University of Essex

School of Health and Social Care

Course code:


Course length:

3 years (full-time)


You can email any enquiries after checking all 6 pages below, which cover most FAQs

Administration email:

[email protected]

About the programme


The University of Essex Doctorate in Clinical Psychology has been training people to become reflective and highly competent clinical psychologists since October 2005. The programme was developed in partnership with commissioners from the Health Education East of England, the University of Essex, the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, and NHS Trusts based in Essex.

This three-year full-time doctoral-level training programme is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). Successful completion of the training programme leads to the qualification of Doctor of Clinical Psychology (D.Clin.Psych) from the University of Essex which confers eligibility to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and to apply for chartered status with the British Psychological Society (BPS). The only award that can be made is the D.Clin.Psych and there is no other exit award.

The programme benefits from the input and support of clinicians based in South and North East Essex, particularly Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT). The programme is housed in the vibrant academic and research community of the School of Health and Social Care (HSC) at the University of Essex. The School has an excellent reputation for research and teaching in health and social care, and it is committed to inter-professional learning.

Structure and Content

The training is structured such that the academic teaching days are on Mondays and Tuesdays (with one study day every other week). In the first and second year, trainees attend a more extended block of training at the beginning of each year. Placement days are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Further information about the programme curriculum can be found on our website.

Placements and Clinical Supervision

Placements are generally based in Essex and range from a six-mile radius from the University up to approximately a 40-mile radius. We require trainees to identify an area, out of four possible areas in Essex, where their placements will occur. All placements will be in Essex unless there is a very good reason for this not to be the case. Due to the increase in commissions, it is possible that placements will follow a core competency model and trainees will need to make up core competencies in their third year of training.

Clinical supervision is provided in accordance with BPS guidance for doctoral training. An agreed placement contract between supervisor and trainee is drawn up within the first two weeks of the start of the placement, with guidance from a University programme team member and will govern all placement arrangements. Our trainees consistently remark on the excellent supervision offered by their clinical supervisors, who offer at least one hour of formal supervision a week in addition to further informal contact. Supervision includes discussion on personal and professional development issues, including the resolution of any difficulties that might impede the trainee's capacity to fulfil their training contract. Supervision includes opportunities not only for such discussion of placement experiences and learning but also for direct observation of clinical work, both by the trainee of the supervisor and by the supervisor of the trainee. The trainee's university tutor carries out all placement reviews mid-way through the placement.

Throughout the three years, trainees take part in a regular clinical seminar within the teaching timetable in which they take turns to present case material and are supported by tutors and peers to make theory-practice and practice-theory links.


Trainees conduct a small-scale research project over the first 18 months of training. Small-scale research projects provide trainees with an opportunity to develop skills in project planning, data analysis and considering applications of research findings to practice.

The preliminary work for the main research project/thesis begins in the first year, when trainees select a research project from our portfolio with guidance from programme staff and thesis supervisors. In the second year and early part of the third year, trainees carry out independent research and write up their theses. Trainees are encouraged to pursue research projects proposed by the pool of available research supervisors who include programme staff as well as colleagues in other teams and Departments. Trainees need to abide by all University of Essex and NHS ethical policies and procedures.


To be eligible for the Award of Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, candidates must pass all the assessed components of the modules as detailed in the Programme Specification and Content available on our website.

Last updated:

21st August 2023