Clinical Psychology PsychD

Key information

Full-time - 4 years

Start date:
September 2023

Why choose this programme

  • Our professional clinical psychology training is based on a unique combination of psychological theory, research, and clinical practice within the NHS, delivered in an inclusive and supportive environment
  • Benefit from our applied and policy-oriented teaching and research which has a strong theoretical context
  • Upon successful completion of this course, gain the academic and practice requirements needed to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to work as a Clinical Psychologist.
Postgraduate Research at Surrey

Preparing the next generation of clinical psychologists to deliver digital healthcare

What you will study

You’ll begin your training with six weeks of teaching, where you’ll be introduced to the NHS and gain a solid foundation to working psychotherapeutically, using cognitive behavioural therapy to prepare you for your first placement. You’ll then start your clinical practice, spending two and a half days a week on clinical placement, two days at the University for teaching or research, and half a day completing individual study. This pattern will continue for your three years of full-time training.

During this time, you’ll build up the breadth and depth of your clinical skills in both applied psychology and psychotherapy, and by the end of the course you’ll be equipped to work with a wide variety of different clients in different contexts.

Alongside your teaching and placements, you’ll conduct research in a related area. Our current students are researching topics including:

  • How do facilitators explain paternal absence from parenting groups?
  • Mindfulness and positive workplace outcomes: an evaluation of the Headspace mindfulness app
  • Understanding the role emotional intimacy plays in the lives of professional, mid-life men.


Throughout your training you’ll complete a number of academic assignments, including a service evaluation or audit project (typically within the NHS) and clinical activity reports.

Your clinical skills and competencies will be formally assessed every six months by both your clinical supervisors and the programme team.

As part of developing your research skills you’ll undertake a literature review and an empirical paper under the guidance of one of our research groups, Social Justice and Health Inequalities or Applied Clinical and Health Psychology. These two papers will be examined orally through a viva examination with at least two examiners.

Professional recognition

PsychD - British Psychological Society (BPS)
Accredited against the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

PsychD - Health and Care Professions Council, the (HCPC)
Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as a practitioner psychologist.

PsychD - British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychologies (BABCP)
Accredited by BABCP as providing all the necessary training so that on graduation from Level 2 courses, individuals will have received the training required to fulfil BABCP's Minimum Training Standards.

Clinical placements 

As part of your training you’ll complete five placements in a variety of clinical settings. In your first year you’ll complete a year-long core adult placement. In your second year you’ll take part in two six-month placements working with two of the following groups: 

  • Children and their families 
  • Individuals with learning disabilities 
  • Older people. 

In your third year you’ll work with the remaining group that you didn’t train with initially, in addition to completing a specialist six-month placement.  

Teaching methods 

You’ll be taught through a combination of clinical placements, seminars, research and individual study. 

Progress reviews 

Every six months you’ll have an opportunity to reflect and review your research progress with your supervisors. These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss successes and challenges and set targets for the next six months. These reviews will be monitored by a postgraduate research director and recorded on your student record.

You’ll also have one formal meeting with your supervisors every month to support your progression.

Course length 

This PsychD programme can take up to 4 years to complete, with most students completing this in 3 years. 

Careers and graduate prospects 

On successful completion of this PsychD, you’ll have the academic and practice requirements needed to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to work as a Clinical Psychologist. You’ll also be eligible for Chartership with the Division of Clinical Psychology.

We’re accredited by the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). On successful completion of the programme, you’ll have all the knowledge needed for Level 2 accreditation. Some trainees who have completed specific clinical placements will be able to meet all the Level 2 accreditation requirements and will be able to register as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist as well as a Clinical Psychologist.

We’re also accredited at Foundation level with the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT). This process is embedded within the programme, therefore on successful completion of the doctorate you’ll also be eligible for this qualification.

For those interested in Clinical Neuropsychology we provide all trainees with the knowledge component to gain recognition of prior learning (RPL) for the University of Bristol PG Diploma in Clinical Neuropsychology. For a small number, we also offer additional clinical experiences that can be utilised for Recognition of Prior Experience onto the course for a maximum of one year. Completion of the Bristol’s diploma course leads to access to the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) Specialist Register of Clinical Neuropsychologist.

Research support

The professional development of postgraduate researchers is supported by the Doctoral College, which provides training in essential skills through its Researcher Development Programme of workshops, mentoring and coaching. A dedicated postgraduate Careers and Employability team will help you prepare for a successful career after the completion of your PhD.

Research themes

Our research investigates mental health, wellbeing and recovery, with a focus on:

  • Applied clinical and health psychology, including understanding the psychological support needs and developing interventions for individuals with long term conditions and their families, individuals with drugs, alcohol and addictive behaviours and supporting ageing well with lifelong conditions and disability
  • Social justice and inequalities in mental health, including ethnic inequalities in digital healthcare, inclusion in clinical psychology training, and the impact of adversity on young people

Our academic staff

Throughout your studies you’ll be assigned a supervisor for each clinical area, which include researchers from the School of Psychology and external clinical psychologists working in the NHS and elsewhere. Staff have expertise in pure and applied research, and knowledge of a wide range of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods approaches. Many have strong links with the NHS, social care organisations and charities. 

