on the topic, start reading the background literature, and formulate preliminary research questions. Approach potential internal and external supervisors.
  • Term 3 - Statement of intent due (date to be notified).
  • June to September - Prepare the research proposal. Discuss the project in the setting in which you will carry it out.


Course Structure Year 2


In year two, new Units covered include Lifespan Development (Children, Young People and Older Adults), Health Psychology, Intellectual Disabilities, Statistics as well as a focus on Systemic approaches within Interventions. 

Trainees continue attending seminars started in year 1 and in year 2 they also take part in both Systemic and Psychodynamic seminars.

Second year trainees have teaching on Wednesdays.  On Fridays, teaching is alternated with Study / Research days.


The second year consists of two 6-month placements. For the most part, all trainees will have a children, young people and family services placement in the second year (e.g., CAMHS, Looked after children, adolescent services, inpatient, paediatrics). Their other 6-month placement will focus on the other remaining essential competency requirements that trainees have to gain by the end of training. As such, the placements tend to be in older adults / learning disabilities / physical health / neuropsychology / forensic settings. Trainees will complete a placement allocation questionnaire ahead of both placement periods to help allocators identify which placements would best meet their remaining essential competency requirements.


As noted above, in term one trainees will submit their completed Service-Related research project.

The major research project typically follows the following pattern:

  • Beginning of term 1 - Research proposal due (date to be notified).
  • November to February - Modify the proposal and finalise the research plan as necessary. Complete the data protection and departmental risk assessment forms. Submit ethics application and project registration.
  • February to September - Begin recruitment of participants as soon as the protocol is finalised and research governance approvals are obtained. Begin data collection. Write the first draft of the literature review.

Course Structure Year 3


In the third year, teaching takes place on alternate Fridays. The focus of this year is on Project support, Professional Issues, Transitional Workshops, and Other Therapies such as DBT and CAT. 

Third year trainees also organise their own September Lecture Series for the final weeks of their training.


In the third year, trainees can have either 2 x 6-month placements or a yearlong placement. This depends on the trainees remaining essential competency requirements and their interests. The main priority is ensuring that the trainee has met all their essential competency requirements before the end of the course. As such, these would be prioritised above trainee specific interests, although we do always try to consider these wherever possible. Trainees often have placements in specialist services that are not open to trainees in the first or second year of training. Placements can be clinically focused or in some instances trainees do leadership placements where there is little to no direct clinical work. 


The research component is taught in three modules – Research Methods in year one, Statistics in year two, and a Project Support module across all years.

The major research project occupies more of trainees’ time in the third year – teaching days are reduced, and research is allocated days every two weeks.

  • Term 1 - Submit literature review to internal supervisor and make consequent revisions. Complete data collection.
  • Term 2 - Analyse the data. Write a first draft of the empirical paper and draft the critical appraisal. Title and abstract due (for allocation of examiners: date to be notified).
  • April to May - Revise the empirical paper and the critical appraisal. Give the final draft of the whole thesis to your supervisors for comment.
  • June - Submit thesis (date to be notified).
  • September - Viva (dates to be announced).

Last updated:

15th August 2023