DCP: Section 1: Introduction and Overview

The Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology at the University of Southampton was originally the Wessex in-service NHS training Programme and moved to the University in 1995. It is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) as conferring eligibility for Chartered Clinical Psychologist and approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), conferring eligibility on fully qualified trainees to apply to join their register.

The different components of the Programme are designed to provide an integrated and complementary experience for trainees to allow them to make strong associations between the research, academic and practical aspects of the doctorate. The Programme is designed to encourage trainees to effectively utilise an academic and research base to foster the development and subsequent implementation of evidence-based practice in the field. The framework for the Programme is closely linked to the requirements for professional training set by the HCPC and the BPS. The Programme is taught and assessed via diverse educational and placement opportunities that are supported via academic teaching from the University and Clinical Psychologists working within the healthcare sector (normally NHS).

Full details of the academic and research requirements can be found in the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Handbook.

Core Purpose

A major tenet of the philosophy of the Programme in Southampton is the integration of theory and practice within the framework of evidence-based practice. It focuses on selecting interventions based on a critical evaluation of the published research on both the effectiveness of the therapeutic approach and on the existing knowledge-base on psychological processes (evidence-based practice) using a formulation driven approach. The Programme also encourages you to build on existing research to develop new and innovative approaches to treatment that complement and extend the existing evidence-base (evidence-generating practice).

Core Aims

The broad aim is to develop trainees’ knowledge, understanding and application of theory, using empirical evidence core to the practice of Clinical Psychology in an environment in which there are frequent opportunities for critical reflection and personal review. This includes training Clinical Psychologists to work to the highest educational, professional and ethical standards of practice, enabling them to demonstrate the HCPC Standards of Proficiency (SOPs) and the BPS competencies. A further aspect of this aim is to equip trainees with the psychological and research skills needed to deliver a professional service and to contribute to the knowledge base of the profession.

Specific aims are:

To develop trainees’ ability to apply and evaluate core knowledge of psychological theory, practice and research in a range of healthcare settings across the life-span and across a range of presenting problems

To provide trainees with a knowledge of central theoretical and empirical approaches to Clinical Psychology

To gain experience of the application of theoretical models and treatment approaches to psychological problems within healthcare settings

To acquire in-depth knowledge of specialist areas of interest

To develop competence as an applied psychologist with the critical skills and analytical abilities of a scientist practitioner

To develop trainees’ competence in research design especially in the field of Clinical Psychology enabling them to work with key partners to conduct and disseminate robust evidence-based research

To develop trainees’ ability to work independently and cooperatively as professionals in multi-disciplinary healthcare settings

To develop an understanding of professional issues associated with the practice of Clinical Psychology.

Approach to Learning

The teaching is delivered through workshops, lectures, problem-based learning, e-learning, distance learning activities in which trainees are expected to actively participate. There will be many opportunities for you to develop clinical skills via small group activities (e.g., role play, skills rehearsal, practising administering neuropsychological tests) and related discussion and feedback. A substantial part of the teaching is provided by external professionals, typically Clinical Psycholgists, who are experts in their field. A consistent approach throughout the Programme is the focus on making theory- practice links and on developing a flexible and informed approach to the evidence base.

An Overview of the Programme 

Year 1 

Knowledge and skills are developed through teaching, workshops and seminars at the University (via teaching blocks and teaching days)

Six academic modules, three of which focus on the principal therapeutic approaches taught by the Programme (CBT and systemic therapy)

Four research methods modules

Two Core clinical placements within the NHS (or other healthcare setting) in adult and life-span settings

Small Scale Research Project

Independent study

Year 2 (Core)

Knowledge and skills teaching sessions at the University

Three academic modules (systemic, intellectual disabilities and child/family).

Two Core clinical placements within the NHS (or other healthcare settings) in child/young people and intellectual disability settings

Research teaching

Research thesis proposal and preparation

Independent study

Clinical projects carried out on placement

Year 3

Knowledge and skills development through teaching at the University

Three academic modules (specialist skills module, trans-diagnostic and leadership)

One clinical placement that is negotiated based on trainee preference and learning needs in the NHS (or other healthcare setting) normally within Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

Research placement (Oct to Dec)

Research thesis

Research Skills

Independent study




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