About This Course
We would like to give you a flavour of what North Wales is like as a place to live and work. Should you end up here, you will spend three years working in one of the most beautiful parts of Great Britain. The School of Psychology and Sport Sciences at Bangor University is renowned for its academic excellence, and our DClinPsy programme is fully accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council, the British Psychological Society and Bangor University.
Because we are a small programme, we respond to our trainees on an individual basis. We regularly collect trainee feedback on the programme, and trainees regularly comment on how family friendly the programme can be. The words ‘friendly’ and ‘approachable’ seem to keep emerging and we hope this genuinely reflects the nature of a programme such as ours.
Although we are small, we offer trainees a wide range of clinical experiences and teaching, often by national leads in that clinical area. We aim to ensure that you have the facilities you need in order to make optimum use of the training we provide.
For general enquiries contact:
For selection enquiries contact:
We want to give you the background of the programme, our connections and history, as well as information about the programme itself, our philosophy and who works here. This will hopefully give you a flavour of what studying in North Wales might be like.
This three-year doctoral programme is a collaborative venture between the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) and Bangor University. We are called the North Wales Clinical Psychology Programme, NWCPP. Successful candidates will obtain a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, which confers eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC, www.hcpc-uk.org/) and eligibility for chartered status with the British Psychological Society. The North Wales programme was the first in the UK to establish the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, leading the way for other programmes. BCUHB clinical psychologists have exceptionally close working links with the NWCPP. At the 2019 BPS accreditation visit, the programme was commended for these links and the way in which the programme works alongside clinicians within the Health Board. There are at present some 110 qualified clinical psychologists in North Wales, working across the age range, from birth to death, in mental and physical health, intellectual disabilities, neuropsychology, medium secure services. Nearly all are involved in the programme through teaching, supervision (clinical/research), assessing academic work, selection and representation on committees.
The School of Psychology is a centre of excellence for training in clinical practice and has particular strengths in clinical and health psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and learning and developmental psychology. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework in 2022, Bangor University's School of Psychology maintained its status as one of the top Psychology departments in the UK, with 86% of research output rated as internationally excellent or world leading. It has vibrant and friendly research communities and was ranked 17th (of 117) for Research Quality (Complete University Guide, 2021). The UK's leading Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, is also based in the School.
Professor Michaela Swales, who is internationally recognised for her expertise in dialectical behaviour therapy and leader of the British Isles Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Training Team, is our programme director and is a locally practising clinical psychologist. Dr Elizabeth Burnside, our Academic Director, is an ACT peer reviewed trainer, one of 12. The trainees, programme team members and local clinical psychologists are keen to share their knowledge and expertise and have an impressive list of publications, close to 70 over the last five years alone.
During our last accreditation visit in February 2019, the programme was accredited by the BPS, and re-validated by Bangor University. We were commended for several aspects of the programme: the tight integration and commitment of the People Panel, which is our service user and carer representative group and the multi-layered support systems available to our trainees. They appreciated our innovative outreach work to secondary schools and our commitment to meeting the needs of the local population. The included our efforts to improve Welsh language mental health provision and develop skills in a cultural, linguistic and social context, the engagement and enthusiasm of the local clinical psychologists involved in the training, and the psychological and psychotherapeutic contribution to the regional community and service delivery. We were delighted to receive such strong endorsement from the BPS and Bangor University, and we believe this illustrates the robust and cohesive nature of the programme. Our next accreditation visit is due in 2025/26. The programme is also accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
The programme recognises that clinical psychology is a caring profession with a number of distinctive features. Chief among these are the close interdependence between practice and research, the systematic application of psychological models, theories and evidence to the needs of service users and carers, and the development of services. The main aim of the programme is to meet the needs of the NHS for HCPC registered clinical psychologists who have:
- a wide range of clinical, organisational, leadership and research skills.
- developed high standards of professional integrity.
- an internalised model of reflective practice flexible enough to accommodate change and sensitivity to the needs of service users and carers.
We therefore train clinical psychologists who promote psychological thinking in health care settings, by integrating their clinical, academic and research skills, and through critical, reflective, and independent thinking. From a strong value base, they act with integrity to make a positive difference to peoples’ lives.
We select trainees for their values and commitment to clinical psychology and their potential to develop a high level of clinical, academic and research competence. We aim to foster this potential by encouraging the development of skills, knowledge and values that underpin these competencies. This development takes place within a supportive structure that facilitates personal and professional growth and uses the close links that exist in North Wales between the clinical and academic staff.
We have a positive attitude towards diversity and social inclusion, which is reflected in selection, teaching, value-based practice ideas and the programme’s overall ethos. In January 2021, we established our anti-racism, anti-discrimination and promotion of cultural humility sub-committee. Trainees from all three years, programme team members and local Health Board Clinical Psychology colleagues are involved in reviewing all aspects of the programme for issues of racism, discrimination, whiteness etc. Selection, placements, assignments, research are all areas that are being explored for options to address issues of equality and social inclusion. We have organised a range of workshops with trainees, programme team members and local clinical psychologists to drive this agenda forward. This is a very young committee, and we look forward to the work that is ahead of us. All other programme committees report back to the anti-racism, anti-discrimination and promotion of cultural humility sub-committee about the work they are doing to change our practice. Together with the South Wales Clinical Psychology Programme, we offer a mentorship scheme (Cefnogi) to candidates from Black, Asian and other Ethnic Minority groups. For more information, please contact Samantha Owen (Academic Tutor) email@example.com
We continually review the training programme, and we are active in making adjustments, where these are indicated, in keeping with the programme’s aims and objectives and to meet the needs of the public and the profession. We have developed our placements and academic programme to reflect the competency-based approach set out in the BPS accreditation standards. This will see you completing placements across a range of clinical areas, focusing on developing skills in assessment and formulation, therapeutic interventions, and systemic working and leadership skills.
In terms of therapeutic approaches, we focus on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Third Wave Therapies: particularly Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. With the Centre for Mindfulness, the Dialectical Behavioural Therapy Training Teams, as well as an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy peer reviewed trainer, and a range of local clinicians using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, we are optimising learning in these exciting clinical areas. We also have a strong emphasis on working systemically, as well as Schema Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy. You will also receive teaching in psychodynamic theory and Applied Behavioural Analysis.
- Dr Elizabeth Burnside (Academic Director and Deputy Programme Director) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ms Fiona Greenly-Jones, (Senior Administrator and P.A. to Programme Director) email@example.com
- Mrs Mared Davies Hill (Administrative Assistant Research and Selection) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr Lee Hogan (Research Director) email@example.com
- Dr Jaime Horn (Academic Tutor) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mrs Debbie Jones (Administrative Assistant Curriculum and Clinical) email@example.com
- Mrs Kathryn Jones (Administrative Assistant Academic and Assessment) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr Carolien Lamers, Selection and Recruitment Director
- Dr Samantha Owen (Academic Tutor) email@example.com
- Ms Donna-Marie Pierce (Programme Manager) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr Lucy Piggin (Research Tutor) email@example.com
- Dr Renee Rickard (Clinical Director) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr Christopher Saville (Research Tutor) email@example.com
- Dr Laura Spencer-Jones (Clinical Tutor) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Professor Michaela Swales (Programme Director) email@example.com
The programme is full-time and the length of the programme cannot be reduced through the accreditation of prior learning or experience: you are required to complete the full programme of training in order to qualify.