Your supervisors will give you academic guidance and tuition, helping you develop your skills in experimental design, conduct and analysis. They’ll also give you pastoral support and advice, referring you to more specialist services where necessary. 

Supervisors may include:

Research facilities

Our facilities have undergone a £5 million investment, giving you access to the latest equipment, including a four-room virtual reality suite to simulate real-life scenarios, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, where you can perform neuroimaging and observe the brain in action, and two observation laboratories.

With our equipment you can conduct experiments using electroencephalography (EEG), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). You'll also be able to monitor eye tracking and physiological measures such as earlobe temperature, heart rate and galvanic skin response, in our laboratories and remotely, using mobile data loggers.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to:

  1. Be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered membership of the BPS
  2. Hold a minimum of a 2:1 degree in psychology (or suitable equivalent, please see below)
  3. Demonstrate at least one year's (whole time equivalent) sustained, recent experience in clinically related areas (see pre-requisites section for additional details).

As the programme is training professionals for the NHS, applicants need to have the right to work in the UK and settled status.

Entry to this programme is conditional on a satisfactory check by the Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS), formerly known as the Criminal Record Bureau (CRB).

Applicants are required to hold a current, valid UK driving licence and have access to transport for work purposes.

We particularly welcome applications from candidates from groups that are under-represented amongst clinical psychologists and from candidates who have followed non-traditional career paths.

Eligible for Graduate Basis for Registration

Applicants must be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) from the British Psychological Society. An exception is made for those in the final year of their undergraduate degree. In these cases candidates may apply and any offer of a place is conditional upon achievement of the required degree mark from a programme that confers GBC.


Applicants are required to have an honours degree (2:2 or better). This can either be:

  • A psychology degree which confers eligibility for GBC (1st or 2i honours)
  • A psychology degree (2ii) which confers eligibility for GBC plus a masters level degree (or above) in Psychology of at least 65% 
  • A degree in another subject (1st or 2i honours) plus an accredited conversion qualification which confers eligibility for GBC
  • A degree in another subject (2ii) plus an accredited Masters level conversion qualification which confers eligibility for GBC, of at least 65%.

Applicants who hold a conversion qualification or who studied overseas are required to send transcripts for their undergraduate degree directly to the University of Surrey’s Admissions team. (Transcripts for GBC-accredited undergraduate degrees and GBC-accredited conversion courses will be provided through the Clearing House). The absence of a transcript will result in an applicant not being considered as there will be no means to verify the minimum requirements stipulated.

Applicants who attained a lower second class undergraduate degree in psychology (2ii) will only be considered if they hold either a completed psychology masters qualification with average achievement at 65% or over, or have completed a PhD in a relevant area. These applicants (except those holding a PhD) are required to send a transcript of their masters degree directly to the University of Surrey’s Admissions team. Failure to provide this transcript will mean your application cannot be considered. Please contact the Admissions team for further discussion if you are unsure of the status of your academic experience. 


Applicants may either be graduates or those who are in their final year of an undergraduate psychology degree. In all cases, applicants must have at least one year's full-time (or equivalent if part-time) relevant experience at the point of application. This experience needs to have been acquired within the last three years prior to application. Applicants are not expected to have extensive previous experience in a range of settings. It is important that applicants can demonstrate that their relevant experience has allowed them to apply psychological principles in practice.  

It is not necessary for job roles to have been supervised by a clinical psychologist, but it is important to demonstrate how experience has allowed applicants to gain a realistic sense of what working as an applied psychologist in clinical or health settings means. Examples of relevant experience include working as an assistant psychologist, increasing access to psychological therapies (IAPT) worker, research assistant, and healthcare assistant/support worker posts in in-patient settings, the community or in schools and colleges where working with clinical populations and psychological thinking can be demonstrated.

Applications on the basis of clinical or health-related research experience will only be considered if this research experience involved direct contact with clinically-relevant groups involving the application of direct methods of assessment or testing (for example psychometric tests, diagnostic interviews, experimental designs, semi-structured interviews). Applicants may have attained their experience in either a paid or voluntary capacity.

Mature applicants or those with experience outside of traditional healthcare settings are strongly encouraged to apply if their experience is relevant.

When stating the duration and dates of your experience, this information must be complete and accurate. Any gaps of longer than four months from the start of your undergraduate degree should be accounted for on your form. 


If applicants are not using their current employer as their clinical referee, they must explain why or their application will not be accepted. Where an applicant has more than one current relevant employer, they must indicate their reason for choice of clinical referee on the application form. Please make sure that you name organisations consistently in the References section and the Relevant Experience section to avoid any confusion.

