Updated: Nov 17, 2020
We hosted a webinar titled "All about DClinPsy Applications" on the 24th of October to give an overview and answer questions from aspiring international clinical psychologists about the DClinPsy courses and application processes. We were very pleased to have over 70 people joining us from around the world in our very first webinar since the launch of this site; we were also delighted by how engaging the discussion was.
**Reminder: The deadline to apply for the DclinPsy programme via Clearing House is on the 18th November 2020.
In this article, we have collated the frequently asked questions we received via the website, our email and the webinar. We hope that these answers provide you with some guidance on how you may structure your application or start thinking about the application process.
We have tried our best to respond to these questions, through research and using our experiences. However, it is important to keep in mind that we are not able to respond to specific questions about universities, their requirements and selection criteria, and have signposted you towards resources we have found helpful where possible.
If you haven't already done so, do check our other blog post DClinPsy Applications - Where to start?!
How to select appropriate referees?
You will need a relevant experience referee and an academic referee for your application. For the relevant experience referee, Clearing House suggests that it should be your current employer where possible but this is not mandatory. Your referees should be able to appropriately comment on your academic and clinical skills. For example, your previous supervisor whom you worked with for 1 year may know you better than your current supervisor who knows you for 3 months.
**TOP TIP- Make sure you get referees who can give you a good reference
David Murphy, the vice-president of BPS has recently uploaded videos on youtube, talking about writing effective references (both academic and clinical/relevant experience) for anyone who's writing a reference for an applicant to the UK DclinPsy programme. Have a look at the two videos, it might give you some ideas on selecting your referees.
(image is taken from David's Twitter account)
How important are A levels scores in the application?
It would be tricky for us to provide an answer to this question as each university/ programme has slightly different requirements and scoring criteria in their selection processes. Many international students come from very different academic backgrounds, so if you do have questions on the importance of pre-university qualifications, it would be best to contact the university that you are planning to apply to and ask them.
It is also important to note that not all international applicants have done A-levels, so you will need to put in your equivalent scores. However, one of the most important things you will need is a British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited degree that gives you Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (if you have studied in the UK). Alternatively, your qualifications will need to be assessed and accredited by the BPS (if you have studied outside of the UK). You can find out more information about the Chartered Membership from the BPS webpage here or the Clearing House webpage here.
Are there any word count /character limits on the application forms?
Yes, there are character limits for answers on the Clearing House application form. Please refer to the instructions on the Clearing House application form for the character limits for each question. With regards to individual applications to universities that are not done via Clearing House, we advise you to clarify word counts/character limits with the course coordinator.
Do we need to prepare a research proposal as a part of our application?
We are not aware of any DClinPsy programmes in the UK that require a research proposal as a part of the application. If you are unsure about it and hope to find an answer, it will be good to check the university DclinPsy programme website or email their programme administrator for further information.
For Clearing House, is it one application for multiple courses? Like UCAS?
Yes. When you are applying through Clearing House, you can select to apply to as many universities as you wish, that accept applications from international students. Once you have submitted your application through the Clearing House, the universities that you have selected will receive your Clearing House application form for selection and screening purposes.
Some universities (i.e. Birmingham, KCL, UCL and Salomons) will require you to apply directly to their university and the deadline for you to apply might be different from what stated in the Clearing House. Do check the University DclinPsy website for more information.
(image is taken from the Clearing House website)
Could you all share about the process of you selecting which university you decided to apply to for DClinPsy and enrol in? Or any factors you considered when making that decision.
We are planning to host another webinar in the future on this topic as we are aware that there have been a lot of questions about this. The webinar on this topic will likely be arranged to take place in April/ May 2021, which is the time of the year when applicants will likely have to make decisions about where to undertake training. So stay tuned for more updates!
What kind of relevant experiences (within and outside of the UK) do we need before getting onto the course (e.g. assistant psychologist or support worker roles)?