The information below will give you a flavour of the programme, our vision and values and what training with us might look like.
The academic component of the programme actively engages you in the learning process. This is helped greatly by the relatively small size of each year group, allowing plenty of scope for discussion and development of ideas and skills. You are expected to take an active role in teaching by bringing your own clinical material and experiences to discussions, and by taking part in role plays to develop skills. The academic curriculum emphasises a life span perspective. This means that topic areas can be taught by clinicians from a range of specialisms, thus ensuring that you gain a developmental view and appreciate how the same theoretical models and approaches are applied with different client groups and across different ages.
Following the programme’s competence-based model, most of our teaching matches the competencies developed in each of the five placements. At the start of year one, you are provided with foundation teaching relevant to the general work of clinical psychologists across a wide range of settings. This includes core engagement, assessment and therapeutic skills, as well as professional codes of ethics and conduct and relevant legal frameworks. During placement time, one of the aims of the teaching is to equip you with the theoretical knowledge and skills to complete robust psychological assessments and formulations. Halfway through this placement you also engage in an 8-week mindfulness course as part of your teaching, to set the foundations for learning more about third wave approaches and to use yourselves to help manage the demands of training. During the second and third placements (intervention I and intervention II), teaching has a greater focus on therapeutic models and skills development, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy. Other therapeutic models are also introduced as training progresses including Schema Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy. During your fourth placement teaching has a stronger focus on systemic working and leadership theories and practice.
We are working steadily to develop our teaching so that it contributes to accreditation requirements for other professional qualifications, such as British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) CBT therapist accreditation, Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT) foundation level training and The British Psychological Society’s qualification in clinical neuropsychology. Our DBT teaching (and related clinical experience) has been expanded, so that you can have acquired all the knowledge-based competencies and most of the practice-based competencies you require for accreditation as a DBT therapist by the Society for DBT in the UK and Ireland, that implements the International DBT Accreditation standards.
Teaching Timetable - Each placement is preceded by a block of teaching spanning between two and five weeks. Once you are on placement, weekly teaching days continue for most of the year, which enables ongoing contact with the programme and fellow members of your year cohort. There are also two teaching days each academic year, when all three cohorts come together, where specialist and current topics are presented and discussed. Titles for recent all cohort teaching days have been 'Clinical Psychology - Understanding and Addressing Epistemic Injustice, Racism and Discrimination' and 'Motivational Interviewing and Working with People who Misuse Substances'.
Teaching is delivered in our dedicated teaching rooms at Bangor University, close to the staff team offices with a roomy shared kitchen and dining area. You also have access to a spacious trainee resource room to undertake academic work on several on the University and Health Board computers.
While clinical and academic psychologists within North Wales deliver most of the teaching, psychologists from outside the area and other professionals are also invited to contribute where appropriate. Members of our People Panel and other service users and carers are actively involved in several teaching sessions throughout the three years. Trainees greatly appreciate and value their perspective and feedback is consistently high. You give feedback on all academic sessions, thus enabling the programme to keep improving the standards of teaching.
Academic Assignments - There are three academic assignments to be completed across the three years.
- You start with a problem-based learning assignment, which you develop with your fellow trainees.
- In year 2 you give a presentation on a professional issue arising from your systemic and leadership placement.
- After the thesis hand in you write a reflective assignment on your learning which is formatively assessed.
While the format for the assignments is set, you choose your own clinically relevant topics for these. Welsh speakers can submit their work in Welsh.
Learning continues as you apply theories introduced in the classroom and through independent study, to working with your clients on placement. Clinical experience starts toward the end of October of year one and extends over the three years of the programme. Placements will aid you in developing skills in assessment, formulation and intervention (Foundation placement) before moving on to develop skills in therapeutic interventions and specific psychological therapies (Intervention I and II). Later placements will focus on developing your competencies in systemic and leadership competencies and you will end your training with a supplementary or elective placement.
Placements are as follows:
- Year 1: Foundations of Assessment, Formulation, and Intervention (November - April).
- Year 1: Intervention I (May - October).
- Year 2: Intervention II (November - June).
- Year 2/3: Working with Systems and Leadership (July - December).
- Year 3: Elective/Supplementary (December - September).
All clinical placements will be undertaken within the large geographical area of North Wales, which extends from Wrexham to Pwllheli, Holyhead to Newtown and Dolgellau and cover post-industrial towns and cities as well as rural communities.
Placements currently available include:
- Adult Mental Health: including secondary care mental health services, stepped care service, inpatient services, eating disorder service, perinatal mental health, substance misuse services and early onset psychosis services.
- Older Adults: including memory clinics and community teams.
- Child and Adolescent services: including CAHMS, inpatient adolescent service and neuro-developmental services.
- Intellectual Disabilities: adult and child services.
- Forensic services: medium secure unit and prison.
- Brain injury services: adult and child services.
- Health Clinical Psychology: including renal care, pain management, diabetes, chronic fatigue services, oncology and palliative care, paediatric services, critical care, inherited bleeding disorders, artificial limb service and musculoskeletal service.
- Staff Well-being and Support Services.
- Therapeutic Approaches used include: CBT, CBT for psychosis, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Schema Therapy and Compassion Focussed Therapy.
Placement agreements are negotiated by the supervisor and you, in conjunction with programme staff. These agreements are reviewed mid-way through the placement. Each placement is evaluated by your clinical supervisor, who assesses a full range of clinical and professional competencies. You provide feedback on all placements as part of our endeavour to ensure that the high quality of clinical experience is maintained and improved.
Welsh speaking trainees are often allocated placements where you can work using the Welsh language in your clinical practice and where possible with your supervisor.
Clinical Assignments -
- You will complete a report of clinical activity (RCA) in your Foundation placement.
- You will complete a report of clinical activity (RCA) relating to your Intervention I placement.
- You will complete two RCAs from your longer Intervention II placement where you formulate a piece of work from two different theoretical or therapeutic perspectives and you will present one other of your clinical pieces of work.
- One of your RCA's must be a CBT-RCA.
- You need to submit a recording of a session where you use CBT, which is rated using the CTS-R, or another relevant assessment tool.
The aim of the research curriculum is to ensure that you gain experience in using a range of research approaches and obtain a sophisticated understanding of the evidence base underlying clinical practice. Training in research skills occurs throughout the three years.
There are three research projects to be completed over the three years.
- You start with a data analysis project, using large publicly available data sets to answer set questions.
- The service-related research project is a highly applied piece of research, such as an audit or service evaluation, completed during the second year of the programme.
- Finally, there is the large-scale research project which forms your doctoral thesis, which you work on throughout the programme. The thesis comprises of a systematic review or meta-analysis; an empirical study; and a paper on the clinical and research implications of your work. This work is expected to be of a publishable standard and in the last five years alone over 30 trainee papers have been published in academic journals. In your final year you have a viva, where you defend your thesis.
The programme holds an annual research fair, where local Clinical Psychologists and People Panel representatives share and present their research ideas. Trainees are encouraged to link up with local supervisors (or other colleagues in the UK) to discuss and develop their large-scale research project. The programme supports and supervises qualitative and quantitative research as well as secondary data analysis projects. The research team endeavour to support you to do projects in your areas of interest, rather than being assigned projects from a list.
