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Clinical Psychology - Research

The central objective of the course is to train postgraduates to a level which will enable them to work safely, competently and ethically as a basic grade clinical psychologist and to provide a foundation for later specialization through continuing professional development.

Course Features
The PhD in Clinical Psychology is a 3 year research degree and professional training programme in clinical psychology. The course is fully accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland. The course runs over three calendar years and includes three interrelated elements:

2000 hours of research over 200 - 250 days
500 hours academic coursework over 100 -150 days
3000 hours of supervised clinical practice over 390 days

Course Overview
The central objective of the course is to train postgraduates to a level that will enable them to work safely, competently and ethically as a basic-grade clinical psychologist and to provide a foundation for later specialisation through continuing professional development. Postgraduates graduating from the course should be able to:

provide assessment and treatment services to a wide range of client groups including children and adults with psychological problems and disabilities

use their academic knowledge to solve clinical problems and provide consultancy and teaching services to colleagues and clients

use their research skills to answer questions, raised within the health services, which require an empirically based answer

Within the Clinical Programme, the psychologist's role is conceptualised as that of a professional scientist-practitioner who works within a shared care model of multidisciplinary health service delivery. The psychologist as a professional is guided by codes of ethics and practice such as those laid down by the Psychological Society of Ireland.

As a scientist, the psychologist brings knowledge of the findings of the science of psychology and the methods used to investigate problems scientifically to bear on clinical practice and health service delivery.

As a practitioner, the psychologist is skilled in specific assessment and intervention methods and is sensitive to the way in which personal psychological strengths and vulnerabilities impinge upon skilled clinical practice.

The importance of contributing a uniquely psychological perspective to multidisciplinary team practice is a central part of the clinical psychologist's role.

Entry requirements

Academic Requirements:
Applicants for the course must hold an honours degree in psychology or an honours diploma in psychology making them eligible for graduate membership of The Psychological Society of Ireland or the British Psychological Society. They must also hold a Masters degree in Psychology. In judging academic suitability for the programme, account is taken of the honours grade of the primary degree and also of additional degrees in related fields such as counselling or health psychology.

Relevant clinical experience requirements:
Applicants must have at least a year’s relevant clinical experience during which they have developed the basic clinical skills required for establishing working relationships with clients or patients on the one hand and professional colleagues on the other. Clinical skills and potential are judged by taking into account the way in which candidates have made use of the opportunities available to them to engage in relevant clinical experiences. Work as a psychological assistant, a care assistant, a nursing assistant, a research assistant on a clinical research project, or a post-graduate research degree where the project was conducted in a clinical area are typical examples of the types of experience that are considered to be relevant in this context. Completion of short courses and workshops which have contributed to the development of clinical skills are also taken into account in judging clinical skill and potential.

Research skills:
An applicants research skills are taken into account in judging their suitability for the programme. In judging research skills, account is taken of completion of clinical or other research projects as part of postgraduate degrees; participation in clinical research projects; publication of research reports; presentation of research at conferences; development of computing skills; and of qualifications obtained in related fields such as research psychology or statistics.

Personal suitability for the role of clinical psychologist and working in health service organisations:
An applicants personal characteristics relevant to the role of clinical psychologist and working in health service organisations are taken into account in judging their suitability for the programme. These include a knowledge of the role of psychologists within the HSE and other health service organizations; a commitment to public service provision; potential for developing a capacity for self-reflection; and potential for developing interpersonal skills essential for working in health service organizations. In judging personal characteristics account is taken of steps applicants have taken to learn about the role of clinical psychologists in the health service and to begin to develop as reflective practitioners. This includes participating in self-reflective workshops and personal therapy or counselling.


3 Years Full-Time

Further enquiries

The day-to-day running of the programme is managed by Muriel Keegan, Programme Administrator, email

Assessment method

Evaluation and Assessment
A day per week over 3 years is set aside for research and the final six week academic block is set aside in third year for writing the final draft of the major research project. Psychologists in clinical training receive a minimum of 30 hours individual supervision for their thesis during their second and third years. In addition they complete coursework on research methods, statistics and computing listed below under academic course work. Altogether 2000 hours are available for research over 200-250 days, and postgraduates are expected to devote some evenings and some weekends to research. The following projects are completed:

A 25,000 word report on a major doctoral research project. The research must make an original publishable contribution to knowledge in the broad field of clinical psychology. Before conducting the doctoral research project, postgraduates write and defend a 2000 word thesis proposal. When the 25,000 word report is complete, postgraduates summarize key findings in a publishable 4000 word journal article.

Two 2000 word service-based research projects are completed in the first year to demonstrate competence in both quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Application date

For the September 2017 intake the application deadline is
5.00p.m. Friday 3rd February 2017

After short-listing successful applicants will be called for first round interviews on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th March 2017 and second round interviews on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd March 2017

Each year we receive many excellent applications but are only able to offer places to a small number of applicants. This means that there is a chance that you will not be selected this year.

Throughout the short listing and selection procedures candidates are rank-ordered in terms of suitability for the programme. Candidates who are not successful in obtaining a place on the programme one year should not interpret this to mean that they will be judged to be unsuitable if they reapply.

If you are not selected this year, our advice is for you to enhance your portfolio of relevant clinical experience and relevant clinical research over the coming year and reapply for the programme next year. As your portfolio of relevant experience expands it becomes more likely that your application will be ranked highly enough, in comparison with other applicants, to be selected. Many successful graduates of the programme made more than one unsuccessful application.

Intake information

Queries may be addressed to Muriel Keegan at +353-1-7168120 and/or e-mail

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