Clinical Psychology

Study options


Professional Doctorate

Key facts

Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
3 Years
Start date:

BPS commended

The British Psychological Society has praised our staff and students

Career focused

The course focuses on preparing you for a career in the NHS

Partnership working

Run in partnership with the NHS and practising clinical psychologists

Our professional doctorate represents a unique blend of academic study, clinical experience and research which will enable you to qualify as a registered Clinical Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

An important strand running through the course is the impact of society upon psychological wellbeing. We encourage you to be alert to and involved in the wider context of changing health, social and economic needs of the population.

The teaching elements of the course are closely linked to the work you’ll be doing in your clinical placements and your research activities. The links between theory, practice and personal development are developed through a strong emphasis on reflective practice.

The course has been commended by the British Psychological Society (BPS) for the high regard in which the course team and its students are held by NHS stakeholders and service users who play an active role in its development and implementation.

Upon successful completion of the course, you’ll be eligible to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council and membership of the Division of Clinical Psychology in the BPS.

The course is a partnership between Staffordshire University, the NHS and practising clinical psychologists in Shropshire and Staffordshire. As a trainee clinical psychologist, under current funding arrangements, you’ll be employed full-time by one of two local NHS Trusts.

Applications can only be accepted via the Clearing House for Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Psychology

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: Professional Doctorate Clinical Psychology

Course content

Your time on the course will be divided between academic work, clinical experience and research.


Following mandatory induction blocks each year, you’ll attend workshops, lectures and seminars and undertake online learning for up to two days per week throughout the course. The mandatory induction blocks will be for 2-5 days each week depending on the stage you’re at.

You’ll cover a broad range of topics in clinical psychology, giving you the knowledge required for your clinical placements and research.

In Years 1 and 2, teaching is closely linked with the competencies that are assessed on placements, while Year 3 teaching focuses more on specialist skills.

Clinical experience

Throughout the course, you’ll undertake clinical placements in a variety of settings – you could be placed in hospitals, clinics, community centres or voluntary agencies. Placements can be located anywhere across the large geographical area of Staffordshire and Shropshire. You’re likely to be travelling some distance at times during training.

During each year-long placement module, you’ll typically work with two (and up to three) main supervisors on clinical placements, which can last from 5-12 months (typically six months). In your third year you may have a degree of choice over some of your placements, depending on circumstances and progress.


Your research activities will include:

  • critical appraisal of literature
  • a research proposal
  • an examination of research methods and processes
  • a service evaluation project
  • a research thesis portfolio

You’ll have scope for choosing your research topics, provided they’re in line with staff interests, national and/or local research priorities and suitable supervision is available from University academics and local clinicians.

You’ll start your thesis early in Year 1 and complete it by the end of Year 3. The thesis portfolio is written up as two papers, written in a format suitable for submission to identified peer-reviewed journals, and an executive summary. The first paper, a literature review, is submitted at the end of Year 2.

You’ll have access to a wide range of University and NHS library and online resources, and you’ll be given training in qualitative and quantitative research methods and the process of conducting clinically relevant research.

Professional body accreditation

Accreditation by the British Psychological Society. Graduates from the programme are deemed to have met the requirements for Chartered Membership of the Society (CPsychol) and full membership of the Division of Clinical Psychology.

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of eligibility to apply to register with the HCPC as a practitioner psychologist (clinical psychologist)

British Psychological Society Health and Care Professions Council
The role of service users and carers on the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

The role of service users and carers on the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology


“We’re in it together” - Experiences of people who have used services, caring for those who use services, trainees and staff on the course.


The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module.

Year 3 compulsory modules
Year 3 compulsory modules
Placement 3 90 credits
Professional Research 3 60 credits

Entry requirements

You’ll need:

  • A good honours degree (2:1 or 1st) in Psychology. Where your first degree is not in Psychology, you must have a minimum 2:1 in your original degree, supported by a recognised conversion course to Psychology.
  • To demonstrate eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society.
  • To have a minimum of one year full-time (or part-time equivalent) practical experience of working with people in a human service setting, including relevant experience outside traditional health/caring settings.

If your first language is not English and your university courses were not taught and examined in English, you’ll need an IELTS score of 7.5 with no element below 6.5.

Enhanced criminal record checks are made through the Disclosure and Barring Service (for England and Wales) or Disclosure Scotland. Occupational health screening is carried out by the employing NHS Trust before commencing employment.

