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UCL Doctorate In Clinical Psychology

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Notes for external supervisors proposing a potential DClinPsy research project


The UCL DClinPsy course team welcomes suggestions for potential DClinPsy research projects, especially from supervisors new to the London region. This document sets out the procedure for proposing projects; our guidelines for external supervisors give details on the supervision process throughout the course of the thesis.

Criteria for DClinPsy project

DClinPsy research projects must lead to an empirical paper of publishable quality; however, they have to be completed in a tight two-year timetable. Thus they must be of a high academic standard and make a contribution to the empirical literature, but at the same time be feasible within the time constraints. The course takes a pluralistic approach to research: a range of methodologies -- quantitative and qualitative -- is supported. The thesis has a three-part structure: the literature review, the empirical paper, and the critical appraisal (see the trainees' guidelines for writing up the thesis).

Proposing a project

All projects must have an internal supervisor who takes responsibility for it from the University's point of view. It is therefore crucial that external supervisors link up as early as possible with a member of the course academic staff who could potentially act as an internal supervisor, in order firstly to discuss whether it might be a viable DClinPsy project and eventually to secure that person's agreement to taking the project on as internal supervisor.

The internal supervisor will normally be someone whose own research interests match the area of your potential project, although if you are an experienced researcher yourself, the match in interests becomes less critical. You may well have existing contacts with academic staff on the course, or know someone who is actively publishing in your research area. The staff list is on the course website (academic staff are those with Lecturer, Reader or Professor in their job titles). It is fine to approach people directly to see if they would be happy to supervise.

In case of doubt about who would be an appropriate internal supervisor, Will Mandy, who is responsible for helping first year trainees identify suitable projects, would be happy to advise.

However, it is important to note that the course is quite limited in the number of new external projects we can support. This is because academic staff may not have the capacity to take on additional supervisees, due to the demands of supervising projects in their own research area. We also have only a limited number of internal supervisors. Thus demand from external supervisors sometimes exceeds our capacity to provide internal supervision. This is particularly acute at the moment with projects in the child and adolescent area, where all of our potential internal supervisors tend to be fully committed.

Once you have arranged internal supervision, the project will be described to the first year trainees at their Project Orientation session, where internal supervisors give a brief presentation of the projects that they have agreed to supervise. Project Orientation normally takes place in mid-February, so ideally discussions about new projects should be completed in January.

Further information

Extensive background information on the research component of the UCL DClinPsy is given on the research section of the course website. You are also welcome to contact Will Mandy, or the Research Administrator (phone 020 7679 1897), for further information.