Clinical Psychology PsychD

Key information

Full-time - 4 years

Start date

October 2020

Why choose this course

The School of Psychology at the University of Surrey is one of the most active and highly regarded psychology departments in the UK. We specialise in applied and policy-oriented teaching and research with a strong theoretical context. We’re at the cutting edge of psychology research, and have been the focus for many cross-national studies. We’ve received funding from many research councils, as well as local and national government. 

We offer excellent graduate employment prospects, and are one of the biggest psychology postgraduate training schools in the country. 

Our PsychD Clinical Psychology offers a combination of opportunities that’s hard to match elsewhere. You’ll get training that combines theory and methods, as well as experience of contemporary clinical psychology practice. 

This course puts special emphasis on psychological practice, and will prepare you for a career as a professional psychologist. Completing our PsychD Clinical Psychology will make you eligible to register with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) and for chartered status with the British Psychological Society (BPS).

You’ll be supervised by clinicians who are experts in the field, and benefit from the expertise of research active staff.

Frequently asked questions about doing a PhD

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What you will study

Our PsychD in Clinical Psychology is a three-year practitioner doctorate course which provides professional clinical psychology training based on a coherent synthesis of psychological theory, research and clinical practice.

You will begin your training with six weeks of compulsory teaching, which will introduce you to the NHS, and will provide you with a solid foundation of working psychotherapeutically using cognitive behavioural therapy to prepare you for your first placement. You will then begin your clinical practice, spending two and a half days a week on clinical placement, two days back at the University for teaching or research, and half a day on private study. This pattern will continue for your three years of full-time training (although there is no formal teaching during August). Most of your teaching will support each of your placements, so you will be properly equipped to work with your clients. 

Over three years, you will build up the breadth and depth of your clinical skills in both applied psychology and psychotherapy, and by the end of the programme you will be equipped to work with a wide variety of different clients in different contexts. 

You will also conduct research throughout your three years of training. You will be assigned a supervisor for each aspect of your programme, which will include members of the course team, academics from within the School of Psychology and external clinical psychologists working in the NHS and elsewhere. Your supervisors bring expert knowledge and experience, and will guide you through your research. You will attend research workshops and seminars to develop your literature review, research proposal writing and critical academic skills, and attend seminars on research methodologies.

You will be assessed through academic and clinical assignments, as well as on your original research, assessed through a viva examination. You will receive feedback throughout your assessments.

This course meets the Standards of Education and Training required by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), which is the regulatory body that approves postgraduate courses in clinical psychology. Successfully completing the programme will make you eligible to apply for registration with HCPC as a Practitioner Psychologist. It’s a legal requirement that anyone who wishes to practice as a Clinical Psychologist in the UK is registered with the HCPC, so you will need to apply before you begin your practice (this includes a registration fee; see the HCPC website for current information on fees).

Clinical placements

In your first year, you’ll complete a year-long core adult placement.

In your second year, you’ll complete two six-month placements either in children and family, older people, or learning disability services.

In your third year, you’ll take on two six month placements, including the final placement you didn’t do in your second year, as well as a specialist placement.

Throughout the three years of your training, you’ll have regular opportunities to link theory and practice through discussions with small personal and professional development groups, through problem based learning exercises and regular meetings with your tutors and mentor.

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 as a guide as to what to expect. In addition 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.

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.

Association of Family Therapy

We have applied to the Association of Family Therapy to seek accreditation of the systemic element of the training programme at the Foundation Level in Family Therapy and Systemic Practice.

British Association of Behavioural Psychotherapy 

We are in the process of applying for Level 2 accreditation with the British Association of Behavioural Psychotherapy. This means that all trainees will leave the programme with Level 1 BABCP accreditation and a number of trainees will be able to gain sufficient clinical experiences to be able to gain level 2 accreditation.

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

The focus of our research is mental health, wellbeing and recovery.  

Our research is organised within three main strands:

Our researchers have considerable expertise in pure and applied research using a wide range of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods approaches, as well as strong research links with local NHS, social care and charitable organisations. Your research focus is on mental health, wellbeing and recovery.

Our academic staff

See a full list of all our academic staff within the School of Psychology.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to:

  1. Eligible for Graduate Basis for Registration from the BPS
  2. A minimum of a 2:1 degree in psychology (or suitable equivalent, please see below)
  3. 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, we cannot accept applications from non-EU countries.

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 Registration (GBR) 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 GBR.


Candidates are required to have a 1st or 2:1 honours degree. This can either be:

  • A psychology degree which confers eligibility for GBR (1st or 2:1 honours)
  • A degree in another subject (1st or 2:1 honours) plus an accredited conversion qualification which confers eligibility for GBR.

