Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)


The Programme seeks to select trainees who have the capacity to complete a highly demanding professional doctorate level training programme. In line with following an evidence based approach, Exeter selects on the basis of the Competency Model which was developed following a job analysis of the trainee clinical psychology role (Baron & O’Reilly, 2012). The model specifies ten competencies that underpin successful trainee clinical psychologists. These are: intellectual ability and academic rigour, communication skills, self-awareness and openness to learning, personal maturity, warmth and empathy, resilience, organisation, autonomy and initiative, motivation and application and contextual awareness. The programme recognises that its processes form part of a national programme and therefore uses the Job Description and Person Specification (.pdf) that is made available to all applicants.  

Our hope is that an Exeter trainee will maintain and advance the standards of the profession while providing excellent service to clients, carers and colleagues within the NHS and other health and social care settings. We therefore want to attract and select trainees who have the required competencies, as well as being able to demonstrate that their values and behaviours align with the values of the NHS Constitution (

Equal Opportunities

The benefits of diversity within profession are well understood, and the Programme is committed to proactively enhancing diversity both within the training community and the wider profession. We welcome applicants from diverse cultural and personal contexts, mature applicants with extensive life experience, and applicants with disabilities. Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age, disability, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, religion or belief. The selection procedures are designed to be fair, and informed by current thinking on broadening access, thereby enabling the Exeter programme to select the strongest candidates.

Candidates with disabilities are welcome to contact us to discuss the programme's capacity to meet their training needs. Please contact the Programme Administrator or the University AccessAbility department for further details.

Entry requirements

Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)

Applicants must have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS) when they apply to the programme and a BPS recognised undergraduate honours degree at 2:1 level. Only those candidates who have GBC will be considered. If you are an Open University graduate and are awaiting confirmation of your GBC status at the time of application, please contact the Programme Administrator to discuss this further.

Applicants who obtained a 2:2 honours degree in a BPS recognised undergraduate degree might be eligible to apply but would need additional minimum postgraduate (Masters level that has a clear research component) qualifications to demonstrate academic competence for a Doctoral level programme.  

Degree qualifications awarded outside the UK are assessed for eligibility for GBC by the BPS. Usually GBC is conferred when an individual has completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology, or a postgraduate degree which includes a substantive period of study in Psychology. If your qualifications are from outside the UK, you must apply for membership of the BPS and they will check your qualifications as part of the application process.

Clinical Experience

All applicants require a minimum of one year of clinical experience of working with people with psychological needs, which ideally would be supervised by a clinical psychologist. Paid work as a psychology assistant (AP) or IAPT therapist/ wellbeing practitioner are particularly valuable, however, voluntary work as an AP, Healthcare Assistant, or Support Worker also provide valuable experience.  (Short part-time volunteer work or short placements during a first degree are normally insufficient on their own.) Experience can be gained in any type of environment, whether within the NHS or other health or social care settings.  The purpose of experience is to help applicants develop the competencies needed for training such as resilience to working with psychological distress, a commitment to reflective practice and to gain a realistic sense of the clients with whom clinical psychologists work, and of the profession and its working practices.

Candidates whose experience is restricted to an academic research setting should ensure that they gain some familiarity with clinical populations and settings. Substantive voluntary posts may also be relevant, particularly when these are in statutory settings.

Driving licence

As the programme covers a wide and rural geographical area all applicants must possess a full valid driving licence at application (subject to reasonable adjustments for disability).  All applicants are required to submit their full driving licence one week before interview date. If applicants cannot submit their driving licence documents they will not be eligible for interview. All candidates must undertake to meet the travel requirements of the programme.


All applicants must have one academic referee and one clinical experience referee. Academic referees should be a suitably qualified professional, be able to comment on an applicant's academic ability, and preferably have direct experience of the applicant's academic work or research experience. The clinical experience referee should be able to demonstrate the applicant's suitability for training as a clinical psychologist.  Ideally this reference would be from a clinical psychologist and recent. Please note that it is not usually acceptable to have both references provided by academics of both by clinicians. If you intend to have both references provided by academics of clinicians, you will be expected to justify this in your application form (in the referee section).

The Programme encourages applicants to carefully consider their referees as to their suitability to provide the information requested in the Clearing House reference forms.

Please note that a number of healthcare organisations have a policy of providing standardised references for all employees and will not provide personal references. We do not accept these references and would not be able to consider applications where these are received.

Residence Requirements

At Exeter the commissioning body (Health Education England) has residence requirements that all applicants need to meet to be considered. We require applicants to meet residence requirements based on the NHS Bursary Scheme (see pages 9-17 of the "Financial Help for the Healthcare Students 2016/2017 booklet for details of the residence criteria).

English Language Ability

The English language ability requirement for entry to the programme is a score of at least 7.0 on IELTS (Health & Care Professions Council Standard of Proficiency 1b.3). If English is not your first language, and your degree was not taught and examined in English, we require you to provide evidence that you meet the HCPC standard.

Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

There is no provision in the Exeter degree regulations for Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning. The Programme is full-time for 3 years and attendance at all programme components is mandatory over that time, including the induction period. The length of the Programme cannot be reduced through the accreditation of prior learning or experience: all trainees are required to complete the full programme of training in order to qualify.

Selection Process

Exeter expects to recruit for 11 training places in 2018, with Exeter University as the main academic base and locality bases in Somerset and Devon.

We are keen to have selection procedures that are informed by current thinking on inequalities, and therefore we have active involvement in the selection process from people who have experience of services as well as team members and clinical psychologist, all of whom help ensure that we run a faire process and select the strongest candidates.

The selection process has three stages.

  1. Screening - All applications are screened to ensure that candidates meet the essential criteria.  Any applications that do not meet the essential criteria are not put forward for short-listing.  Essential criteria include:
    • Appropriate academic qualification(s) with Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the BPS.
    • A minimum of one year of clinical experience.
    • Evidence of English language competency
    • The correct residence status as outlined by NHS Student Bursary criteria.
    • Supportive and relevant clinical and academic references.
    • A full valid driving licence at application (subject to reasonable adjustments for disability)
  2. A Short-list of candidates is identified by a short-listing panel comprising members of the programme staff and practising psychologists.  Applications are rated according to shortlisting criteria which are drawn from the competency model.  The key domains are; 
    • Intellectual ability– as evidenced by academic and research experience.
    • Psychological Practice – as evidenced by experience of working with people with psychological difficulties, experience of being supervised by a clinical psychologist, broader life experiences  and their relevance to psychology and the values embodied in diversity, and contextual awareness of the NHS and /or health and social care settings.
    • Readiness for training – as evidenced by the applicant’s resilience, motivation and application to complete demanding programmes of study, or work in demanding posts.
    • Communication skills – as evidenced through the quality of the application form.
  3. Interviews - Candidates will be required to take part in one interview (evaluating research and clinical experience) and a group task co-produced by the programme and the lived experience group. A written task may also be required. We intend the time you spend with us to be respectful, constructive and supportive, and all candidates will be given a clear brief about what to expect when they are invited for interview. All selection tasks are designed to give candidates the opportunity to demonstrate the required competencies and values required for entry into the programme.

The top 20% of applicants, all of whom are deemed suitable for interview, are ranked.  The highest ranked candidates are allocated to interview spaces, and the next 15 candidates are rank ordered onto the interview reserve list.

Exeter encourages applications from candidates who have a disability but we do not operate the Disability Symbol scheme, as DClin programmes are exempt from the scheme.  The Exeter programme adopts a different approach, and offers all applicants who are ranked in the top 20% and have ticked the disability box an interview.

All offers of a place on a course are dependent on satisfactory criminal record and health checks and compliance with health checks will be acted upon.


Due to the high numbers of applicants, the Programme does not give feedback to applicants who are not interviewed. Feedback on interview performance will be available on request after the selection process has been completed.