Frequently Asked Questions

I have a query regarding selection. Who should I address it to?

Firstly, please read all our documentation on this website – our “Guide to Applicants” and this section (FAQ) generally covers most queries we get regarding selection. An updated Guide to Applicants and an updated application form is available on our website in December each year and will cover procedures for the following year’s intake.

Please address all queries regarding the administrative aspects of selection to Caroline Sinclair, course Administrator:

Please address other queries regarding selection to our selection co-ordinator Dr Aiveen Higgins, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Assistant Course Director:

What experience do I need to apply for the course?

We do not rate experiences at the shortlisting or interview stage of selection. Rather, we rate competencies (see our Guide for Applicants for details).

It would be difficult, however, for a candidate to evidence these competencies without some relevant clinically-related experience before starting training. This helps to establish that you know what you are applying for, what clinical psychologists do, the settings they work in, and the people they work with. Ideally this experience should be working with populations that clinical psychologists work with e.g. adults and children in psychological distress or with a disability. Clinical experience which is supervised by a clinical psychologist can be particularly valuable.

Research experience (in addition to the undergraduate project) in a branch of psychology or a related discipline is also helpful, especially if the research is clinically relevant e.g. where it involves direct contact with users of clinical psychology services, or where the results of the research are clinically applicable.

I am currently completing an undergraduate degree and am trying to decide between a clinically relevant PhD and an assistant psychology post. Which one will better prepare me for applying to the D.Clin.Psych?

We do not rate experiences at the shortlisting or interview stage of selection. Rather, we rate competencies (see our Guide for Applicants for details). Both types of experiences can give you different competencies that are relevant to a career in clinical psychology. It is for the potential applicant to decide which type of experience meets their own individual learning needs.

I have a couple of years’ experience working within a health setting but not directly with clinical psychologists. Is this relevant?

Again, we do not rate experiences at the shortlisting or interview stage of selection. Rather, we rate competencies (see our Guide for Applicants for details). Obviously, experience of working within a clinical psychology context often allows applicants to gain competencies that we are interested in and also allows candidates to evidence these competencies. Any experience that allows you to develop competencies in psychological knowledge and skills, research competencies and personal qualities is relevant.

I am currently completing a PhD. However, I will not have completed the VIVA before the interview. Can I apply?

Yes, if a higher degree is not completed you are still eligible to apply. Each case of this kind is considered on an individual basis and, if you are offered a place, the selection panel may require you to complete this degree before the course start date. You would not be permitted to defer a place on the course.

I have a 2.2 degree. Can I apply?

We only consider applicants with a 2.2 degree if they have also completed a relevant post-graduate degree.

I do not hold a degree in Psychology. Can I still apply?

You need the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS) to apply for our course (see below).

If your qualifications do not meet the requirements for GBC you will need to take a conversion course. The BPS has a list of conversion courses in the Careers and Qualifications section of its website:

British Psychological Society
St Andrews House
48 Princess Road East
Telephone: + 44 (0) 116 254 9568
Fax: + 44 (0) 116 227 1314

Where do I find out about Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership?

You need the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS) to apply for our course.

If your qualifications are not from the UK or Republic of Ireland you need to have them checked by the BPS to see if they give you GBC. You must do this by applying for membership of the BPS. They will automatically check your qualifications for GBC as part of your membership application.

However, BPS membership alone does not allow you to apply for a clinical psychology course. You must also have GBC. This is because GBC provides a broader knowledge of psychology than BPS membership, and you need that broader knowledge as a basis for your clinical training and professional practice.

Please contact the BPS for information on how to apply for membership and GBC (see address above). Membership/GBC applications can take some time to process (especially if references are needed from outside the UK) so you should apply as soon as possible, preferably before applying to QUB.

If your qualifications meet the requirements, the BPS will send you a letter telling you that you are eligible for GBC. If possible, you should submit a copy of this letter with your application. We require this evidence by the time of interview (April) and would not offer such a candidate a place without this evidence.

Is the D.Clin. Psych. at QUB accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland?

The D. Clin. Psych. in QUB is accredited by the British Psychological Society as conferring eligibility for chartered status and approved by the Health and Care Professions Council as conferring eligibility to apply for registration as a clinical psychologist. It is not accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland. Graduates would have to apply to the PSI for a statement of equivalence.

I would like to apply as a self-funded applicant. Can you give me more information of this?

It is unusual that we consider self-funded applicants and we have not done so for a number of years. We only consider self-funded applicants if the number of commissions from the Health Service falls below our capacity. Decisions regarding the number of commissioned places are only made during the months of February/March and no decisions regarding the availability of self-funded places can be made until after this date.

Self-funded applicants would have to go through the same rigorous shortlisting and interview process in order to be considered. Details on postgraduate fees can be found online

It should be noted that potential self-funded applicants would have to satisfy the course they have enough funds to complete the 3 year doctorate. It also should be noted that self-funded applicants would only need a student visa to be eligible to apply for the course. Non-English speaking applicants have to demonstrate English language proficiency (see Our Guide for Applicants). If self-funding is the only option for a candidate (e.g. a non-EU applicant) we would not invite that candidate for interview if self-funding places were not available that year.

I am from a non-EU country. Can I apply?

If candidates do not have a pre-existing right to work in the UK, they would only be considered for self-funding places (see above). In these circumstances a student visa would be sufficient. Queries regarding your right to work in the UK without restriction and regarding student visas should be made to your local British Embassy.

I have a disability. Could I apply for the course?

The course has an equal opportunity policy and is keen to increase diversity within the profession of clinical psychology. We do not discriminate on any basis and welcome applications from all sections of our community. The course will make reasonable adjustments to accommodate people with a disability.

Am I too old to apply for the course?

Again, the course has an equal opportunity policy and welcome applicants of any age. Older candidates frequently have considerable expertise and experience and can be an asset to the course and the profession.

What research opportunities are offered by the D.Clin.Psych. programme at QUB?

There is a strong research culture within the D.Clin.Psych team and successful candidates will have the opportunity to carry out their Large Scale Research Project, supervised by a course staff member or a member of the School of Psychology. Successful candidates will be invited to partner with staff and contribute to one of a wide array of research strategies. Current staff research interests and strategies include, but are not limited to:


  • The links between trauma and psychosis
  • The effects of trauma (including troubles-related trauma, natural disasters and childhood adversity) on mental health
  • Complex PTSD


  • Addiction and co-existing mental health problems
  • Information processing models of addiction

Mental Health

  • Prevention of psychosis in at-risk young people
  • OCD
  • Psychometric properties of Mental Health measures
  • Self-conscious emotions (especially shame) and mental health

Development and Evaluation of Psychological Interventions for Health

  • Theory based psychological interventions to improve health with a particular focus on long-term medical conditions (cancer, chronic pain, asthma, IBD) and oral health (orofacial pain)
  • Understanding the mechanisms of change within psychological and behavioural interventions
  • Understanding and changing clinician behaviour regarding implementing evidence-based guidelines into practice informed by the Theoretical Domains Framework
  • Predictors and interventions for BII and Dental Phobia

Child Health

  • Psychological impact of childhood cancer on the family
  • Fathering children with chronic childhood illness
  • Neonatology and psychological impact on the family
  • Transitioning to fatherhood

At Risk Children

  • Looked after children
  • Childhood trauma and attachment
  • Risk and resilience


  • Service user and carer involvement
  • Neuropsychological and psychosocial outcomes in neuropsychological conditions

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