Program Structure

How is the MCP program structured?
The MCP involves two years of full time study and includes three components: academic coursework, supervised clinical placements and research. Qualified clinical psychologists provide supervised clinical practice in an internal on-campus psychology clinic as well as a variety of external teaching hospitals and clinics. The MCP includes a minimum of 1200 hours of clinical placement experience.

How is the MCP/PhD program structured?
Students who demonstrate acceptable academic ability in their initial application and who meet the School of Psychology’s requirements for acceptance into a PhD program (including having a supervisor who agrees to supervise the PhD project) may apply for the MCP & PhD research pathway. In order for applicants to be accepted into this program of study, they will need to both be accpeted into the MCP and meet the School of Psychology entry requirements for acceptance into the PhD program. Students in the MCP & PhD complete all requirements of the MCP coursework component, however it is completed over three years. In the second and third years of the program, students enrol concurrently in part time coursework and full time in the PhD. The remaining three semesters are dedicated to full time PhD research. The MCP & PhD combined degree is 4.5 years of full time study.

I have already completed a research degree (MSc or PhD). Can I complete the Master of Clinical Psychology degree without having to do a new research project to gain a clinical qualification?
No. If you have already completed and have been awarded a MSc or PhD, you will be required to complete another research project as part of the requirements for the MCP or MCP & PhD program. It may be possible, in special circumstances, for a clinically-relevant project to be transferred into the MCP or MCP & PhD provided that the thesis has not already been submitted for another degree. Applicants will be required to complete and be successful in the application process for the MCP. Such cases will be considered on an individual basis.

I want to complete a PhD or MSc research degree in clinical psychology but not the MCP or MCP & PhD program.
For information about research degrees, please refer to the School of Psychology information on MSc and PhD research only degrees. Information on the areas of research interests for Clinical Psychology Unit academic staff is available from this website.

Can I study the MCP part time?
The MCP and MCP/PhD are full time programs. The first year of the MCP must be completed full time due to the complex nature of the program. In exceptional circumstances, part time enrolment may be considered from second year with special permission from the Director of Clinical Training.

Am I able to commence the course mid year?
No, due to the structure of the program mid year intake is not available. Intake is only accepted for the March semester.

When does the course start?
Semester 1, 2015 commences Monday 2 March. An Orientation Meeting is scheduled prior to the start of Semester 1 that all students will be expected to attend. The tentative date for the Orientation Meeting is Wednesday 25 February 2015.

Can I complete one MCP unit of study only in order to fulfill requirements for APS or Psychology Board of Australia?
No. Single unit of study enrolment is not permitted. MCP units of study are only offered to students enrolled in the MCP or MCP&PhD programs. This also means that single unit of study is also not permitted for students wishing to complete just one subject of their interest or overseas study abroad students. The University of Sydney does not offer single unit of study enrolment, therefore does not provide any top up or upgrade to a clinical qualification, for example for the purposes of making up subjects to meet requirements for membership to the APS College of Clinical Psychologists.

I have been granted an Individual Bridging Plan (IBP) to satisfy my eligibility for membership of the College of Clinical Psychologists. Can I enrol in one clinical psychology unit of study?
No. Single unit of study enrolment is not available for MCP units of study. MCP units of study are only available to students enrolled in the MCP or MCP & PhD programs.
The Clinical Psychology Unit in the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney offers one postgraduate clinical training program, the Master of Clinical Psychology (MCP).

Does the University of Sydney meet standards for Psychological Associations and Registration Boards in other countries?
You will need to contact the Australian Psychological Society and Psychology Board of Australia for further information. Or you will need to contact the relevant associations in your own country.

How much supervised clinical placement experience is offered in the MCP program?
MCP students complete 1,200 hours of supervised clinical placement experience. During the first semester of the course, students receive training in a wide range of practical core clinical skills, including: interviewing, the biopsychosocial model of assessment, behavioural assessment, diagnosis, formulation, treatment planning and implementation and processes involved in the therapeutic relationship, cognitive-behavioural therapy, and report writing. Clinical placement 1A, 1B and 2 offer opportunities to put theory and new skills into practice and to develop a strong foundation for clinical work in the field. Adult clinical assessment, diagnosis, case formulation, treatment planning and implementation are developed across these placements. Child, adolescent and family assessment, diagnosis, case formulation, treatment planning and implementation is conducted in Placement 1B. Four to five psychometric assessments are conducted across both placements with one adult and one child assessment being undertaken with intense supervision in Placement 1B. All students are also encouraged to conduct a group therapy program for children, adolescents or adults, if available. Having successfully completed the two internal placements, students undertake clinical work in external placements under the supervision of experienced clinical psychologists who hold appointments as Honorary Clinical Associates of the School of Psychology. The internal placements take place in the on campus Psychology Clinic whilst the external clinical placements take place in hospital and community settings.

How much research is involved in the MCP program?
MCP students are required to complete research requirements throughout the two years of the program. The research component comprises approximately 25% of the program. Students are required to complete a research report (minimum 5,000 words) by the end of second semester of second year.

What is the coursework component of the MCP program?
The academic coursework involves lectures, workshops, forums and seminars by the University academic staff. Guest lecturers are also invited from time to time.

What is the approach of the MCP program?
The MCP 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 professional Clinical Psychologists in a variety of clinical settings.

Does the MCP program only involve a cognitive-behavioural approach or other frameworks included?
The MCP program is largely based on a cognitive-behavioural approach. However, within the program advanced units of study and external placements allow students to develop a breadth of clinical experience as they are introduced to additional therapeutic approaches such as schema therapy, DBT, integrated approaches to psychotherapy, systems and child and family therapy.

How long does it take to complete the MCP or MCP&PhD program?
The MCP program requires two years of full time enrolment. All coursework, placements and research will be completed by December of second year.

The MCP & PhD program requires a minimum of 4.5 years to complete. All coursework and placements are completed by December of third year. The completion of research is dependent on the student's progress and when the thesis is submitted. The marking of a thesis may take up to 3-4 months following submission, before the MCP&PhD can be awarded.

Will I be able to do casual work if I am studying full time on MCP program?
The MCP is an intensive program. Information is available for the Program structure outlines the time commitments for each of the coursework, placement and research components of the degree. Students are not encouraged to work, however, it is recognised that students need to support themselves financially. Some students manage to work casually one day a week, for example, finding employment as a tutor or research assistant in the School of Psychology. Living costs for local students and international students are outlined on the University of Sydney website.

In general, what are the guidelines for completing the MCP research report vs MCP&PhD thesis?
MCP – 2 years full time, MCP&PhD – 4.5 years full time
MCP – aim for at least one publication, MCP&PhD – aim for at least three publications
MCP – Research report of minimum 5,000 words, MCP&PhD - thesis should not normally exceed 80,000 words.

Does the University of Sydney offer a supervision pathway to registration?
The University of Sydney does not offer a 4 + 2 or 5 + 1 internship program. You may wish to contact the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)'s Psychology Board of Australia who may have a list of board approved supervisors, or the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) or Australian Psychological Society (APS), though you may need to be a member of both these organisations in order to access information.