Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
Our Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, accredited by the British Psychological
Society, has a strong local identity given its partnership with Essex-based NHS
trusts, as well as a special link with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation
Trust in London. Essex- and Tavistock-based clinical psychologists make a significant
contribution to the teaching, research, placement and other operational activities of the programme.
You can apply for this course as:
- a self-funded trainee (Home/EU or International fee status applicants)
- an NHS-funded trainee (Home/EU fee status applicants only)
Self-funded trainees are those who are not salaried employees within the NHS.
As a self-funded trainee you will need to meet the same entry criteria as NHS-funded trainees and will undergo the same rigorous selection
procedures to ensure that we maintain the standards of excellence for which our clinical psychology students are renowned.
All teaching and placement elements of the programme are the same for both NHS and self-funded students.
International self-funded trainees
International fee status applicants can apply for self-funded places on our Doctorate of Clinical Psychology.
How to apply as a self-funded trainee
Applications for self-funded places are made directly to the University via our online application system:
A number of NHS-funded training places are commissioned each year, currently 11 places. In
addition to the published entry requirements for this course, applicants for NHS-funded training
places need to meet the following additional entry criteria:
For NHS-funded trainees the course is completely funded by the Health Education East of England.
Trainees are appointed as full-time NHS employees on a fixed-term, three-year
contract and paid on Band 6 of the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. Trainees
have current standard NHS holiday allowances and other benefits as detailed in
the AfC Handbook. University fees are paid directly by the NHS.
The University and North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (NEPFT; the
employing NHS Trust) offer equal opportunities with regard to age, race, gender,
sexual orientation and disability. Selection processes conform to the principles
associated with the Disability Confident Employer scheme and we endeavour to interview all
applicants under this scheme who demonstrate essential criteria (as per the
person specification) at short listing.
How to apply as an NHS-funded trainee
Applications for NHS funded places must be made through
the designated Clearing House.
Frequently asked questions
Entry criteria FAQs
What should I do if my undergraduate result was a low 2.1 (or below)?
We recommend you undertake a Masters by research (not a taught Masters) or a
PhD. You should aim to achieve 65% or higher in your Masters.
How do I advise of any extenuating circumstances relating to my
You advise the course of this on the application form, but if you feel that this
is not adequate, you may contact the Course Administrator, who will arrange for
your circumstances to be discussed with a member of the course team.
Is Accreditation of Prior and Experiential Learning (APEL) available?
No, the course does not offer APEL.
I have worked full-time in my post for one year, is this enough
Yes, we ask applicants to have at least one year’s full-time (or equivalent)
work experience at the time of application. Experience can be paid or voluntary,
full- or part-time (equivalent to one year’s full-time experience). Each
separate job or post making up this one year’s experience should be a minimum of
6 months full time equivalent. This is the minimum requirement and applicants
with more than one year’s experience and in different clinical settings will
rate higher at shortlisting.
What clinical work experience do you consider to be relevant?
All experience, whether paid or voluntary, working in a clinical or caring
setting with service users is relevant.
Do I need to have worked directly with a clinical psychologist?
Experience of working with a clinical psychologist is beneficial, but we realise
that this is difficult to obtain. Working in a multi-disciplinary team with, or
getting supervision from, a clinical psychologist will also be considered
valuable experience. We feel that it is important for you to have knowledge the
role to fully understand the training that you are to undertake and have
firsthand experience of this if possible.
What research experience do I need?
In addition to the experience you would have gained completing your
undergraduate dissertation, we value any additional research experience in a
field relevant to clinical psychology, particularly if it deals directly with
service users. This does not have to be within a research assistant post.
Research experience counts towards the work experience entry requirements and if
you can demonstrate both research and clinical experience this will be to your
advantage. You can also strengthen your application by getting your research
Can you help me find relevant work experience?
Unfortunately, we cannot offer assistance in finding work experience.
Do I need experience of the UK National Health Service (NHS)?
It is not necessary to have worked in the UK NHS, nor in any other
government-funded health care setting. You will need to demonstrate some
knowledge of how the NHS works in the UK and the role of a clinical psychologist
I am currently an IAPT worker, will I be considered for the course?
We will consider IAPT (or any other NHS-trained professionals).
Do I have to be living in the UK/EU to apply?
