University of Manchester

Division of Psychology and Mental Health | School of Health Sciences | Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Course code:


Course length:

3 years (full-time)


0161 529 4180 (Option 5)

Administration email:

[email protected]

About the programme

Programme Structure


Attendance at formal teaching sessions, including the induction block and at placement is compulsory. Under circumstances such as illness or exceptional events, the Programme administrator and additionally the placement supervisor (where necessary) must be notified of non-attendance. In cases where the trainee is absent from teaching it is expected that s/he will make all necessary arrangements to assimilate the material that has been missed. Trainees are only permitted to take annual leave on four teaching days per academic year, at the discretion of their Clinical Tutor or Academic Advisor and subject to certain limits specified in the Programme handbook.

We continuously monitor the way the programme is delivered to maximise the learning experience and reserve the right to make changes where needed in response to on-going circumstances.


The Academic Programme takes an adult learning approach. We are aware that many trainees bring substantial experience with them into training and we have designed the curriculum to build on and develop prior knowledge. Teaching is based on the blended learning approach, whereby in-person workshops focused on skills development are combined with complementary online teaching materials. In this way trainees experience both the interactivity of live teaching and the control and convenience associated with online study.

Teaching is delivered mainly by registered clinicians. In addition to teaching from clinical psychologists, there are psychiatrists, psychotherapists, nurses and other professionals that make significant contributions to the Programme. We have strong links with service users, carers and experts by experience who deliver teaching, and through our Community Liaison Group have input into the development of the curriculum. Feedback is obtained from trainees and lecturers for all teaching and plays a crucial role in the development of the Programme. Trainee feedback on teaching has been very positive for many years, typically averaging over 4.4 out of 5 across more than 200 teaching sessions. 

The Programme begins with a six-week induction. During this time, trainees are introduced to the overarching scientist-practitioner model of clinical psychology and professional issues, before learning about basic interviewing skills, assessment, formulation and intervention. At this early stage, the focus is on the development of cognitive-behavioural skills, so that trainees are prepared to start placement.

Academic work (including formal instruction, study time and research time) takes place on two days per week during University term time throughout Years 1 and 2, and in term one of Year 3. In Years 1 and 2, trainees attend for in-person teaching on campus on one of these days, while the other is reserved for private study. Trainees are expected to use private study days to study online teaching materials connected to the in-person teaching sessions, and their other academic work.

Given that in-person work is a requirement for many roles in the profession, trainees are not permitted to observe in-person teaching sessions remotely except in very limited circumstances and only then on a very occasional basis; no trainees will be permitted to attend in-person teaching sessions remotely on a routine basis under any circumstances.

Teaching is organised into a modular system and is provided by Programme staff, clinicians from the region and national experts. The teaching includes core clinical areas: adult, child, older adult and learning or intellectual disability; therapeutic approaches (e.g. cognitive behaviour therapy, psychodynamic interpersonal therapy, systemic and family therapy, clinical neuropsychology); specialist areas (e.g. clinical health psychology; clinical forensic psychology); research methods; and statistics. Teaching is organised around placements for the first two years, and is primarily skills based and experiential, with teaching in the third year being largely workshop and seminar based. Trainees have a Clinical Tutor and Academic Advisor to facilitate and review all aspects of progress throughout the three years. The incorporation of problem-based learning tasks and reflective practice groups enhances group dynamics and encourages discussion of complex issues within the year groups.

Clinical Experience

Clinical training is supervised by experienced clinical psychologists and other psychological practitioners. A wide range of supervisors are available and there is a wealth of clinical expertise within the geographical area. A small number of trainees will have the opportunity to develop their CBT skills in the ClinPsyD CBT clinic (based within the department), working alongside BABCP accredited staff.

The first year consists of two blocks of six-month clinical placements in the areas of adult and child. Some trainees will also work one day per week for nine months in the CBT clinic based in the department. The second year will consist of one 11-month placement in either a learning or intellectual disability, older adults, physical health or neuropsychology service. The third year provides trainees with the opportunity to work in a range of clinical settings in order to develop more specialist skills and get experience of leadership and service development. Current third year placements cover many different areas, including: health psychology, substance misuse, public health, homeless team, forensic psychology, neuropsychology, cognitive therapy, family therapy, children looked after, psychotherapy and a range of voluntary and independent sector organisations.  Trainees are encouraged to undertake a single nine-month placement (four days per week) in Year 3 in order to gain a more realistic experience of post-qualification working, although two concurrent placements may also be considered. The choice of third year placement may be more limited in cases where core clinical competencies have not been demonstrated in Years 1 and 2. As part of placement activity in Year 3, trainees are required to complete a Service Related Project.

Trainee progress is reviewed at the mid-point and end of each placement by their Clinical Tutor who facilitates and monitors their clinical development. Trainees are expected to attend a minimum number of days on Clinical Placement in order to graduate.

Research Skills

During a clinical placement in either the first or second year trainees are required to carry out a clinical audit. Throughout all three years, trainees are required to undertake a substantial piece of original research (to doctoral level) of clinical relevance. This work is presented in the form of a bound thesis. Trainees are also expected to present findings from their large scale research project at our annual postgraduate research conference. To ensure high quality supervision, trainees must undertake research within the areas of expertise of members of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health. There is particular local expertise in the areas of:  psychosis; affective problems; child mental health; parenting interventions; behavioural medicine; functional (“medically unexplained”) symptoms; dissociation; suicide; self-harm; gender, sexuality and relationship diversity; health psychology; cognitive behaviour therapy and psychodynamic interpersonal therapy. We offer a range of both qualitative and quantitative projects across clinical and non-clinical populations. All trainees have at least two academic supervisors for their project and a clinical field supervisor where necessary. Computing facilities and support are available to all trainees.

Community Liaison Group

Our Programme was one of the first in the country to establish a Community Liaison Group (CLG) to advise on and contribute to training of clinical psychologists. The CLG comprises service users, carers, experts by experience and community members who advise on and participate in all aspects of Programme activities. We received commendations for the work of the CLG at our last three BPS accreditation visits.


The degree of ClinPsyD is awarded on the basis of the formal evaluation of:

  1. Clinical skills
  2. Academic knowledge
  3. Research skills

Trainees must pass all three aspects of the evaluation procedure in order to be awarded the degree.

Clinical Skills

Trainees are rated by clinical supervisors for clinical knowledge and competence at the end of each placement. Failure to achieve satisfactory ratings on two placements will lead to discontinuation of training. In addition to placements, trainees submit, and must pass, a total of five pieces of work including three written case reports, a clinical audit and a Live Observation of clinical skills. They must also complete a Service Related Project as part of their third year placement. Please see our Programme Handbook for further information as changes are currently being implemented with regards to assessments.

Academic Knowledge

There are examinations at the end of the teaching blocks in March and June of Year 1 and June of Year 2. Confirmation of registration is dependent upon passing these examinations. Assessed work may also be the subject of viva voce examination if this is deemed necessary by the Exam Board. University regulations permit a candidate to re-sit failed examinations in August of the same year. Trainees must pass all examinations and pieces of work in order to complete the programme. Three pieces of work (of which one can be a placement) may be failed on first attempt. Training is discontinued if a trainee fails any piece of work on resubmission or fails four pieces of work on first attempt. Please see the Programme Handbook for further information as changes are currently being implemented with regards to assessments.

Research Thesis

The research thesis is normally submitted in April of the third year and examined orally in July. There are three main categories of outcome, i.e. pass (with or without minor corrections), resubmit and fail. Resubmission requires a considerable revision of the work and may delay the award of the degree. 

Last updated:

18th August 2023