Applications are expected to be well written, demonstrating a good grasp of the English language.


If you are currently enrolled on any other degree (for example a PhD or masters programme) or have any outstanding requirements from another programme, you may be required to withdraw from that programme in order to take up a place or to continue your studies on a doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

If you started any Health Education England (HEE) funded training programme after 1 April 2022  you will not be eligible to apply for Clinical Psychology training until two years after the qualification has been awarded. Please see the HEE website for more information.

When you accept an offer of a place on the programme you have to also hold an employment contract with Surrey and Borders NHS Foundation Trust as a Trainee Clinical Psychologist. If you are refused a contract or have a contract rescinded you will not be able to gain/retain your registration on the programme.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 7.0 or above (or equivalent) with 6.5 in each individual category.

All applicants whose first language is not English and who did not receive their undergraduate degree from a university in the UK  must send evidence of their ability to communicate in the English language, to the Clearing House, with their application. Failure to provide this evidence will mean your application cannot be considered. Please see our English Language Policy for further details of what we can accept.

Selection process

Selection is based on applicants:

  1. Meeting the expected entry requirements
  2. Being shortlisted through the application form screening process
  3. Completing a successful interview
  4. Providing suitable references

This course promotes the NHS values which are enshrined within the NHS constitution. We are dedicated to recruiting graduates whose individual values and behaviours align to those of the NHS.

These NHS values are aligned with the programme's values:

  • Integrity, honesty, compassion and empathy
  • Inclusive practice across the lifespan and across settings
  • Commitment to innovation, improvement and creativity
  • Reflexive, interdisciplinary, evidence based practice
  • Public and patient involvement in learning
  • Commitment to adult models of learning with an ongoing pledge to excellence
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills.

The programme at Surrey is commissioned by two specific HEE regions: South Central and London, and successful applicants are employed by the NHS. As such, the demands of the commissioners regional services, alongside the demands of the registrant body, Health and Care Professions Council, and the British Psychological Society’s curriculum organise our workforce training.

Owing to having the Foundation level of systemic training embedded within the programme the Association of Family Therapy requirements are also adhered to. The British Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Psychology have also accredited the programme for a Level 2 pathways and where relevant their requirements are observed.

Application form screening

Application forms are examined by the programme staff team and are assessed against the values of the programme and the person specification for the role of Trainee Clinical Psychologist, provided by our partnership NHS Trusts. The team are interested in an applicant’s authentic reflection on their experience and career progression to this point and an awareness of the relevance of this journey to the profession of Clinical Psychology.

View the person specification for trainee clinical psychologist (PDF).

Points are not awarded for A-level results, the university of previous study, publications or qualifications that are in excess of our eligibility requirements (see Qualifications), in line with our intention to widen access to the profession and increase the presence of individuals from under-represented groups.

Forms are scored and ranked to identify a shortlist of applicants for interview. Where joint rankings occur, principles of positive action will be used.

Interview days

Following the shortlisting process candidates will be identified for an interview. Shortlisted candidates are invited to attend a selection procedure that will take place on either the 27, 28, 29 or 30 March 2023. This will comprise one interview that will assess academic, clinical, research, professional, personal and communication skills. All contact with the course will be seen as providing potential information relating to these. Interview panels consist of NHS applied psychologists, programme team members, and service user and carer representatives.

All applicants must possess a full valid driving licence by the date of the interview (subject to reasonable adjustments for disability). All applicants are required to present their photocard licence on the day of the interview. This will also be used to demonstrate photographic proof of identity. If applicants cannot present the required document they may not be eligible to complete the interview.

If a candidate is unable to drive and meets the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) criteria they are required to show their passport as proof identity.


Successful candidates will be offered places dependent on DBS and occupational health screening checks.

The programme offered 60 places in 2022 (numbers for 2023 intake are unconfirmed at the time of going to press). 

Find out more

For details of applications please refer to the Clearing House website.


Start date: September 2023


To be confirmed
To be confirmed

View a complete list of all fees for our research programmes.

Additional costs

This is an NHS commissioned programme where fees are paid for students recruited onto the programme.

There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. 


NHS funding was available to UK/EU postgraduate students who met NHS funding requirements for 2022, so these students were therefore not personally liable for payment of tuition fees. No self-funding applicants are currently being considered. Find further information on the Clearing House website.

Current trainees are full-time salaried employees of the health service and have annual leave and other benefits in line with usual NHS entitlements. On entry to the programme all trainees commenced on the first spine point of Band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scales.

Travelling expenses are currently paid for travel to placement, and University fees are currently paid directly by the NHS. 


How to apply

Applications should be made via the Clearing House for postgraduate courses in clinical psychology.

If you are applying for a studentship to work on a particular project, you should enter the details of the specific project that you wish to apply for rather than your own research proposal.

Read more information on the application process.

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees. The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2022/2023 academic year as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

University of Surrey Admissions

Contact Admissions Team


University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH