Applying for a place on the DECPsy and unsure about something? Answers to many applicant queries we have received are below. You can also download our list of FAQs as a pdf document here
I'm in my final year of a psychology degree. Can I apply to the course now, or do I have to wait until I've graduated?
You cannot apply until you have obtained your undergraduate psychology degree results, which needs to be recognised by the BPS as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). You will also need to have gained work experience prior to applying (at least 9 months' full-time equivalent by 13 December 2013).
How much work experience with children is enough to give my application a good chance of success?
12 months' full-time experience working with children in an educational, child care or community setting is a recommended minimum. 9 months' full-time equivalent (e.g. 18 months' half time) must have been completed by 13 December 2013. This can be cumulative or continuous and voluntary experience of various kinds may also assist applicants in demonstrating a breadth of relevant experience. Whatever kind of work has been done, we are primarily interested in what applicants have learnt from their experiences that is relevant to work as an educational psychologist, and how they have been able to apply the knowledge of psychology gained through their first degree. 'Quality' of work experience in terms of relevance to contexts and client groups encountered in an EP role is equally important to 'quantity'. Please see the work experience section on our application page for more details.
Is a reading list available to interested applicants?
My undergraduate degree may not have sufficient psychology modules for GBC to be conferred - what should I do to be able to apply to the course?
If your degree does not have sufficient psychology modules then you should contact the British Psychological Society who will let you have details of conversion courses available to you. There is no 'preferred' conversion course as long as it is BPS approved.
Does holding a teaching qualification (PGCE) give you a better likelihood of being accepted on the course?
No, it is not essential that you complete a PGCE before applying and you should only do so if you feel you have a desire to teach.
Is there any option to study a 1 year Masters in Educational Psychology now, either at UCL or elsewhere, or is my only option the 3 year Doctorate?
No, in 2009 the Health Professions Council set the threshold level of qualification for entry to the register for Educational Psychologists at 'Professional Doctorate or Equivalent'.
How many places are offered on the course each year and how many are funded versus self-funded?
The funding situation varies from year to year. In 2014 UCL anticipates being able to offer 10 funded places. We estimate that two self-funded places will be offered to UK applicants and up to four to EU/overseas applicants.
Do you offer any equivalent part-time or distance study alternatives?
No, the full-time study route is the only one available given the breadth and level of subject matter covered and its focus on practical placement learning. Please note that the course is very academically and practically demanding, ruling out any option of part-time work to assist with funding.
Would it be possible to substitute some of the credits for my existing qualification for part of the Doctorate - for example the first term of study?
No, this is never an option, course members must successfully complete the entire 3 years to qualify. On this integrated Doctoral-level programme there are no elements to which accreditation of prior (experiential) learning processes are applicable.
I applied to the course last year and did not get a place. I was told that this was in part due to large number of applications and this should not stop me from applying again - is there any limit to the number of times candidates can re-apply?
Not at all - the course is extremely competitive and sadly the number of places available is small. Applying in successive years has proved successful for several current students who are now on their way to becoming qualified EPs.
What's the age range on the course? I suppose what I am trying to ask is, as a 'mature' applicant, am I 'too old' to apply?
Our course members are a range of ages and this is utterly irrelevant to our selection process - what counts are your skills and knowledge, not your age.
I am a little confused as to the funding that is available to UK applicants. I am under the impression that I can obtain a £14,900 bursary from the government if I secure a funded place on the course, but is this intended to cover course fees (how much would these be), or is that covered separately by the government?
Applicants who secure a funded place will have their fees for all 3 years paid in addition to the bursary of £14,900 in Year 1. For years 2 and 3 applicants obtain a placement bursary as a trainee educational psychologist with a Local Authority Educational Psychology Service.
What are the term dates for the first year of the course, and in Year 1 is university study 5 days a week?
The course syllabus contains both practice (placement) and professional development (academic/taught, in-house) elements. In Year 1, taught sessions are held at UCL 2 days per week, primary, secondary and special school placements comprise 1 day a week and the other 2 days a week are reserved for research/study.
Term dates obviously differ slightly from year to year but will be similar to the current academic year's - click here for these. Please note that the course always starts on 1st September in Year 1.
If I get a place on the course, will I need to organise my own placements in Years 1-3?
Currently, Year 1 placements are organised for you in one of our placement Local Authorities around London. In years 2 and 3, trainee EP placement bursary placements for UK trainees will be allocated to Services in London and the South East by a placement panel of Prinicipal Educational Psychologists, taking account of your address and other relevant factors.
Please note that year 2 and 3 arrangements are different for students from overseas and the EU, who are required to provide written confirmation that a placement of 260 days (approximately 3 days per week) has been organised in their home country for Years 2 and 3 when applying for a place on the course or to indicate that they wish to take up the UK placement option (subject to a fee supplement for EU students) in which an unpaid placement is supervised by one of the UCL tutors. If a placement is to be undertaken in the applicant's home country it will need to be arranged with a supervisor who is eligible for Chartered Educational Psychology status with the British Psychological Society (or equivalent with the Psychological Society of your home country). See the overseas applications page for full details.
I understand that the year 2 and 3 placements are effectively salaried posts - what can I expect to earn?
This is no longer the case. Trainee EPs commencing in September 2013 will receive a tax free bursary of £15,000 plus £1,000 travel costs from their placement Educational Psychology Service in years 2 and 3.
Will I be offered help arranging accommodation? What are the living costs likely to be?
Most students live in the region and do not have to move to attend the course. If you are applying from overseas or currently live further afield please click here for details on eligibility for UCL student residences. The UCL accommodation website also provides a great deal of helpful information, including estimated living costs for students living in London and a link to the University of London Housing Services website for those seeking private lodgings or flats.
I am an overseas applicant, where can I find out more about living in London?
Please see information above about finding accommodation. We also put overseas applicants in touch with existing overseas students on the programme, once a formal offer of a place has been accepted, so that information and advice can be sought if required.