Applied Clinical Psychology MSc

Applied Clinical Psychology MSc

School of Psychology


Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Full-time: One year; Part-time: Two years

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  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time and Part-time

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Why study this programme?

The MSc in Applied Clinical Psychology has been specifically designed to develop your knowledge, understanding and skills in core theoretical, methodological, and empirical areas of clinical psychology. This programme is aimed at individuals who wish to strengthen their academic credentials in preparation for a career in clinical psychology and/or other professions in the area of mental health. The course uses an applied approach to learning, including an embedded placement opportunity, to not only develop a foundation of understanding of clinical psychology principles and theory but also to enhance and advance interpersonal skills, transferable across all mental health professions.

The core theoretical and empirical basis of clinical psychology (i.e., theories, models and approaches to treatment) is delivered by a range of HCPC Registered Clinical Psychologists, expert academics in specialist fields, clinicians across a wide range of specialities and experts-by-experience. The course content strongly emphasises the importance of evidence-based working with a focus on advancing research skills and competencies, taught by academics and research experts in their field.

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Entry Requirements

Essential Criteria

You should have a minimum of an Upper Second class honours degree in psychology recognised by the British Psychological Society as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC: or an equivalent International professional body). The reason for restricting entry to those with GBC is that the course is intended as a gateway to a doctoral training programme in clinical psychology, for which GBC is required. If you have a Lower Second Class honours degree in Psychology you may be considered for a place on the course providing you can demonstrate strengths in both Research Methods and Statistics, and clinical psychology or related subject areas. All applicants are considered on their own merits.

A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent qualifications.

In your personal statement you should communicate your suitability for this course, and what you are hoping to gain in the long-term from undertaking this MSc course. It would be helpful also if you reflected on any work (voluntary or paid), research, and/or life experiences that have relevance to clinical psychology/mental health. You should reflect on and articulate any learning, insights and understanding gained from these experiences.

For informal enquires please contact the Course Leader/Programme Director, Dr Kathryn Gardner:


You will be required also to provide one academic reference, although if your personal statement refers to any paid or voluntary experiences then a second reference in support of these experiences is desirable.

Application and review process

Applications for September 2020 entry are initially assessed in relation to the essential criteria, the information in your personal statement, and upon the quality of references provided.

The deadline for applications is August 1st 2020, but If the course is full prior to this deadline then we operate a waitlist.

Programme at a Glance

  • Clinical Psychology across the Lifespan
  • Professional Issues and Practice in Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Skills
  • Specialist application of Clinical Psychology (includes specialist topics such as Clinical Neuropsychology, and Clinical Psychology in Forensic and Health settings)

  • Practical Applications of Clinical Psychology: Placement
  • Advanced Clinical Psychology Project (empirical dissertation)
  • Clinical Research Design and Processes
  • Research Methods and Statistics for Clinical Psychologists

Further Information

The MSc in Applied Clinical Psychology is an ideal post-graduate pathway for those who wish to strengthen their knowledge, academic credentials and applied skills in core areas of clinical psychology and mental health.  The course structure is heavily weighted towards theoretical and skill-based modules that use an applied approach to the learning of core theoretical, methodological, and empirical areas of clinical psychology:

  • the theory and evidence that underpins the application of psychology to psychological distress/conditions across all areas of the lifespan (i.e., child – older adult);
  • core applied skills of the clinical psychologist, including communication, reflection, assessment, formulation and intervention;
  • professional issues and practice in clinical psychology (i.e., ethical dilemmas and challenges);
  • key research methods and statistics used by clinical psychologists and their application to clinically relevant topics and settings;
  • the application of clinical psychology in highly specialist areas such as within physical health and forensic settings.

A key element of the course is the completion of a research project where we aim to harness your enthusiasm and interest in clinical psychology and mental health, and support you in the development of advanced research skills and competencies through supervision by an experienced researcher within the programme team.

The applied focus of the course places a key emphasis on supporting placement opportunities for our students. Staff will assist you in finding a placement opportunity whilst also supporting you to reflect on your placement experiences as a means of enhancing and developing your skills in key competencies aligned with the requirements of not only clinical psychologists, but any professional working in mental health.

The teaching on the course is tailored to really ensure the development of your applied skills through using innovative and creative approaches, including role play and case study reviews. Additionally, a key area of focus throughout the course is supporting the development of our students into becoming adaptive, flexible, reflective individuals who feel more confident in approaching and potentially continuing their future careers working with individuals who have different needs, psychological distress and communication styles.

The course team hold strong values in ensuring that we work with integrity, respect and accountability, and as such an essential element in the development and delivery of this course has been, and continues to be, the active involvement of ‘experts-by-experience’. We are extremely fortunate to be supported by Comensus (UCLan’s service user/carer team; made up of individuals who use their own personal narratives and experiences of psychology distress) whilst also having lecture content delivered by The Crew (Lancashire Care Foundation NHS Trust; a voluntary group made up of young people and their parents who have used Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). Experts-by-experience support you in areas such as exploring experiences of psychological distress and working with Professionals and Services, and through offering views and thoughts about research.

Work experience

The course has an embedded placement and we will work with you to identify the gaps in your skills, or areas which require further development, and in doing so will be working towards enhancing your professional and personal development.

Doctoral training programmes in clinical psychology require evidence of relevant clinically-related experience. These experiences can be voluntary or paid and are highly varied, and this is reflected in our approach to placements. Equally, for those students interested in the course yet still uncertain as to the ultimate career aim, the placement experience offered in the course ensures that skills developed are trans-professional and hence essential in whatever area or profession you wish to pursue within the mental health sector.

