School of Psychology

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

Welcome to the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (D.Clin.Psych.) Program at Queen’s University, Belfast.

The core purpose of the D.Clin.Psych. program is to provide professional training in clinical psychology for those entering the profession, particularly in Northern Ireland.

The D.Clin.Psych. program at QUB is a three year (36 months) postgraduate professional training course in clinical psychology. This program is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the statutory regulator for practitioner psychologists and courses in the UK. The program is also accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

The D.Clin.Psych. program in Belfast is renowned for being dynamic and of high quality.

See what some of our current trainees and recent graduates have to say on their experiences on the D.Clin.Psych. program.

The Course is a joint enterprise between the university and the health service, funded by the Health & Social Services Executive (HSSE) and run in collaboration with practising clinical psychologists in Northern Ireland. Trainees who are fully funded by the HSSE have contracts with the Health and Social Care Business Services Organisation (BSO) and sign an undertaking to make themselves available for employment as clinical psychologists in Northern Ireland’s statutory services for at least two years following qualification.

Applications for September 2017 entry are now open; the closing date for applications is 4pm Wednesday 1st February 2017.

Feel free to contact us if you have any further queries:

Dr Aiveen Higgins (Assistant Course Director & Selection Coordinator)
Ms Caroline Sinclair (Course Administrator)

Course aims and philosophy

The course aims to promote the development of the core competencies of the profession (assessment, formulation, intervention and evaluation) which can be applied to different settings and client groups and at different levels of the health care system.

Competency in two forms of evidence based therapy is mandatory – one of which is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Through exposure to different psychological models, e.g. (psychodynamic, systemic, third wave CBT) the course aims to train clinical psychologists who are able to be eclectic and provide the best possible service to users.

The course seeks to provide trainees with a broad range of psychological expertise based on academic knowledge, research and clinical skills. The following are core values that underlie the training of Clinical Psychologists at QUB:

  • Trainees are expected to treat clients and colleagues with respect and to develop a high level of skill in interpersonal relationships
  • The course views training as a partnership. The course aims to consult widely with the various users/stakeholders in relation to the ongoing development and evaluation of the course.
  • The course seeks to involve users and stakeholders in a meaningful way
  • The course seeks to equip trainees with an awareness of the impact of membership of various communities. “Community” is taken to mean the population sub-divided by gender, age, race, ethnicity, creed, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, presence or absence of disability, member of traveller or settled community.
  • The course aims to promote an awareness of the cultural and socio-political contexts in which mental health is constructed and an understanding of how these impact on what we as psychologists do.
  • The course aims to encourage trainees to act appropriately as advocates for individuals, families and communities of clients.
  • The course seeks to facilitate self-awareness and personal development in trainees and an awareness of how personal and interpersonal factors impinge on therapeutic processes. The aim is also to create a safe, supporting, empowering environment for trainees while maintaining boundaries and professional standards.
  • The course seeks to promote a coherent, integrative approach to training and to train clinical psychologists who can be flexible, use the most appropriate intervention and work at individual, group, organisational and community levels.
  • The course aims to develop in trainees a critical approach to all aspects of their work and the ability to contribute to the development of psychological knowledge.
  • The course seeks to promote the integration of theory, clinical work and research. This is facilitated by the involvement of practising clinical psychologists in all aspects of the course and the close relations that exist at many levels between the University and the profession.
  • The course aims to give trainees some experience of professional practice elsewhere. The course programme is organised to accord with the high priority given to allowing trainees to go on placement outside Northern Ireland.
  • Trainees are expected, in the course of training, to take on increasing responsibility for their own learning and their professional development.
  • The course intends its graduates to be the highest calibre practitioners, capable of operationalising psychological principles in clinical practice and functioning competently in any area or specialism. This process is ensured by a range of quality assurance measures.

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