No you don't need to be living in the UK at the time of applying, however in
order to apply for a NHS funded place, you need to be eligible for home-based
tuition fees (ie a permanent resident of the UK/EU. Overseas applicants will
need to have indefinite leave to remain in the UK and have been living on a
permanent basis in the UK for the last three years (this excludes being in the
UK as a full-time student). For further details on home-based tuition fees visit
Clearing House. Anyone may apply for
places on the programme.
If I am offered a place, will I need to live in Essex?
Since teaching and placements are in Essex, we encourage successful applicants
to relocate to Essex to avoid long daily travel times to and from teaching and
Do I need a driving licence?
You will need to have the ability to travel within the region whilst on
placement. We strongly recommend that you have a UK or international driving
licence and use of a vehicle as placement locations are varied and some require
you to go out into the community.
How many days a week will I be at University?
Trainees are generally at the University for teaching on Mondays and Tuesdays.
In the main, teaching coincides with the University’s term structure, but it
tends to extend a week or two into the summer break and there are occasions
outside of this when there will be compulsory teaching sessions.
In addition, at the beginning of each academic year, there is a teaching
block when trainees will be at the University full-time. Teaching blocks are
scheduled for four weeks for first year trainees and two weeks for second and
third year trainees.
Where are the placements based?
Placements are generally within a 40 mile radius of the University. There may be
occasions when placements are further away than this.
Are there opportunities for placements at the Tavistock Clinic?
Trainees are eligible to apply for a third year specialist placement at
the Tavistock Clinic. Those who apply are interviewed and will be in competition
with other trainees. The programmes has three placements with the Tavistock
which trainees can access if they are selected during the interview process.
The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Post-Qualification Training (PQT) Group offers
post-qualification training opportunities tailored to meet its members' needs, and
is open to all University of Essex clinical psychology graduates and any clinical psychologists
who have qualified within the last two years and are working within North or South Essex.
As a PQT member, you are eligible to attend our specialist PQT events, which
are planned with your training needs in mind and are scheduled to take place
three times each year. We will also invite you to attend all of our supervisor
workshops and will keep you informed of any new supervisor training taking place
Recent events have included:
- Multi-systemic Therapy, presented by Lisa Shostak from the Hackney
- Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy, presented by Professor Alessandra
Lemma, Director Psychological Therapies Development Unit Tavistock and Portman
NHS Foundation Trust
If you are eligible and interested in joining our PQT Group, please email
After completing my undergraduate degree at Essex I worked within a number of
different roles. I worked as a care assistant at a National Epilepsy Centre, and
a support worker in a modified therapeutic community for adults with mental
I then worked as an assistant psychologist in three different settings,
including a specialist psychiatric hospital, a learning disability medium secure
unit, and a specialist residential school for children with autistic spectrum
Following this I worked as a clinical studies officer, working on research
projects in my local NHS research and design department.
Why I applied to Essex
I chose Essex because it was a small course and offers an equal weighting to
CBT, systemic and psychodynamic approaches, rather than focusing mainly on one.
Links with the Tavistock also made the university more appealing.
Additionally I had completed my undergraduate degree at Essex so know the
university and local area fairly well.
What I like about the programme
I have really enjoyed the use of integrative approaches throughout training
and the opportunities to formulate with several different approaches.
As Essex is a relatively small course, you get to know the others in your
cohort really well, which creates a good support network. Additionally having a
regular reflective group throughout the three years enables you to explore your
experiences on and off the course, aiding reflective practice.
The majority of our teaching is delivered by local clinical psychologists
which offers great networking opportunities and supports our placement
I completed by undergraduate degree in Psychosocial Sciences at the
University of East Anglia in 2006. I then studied for my Postgraduate Diploma in
Psychology (conversion course) at Aston University in Birmingham. Following my
graduation in 2007, I worked for two and a half years in two different Assistant
Psychologist posts. My first Assistant Psychologist job was in a private
dual-diagnosis psychiatric hospital. The second was a split post between a
Clinical Health Psychology department in a hospital and a residential brain
injury rehabilitation centre. During my undergraduate degree I had also
volunteered on a national eating disorders helpline, and later worked for a
short time before my first Assistant Psychologist post in a residential eating
Why I applied to the University of Essex
I applied to the University of Essex because of the equal attention given to
CBT, Systemic and Psychodynamic perspectives. I particularly wanted the
experience of integrating these three main models, and felt that the course at
Essex would afford me the opportunity to do so. A further consideration for me
was the geographical location of the course, since I lived in Norfolk before
moving to Colchester for training, and wanted to remain close to my family and
What I like about the programme
I think one of the strongest components of the course is the quality and
range of the teaching given. The links with the Tavistock Clinic in London have
allowed us the opportunity to receive lecturers from a prominent and well
respected centre of psychodynamic thought. The University also regularly invite
practicing clinicians from the local area to lecture on the course. The
clinicians often bring live case material to illustrate theory to practice
links, which is an aspect of teaching I have come to highly value.
