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Guidelines for Success

Each year, competition for places on the DECPsy Programme is very strong. The following advice is offered to assist candidates in improving their chances of securing a place.

Further Guidance on Essential Shortlisting Requirements

Good honours degree in Psychology that confers Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society. A 2:1 or equivalent is required to demonstrate that applicants possess the academic competencies required for doctoral level study:

For undergraduate degrees give the class (first, upper second etc) and the year awarded. If this information is missing your application will not be considered.

For postgraduate qualifications give information about awards with merit or distinction where applicable and the year awarded, or tbc where not yet complete

The title of the qualification that confers Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership must be accurately entered in the first part of this section as applications will be rejected if there is no exact match with approved programmes listed on the BPS website

If you have an overseas qualification that has been approved by the BPS as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership please provide supporting details (e.g. BPS membership number) as evidence

Experience of work with children in education, child care or community settings:

A minimum of one year's full-time equivalent (35 hours per week) work experience is required, 9 months of which must have been completed by the closing date for applications. You need to give the month and year in which any period of work started and finished and to state how many full week equivalents were completed in the period, e.g. full time for 3 months would be 12 weeks, half-time for 3 months would be 6 weeks. You should give a clear description of what the work entailed and what your responsibilities were. Further guidance on work experience is available below.

A good command of written and spoken English is essential. For all applicants the assessment of written English begins at the shortlisting stage (see point 5 in the list of Desirable Criteria below) and both are assessed in detail through the activities undertaken in the interview process. Applicants whose first language is not English must be able at the shortlisting stage to provide recent evidence that their spoken and written command of English is of the required standard. Evidence must be submitted with the application. The only acceptable English qualification for this programme is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Academic. An overall grade of at least 7.0, with a minimum of 7.0 in each of the sub tests, is required. Further information about UCL's English Language proficiency requirements can be found at

Relevant Work Experience

Relevant work experience may be gained in a wide range of roles (see below for some examples; please note that these are not exhaustive). Some work experience or combinations of work experience allow applicants better opportunities to acquire the necessary appreciations and competencies.

• Educational Psychology Assistant • Teacher • Portage Worker • Learning Support Assistant •  Speech and Language Therapist •  Care Worker •  School or Children's Nurse •  Assistant Clinical Psychologist working with children •  Connexions Advisor •  Social Worker •  Family Worker •  Play/Art Therapist •  Educational Social Worker •  Child Psychotherapist •  FE Lecturer (16-19 years) •  Assistant Occupational Therapist • Assistant Physiotherapist •  Counsellor •  Children's Centre Worker •  Youth Worker •  Research Work •  Learning Mentor

Working as an Assistant in an educational psychology service is an example of work experience that is likely to allow applicants good opportunities to gain a realistic appreciation of the role of work through working alongside a number of EPs over a period of time. Work will be undertaken with clients in contexts where the EPs in their service are also working and will require a high level of professionalism and competence.

Work experience will be less valuable where it has:

•...not brought applicants into contact in any significant way with the work of educational psychologists.
• ...not involved contexts and client groups frequently encountered by educational psychologists.
• ...not required application of psychological theory and research or further acquisition of knowledge and skills relevant to training as an EP.
• ...not required the demonstration of a level of professional responsibility and autonomy. These aspects are often more difficult to evidence through work experience which is exclusively part-time, short term or voluntary, or which occupies only a small number of hours per week. This is because requirements for commitment, perseverance and responsibility may be less clear and more difficult to demonstrate than in the case of sustained periods of paid employment occupying a substantial proportion of the working week.

Desirable Shortlisting Criteria

Different applicants may be more or less successful in learning from similar work opportunities and in communicating the relevance of their experience in a convincing manner. It is important that ALL applicants present clear arguments in their 6,000 character maximum personal statement for the appropriateness and relevance of their experience. We suggest that you specifically address each of the following points so they directly link to our shortlisting criteria :

1) Knowledge of psychological theory and research on children's development and learning and the ability to apply it to school and other practice contexts. It is better to focus on one or two clear and reflective examples where you have information from a specific recent research article and can describe convincingly how you applied it in your work, than to make vague references, e.g. to 'using behaviourist principles' or 'drawing on Piaget's work'.

2) Detailed understanding of the role of Educational Psychologists, the different levels at which they work and changing contexts of practice. You need to show that you have detailed knowledge about the range of work educational psychologist do, obtained from a variety of credible sources and that your commitment to the profession is sufficiently strong that you can be relied upon to invest the effort needed to complete a challenging and intensive 3 year training programme.

In addition to reading relevant BPS and other publications applicants often contact Educational Psychology Services in the area in which they live to seek opportunities to talk to an educational psychologist. Due to the volume of such requests many services are unable to offer opportunities to 'Work Shadow' an Educational Psychologist although some services provide open afternoons or evenings where EPs are available to talk with prospective applicants. In some cases EP services may be more amenable to an offer to undertake voluntary work for the service for a one week period or more. Requests to services to meet with an EP, work shadow or undertake voluntary work should be made by letter or e-mail and should contain information which demonstrates that you have the right qualifications, have already done substantial research on the role of an EP and are a serious applicant for professional training.

3) Ability to identify skills/ knowledge especially relevant to training as an educational psychologist and explain their relevance. These may have been developed through professional, voluntary or personal experience but you need to able to provide a clear description of the skills involved and a logical explanation of their relevance to training as an educational psychologist. These may include multi-agency/team working skills in working with peers and colleagues, ability to speak a community language, knowledge of communities under-represented in the profession.

4) Clear, concise and coherent written communication skills. This will be judged from your personal statement and will include consideration of spelling, grammar and punctuation as well as clarity of expression and coherence of argument.

Essential Requirements for Admission

Click here to ensure you address our essential requirements for admission and to read about our selection process and equalities policy.


Further information which may be helpful to you is available on our FAQs page

Site last modified 2nd February 2017
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News, Downloads and Useful Links

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

Overseas application for September 2017 entry on the programme is now open with a closing date of 21 April 2017 - please see our overseas applications page for further details if you are a potential EU or overseas candidate interested in applying for 2017 entry.

AEP Hosted Funded Application Page AEP Logo

Forthcoming Events

Although we do not hold programme open days, those interested in working as an EP may wish to find out about the following event:

Although we do not hold programme open days, those interested in working as an EP may wish to find out about the Kent EPS open evening on 9th June - click here for further information. (Please note that this is not a UCL event).

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