Research supervision is provided by the programme team, local clinical psychologists, and colleagues in the university. Research in clinical and clinical health psychology is one of the strengths of the School of Psychology. The programme supports research projects from across the scientist practitioner tradition, using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
We hold an annual research conference where the trainees present their research projects through presentations or posters. We invite new entry trainees to this conference before they start on the programme.
Recent areas in which trainees have carried out research -
Research titles 2017-2020
Here are the titles of the large research projects undertaken by our trainees from the last three cohorts that qualified. They have been grouped under the most likely categories but overlap with other clinical areas will exist.
The thesis titles cover the systematic review and the empirical paper, and do not always reflect the wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods that have been used.
- How do women in North Wales experience accessing a specialist perinatal mental health service?
- Seeing both sides: wellbeing in maternity services post COVID-19.
Children/ Young People
- Children in crisis: Trends in the mental health and well-being of children and young people in Wales from 2009-2015.
- Exploration of the mechanisms of change in video feedback sessions during Pre-School Autism Communication Therapy: The parents perspective.
- Developing systemic approaches to tic disorders in education and healthcare settings.
- Serious mental illness and wellbeing: An exploration of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and interventions to improve social functioning.
- Why now? What did an autism assessment and diagnosis in middle age add to someone’s life? A thematic analysis of experiences of individuals seeking an HFA diagnosis in adulthood.
- The ripple effect of sexual trauma: A qualitative exploration of direct effects on women survivors’ romantic relationships.
- Sleep-wake reversal among people with psychosis: A functional contextualist interpretation
- Eating Disorder Recovery: An exploration of the influence of sociocultural factors.
- I can’t get no sleep: An exploration of sleep quality in stigmatised groups.
- The ghost in care: Mothers' experiences of mental health and involvement with services following separation from their child(ren).
- An Exploration of Homelessness and Mental Health.
- Similar yet different: experiences and perceptions of frequently overlooked groups within mental health contexts.
Older adult psychology
- The experience of mental health problems in later life.
- Exploring healthcare professionals' experiences of providing care for people with dementia across the lifespan.
- Where voices are heard: An exploration of transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) identity in the UK.
- Turning to face difficulty: Overcoming the barriers to men’s mental health.
- Exploring the effectiveness of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy in university students.
- A narrative analysis of an adventure therapy programme in early intervention psychosis services.
- Please view this video made about the adventure therapy researched in this thesis. Mike Jackson was the research director of the programme and the supervisor of this project. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtpaZeh_bdE
- Which came first, playing chicken or the egg on the head? Evidence for a causal relationship between paediatric traumatic brain injury and antisocial behaviour from a prospective national cohort study.
- Women sent away: The needs and experiences of women in prison and forensic inpatient services.
- Offenders charged with indecent images of children offences: experiences of police contact, accessing support, and consequences for future offending.
- An exploration of female violence and anger.
- Care and compassion: An exploration of care experiences and compassion focused approaches in forensic and inpatient mental health services.
- Renal patients' lived experiences and perspectives on conservative kidney management and kidney transplantation.
- The impact of involving young people with chronic health conditions as EBEs, an exploration.
- Young patients’ experiences of adhering to type 1 diabetes treatment.
- Psychological wellbeing and quality of life in multiple sclerosis.
- Exploring the role of social capital in psychological wellbeing and physical health.
- A qualitative exploration of the process and experience of change throughout ‘Moving on in my recovery’: a psychological group intervention promoting recovery from addiction.
- “Two different sides to it”: an exploration of psychotic experiences and cannabis use in young adults.
- Staff perspectives on challenges of working within the contemporary NHS.
- Creating more compassionate mental health teams: compassion-based intervention for staff working in inpatient mental health services. A feasibility study.
- Keep quiet and carry on: Living and working (during Covid - 19) in an inpatient unit.
- Exploring the challenges of intercultural qualitative health research and the experiences of doctors in Lesotho.
- Should it come with the territory? Experiences and discourses of two groups of professionals.
- An exploration of the role social class has in clinical psychology training and for adults engaging with psychological therapies in the UK.
There are no unseen written examinations on the programme, but you will complete a total of 10 assignments, including a final thesis.
Competencies in theoretical aspects of clinical psychology, clinical skills and professional issues are evaluated by continuous assessment through a range of academic assignments: presentations, evaluations of clinical and professional competencies, reports of clinical activity (including one using CBT), a reflective piece of work, a data base analysis project, a service-related research project and a large-scale research project (the thesis). Although the format of the assessments is set, you decide on the clinical topic area you want to address.
External examiners with extensive experience of clinical psychology training programmes play an active role in benchmarking our marking system. At the end of the third year, the thesis is evaluated by a viva voce examination.
Welsh speaking trainees have the option of completing your assignments through the medium of Welsh. The programme organises translation services.
Diversity and Social Inclusion
We continue to explore how we can expand our diversity in all areas and increase our social inclusion. These are big concepts, that require time and energy to develop, and we are very pleased with the road that we have travelled so far, and are always on the lookout for new and alternative routes.
During the accreditation visit from the British Psychological Society in 2019, they identified as one of the areas of good practice the close attention paid to Welsh language and cultural diversity issues, the engagement of a diverse, committed, and passionate People Panel, who positively feed into the programme.
In 2021, we established the Anti-Racism, Anti-Discrimination and Promotion of Cultural Humility sub-committee. All areas of the programme are being evaluated against these concepts, and development is under way to look at: how the curriculum can become even more sensitive and decolonized; whether selection has certain biases that need addressing; how placements can ensure that cultural humility is promoted; and that trainees can demonstrate this humility and reflect their appreciation of these areas in their assignments. All other programme committees report back to the Anti-Racism, Anti-Discrimination and Promotion of Cultural Humility sub-committee about the work they are doing to change our practice. We are working with our current and past trainees, and NHS colleagues on this, and are linking in with the wider academic community at Bangor University. We have organised a range of workshops with trainees, programme team members and local clinical psychologists to drive this agenda forward.
We are continuing to explore ways to increase the diversity in our profession. Two mentorship schemes are being offered:
To support candidates from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority groups in the application process, we are working together with the South Wales Clinical Psychology Programme in offering candidates six to eight mentoring sessions with either a trainee or qualified clinical psychologist. These sessions aim to offer the person the option to find out about the work of a clinical psychologist, discuss their values and ideas about (clinical) psychology, and explore routes into training. Where desired, the candidates can also explore their position and experiences as a candidate from a Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority background. Please contact Samantha Owen (Academic Tutor) firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this mentorship scheme.
We are keen to support candidates who are Welsh speaking by offering them six to eight mentoring sessions with either a trainee or qualified clinical psychologist. These offer the person the option to find out about the work of a clinical psychologist, discuss their values and ideas about (clinical) psychology, and explore routes into training. Please contact Carolien Lamers (Recruitment and Selection Director) email@example.com for more information about this mentorship scheme.
We have always supported trainees with lived experience and again the feedback we receive from our trainees is that we do a good job at offering support, re-evaluating training plans for the trainees and making other reasonable adjustments. We want to pay more attention to the valuing of lived experience too and are making changes to the curriculum to reflect this. Further work with the People panel and the supervisors is planned.
In selection, we use contextual information provided by applicants as part of our shortlisting process. We worked together with other UK programmes to devise the questionnaire that enquires about earlier life experiences that might have hindered an applicant to reach their full potential. We will take this information into consideration when offering interview places. We are continuing to evaluate the impact that this approach has on the make-up of our new cohorts.