Please find below a list of Pre-training Experiences of Trainees from the London courses
(Kat Alcock, Chelsea Gardener and Judy Addai-Davis, 2014; Valued Voices, Mentoring scheme)
Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies – IAPT) - NHS
Graduate Mental Health worker
Resettlement Worker – Voluntary sector
Project Coordinator - Voluntary sector
Honorary Assistant Psychologist (unpaid) - NHS
Assistant psychologist - NHS
Research Assistant – (Council, Voluntary sector, University, NHS)
Mental health Advocate – Voluntary sector
Health Care Assistant
Consultant at a financial services firm
Clinical Studies Officer – (Mental Health Research, NHS)
Sexual health advisor
Befriender – Voluntary sector
Family crisis worker
As can be seen from the list above, even home trainees come from a variety of backgrounds, with very diverse pre-training experiences. These are all relevant, hope this helps you see that there is no one way to gain experience and make your way onto the course.
Is an assistant psychologist (AP) experience mandatory? I was wondering if the experiences gained from my home country is relevant to the training.
No, AP roles are not mandatory.
In a peer-led survey of international trainees across the UK DClinPsy courses, we found that 68% of international trainees had never worked in the UK prior to training (i.e they did not have AP positions in the UK). It is also helpful to remember that not every country will have 'Assistant Psychologist' equivalent roles and mental health services may be structured differently. However, some experience of working in clinical or clinically-relevant settings is usually important to have prior to training.
Where can you find opportunities for research experience if you are currently doing an MSc with clinical placements?
If you are currently doing an MSc with clinical placements, you will likely be also doing an MSc level dissertation which should involve undertaking research. It would be worthwhile for those who are currently doing their MSc to think about ways to disseminate their research once it is done.
It is important to note that dissemination does not only include publications in peer-reviewed journals, but it is a broad term that also includes other forms of dissemination that involves sharing the research findings with the wider audience/ population, such as poster and conference presentation.
How likely is an undergraduate student getting onto the course right after graduating?
Some people do get onto training after doing their undergraduate degrees and you can find a breakup of the pre-training experience statistics for courses by reading into BPS Alternative Handbook 2020 here. You can download the handbook for free whether you are a member of BPS or not. However, it is important to bear in mind that realistically speaking, most of the DClinPsy courses in the UK will require you to have some amount of relevant clinical experience before you get onto training and not everyone will have this by the time when they complete their undergraduate degrees.
Visa and Funding
What visa do I need to do my DClinPsy?
You will need a Tier 4 student visa for the DClinPsy in the UK, which you will be able to apply for after you have been offered a place on a course. The university will typically support you in applying for this. You can find out more information on visa requirements from the UK government website here.
Will I be eligible for an NHS funded place?
No. International trainees must obtain a Tier-4 student visa to study. We are also not eligible for any UK government fundings or scholarships. You will only be eligible for an NHS funded place if you are able to work in the UK without restriction (i.e., more than 20 hours a week or without needing a work visa) or having a "settled status" in the UK. You can check if you need a Tier 4 visa to study via the UK government website.
Is a driving license mandatory ??
This is dependent on the courses you are applying to so please check with the course team. Most of the course that is based outside of the large cities may require you to have a driving license due to the geographical location of the course being wide and public transportation is not easily accessible. However, most of the London-based universities do not require a driving license as public transport is readily available. You can find out more about this in the Clearing House website as each university will state whether a driving license is mandatory. Alternatively, you can check the BPS Alternative Handbook 2020.
Do we need to have funding sorted before we apply?
Although you do not need to prove that you have the necessary funds at the application stage, we encourage you to secure enough funding prior to application or be at least quite confident about the source to obtain the necessary funds to pursue the training by the time of application. This is because programmes may not allow you to defer your studies if you did not have the necessary funding, which means you may need to go through the application process again if you decide to decline an offer due to lack of sufficient funding.
Are there ways we can get funding to help with the tuition fees?
From what we gathered at the time of writing this post, international trainees are not eligible for any UK Government scholarships or bursaries. We are unable to provide answers about whether are there any scholarships available in your home countries as this information and the opportunities vary greatly in different countries and or by year of.
Is it possible to work part-time while completing the training?
We think that it can be tricky to work part-time while being a DClinPsy trainee. You will be spending your weekdays either attending lectures (usually 9 am-5 pm) or at placement, which leaves you 2 days over the weekend for a short break. That being said, working part-time is not entirely impossible. One of the committee members works part-time for the university providing pastoral care for undergraduate students.
We aim to update this FAQ's regularly as we receive more enquiries. Please stay tuned and check for updates. We are also planning to host another webinar in February/March 2021 about our experiences of the interview processes. Good luck with your applications and do not hesiste to reach out to us if you have further queries!
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