Applications can only be accepted via the Clearing House for Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Psychology

Charlotte Cucciniello - Professional Doctorate - Clinical Psychology

Charlotte Cucciniello - Professional Doctorate - Clinical Psychology


Charlotte describes her journey to the Professional Doctorate and explains why her passion lies in Clinical Psychology.


The course focuses on preparing you for a career in the NHS. Your Clinical Tutors will take account of your career plans when organising your specialist placements, in your third year.

Workshops in Year 3 include a session on job seeking, which also focuses on Continuing Professional Development and Lifelong Learning.

NHS Jobs are advertised via the NHS jobs website. The BPS also lists job opportunities and vacancies received by the programme office are circulated by email.

All students have access to Career Connect, our dedicated careers team.

Sam RIchmond - Professional Doctorate - Clinical Psychology

Sam RIchmond - Professional Doctorate - Clinical Psychology


Sam discusses what led him to choose the Professional Doctorate - Clinical Psychology at Staffordshire University.

Teaching and assessment


We know that everyone learns differently. So not only do we use traditional ways of teaching like lectures and skills development, we also use problem-based learning to help you apply your skills.

For this course, you will:

  • Work with others on group work
  • Delve deeper into subject areas in workshops
  • Be expected to study independently

Our teaching is supported through our Virtual Learning Environment called Blackboard. This means you can access a range of materials to support your lectures wherever you are.

We will also talk with you before agreeing a supervisor to support you throughout your research project.


You’ll be assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and exams which will evaluate your academic, clinical, and research work. This will include direct observation of practice within both teaching and placement.

Learning support

Your course tutors will provide lots of support. But you can also take advantage of our Academic Skills team, who can help you with:

  • Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English (including punctuation, grammar)
  • Academic writing (including how to reference)
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Revision, assessment and exam skills (including time management)

Additional support

If you have additional needs like dyslexia or a sensory impairment, then our Student Inclusion Services are here to help make sure nothing stands in your way.


We know that it’s important for you to be able to gauge your progress. So, your tutor will give you feedback on any practice assessments you do.

We usually give you feedback on formal assessments within 20 working days, but the format will vary for each module.

Psychology Facility Tour

Psychology Facility Tour


Join Senior Lecturer Nikki for a tour around our state-of-the-art psychology facilities.

Your study time will include scheduled classes, independent learning and assessments. It will vary depending on your module choices.

Independent learning

As well as timetabled sessions, we know it’s important for you to discover things on your own terms. This could involve:

  • Reading journals, articles and books
  • Working on projects, alone or in a group
  • Researching in the library
  • Preparing coursework
  • Getting ready for exams

The University has invested in state-of-the-art facilities to help you make the most of your private study time. Whether you need a library, a computer, or a lab, you will find it at Staffordshire University.


Teaching staff on this course are either HCPC-registered clinical psychologists or experienced researchers within healthcare settings. 

Dr Jo Heyes

Clinical Director

Jo's areas of interest for research are early attachment relationships, parenting programmes and early childhood behaviour difficulties. She also has an interest in perinatal mental health and in the supervisory relationship.

Jo's profile


If you would like to know more about the fees listed and what this means to you then please get in touch with our Enquiries Team.

Alumni discount

If you've previously completed a Staffordshire University undergraduate degree (excluding HND and foundation degrees) you may be entitled to a discount of up to 25% off your course fees for any subsequent postgraduate taught course (terms apply, see the alumni discount page for details). If you have any questions about how this relates to you, please contact

Imogen Grumley Traynor - Professional Doctorate - Clinical Psychology

Imogen Grumley Traynor - Professional Doctorate - Clinical Psychology


Imogen describes how her career led to her to choose the Professional Doctorate - Clinical Psychology and tells us what she enjoys most about the course.

Accommodation and living costs
Accommodation and living costs

Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

For more information on accommodation and living costs, please see: Accommodation

Sources of financial support

Fees are currently paid by Health Education England.

Our students

It’s a really close-knit course which allows you to feel part of a supportive team.

I chose Staffs University because it was my local university. It’s engaged with its community and service user engagement is really at the heart of all that it does. It’s a really close-knit course which allows you to feel part of a supportive team, enabling you to ask questions, and feel vulnerable as part of your journey.  

Felicity Watkin

Clinical Psychology Professional Doctorate


Applications are not currently available for this course.

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations

Have you considered?

Applied Research MSc

Study options
Full-time, blended learning
Part-time, blended learning

Foundations of Clinical Psychology MSc

Study options

Health Psychology MSc

Study options

Health Psychology Professional Doctorate

Study options

Psychology MSc

Study options
Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

6th for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020