Our programme’s Service User and Carer Involvement Group was named the ‘People Panel’ by its members. Established in 2008, the People Panel aims to enhance trainees’ learning from a service user and carer perspective. We have trainee representations from all cohort years on the People Panel, thus providing regular opportunities for trainees and service users and carers to consult with each other on a wide range of clinically relevant topics and areas of development.
Currently the People Panel comprises individuals who have had involvement with clinical psychology services in a range of settings such as adult mental health, clinical health psychology, older adult and child and adult intellectual disability services. The representation on the People Panel changes regularly with new members joining and older members leaving, either when they feel that their involvement has reached its natural end or following a three year term of involvement.
The People Panel members are involved in a range of different aspects of the training programme. They have representation on all programme committees and play a key role in our selection procedures for trainees and staff. People Panel members co-facilitate CBT workshops where feedback is given directly to trainees on their performance from a service user and carer perspective and they are actively involved in a number of teaching sessions on the programme. People Panel members also act as consultants for the Problem Based Learning assignment. Trainees regard this experience as positive and comment that they appreciate their advice, guidance, and feedback. Trainees regularly ask the People Panel members to comment on aspects of their research projects, from early design ideas, to participation information sheets and consent forms, and present their projects at various stages of development for advice and feedback. There are lively discussions at People Panel meetings, discussing and debating areas of shared interest and often trainees report that these exchanges have helped them develop their ideas and thinking further. People Panel members attend the annual research fair, where they with BCUHB clinical psychologists share ideas for research and academic assignments with the trainees. The People Panel members are keen to become more involved in research and this strand of service user and carer involvement is currently being developed to maximise future collaboration and co-production. The People Panel has also assisted in the development of client consent guidelines for trainees on placement, and forms for service user feedback to be completed at the end of the trainee’s involvement.
At the BPS and Bangor University accreditation visit in 2019, the programme’s People Panel was commended as follows: the engagement of a diverse, committed, and passionate group on the People Panel (Service User and Carer group), who positively feed into the programme is an area of good practice.
We strongly encourage Welsh speakers to apply to our programme as a significant proportion of the population in North Wales speaks Welsh as their first language.
In the short-listing phase we award additional points for your ability to speak Welsh (including learners). Please indicate on the application form your level of Welsh proficiency. Please note: as the number of bilingual Welsh-English speaking applicants remains low (around 1% of all applicants in the UK, as per Clearing House Equal Opportunity Data over recent years), the majority of trainees in each cohort is English speaking.
Our commitment to train Welsh speaking clinical psychologists who can meet present and future clinical needs in Wales, provides unique opportunities to include practical aspects of cultural diversity in our training, which will be attractive to all trainees. Funding is available for those wishing to learn the Welsh language or who would like to have a refresher to increase confidence. Classes are run by Bangor University as well as Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in various locations across North Wales. Trainees can also attend an intense week of learning basic Welsh before starting the programme. Here is information about what the university can offer: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/cio/index.php.en
Welsh speaking candidates can undertake their interview through the medium of Welsh and simultaneous translation will be provided. Welsh speaking trainees have the option to complete their academic assignments through the medium of Welsh. The programme organises translation services for written work and simultaneous translation in oral presentations. We can provide a range of facilities for Welsh speaking trainees to develop their clinical practice skills in the Welsh language, including on placements and, where practical, supervision.
We are keen to support candidates who are Welsh speaking by offering them six to eight mentoring sessions with either a trainee or qualified clinical psychologist. These sessions aim to offer the person the option to find out about the work of a clinical psychologist, discuss their values and ideas about (clinical) psychology, and explore routes into training. Please contact Carolien Lamers (Recruitment and Selection Director) firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the mentorship scheme.
The programme is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes candidates from all backgrounds and ages. The programme also operates the Disability Confident Scheme.
Please contact Carolien Lamers (Selection and Recruitment Director) email@example.com for further information and to discuss support that can be made available to candidates during the selection process and any reasonable adjustments that might be required during training. You can indicate on the application form (Disability Confident Scheme) that you want your application to be considered under the scheme. The minimum criteria identified under entry requirement with a * will be applied to your application.
You can also contact our Disabled Students Office for further information and support that can be made available to candidates.
Trainee Engagement and Support
- The small size of trainee cohorts enables the programme to have a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
- Upon arrival, you will be allocated a ‘buddy’ from one of the other cohorts, who can help to familiarize yourself with North Wales and the programme and answer any questions you may have.
- To address individual training needs, the programme has a system of allocating a Training Co-ordinator to each trainee. The Training Co-ordinator is a clinical psychology member of the programme team, who oversees and monitors trainees’ development over the three years of the programme. The Training Co-ordinator can advise you on draft assignments and will be your first port of call for any queries.
- You are funded to receive 16 personal and professional development sessions from recognised counsellors, therapists or clinical psychologists, who are independent of the programme. These sessions are voluntary and confidential to the trainee and counsellor, and the programme has no knowledge which trainees take up the sessions.
- Trainees can select a Professional Mentor (a local NHS clinical psychologist) to discuss matters to do with training.
- An annual study leave budget is also available for external conferences and workshops.
There are two trainee representatives per cohort on all the programme committees and the People Panel. Trainees are also asked to provide feedback on all teaching sessions and are required to complete a feedback form on all placements they undertake.
Lease cars are available to trainees on the programme and many trainees take advantage of this opportunity.
In addition to the programme library based within the Deiniol library, trainees have access to the wide range of facilities at the university library and the School of Psychology (e.g., psychology and computer laboratories). Trainees can also access the NHS libraries in the main district hospitals. There is a dedicated trainee resource room that contains university and NHS computers. We also have a test library with assessments, which trainees can borrow for their clinical work and to practice for their pass-outs as part of their placements.
All trainees are registered with Bangor University library, which is a participating member of a UK-wide scheme called SCONUL Research Extra. This allows you to join and borrow from the libraries of other universities that may be more conveniently located for you. You have an allocation of 20 inter library loan vouchers per annum, which enables you to obtain journals, books and theses.
Canolfan Brailsford is the university’s sports centre and provides sports and recreation facilities for Bangor University staff and students, and the general public. There are indoor facilities for a whole range of sports and fitness activities, including weight training, aerobics classes, in-door cricket, squash, trampolining and much more.
Extensive outdoor facilities are available at two sites, Canolfan Brailsford site and the Normal site. Both are within walking distance of our teaching rooms in Bangor.
Childcare arrangements are available at the university or dependent upon where you live via your local authority.
Tir Na n-Og is a non-profitmaking nursery funded by the university and is open to all sectors of the community with 50 childcare places available, 20 for infants from 3 months of age and 30 for pre-school toddlers. In addition, for 5 – 11-year olds the complex includes an after school centre and a holiday play scheme during school term breaks.
Trainees are full time employees of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and have annual leave and other benefits in line with usual NHS entitlements. On entry to the Programme, you are paid on the first spine point of Band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay scales (www.healthcareers.nhs.uk) and you will move to the second and third pay points annually, dependent upon successful progression through the Programme.
Trainee posts are funded by the Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), who will also pay the university fees. There are currently fourteen training places per annum.
Due to funding regulations and restrictions of Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), we cannot accept applications from candidates who do not have the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status) or Settled/Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.
You can also find information about fee status regulations on the UKCISA website.
Travel costs will be paid from an agreed clinical base. Payment for overnight accommodation, either during placement or academic teaching blocks, will be available where this would be more cost effective than daily travel.
