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Frequently asked questions

Applying for a place on the DECPsy and unsure about something? Answers to many applicant queries we have received are below.


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 5 December 2016).

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 3 December 2015. 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.

Do I need to have GBC before applying to the course?

You will need to be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership, but you do not need to have acquired this before applying. Please contact the BPS if you would like confirmation as to whether or not you will be eligible. You would need to have acquired this status by the time the DECPsy course has started in September..

Do I need a Masters to apply for the course?

If you have achieved a 2:1 undergraduate degree in Psychology then a Masters is not needed. A Masters is only required if you achieved a 2:2 in your Psychology degree, and you must then achieve a Merit or Distinction in your Masters. The Masters course must be accredited by the British Psychological Society, if you are unsure on this please check with the BPS directly.

My undergraduate degree may not have sufficient psychology modules for GBC to be conferred, or, my undergraduate degree was not in Psychology - 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. Please note that we do not offer a conversion course.

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 qualify as an Educational Psychologist by studying 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 and Care Professions Council set the threshold level of qualification for entry to the register for Educational Psychologists at 'Professional Doctorate or Equivalent'.

Could you clarify the differences between the two Educational Psychology Doctorate programmes following the merger between UCL and the IoE?

The recent merger will not affect the Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology Programme at UCL, and the two programmes are still run separately. We can only give information about our own doctorate programme. If you require assistance in regards to the Institute of Education Doctorate programme, please contact them directly at 020 7612 6265 or visit their website:

Do you hold open days regarding the Doctorate in Educational & Child Psychology programme, or can I meet with a tutor from the course?

We do not offer open days or individual visits to discuss the DECPsy course. All the information you will need is on our website.

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 2016 UCL anticipates being able to offer 14 funded places. There will also be two self-funded places offered to UK applicants and some availability for 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.

Do you offer work experience or internships?

We are unable to offer work experience or internships within the Educational Psychology Group.

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 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 £16,390 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 the first week of September in Year 1.

Is a reading list available to interested applicants?

Yes, this is available for download here

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 Principal 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. Currently trainees are paid a £15,500 tax free bursary plus in some instances additional 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.

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.

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2017 Applications appnews

September 2017 entry for UK funded and self-funded candidates, via the EPFT application website, closed on 5th December 2016 and we are currently shortlisting for interview. Applicants are advised to check the AEP website for further information, in addition to our application webpage

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