Why Study at the University of Sydney?
Train as a Clinical Psychologist
Clinical psychologists are involved in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of psychological disorders. Some examples include: eating disorders and weight control problems; fears, phobias, and anxiety disorders; marital and family relationship problems; chronic pain conditions; depression and grief; sexual difficulties ; children's learning and behavioural difficulties; developmental disorders e.g., autism; drug, alcohol and gambling addictions.
While most clinical psychologists are practitioners, they may also teach and conduct research in various settings such as universities, hospitals, schools, and community health centres, particularly looking for causal factors that may contribute to mental ill-health. They are often involved in the development of new treatment techniques or the refinement of well established methods, in order to extend our knowledge of abnormal behaviour.
Accredited by Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) and Psychology Board of Australia (PBA)
The DCP/MSc and DCP&PhD program is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) as a 5th, 6th and 7th year of training, and is an approved qualification for Associate Membership of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) and the Australian Psychological Society (APS) College of Clinical Psychologists. The Psychology Board of Australia (PBA) also recognizes the DCP/MSc and DCP&PhD program for the purposes of registration and for endorsement of practice in clinical psychology. The DCP/MSc and DCP & PhD degrees are recognized, in principle, by the New South Wales Department of Health as qualifying the holder for progression to the grade of Clinical Psychologist.
Students will be eligible for full registration with the Psychology Board of Australia, for the DCP/MSc program, after at least three years of provisional registration, and for the DCP&PhD program, after at least four and a half years of provisional registration, following the successful completion of all coursework, supervised clinical placement and research requirements, including the award of the MSc or PhD thesis.
Following the successful completion of all DCP/MSc or DCP&PhD requirements, including the award of the MSc or PhD thesis, students are eligible to undertake a Clinical Psychology Registrar program in order to gain endorsement from the Psychology Registration Board of Australia as a Clinical Psychologist. The Clinical Psychology Registrar program is a one-year full time equivalent program which involves clinical psychology practice, supervision, and continuing professional development.
Double degree: DCP & MSc
In the true tradition of the Scientist-Practitioner model, in providing students with expertise, both practical and academic, students are awarded two degrees upon the completion of their studies. These comprise a Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DCP) degree as well as a Master of Science (MSc) degree. Those interested in an academic or clinical research career have the opportunity to upgrade the MSc to a PhD.
The DCP/MSc is a double degree, where upon completion of all requirements for both degrees after the end of the third year, students will graduate with a with both a DCP and MSc degree, and a Doctor title. The program is structured so that in first year, all students initially enrol only in the DCP, a coursework degree. Then in second year second semester, students will also enrol part time in the MSc, a research degree, whilst moving to a part time enrolment in the DCP degree. Finally in third year, students will enrol full time in the MSc degree and continue a part time enrolment in the DCP degree, which is reflected as a zero credit point load for enrolled coursework units of study.
Three years of full time study
The Doctor of Clinical Psychology/Master of Science (DCP/MSc) is a three year full time program comprised of academic course work, supervised clinical placements and research, as outlined below:
- Academic coursework involves lectures, workshops, forums and seminars by University of Sydney academic staff. The coursework component is timetabled on-campus during business hours.
- Supervised clinical internship experience is gained through five six-month long clinical placements: two internal clinical placements in the on-campus Psychology Clinic and three external clinical placements in hospital and community settings. The program includes a minimum of 1500 hours of supervised clinical placement experience, where students are required to have gained a minimum of 600 hours of direct patient contact.
- The research component is approximately 33% of the program, averaged across the three years, and requires the completion of a Master of Science research thesis.
Coursework is timetabled throughout the first two years of the program, with the most intensive component in first semester of first year, nearing four full days per week. The subsequent semesters average at two days per week for coursework and two days per week for clinical placements. Students are expected to devote one day per week to research in the first year, with this load increasing in the second year and again in the third year, when students enrol part time and then full time in the Master of Science. Due to such an intensive workload and timetable, students often only manage to work one day per week. Coursework fees only apply for the first two years of the program. For local students there are no coursework fees from third year onwards when students are only completing external clinical placements and research.