If you want to apply to the Welsh clinical psychology programme, and are receiving or have completed a training programme funded by NHS training bodies in any of the devolved nations, at least a two year gap between finishing your NHS-funded training and starting NHS-funded clinical psychology training will be required. If you have commenced such a training programme before 16th October 2023, you are still eligible to apply for the 2024 intake. Please note: If you have commenced your CAAP’s training in South Wales, you will require a 2-year gap between finishing your Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) funded training and starting clinical psychology as set out in your contracts.
The Job Description and Person Specification of a trainee Clinical Psychologist position for the North Wales Clinical Psychology Programme is available here.
All of the criteria below are used in the shortlisting process. Required information is obtained from the Clearing House application form and your academic transcript. Criteria identified with an * refer to the minimum criteria that all candidates need to meet. These criteria are assessed by NHS Clinical Psychologists and programme staff. Please note: Due to the funding arrangements of Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) for places on the Programme, we cannot consider applications who do not qualify for home fee status.
Only the information mentioned below is downloaded from your application during the shortlisting process, we do not know your name, age, address etc. We only download the entire application form once we have decided who to invite for interview, when we review the application in its entirety using safe recruitment principles.
- Before applying you should have already obtained a single or joint honours first or upper second-class psychology degree (or a conversion degree)* and you should be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership* (GBC). We apply similar criteria to a psychology conversion degree, as an undergraduate psychology degree (www.bps.org.uk/membership/eligibility) with the British Psychological Society.
- We require a transcript of your undergraduate degree or other qualifications, which have given you eligibility for GBC.
- We review the marks of your final year modules on your transcript and calculate an average, without applying any weighting. Your average score needs to be 60% or above. For courses using different marking systems, we apply the guidance provided to us by the Clearing House on how to interpret other degree classifications. For a conversion course, all your modules will be used to calculate this average.
- Applicants with 2.2 psychology undergraduate degree will only be considered if they have completed a PhD. We do not award points to non-psychology degrees.
- You need to have completed the degree that gives you eligibility for GBC at the time you are applying, so that would either be your undergraduate or conversion degree.
- It is expected that you will have at least one year’s relevant paid clinical/ research experience*. Clinically relevant experience should give you the opportunity for substantial interaction with people with significant health or psychological difficulties, ideally under the supervision of a clinical psychologist. Experience obtained in other paid employment working with a clinical population will also be relevant (e.g., mental health worker, care assistant, advocate). Research experience should involve the investigation of psychological phenomena within a clinical population. We credit a maximum of two years full time equivalent paid relevant experience.
- Clinical experience obtained and required as part of another training/education, rather than paid employment, is not considered as relevant clinical experience.
- While voluntary work is not considered relevant paid clinical experience, points are awarded for this.
- In addition to the above you are expected to submit a good quality application form*, which will be assessed by two clinical psychologists. They will be looking for grammar and spelling, as well as your psychological mindedness and your value base. In order to demonstrate this, you have to ensure that you fully answer the open-ended questions.
- Your application must include two satisfactory statements of suitability. Candidates are expected to have good and supportive academic and clinical statements of suitability*. One statement of suitability needs to be from a person who can comment on your academic and research abilities. This is usually a university lecturer or tutor. The other statement of suitability relates to your clinical skills and is preferably provided by the employer or supervisor from your most recent post, unless you have only been working with the referee for a relatively short period. In that case you could consider asking the person you worked with before and who has known you for a longer period. Two clinical psychologists assess the statement. If they consider the statement not to be supportive, your application will not proceed. We strongly advise that you talk to the people who provide your statement of suitability to ensure that they can whole heartedly support your application.
- We also acknowledge your motivation and commitment by awarding points for any presentations at conferences, publications in journals or newsletters and voluntary work that you have undertaken. There are no minimum criteria attached to this section.
- We are committed to increasing the diversity of the profession and we are using contextual information in our selection process. Please see the Contextual Selection section for further details.
We strongly encourage Welsh speakers to apply for this programme and we award additional points in the shortlisting phase, for your ability to speak Welsh: either fluently or as a learner. The legal status of the Welsh language in all areas of life in Wales (including health), and the very significant proportion of the population in North and West Wales who speak Welsh as their first language, means that the programme welcomes the opportunity to train people to fulfil a very real need for delivering the best quality psychological care in the Welsh language. This commitment was recognised during the Bangor University re-validation visit in 2019. Please indicate on the application form your level of Welsh proficiency.
We can provide a range of facilities to support Welsh speaking trainees to develop their clinical practice skills in the Welsh language, including placements and, where practicable supervision, as well as presenting written and other work in Welsh. We can also support trainees who wish to learn Welsh, wish to refresh their skills, or simply develop more confidence in using their Welsh language skills in practice.
As the number of bilingual Welsh-English speaking applicants remains low (1% of all applicants in the UK, as per Clearing House equal opportunity data), the majority of trainees in each cohort are English speaking. We offer mentorship sessions to candidates who are Welsh speaking. For more information, please see the Diversity and Social Inclusion section of our website, or alternatively contact Carolien Lamers (Selection and Recruitment Director) firstname.lastname@example.org).
Training in a bilingual cohort and community, often rural, provides excellent opportunities for you to enhance your cultural appreciation and skills within clinical practice.
If English is not your first language, you will be required to provide evidence that you possess an adequate level of English competence. You need to have obtained level 8 on the IELTS scheme*, with no elements below 7.5. This does not apply to Welsh/English bilingual candidates. Having completed an academic psychology programme in the UK through the medium of English, will be considered evidence of your English language competence.
The Programme is an Equal Opportunities Employer and welcomes candidates from all backgrounds and ages. The Programme operates the Disability Confident Scheme.
Universities will not usually allow you to enrol on a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology if you are currently enrolled on any other degree, e.g., a PhD or master's programme. If you have any outstanding requirements from another programme, you may be required to withdraw from that programme to take up a place or to continue your studies on a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Being in the final stages of any such programme, i.e., submission of thesis has occurred or is imminent at the time of applying, your application might be considered.
In line with training programmes in England, the Welsh clinical psychology programmes will not be able to consider applications from candidates who have received and/ or completed a training programme funded by NHS training bodies in any of the devolved nations within the last two years. We look forward to welcoming your application two years post completion of the original programme in line with guidance published by NHS England.
Our programme has introduced contextual recruitment processes since the 2022 intake. This is based on evidence that contextualising individuals’ achievements using additional information about their educational, social, and economic background can lead to fairer and more inclusive selection processes. This information can help us to recognize individuals with strong potential for success at doctoral level and within the profession, who otherwise might not have been identified.
The Clearing House will invite you to complete a survey to collect Contextual Selection data separately from the application form. The Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology have agreed the questions in this survey, which have evidence for improving the inclusivity and equity of recruitment processes.
Completion of this survey is optional, however if you can answer any of the questions which provide some additional background about you, and you are happy to provide this to us via the Clearing House, then we would encourage you to do so.
We include your contextual information in the final step of our shortlisting process, after having applied the minimum entry requirements described earlier.
Those candidates who meet all our minimum requirements, and who are not invited for interview based on their ranking or for having their application reviewed under the Disability Confident scheme, will then be reviewed considering the contextual information provided.
Those with the highest number of ‘flags’ are then invited for interview.
