Clinical Psychology PsychD

Key information

Full-time - 4 years

Start date

October 2022

Why choose this programme

At Surrey we offer professional clinical psychology training, based on a unique combination of psychological theory, research and clinical practice within the NHS, delivered in an inclusive and supportive environment. 

Finding creative ways to support people with mental health difficulties has come sharply into focus, with the Department of Health calling for more digital-ready clinicians and NHS England committing to a digitised mental healthcare provision by 2024. To meet this new approach, we’ll train you to deliver online therapies via telephone or videocall and we’ll introduce you to new tools, such as mobile apps, VR and avatar-based software. 

You’ll benefit from our applied and policy-oriented teaching and research, which has a strong theoretical context. We also have a longstanding history of research funding, contributing to both national and global research projects. 

On successful completion of this course, 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. 

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 back 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 (although there’s no formal teaching during August). Most of your teaching will support each of your placements, ensuring you’re properly provisioned to work with your clients.  

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. 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. 

You’ll develop your literature review, research proposal writing and critical academic skills by attending workshops and seminars, and you’ll explore research methodologies through group discussions. 


You’ll have a confirmation assessment to formally review your project, which will take place around 12-15 months into your studies. You’ll be required to submit a written report and successfully complete an oral examination. 

Your final assessment will be based on the presentation of your research in a written thesis, which you will be discussed in 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.

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.  

During your placements you’ll combine theory with practice, through discussions with personal and professional development groups, problem-based learning exercises and regular meetings with your tutors and mentor. 

Teaching methods 

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

Progress reviews 

In addition to the confirmation process you’ll have six-monthly progress reviews with your supervisors. These meetings are an opportunity to reflect on your progress, discuss successes and challenges and set targets for the next six months. These reviews will be monitored by postgraduate research directors and recorded on your student record. 

You’ll also have one formal meeting with your supervisors every month and can expect to have more frequent meetings between these. The regularity of these will depend on the nature and stage of your project. 

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 have the requirements needed for the Graduate Basis of Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS). 

We’re accredited by the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP). On successful completion of the programme, you’ll have Level 1 BABCP accreditation (with some clinically advanced individuals securing Level 2 accreditation) giving you the some of the requirements needed to become a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. 

We’re also accredited at foundation level with the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT). Once obtained, on successful completion of the programme, you’ll have some of the requirements needed to become a Family and Systemic Psychotherapist.

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: 

  • Drugs, alcohol and addictive behaviours, including gambling, and identification and intervention for legal and illicit substance use and misuse. 
  • Psychosocial interventions, including group therapy for personality disorder, telepsychology (e-mental health) and the role of mindfulness in wellbeing at work. 
  • Self and identity, including embodied identity, making sense of the self, recovery, self-contamination, self-disclosure and shame.

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 Paul Hanna (an expert in community psychology and self, identity and masculinities), Dr Hannah Frith (an expert in intersections of sexuality, gender and embodiment) and Dr Bob Patton (an expert in addiction and brief interventions). 

Research facilities

Our facilities have recently 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. 

You’ll also use clinical facilities at your placement locations. 

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to:

  1. Be eligible for Graduate Basis for Registration from 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 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.


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 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 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 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 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. 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 the community or in Schools and colleges which involve working with clinical populations and where 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 (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 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 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 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, Two region specific HEE regions commission the programme at Surrey University, 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, the British Psychological Society’s curriculum are crucial in terms of organising our workforce training.

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.

Person Specification: Trainee Clinical Psychologist

Points are not awarded for A-Level results, the University of previous study, publications or post-graduate 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 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th April 2022. This will comprise of one interview that will assess 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. Interview panels consist of NHS psychologists, programme team members, and service users and carers.

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 on the day of the interview. This will also be used to document photographic proof of identity. If applicants cannot present the required document they will not be eligible to complete the interview. 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.


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

The programme offered 48 places in 2021 (numbers for 2022 intake are unconfirmed at the time of going to press). 

Find out more

For details of applications please refer to the Clearing House


Start date: October 2022


UK To be confirmed

Overseas 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. Find out more.


NHS funding was available to UK/EU postgraduate students who met NHS funding requirements for 2020, 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 2021 entry are currently under review by the NHS. Candidates for 2021 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.

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.

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) 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 Admissions
Contact Admissions Team

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