Meets International standards
With careful selection of clinical internships and additional clinical placement hours DCP/MSc graduates can meet UK standards. Those students who upgrade to a DCP & PhD, and undertake additional clinical placement hours, may be able to meet Canadian standards and equivalence in the US of the pre-internship PhD program in clinical psychology. However, to determine international equivalency for accreditation and registration of the DCP/MSc, students are advised to contact the relevant accreditation and registration bodies in their own country for accurate advice.
Scientist Practitioner model
The DCP/MSc adopts a Scientist-Practitioner model with an emphasis on cognitive-behavioural approaches, providing students with expertise, both practical and academic, to enable them to work as a professional Clinical Psychologist in a variety of clinical settings. Advanced units of student and external clinical placements allow students to develop a breadth of clinical experience as they are introduced to additional therapeutic approaches.
Interns receive an in depth training in cognitive behaviour therapy which they can then apply to a wide range of clinical disorders. The academic and clinical staff are at the cutting edge of the application of CBT and other therapies in their fields of interest. Although clinical students become proficient in the application of CBT, they are offered training in other forms of treatment as well, such as family therapy, interpersonal therapy, schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy and integrated psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
Emphasis on professional practice
The academic and practical components of the program are focused on providing a sound research-based foundation of diverse knowledge for professional clinical practice and interns are strongly supported in the application of this knowledge to develop skills, understanding, ethical values and approaches necessary for good clinical practice. Commencing from a foundation of strong cognitive-behavioural therapy applications, other theoretical models and approaches are integrated into practise in response to the client’s needs. This provides a well-rounded and thorough education and training that best suits a wide range of clients in a most settings.
Throughout training, strong supervision is offered by experts in a range of settings with a variety of clients presenting with diverse problems. In the training clinic, expert supervision is provided by academic and clinical staff in the practical application of knowledge and theory. A developmental model of supervision is utilised whereby clear direction and focus is offered early on with a gradual increase in self-direction by interns over time as confidence and skills build. In external internships, interns undertake work with specialists in adult therapy, child, adolescent and family therapy, and in an area of specialisation that may be linked to their area of research. This best prepares them for clinical practice in a range of areas as well-qualified professionals.
On Campus 'training' - Psychology Clinic
Before proceeding to the three 6-month long external clinical placements in hospitals and community settings, students are trained in a full time Psychology Clinic on campus across two 6-month long internal clinical placements. The on campus Psychology Clinic offers psychological services to the general community for a broad range of problems for adults, children, adolescents and families, psychometric assessments and group therapy. The Clinic receives a steady flow of referrals, often with a waiting list of clients. Students receive both one to one and group supervision. Supervisors are able to observe the Student's work directly through a one way observation window, through audio and video recording, and also through the live direct feed audio-visual system.
Intensive clinical supervision with observation facilities
In late 2010, the Psychology Clinic moved into a newly refurbished space. The Clinic has twelve consulting rooms, including a group/meeting room and eleven others equipped for therapy and psychometric assessments. Six of the Clinic rooms have observation windows with audio equipment for direct observation from an observation room. All rooms have audio-visual recording and viewing capacity.
The Interns' Office equipped with computers, printer, office supplies etc. for use whilst on clinical placement in the Clinic. The Interns' Office has three phone booths for confidential telephone contact with patients. In the early stages of training, Clinical Supervisors observe sessions. In addition, students may make audio and visual recordings of their sessions for feedback and teaching purposes. Weekly supervision is provided in small groups of up to four, in addition to weekly individual supervision.
Excellent links with Sydney teaching hospitals
The clinical program has excellent links with major teaching hospitals in Sydney (both public and private) as well as community based settings. The School of Psychology is one of the only Universities in Sydney to foster clinical conjoint academic positions in hospital settings. As a result, we have outstanding clinical rotation opportunities at both Westmead Hospital and the Children's Hospital at Westmead. We are able to offer clinical internships in diverse settings resulting in our students becoming competent treating, adults, adolescents, children and older adults, with complex psychaitric/psychological disorders.
Excellent clinical research opportunities
Academic staff have expertise and are able to supervise research projects in a range of areas, including anxiety disorders, eating disorders, health psychology, gambling, neurological conditions, child clinical psychology, neuropsychological disorders, and child clinical neuropsychology. Students have the opportunity to specialize within the DCP/MSc program by tailoring both their choice of external clinical placements and research project to their area of interest.