The number of places available for candidates invited for interview with contextual selection will vary annually. We have a finite number of interview places available, which are filled by those invited based on their ranking and Disability Confident scheme. The remaining places will then be allocated to candidates with the highest number of flags.
During the selection process, we will contact you by e-mail only, so please check your e-mails, as well as e-mails that may have gone into your spam folder and update us with any changes in your contact details.
Local NHS Clinical Psychologists, People Panel members and programme staff are involved in all aspects of the selection process, applying the criteria as set out under Entry Requirements. If you have not been shortlisted for interview, we recommend you check your details against our selection criteria.
The interviews for 2024 are scheduled to take place 18–22 March and will be held online. You will also be invited to complete a written task the week before. If you are invited to attend for interview, you will also be invited to join us for an evening event (usually the night before your interview), where you have the chance to speak to current trainees and hear a bit more about the training programme. The interview panel members will not attend this event.
If you are invited for interview, we will ask you to provide evidence of your identity or status, for example, providing your passport, photocard driving licence, etc.
Usually, we interview three times the number of funded training places. The interview panels usually comprise of local Clinical Psychologists, People Panel members and programme team members, and involves the assessment of clinical, academic, research and reflective skills as well as suitability for clinical training. Throughout the interview process you will be supported by programme staff, who do their utmost to put you at your ease.
All candidates will be contacted by phone as soon as the interview panels have made their decision. You will also be offered a time to call for further feedback.
We send new trainees an information pack regarding the programme and the local area before you commence training. At this stage you will also need to verify your qualification by providing your original certificate and other relevant documents.
Fitness to Practise is a requirement of all professions registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). During training (pre-registration), monitoring of Fitness to Practise is the responsibility of Programmes. Candidates should refer to the HCPC standards for a definition.
Concerns about Fitness to Practise could be raised during the selection process. This will include the manner and tone of written and verbal communications with the programme at any stage of the selection process, as well as your behaviour during the interview process.
During the selection process, issues that could significantly impair your capacity to practice will be noted in an open and reflective way. These could be for example, whether you are open to feedback about any relevant concerns, shows appropriate self-awareness in relation to difficulties that impact on your capacity to work, and are willing to work collaboratively with relevant staff to address (and hopefully to overcome) these.
Once you have been offered a place, your Fitness to Practice will be assessed through screening procedures. The offer of a training place is subject to satisfactory checks with local Occupational Health Services and with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). If the DBS check confirms the presence of convictions, the Head of the Clinical Psychology Service and the Programme Director will assess if the candidate can be accepted onto the programme.
In the case concerns are raised in the occupational health check, the offer might be withdrawn if no reasonable adjustments can be made to enable the candidate to undertake the training.
The programme is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes candidates from all backgrounds and ages. The programme operates the Disability Confident Scheme.
Please contact Carolien Lamers (Recruitment and Selection Director) email@example.com for further information and to discuss support that can be made available to you during the selection process and any reasonable adjustments that you might require during training. You can indicate on the application form (Disability Confident Scheme) that you want your application to be considered under the scheme. The minimum criteria identified under entry requirement with a * will be applied to your application.
You can also contact our Disabled Students Office for further information and support that can be made available to candidates.
Being able to speak Welsh is a desirable characteristic in the person specification of a NWCPP trainee clinical psychologist, as a significant proportion of clients has Welsh as their first language. Being a Welsh speaker is therefore considered a desirable skill and hence when two candidates have similar scores (similar to two decimal points) during the shortlisting or interview stage, and one candidate is a Welsh speaker, the Welsh speaker will be offered of an interview or training place.
We use positive action as permitted under the Equality Act 2010. We acknowledge that applicants from racialised minorities and men are underrepresented in the clinical psychology profession. Both are protected characteristics under the Equality Act.
In summary: If candidates have a similar score at the shortlisting or interview stage, then the interview or training place will be offered, in order of priority, to a candidate who is a Welsh speaker, a candidate from a racialised background, and a candidate who identifies as male.
Frequently Asked Questions
Over the years we have been asked many questions about the programme, the selection process and other issues. We have collated them and have tried to give you the answers in these FAQs.
1. How hard is it to get a place at Bangor?
It is fair to say that there is competition similar to other posts. We usually have fourteen training places. We aim to interview three times the number of candidates for the number of places we have.
2. My A level grades were not good. Do I have a realistic chance of getting on to the Clinical training programme at Bangor?
We do not consider your A levels. We are interested in your performance at undergraduate degree level and possibly beyond. We would expect applicants to have achieved at least a 2:1 at degree level. Unfortunately, we ado not considering applications with a 2.2. or lower, even if you have obtained a further master's degree. Only a PhD could compensate for a low undergraduate degree.
3. I am currently in the middle of my undergraduate studies and I am unsure as to whether it is essential for my degree to be a 2:1. Although I have reached a 2:1 standard for most assessments, a 2:2 has been the outcome in some areas. If ultimately this brings my degree down to a 2:2, are my chances limited?
Undertaking a doctorate in Clinical Psychology is academically demanding and we require you to have demonstrated that you can cope with these demands. Evidence of success at undergraduate studies is seen as favourable. I would urge you to focus on getting a 2:1 degree if this is at all possible. Please see also the answer to question 2.
If your undergraduate degree is not of a 2.1 standard, I suggest you have a look on the Clearing House website for other programmes’ selection criteria. There are programmes that do consider a 2.2 with a Masters. On other programmes you can sit an entry exam, regardless of your undergraduate degree classification.
4. I am a final year undergraduate and am keen to get into clinical psychology. What is the best way to go about getting a place?
You need to concentrate on obtaining the highest academic grade possible. This is your priority if you want to maximise your chances. Ensure that an academic tutor, who will be able to provide a very supportive academic reference, notices your work.
We also expect candidates to have paid experience of working with a clinical population like the people a clinical psychologist would see. Usually this means getting experience before and/or after completing a degree in psychology. Consider posts such as care assistant, mental health advocate, classroom assistant, mental health worker. We are aware that posts in the health service can be difficult to obtain. To obtain these sorts of posts, you are likely to need to have relevant other experience. Sometimes working in a voluntary capacity can be a stepping-stone in to paid employment.
We require a minimum of one year of paid work, and most candidates will have significantly more than this. We award points for up to two years of paid clinical work.
There are different paths to getting onto a clinical training programme. Some candidates have mainly a clinical background, while others have conducted research with a clinical population.
5. I am a final year psychology student and I am interested in pursuing a career in clinical psychology. I have been advised to do a clinically relevant PhD before applying, as the competition is so strong. I was wondering whether you agree that this is a good route to follow, rather than getting experience as an assistant psychologist.
A clinically related PhD is an acceptable route to getting useful experience, which will then support your application for clinical training. We are looking for a blend of academic competence, research competence, clinical experience, and personal qualities. A successful PhD would mean that you could demonstrate the first two but not necessarily the latter one.
Please note that a PhD is not a requirement for clinical training.
6. I have just completed a degree, which may not be recognised by the BPS. Can I still pursue an interest in Clinical Psychology?
One of the minimum entry requirements is having a degree which is recognised by the BPS as fulfilling the Graduate Basis for Membership (ww.bps.org.uk/membership/). If you are in any doubt about the status of your degree programme, you should consult a member of staff in your undergraduate department or consult the BPS website for details: www.bps.org.uk/careers.
7. I have a non-psychology degree. I am interested in clinical research and wonder what opportunities there might be to get involved in this?