Applicants who hold a conversion qualification or who studied overseas are required to send transcripts for their undergraduate degree directly to the Admissions team at Surrey. (Transcripts for GBC-accredited undergraduate degrees and GBC-accredited conversion courses will be provided through the Clearing House). An 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 2:2 undergraduate degree will only be considered if they hold either a completed masters by research (MRes) qualification, over 65 per cent, or a completed PhD. These applicants (except those holding a PhD) are required to send a transcript of their masters degree directly to the Admissions team at Surrey. 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. What is important is that applicants can demonstrate that their relevant experience has allowed them to apply psychological principles in practice.  Applicants must also show what they have learnt from this experience and how it has allowed them 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 some healthcare assistant/support worker posts which involve working with clinical populations and have been supervised by a clinical psychologist.

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 (e.g. psychometric tests, diagnostic interviews, biological samples, 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. It is important that experience is sustained and recent (i.e. gained within the past three years). 

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. 

Applications are expected to be well written, demonstrating a good grasp of the English language. Values are expected to be in accordance with those encapsulated in the NHS values.


If you are currently enrolled on any other degree (e.g. a PhD or masters programme) and 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.

When you accept an offer of a place on the programme you have to also hold an employment contract with Surrey and Border NHS Foundation Trust as a Trainee Clinical Psychologist. If you are refused a contract or have a contract recinded 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 whose university qualifications were not taught and examined in English 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.

Selection process

Selection is based on applicants:

  1. Meeting the expected entry requirements
  2. Completion of written test and online test
  3. Successful interview
  4. Suitable references (where required).

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 life span and across settings
  • Commitment to innovation, improvement & creativity
  • Reflexive, interdisciplinary, evidence based practice
  • Public & patient involvement in learning
  • Commitment to adult models of learning with an ongoing pledge to excellence
  • Effective communication and interpersonal skills.

This programme is commissioned by Health Education England (Kent, Surrey and Sussex) 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, the British Psychological Society’s curriculum are crucial in terms of organising our workforce training.


Applicants satisfying the minimum criteria will be invited to sit an online written test at one of our test centres. Applicants will receive notification of this invitation by Friday 8 February 2019 at the latest.

The written test will be conducted in collaboration with the Salomons Programme, Canterbury Christ Church University, and the University of East London. The written test for these programmes will take place on Saturday 16 February 2019. The different courses, however, operate different selection procedures and may require you to complete different elements of the written test on the day. More information will be provided if you are invited to the written test.

The Surrey course will require you to complete a multiple choice section, a situational judgement test (which will evaluate critical thinking skills and capacity for making judgements in complex situations), and a test of ability to assimilate and communicate written information. All components will be completed on a computer.

Due to the Surrey, Salomons and UEL courses operating different minimum entry requirements relating to past work experience and academic credentials, applicants applying to courses may be eligible to take the test for one course but not the others. Shortlisted applicants will be advised which test centre they will be required to sit the written test in, in their invitation letter. Applicants will take the test under the terms and conditions of the university at which it is sat. 

All applicants must possess a full valid driving licence by the date of the written test (subject to reasonable adjustments for disability). All applicants are required to bring their photocard with them on the day of the written test. This will also be used to document photographic proof of identity. If applicants cannot bring the required document they will not be eligible to sit the written test. No other forms of identification will be accepted.

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

Interview days

Following the written test and online test, candidates will be shortlisted for an interview. This is primarily based upon written test and online test scores. Shortlisted candidates are invited to attend a day selection procedure that will take place on either the 6, 7 or 8 April 2020 that includes interviews assessing academic, clinical, professional, personal and communication skills. Candidates will be assessed according to the NHS values. All contact with the course will be seen as providing potential information relating to these. Typically, 72 candidates are interviewed for each intake. Interview panels consist of NHS psychologists, programme team members, service users and carers.


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

Current trainees are full-time 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. Candidates for 2020 entry should check for funding updates on the Clearing House funding page.

The programme offered 32 places in 2019 (numbers for 2020 intake are unconfirmed at the time of going to press). 

Find out more

For details of selection criteria and applications please refer to the Clearing House.


Start date: October 2020


UK/EU To be confirmed

Overseas To be confirmed

For fees payable in 2018/19, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than October will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).

Overseas students applying for 2018 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4% rounded up to the nearest £100.

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. Find out more.


NHS funding was available to UK/EU postgraduate students who met NHS funding requirements for 2019, 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. Funding arrangements for 2020 entry are currently under review by the NHS. Candidates for 2020 entry should check for funding updates 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.

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) 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 more.

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

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH