UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

The UCL Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is the largest professional training course for Clinical Psychologists in the United Kingdom, and welcomes high-calibre candidates from the UK and abroad. The course provides a first-rate training in clinical psychology, leading to a doctoral qualification accredited by the UK’s Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Psychological Society (BPS). The Course’s overarching aim is to train independently minded, scientifically-oriented and compassionate clinicians capable of taking a leadership role in health services at home or abroad. 

The UCL Course is at the forefront of many of the national and local developments and innovations which impact on the profession, and many members of staff are closely involved in NHS planning at both national and local level. We aim to equip trainees with the knowledge and skills they need to become effective clinical practitioners in a rapidly changing NHS. The Course has an explicitly pluralistic ethos and exposes trainees to a variety of approaches. It also encourages practice that demonstrates an awareness of equal opportunities and a sensitivity to the multi-cultural contexts routinely encountered in clinical work in London.

The course is three years in length and consists of a mixture of taught lectures, seminars and workshops running alongside a series of 6 placements based in clinical services in and around London. The academic programme is delivered by a highly experienced team of clinical psychologists, many of whom are world-leaders in their academic and clinical fields. The clinical placements provide trainees with opportunities to develop their skills under experienced supervision in a wide variety of contexts, using a broad range of models, and with a wide spectrum of clients.

As a course that is based in one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, UCL trainees have the opportunity to conduct high-quality research under the supervision of leading scientists in the field.


During academic terms, trainees spend 3 days a week on clinical placement; the remaining 2 days are spent either on scheduled teaching in college or study/research. As far as possible academic teaching is integrated with the clinical placements. During academic holidays trainees continue work on their clinical placements, in line with their position as full-time NHS employees.

First Year

Trainees start with a full-time, 5-week block of training, which aims to give a general introduction to the key ideas and skills that form the foundation of clinical psychology science and practice. After this, teaching takes place on two days a week during academic terms. The first two terms focus on key scientific and clinical principles and central skills for assessment, engagement and intervention. In addition, specific therapeutic models are introduced (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Psychodynamic Therapy), in order to dovetail with the usual pattern of work on trainees’ placements. Teaching on research methods begins in term 2 of the first year. In the third term of year one and the first term of the second year teaching focuses on lifespan developmental processes and systemic therapy.

Second Year

Trainees begin work on their thesis at the beginning of this year. In concert with the lifespan perspective introduced at the end of Year 1, practice-focused teaching in the second year examines psychological work with children, adolescents, adults and older adults in a developmental sequence. The rest of the second year then focuses on disability and health. Statistics teaching is provided during the latter half of the second year.

Third/Final Year

To allow time for research there is a reduced schedule of teaching in the third year with trainees attending teaching a day per fortnight. Teaching in the third year introduces advanced issues in clinical psychology science and practice. This includes consideration of integrative therapies and new developments in theory and research as well as important professional issues designed to smooth the way into qualified professional practice. In the months following submission of the thesis trainees share responsibility for the organisation of the teaching programme.


As this is a vocational programme it is no surprise that graduates go on to work in the NHS or similar healthcare organizations, usually undertaking clinical work. Sometimes they go on to take up clinical research posts in universities, making use of their combination of clinical and research skills. For more information about the profession visit the British Psychological Society website.


Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Main Office: 020 7679 1897

For admissions enquiries, please contact the Admissions Tutor