The DClinPsy programme is a professional training programme to train clinical psychologists. If your interest is purely in research, you could consult Bangor Psychology for details of research opportunities within the psychology department. It may also be worth investigating the possibility of undertaking a conversion programme in psychology, which might fulfil the Graduate Basis for Membership with the British Psychological Society (see question 6). Once you have completed a conversion programme, you would then have the option to apply for clinical training.
8. What kind of experience does a typical applicant have?
Successful applicants usually have more than 12 months paid employment in an area that gives them the opportunity to work with a clinical population similar to that of a clinical psychologist. See also questions 5.
9. I have got a couple of years' experience working full time in mental health but not directly with clinical psychologists. Will my application be taken seriously?
The experience you describe sounds relevant. The strength of your previous experience does not necessarily depend upon working directly with a clinical psychologist. However, we would like you to have worked within a psychological framework and one way of achieving this is by working under the supervision of a clinical psychologist. We suggest that you keep thinking about the psychological aspects in any work you do, even if its focus is not psychological work.
10. Some universities require work experience in the mental health field or to have experience in clinical research. Which one is regarded more favourably? I am finding it extremely tough to get relevant work experience. What kind of work experience is needed to stand a good chance of getting onto the programme?
We expect candidates to demonstrate some understanding of the role of psychology in the work they are undertaking. Usually this means getting experience after completing a degree in psychology. We require a minimum of one year of paid work – but most candidates will have much more than this. In addition to purely clinical experience, research or experience of clinical service evaluation are also valuable.
11. I am a voluntary worker, which involves helping those with mental illness, but I have just been offered a job as an assistant psychologist. I was wondering which position you would look most favourably on when looking at applicants?
Your voluntary work is relevant and will be an asset in your application for further paid posts. We expect candidates to have experience of paid employment in a helping profession, and there will be advantages in a post where supervision of a clinical psychologist is available. NHS work is particularly valuable because it would enable you to gain an understanding of the context in which you will be employed during training.
12. What do you look for in applicants with regards to postgraduate experience? Would it be preferable for me to do an MSc combined with voluntary work or would it be better to spend some time working as a psychology assistant or research assistant?
In general, neither clinical experience nor clinical research is given more weight. Alongside a strong academic background, you will need to have clinical experience. Getting a good first degree, 1st class or a 2.1 is an important first step. Having some further academic or research experience in a clinically related area after your degree is certainly relevant. Non-clinical research would probably be less suitable given that you will have already demonstrated your academic abilities in your undergraduate degree. Direct experience of working with a clinical population could also be obtained via research. If you find it difficult to get an assistant psychology post in a clinical setting, then you might want to consider getting experience of working with people in another clinical context with relevance to clinical psychology (see question 4).
13. By the time the interviews are held I will have acquired 6 months' work experience but currently have only a few weeks of experience in a caring role. Do you see any merit in me applying now? Would you instantly dismiss my application?
We consider your experience up to the time of short listing (which tends to be in the middle of February), unless your contract ends before then. We do look for a minimum of a year experience of being in a paid role working with a clinical population, but other experiences, such as working in a research role also contributes – for example, did you get involved in data gathering with either individuals or groups of people?
14. I do not have any paid employment as an assistant psychologist but, having cared for someone in the family with depression, I feel I have gained a wealth of experience – does this count?
The programme looks positively on applicants who have personal experiences. While such experiences are not necessarily equivalent to professional employment, they make a good contribution and can be reflected in the personal statement of the application form. However, you will need the additional relevant paid experience as discussed in previous questions to support your application.
15. It is really difficult to get assistant psychology jobs. How else can I obtain the experience you require?
We are aware that assistant posts are difficult to secure. However, assistant psychologist posts are not the only way you can obtain experience. We are looking for paid experience of working with a clinical population, similar to that of a clinical psychologist. This can be achieved for example by working as a care assistant in a care home for older people, working with people with an intellectual or physical disability, a mental health advocate or a classroom assistant. IAPT post can be useful, as well as other mental health posts. The challenge in a post where the supervision is not from a clinical psychologist, is to maintain a focus on the psychological aspects of your work.
16. I have previously worked in business in an area that seems relevant to clinical psychology. Will this be considered as relevant?
We can consider business and community-based work or experience in a caring profession as being relevant if this involves working with people who also could come under the remit of the work of a clinical psychologist. You will need to explain the nature of your work clearly in your application.
17. I am a trained Clinical Psychologist in Italy – do I have to do the DClinPsy programme before I can work in the UK?
For people who have trained in clinical psychology elsewhere (particularly in other EU Countries) – provision is made by Health and Care Professions Council, so I suggest you contact them.
18. I am not an EU citizen. Can I apply to the programme?
If someone is offered a place on the North Wales Clinical Psychology Programme, the Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) funds all tuition fees and pays the salary of the trainee who has employment status within the UK. HEIW will not meet the cost of fees for applicants who qualify for overseas fee status. There are other programmes in the UK that do consider applicants who have other ways of funding their training, I suggest you have a look on the Clearing House website.
19. I am an EU citizen. Can I apply to the programme?
Due to funding regulations and restrictions of Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), we cannot accept applications that do not qualify for home-fee status. Candidates from the EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals, who have pre- settled or settled status in the UK will be considered as home fee status. When asked, please provide all the necessary information so your status can be confirmed.
20. I am concerned about whether there is an upper age limit for training. Will my age be a problem in getting a place on the programme and securing employment afterwards?
Under the Equality Act, we are not permitted to use age as part of our selection process. We have a diverse age profile amongst our successful applicants. At the shortlisting stage, we are blinded to applicants’ personal information, including their age.
21. What is the experience of Black/Asian/ethnic minority candidates in applying for a place on the programme?
We are very positive about having people from diverse cultures and backgrounds train as clinical psychologists because that reflects the multi-cultural mix within the UK population. We are aware of the underrepresentation of Black, Asian and ethnic minorities in the profession. Trainees from these backgrounds have successfully completed their training with us. To support candidates from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority groups in the application process, we are working together with the South Wales Clinical Psychology Programme in offering candidates six to eight mentoring sessions with either a trainee or qualified clinical psychologist. These aim to offer the person the option to find out about the work of a clinical psychologist, discuss their values and ideas about (clinical) psychology, and explore routes into training. Where desired, the candidates can also explore their position and experiences as a candidate from a Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority background. The programme has an anti-racism, anti-discrimination, and promotion of cultural humility committee, which is reviewing all aspects of training.
22. I have a disability that might make it difficult for me to participate in the interviews. Could you give me some advice?
We encourage applicants with disabilities to contact us at the earliest opportunity once they have been offered an interview. In consultation with you, we will endeavor to make any reasonable adjustments for you during the interview process. Please contact Carolien Lamers (Recruitment and Selection Director) firstname.lastname@example.org
23. I have a chronic health condition. Would this prevent me from applying?
We expect all successful applicants to undergo a BCUHB Occupational Health screen. If you are judged fit to work as a trainee clinical psychologist, you would not be prevented from continuing with the programme. We will endeavor to make reasonable adjustment to facilitate your training. This could mean that the start of your training might be delayed, to allow us to put the required adjustments in place.
24. My main concern is about how accessible the programme is for a disabled person? I would appreciate any thoughts or comments you have on this matter.