Since the cohorts at Essex are very small, it has been possible to form a
very supportive friendship group which I have benefitted from greatly during my
time on the course so far. We have also been able to get to know the trainees in
the year above and year below not least through the 'buddy' system that the
course employs. This seems to work really well, and means that there is always
someone to go to for informal support and to ask questions about different
aspects of the course. We often use the clinical seminar slots to present case
vignettes, and ask the rest of the cohort to think with us about formulation and
treatment options. This has been really valuable to me over the last two years,
and has allowed us practice in integrating different theories and models.
Between completing my undergraduate degree and starting the Doctorate in
Clinical Psychology at the University of Essex, I worked for four years in
various psychological settings. This included working as a Family Support Worker
/ Assistant Psychologist with young children with emotional difficulties and
their families, a Research Assistant for a randomised control trial comparing
interventions for people with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder,
and as a Support Worker in a residential home for young adults with severe
learning disabilities and a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Condition.
Although most of my experience was gained in the UK, my research post was in
a specialist service in Australia and I also did some voluntary work in Vanuatu,
an island in the South Pacific.
Why I applied to the University of Essex
I had three main reasons for applying to the University of Essex:
- It seemed to have an equal focus on CBT, psychodynamic and systemic
approaches. I thought that this would be beneficial for me to get a feel for the
models I would prefer.
- Links with the Tavistock and therefore more multicultural and specialist
- I already live close to the University and know the local area.
What I like about the programme
On the whole my experience of training at Essex was positive. Some aspects of
my experience particularly stood out, these included:
- The genuinely integrative approach and equal focus on CBT, psychodynamic and
systemic ways of working. This allowed me to discover which models fit best with
my individual style and improved my flexibility for adapting work for individual
- The quality of the placements and the clinical supervision. The diversity of
placements allowed me to gain experience of working in a range of clinical
settings and the quality of supervision enabled me to develop my practice.
- The specialist third year placements in a Family Therapy Team and Paediatric
Psychology allowed me to build upon my interests in systemic working.
- Being in a small year group allowed me to build close relationships with the
other trainees. Together we had fun, as well as supporting each other throughout
the three years.
- The opportunities that the University offered were broad. For example, I
worked alongside of the Biological Sciences Department to complete my thesis in
which I evaluated a Wilderness Therapy programme for 'Youth at Risk'.
I am looking forward to starting my job as a Multisystemic Therapist in a
team specialising in child abuse and neglect. This position will allow me to
utilise and build upon the skills that I acquired during my third year
specialist placement. This post will also allow me to develop my CBT skills and
work with professionals from a range of backgrounds.
I had previously worked for several years as a care-coordinator for people
with ‘severe and enduring’ mental health needs in a community and rehab setting
which gave me a good base for the clinical psychology doctorate. Additionally I
had volunteered for the NSPCC, Mencap and MIND. My previous training as a
psychotherapeutic counsellor has also been invaluable in helping to establish
therapeutic relationships with the range of people I meet on different
Why I chose Essex and what I like about the programme
I chose Essex for its integrative orientation and links with the Tavistock
Clinic. I was keen to develop a variety of skills that would equip me to work
within an ever demanding NHS and people with increasingly complex difficulties.
I felt that an integrative approach would allow me greater flexibility to adapt
to such a climate and tailor interventions to meet the individual needs of the
clients. I liked the fact that the Essex course has a smaller intimate
cohort/staff team as it means you can really get to know one another and this
helps you feel supported as the course can feel stressful at times with the
competing demands of placements, research and academic assignments.
Life after the course
Since finishing the course I have started in my first post, working in a
community psychology service for adults with mental health difficulties. This
has been a great first job post qualifying as I get to gain further experience
doing assessments and therapeutic work. The clients have a range of presenting
problems so there is still plenty to learn, but I feel that this presents me
with an opportunity to build on the knowledge gained during training which is
exciting. Unfortunately as this is a short-term post, I am leaving in the near
future. I start a new post in a forensic service (medium secure unit in London)
in the New Year, which is very exciting too.