Clinical Psychology PsychD

Key information

Full-time - 4 years

Start date:
September 2024

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-orientated 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

What you will study

You will begin your training with six weeks of teaching where you’ll be introduced to the NHS and will gain a solid foundation to working psychotherapeutically in clinical settings. This first teaching block will introduce you to using cognitive behavioural therapy and systemic/ family therapy, to prepare you for your first placement. You will 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 largely continue for your three years of full-time training.

During this time, you’ll build up the breadth and depth of your clinical skills and knowledge in applied psychology, therapeutic skills and leadership competencies, meaning that by the end of the course you’ll be equipped to work with a wide variety of different clients in different contexts. The programme embeds inclusion, equality and diversity at the heart of all aspects of the course, promoting inclusion and anti-discriminatory practice, enabling trainees to work with people from all backgrounds.

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

  • Family Accommodation to Eating Disorder Behaviours in Young People and Associations with Parents’ Distress Intolerance
  • The experience of birth trauma in BAME families
  • Sexual minority stress and outcomes in IAPT services
  • The experience of relational trauma in adults with learning disabilities.

Clinical placements

As part of your training you will complete five placements in a variety of clinical settings. In your first year you will complete a year-long core adult placement, followed by six months placements in the second and third year working with the following groups:

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

In your third year of training you will also complete a specialist six-month placement.

Course length

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


  • Throughout your training you will complete a number of academic assignments, including a service evaluation or audit project (typically within the NHS) and reports of clinical activity.
  • As part of developing your research skills you’ll undertake two pieces of research (typically a literature review and an empirical paper) under the guidance of our experienced supervisors belonging to one of our research groups: Social Justice and Health Inequalities; Applied Clinical and Health Psychology; Pedagogical Research. These two papers will be examined orally through a viva examination with at least two examiners in your third year of training.

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.

Teaching methods

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

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 are 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. We are currently working towards intermediate level for a small number of trainees.

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.

Promoting NHS values

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.

Commissioned by

This 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 pathway, and where relevant, their requirements are observed.

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.

Progress reviews

You will have research supervision meetings with your supervisor/s every month to support your progression. Every six months you will have an opportunity to reflect on and review your research progress with your research supervisors. These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss successes and challenges and set targets for the next six months. These reviews are monitored by a postgraduate research director and recorded on your student record.

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 the perinatal period, 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:

  • Dr Christina Jones – clinical health interventions, with specific interests on tailoring interventions for parents, children and young people to support them with anxiety, depression and disordered eating related to long term conditions such as allergy, asthma and type 1 diabetes
  • Dr Hannah Frith - intersections of sexuality, gender and embodiment
  • Dr Lydia Poole –the intersection between mental and physical health, psychobiology and health inequalities, using mixed methods research
  • Dr Rosie Satherley –the intersection between dietary-controlled conditions (such as diabetes) and disordered eating, as well as the design and evaluation of integrated health system interventions to improve child health
  • Dr Kim Smith - research into ageing well, with regards to the intersection of physical, mental and social wellbeing
  • Dr Jane Iles – expertise in perinatal mental health in mothers and fathers, the well-being of the family, and early-years interventions
  • Dr Cassie Hazell - implementation science, psychosis, hearing voices, increasing access to psychological therapies, wellbeing of mental health carers, mental health stigma, suicide, and student mental health.

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:

  • Be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered membership of the BPS (see the Eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartership section).
  • Hold a minimum of a 2:1 degree in psychology or suitable equivalent (see qualifications section).
  • Within the last three years at the point of application, demonstrate at least one year's (whole time equivalent) experience of applying psychological principles in clinically relevant settings (see experience section).
  • Nominate two referees who can provide separate clinical and academic references (see clinical referees section).
  • Meet the English language requirements for this programme.
  • Hold a current, valid UK driving licence and have access to a vehicle for work purposes. Shortlisted candidates need to be able to present their full, valid UK photocard driving licence on the day of the interview (see interview days section).
  • Have the right to work in the UK and settled status, and be eligible for Home Fees, as the programme is training professionals for the NHS (see funding section).

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

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.


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 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 must 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.

Applicants who are required to provide an English language test must send evidence to the Clearing House with their application. Failure to provide this evidence will mean your application cannot be considered.

Application requirements

Applicants are advised to contact potential supervisors before they submit an application via the website. Please refer to section two of our application guidance.

After registration

Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.

Selection process

Selection is based on applicants:

  • Meeting the expected entry requirements
  • Being shortlisted through the application screening process
  • Completing a successful interview
  • Providing suitable references.


Start date: September 2024


To be confirmed
To be confirmed

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 2023, 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.

Apply online

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, please provide details of the project instead of a research proposal.

Read our application guidance for further information on applying.

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 to study at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to follow our policies and procedures, student regulations, and terms and conditions.

We provide these terms and conditions in two stages:

  • First when we make an offer.
  • Second when students accept their offer and register to study with us (registration terms and conditions will vary depending on your course and academic year).

View our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2023/24 academic year, as a guide on what to expect.


This online prospectus has been published in advance of the academic year to which it applies.

Whilst we have done everything possible to ensure this information is accurate, some changes may happen between publishing and the start of the course.

It is 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