We aim to actively support trainees who have a disability. However, given that each person is likely to have individual needs, this is one situation when we would suggest that you contact Carolien Lamers (Recruitment and Selection Director) email@example.com
25. Is the programme accessible to wheelchair users?
Our university site is wheelchair accessible, as are all the teaching rooms and resource room, as well as the programme staffs’ offices. We are regularly conducting surveys of placements to assess which placements can provide access for trainees who are wheelchair users. If you contact us directly Carolien Lamers (Recruitment and Selection Director) firstname.lastname@example.org we should be able to give you information regarding this.
26. How can I improve my application form and make it stand out?
We assess your application form on a range of aspects, including spelling and grammatical errors. Correctly completed forms, where the questions are answered as requested will give a good impression. There is not much space on the application form to express yourself. Draw out the relevance of your experience to clinical psychology. Do not cram in additional information by using small fonts etc. Always check with your referees that they are happy to write a supportive statement of suitability.
27. I have not been offered an interview this year, can I have feedback on my application form?
We offer telephone feedback to candidates who were not successful in getting an interview. We will offer you a date to contact Carolien Lamers (Recruitment and Selection Director) email@example.com
Please also check the list of minimum entry criteria and ensure that you can meet all these requirements. Also look at the areas where we offer additional points, but that are not part of our minimum criteria, e.g., volunteering. Do talk to the people you have asked to give you a reference, to ensure that their statement of suitability is fully supportive.
Your application might well meet all our minimum criteria, but there might be other applicants who have been ranked higher than you. Please don’t give up, and try again, many of our trainees have applied several times.
28. What are you looking for during the interviews?
We are looking for the qualities that make a competent clinical psychologist such as communication skills, psychological and analytical thinking. At the interviews, we want to get a sense of what you are like as a person and whether you have the academic skills to cope with the programme. Our service user and carer representatives are keen to see if they can work with you.
29. Would it be possible to call in to have a chat with someone regarding my suitability at some point?
You should find that most of the answers to your questions are addressed in this and other programme documentation such as the Clearing House entry and the Alternative Handbook. If you have a specific question that we have not addressed, then you can email Carolien Lamers (Recruitment and Selection Director) firstname.lastname@example.org
30. What is the Alternative Handbook?
The DCP Affiliates Committee compile and publish the handbook each year, by sending questionnaires to trainees on all programmes. You can read the perspective and experiences of our current trainees. Please check out www.bps.org.uk.
31. Who employs me?
All trainees are employed on a three-year fixed term contract by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB). BCUHB provides acute, community, mental health and learning disabilities health services to North Wales, delivered through a network of hospitals, health centres and clinics.
32. Can I do the programme part-time?
We do not offer a part-time programme. However, please contact Carolien Lamers (Recruitment and Selection Director) email@example.com as we can assist you if you have particular requirements for accessing the programme.
33. Do I have to work in North Wales after I finish the programme?
The aim of the programme is to provide clinical psychologists for NHS Wales. There is a strong expectation that those who train in North Wales will take up local available NHS posts once qualified. On occasion, circumstances preclude this. However, we hope all trainees will work within the NHS as qualified Clinical Psychologists.
34. How much do trainees get paid?
Trainees are paid according to the current NHS Agenda for Change. Trainees are located in Band 6.
35. How much annual leave will I get?
You will get 27 days leave a year, 29 after 5 years NHS service and 33 days after 10 years' service (plus bank holidays).
36. Are there any exams?
No, we use a variety of programme work to assess your competence.
37. Will I be disadvantaged if I cannot speak Welsh?
As a substantial proportion of the clients are Welsh speakers, we strongly encourage Welsh-speaking applicants to apply. On average we have one or two Welsh-speaking trainees per cohort per year, which means that most successful candidates are non-Welsh speaking. We offer support for you to learn Welsh and attend summer school. The total number of Welsh-speaking applicants across all programmes remains low at about 1% of all applicants UK-wide.
38. What is the start and finishing time of the working day so I can sort out childcare arrangements before I get started?
The teaching normally starts at 9.30 and finishes at 5.00 pm. The teaching takes place in the Psychology Department at Bangor University. Individual working arrangements are made with trainees when they start their placements in collaboration with their clinical supervisor. As you are a BCUHB employee, you are required to work 37.5 hours per week.
39. Will I be given the opportunity to develop in a flexible way i.e., are there opportunities for me to develop my knowledge of areas which interest me in teaching and placements?
We endeavour to train you in a wide range of theories, approaches, interventions, research, and professional issues. In terms of therapeutic approaches, we focus on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Third Wave therapies: Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassion Focused and Schema Therapy. Within the placements, some consideration will be given to your specific developmental needs and wishes. This can particularly occur in the third year when you can choose your elective placement. It is expected that you will complete all of your clinical placements within the North Wales area. Within most of the academic assignments the tasks allow you to focus on a clinical area or topic that is relevant at your time of training and interest.
40. Would I need to be able to drive?
Although the teaching takes place in Bangor, clinical placements can be in a wide range of places across North Wales. Public transport is not always practical when having to do home visits etc. Therefore, we require our trainees to hold a full driving licence and own a car or take advantage of the NHS Lease Car Scheme. Reasonable adjustments are made for candidates who are unable to drive because of a disability.
41. Will I get a PhD at the end of the training?
The training to become a clinical psychologist will give you a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. This is different from a PhD, which is a research degree that is obtained by completing a piece of defined research, usually over a 3-year period. The clinical training will contain several pieces of academic work, including three research projects. The first piece of work involves carrying out analysis on a large data set. One project is working together with a BCUHB service to answer an audit question that is related to (and often generated by) the service. The largest project is clinically relevant research designed and carried out by you. You spend some 24 months completing this work on which you are examined vice voce.
42. I will not be completing my PhD until after the interviews and have my Viva after the Programme will have started in October. Will you consider my application?
We will consider your application using our selection criteria, but we will not be able to award you points for the PhD as this is not completed when we undertake our shortlisting.
43. When does the programme start?
The programme will start on the Monday that is closest to the 1st October.
44. You require a reference from my current employer. I have only worked with them for a few months and feel that my previous employer would be able to give a better reference, as they know me better. What would you like me to do?
We would like you to provide a statement of suitability from your current employer. Always ask if your employer feels that they can give you a supportive statement of suitability. Most employers have plenty of experience and are well-placed to provide a statement of suitability. Only under exceptional circumstances, ask a previous employer and please do not forget to explain why your current employer could not provide the statement of suitability on your application form.
45. How does the Programme contact me about whether I have been successful in obtaining an interview?
We use the e-mail address that you have provided on your Clearing House application form. Please check that our e-mails have not ended up in your spam folder. Also, please keep us informed about any changes in your contact details.
Applications for DClinPsy must be made through the Clearing House for Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Psychology.
The Clearing House for postgraduate courses in clinical psychology process all applications to the programme. Please do not apply directly to the university.
Please note: This course is unable to accept applications from overseas students due to the fact that it is funded by the NHS.
The DCP Pre-Qualification Group represents the interests of assistant psychologists and trainee clinical psychologists. Each year, trainees are asked for their views on various aspects of their course, and the results are compiled to form the alternative handbook. The handbook gives a true flavour of each programmes and offers a consumer's view of each programme, updated each year, that can help guide applicants' decisions on where to apply, and which offer to accept. Handbooks can be obtained from:
DCP Affiliates Alternative Handbook Request
48 Princess Road East