Placements are wide and varied, and have included working in the private sector, third sector, or local NHS services. Through our links and partnerships we have supported our students in accessing and applying for a range of different placements, including both voluntary and paid Assistant Clinical Psychologist posts within the NHS; mental health support worker roles (e.g., in rehabilitation or eating disorder support services); and support worker roles in schools for children with complex needs, including multiple learning difficulties and autistic spectrum disorder. As part of your placement you will undertake a project that is relevant to clinical psychology (e.g., a project that develops further your interpersonal skills such as communication, empathy, and resilience; or which involves audit, service evaluation, or psychoeducational work), and this work will be agreed prior to the start of the placement. The placement module can also be undertaken by students already in employment in an appropriate setting (e.g., as an Assistant Clinical Psychologist in the NHS).

Graduate careers

The course aims to foster the development of key skills that will facilitate further academic and vocational training and subsequent employment. Through the skills and knowledge developed during the course, you will strengthen your academic credentials in preparation for a career in clinical psychology (i.e., via Assistant Psychologist posts within the NHS and further competitive doctoral training in clinical psychology). You will also strengthen your CV in preparation for other professions in the area of clinical psychology, mental health, academia, or research. This MSc course does not provide any guarantee that upon its completion you will be successful in securing these posts and like other current Masters Degrees in Clinical Psychology is not BPS accredited. However, the course has been especially designed so that you acquire knowledge and skills in key areas of clinical psychology and its application.

This course is not just a stepping stone for those wishing to pursue doctorate training programme in clinical psychology. Upon completion of this course you will also strengthen your CV and applications for a range of positions and careers, such as those below. In particular, you will considerably improve and refine your research knowledge and skills, and these are important for both improving your chances of successfully securing a place on the doctorate, and for securing positions in academic or research.

In the year immediately after the course, past students have gone on to secure positions as Assistant Clinical Psychologists in a range of services (e.g., specialist learning disabilities team within the NHS; Forensic services); Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners and Psychology Healthcare Assistants in the NHS; and Mental Wellbeing Practitioners in the private sector.

Career Paths

  • Assistant Clinical Psychologist
  • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
  • PhD research/lecturing in Higher Education
  • Research Assistant and other research posts within the NHS or academia, in either clinical psychology or mental health more broadly
  • Other careers in mental health care that involve working with individuals experiencing psychological distress (e.g., Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner within the NHS).

How to Apply

Our Postgraduate section has more information around applying including visiting UCLan and the support available.

If you want to continue and apply now, you can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2020/21

Full-time: £7,500 (UK/EU)
Part-time: £835 per 20 credits (UK/EU)

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

If you're thinking of studying a master's or doctoral degree you could be eligible for a loan from the Government to help you study.

For additional help with financing your studies, UCLan offers a range of Postgraduate scholarships, studentships, bursaries and the Alumni loyalty discount.

View further information

Industry Links

Clinical and other HCPC Registered Psychologists alongside a broad range of clinicians will contribute to the delivery of this course; many of these work or have worked within the NHS, but we also have links with clinicians in private practice. This unique mix of professionals is reflected in the content of the course, where you will learn about the similarities and differences of working clinically within the NHS vs. private practice.

Learning Environment and Assessment

We aim to provide the best possible facilities for our students. The School is based in the multi-million pound purpose-built Darwin Building, which includes an extensive range of state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment, including: a Brain Imaging Laboratory, Observational Suite equipped with one-way mirrors and video cameras; established Health Psychology Suite; and eye tracking equipment. The School has a thriving community of PhD and MSc students and has links with regional universities, NHS hospital trusts, schools and community groups.

The core theoretical basis of clinical psychology will be presented via lectures and supported seminars. Seminars or workshops are used to explore key issues from the curriculum, both to facilitate understanding and develop skills; you are encouraged to prepare material in advance of the sessions, to exchange information as part of a peer network, and to reflect upon their understanding. Independent study will also be incorporated, as well as research supervision to support the production of a high-quality research project that will contribute to the field of clinical psychology.

The course is assessed through 1 exam; 11 pieces of written, oral or practical coursework; and 1 advanced research dissertation

The taught component of the course will take place on a Tuesday to support students with full-time jobs or family commitments, and it may be completed over 1 year (full-time) or 2 or more years (part-time).

In the spring of 2019 the library dedicated additional space for postgraduate students, the Postgraduate Room in the Library (LIB242). This is a quiet study space with networked PC’s, a small meeting area and a large presentation screen. This area provides an additional resource for our postgraduates alongside the extensive laboratory facilities in the Darwin Building.

Staff Members

Programme Director/Course Leader: Dr. Kathryn Gardner

Deputy Programme Director/Course Leader: Dr. Mark Roy

Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer in Clinical Psychology: Dr. Hannah Butler-Coyne

Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer in Clinical Psychology: Dr. Catherine Regan

Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer in Clinical Psychology: Dr. Jemma Hill

Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer in Clinical Psychology: Dr. Laura Nicholson

Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer in Clinical Psychology: Dr. Anna Ridding

Social Media

The MSc Applied Clinical Psychology Team recognise the importance of social media in truly engaging and connecting with our students, alumni, partners and professional friends. Whether we are Tweeting away on our Twitter page or posting messages for students on our closed Facebook group, we are keen to tell our followers about the course and share topical research finds about clinical psychology and mental health.  

Check us out on Twitter @UCLanClinPsych – we would love to hear from you!

DBS Checks

This course may involve you working with vulnerable groups of individuals, including children. If you wish to work with vulnerable populations, you will all be required to obtain a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service clearance (formerly termed CRB). We will be able to guide you through this process once you have been offered a conditional place of study at the University of Central Lancashire. If you are aware that your DBS check will disclose a previous conviction, please contact the course leader for advice as not all convictions may preclude you from continuing with the course.