Skip to main content Skip to section menu

Frequently Asked Questions

Over the years we have been asked many questions about the programme, the selection process and other issues. We have collated them and have tried to give you the answers in these FAQs.

Q1) How hard is it to get a place at Bangor?

Q2) My A level grades were not good. Do I have a realistic chance of getting on to the Clinical training programme at Bangor?

Q3)I am currently in the middle of my undergraduate studies and I’m unsure as to whether it is essential for my degree to be a 2:1.  Although I’ve reached a 2:1 standard for most assessments, a 2:2 has been the outcome in some areas.  If ultimately this brings my degree down to a 2:2, are my chances limited?

Q4)I am a final year undergraduate and am keen to get into clinical psychology.  What is the best way to go about getting a place?

Q5) I am a final year psychology student and I’m interested in pursuing a career in clinical psychology.  I’ve been advised to do a clinically relevant PhD before applying, as the competition is so strong.  I was wondering whether you agree that this is a good route to follow, rather than getting experience as an assistant psychologist.

Q6) I have just completed a degree, which may not be recognised by the BPS.  Can I still pursue an interest in Clinical Psychology?

Q7)I have a non-psychology degree.  I am interested in clinical research and wonder what opportunities there might be to get involved in this?

Q8)What kind of experience does a typical applicant have?

Q9)I’ve got a couple of years experience working full time in mental health but not directly with clinical psychologists.  Will my application be taken seriously?

Q10) Some universities require work experience in the mental health field or to have experience in clinical research.  Which one is regarded more favourably? I am finding it extremely tough to get relevant work experience.  What kind of work experience is needed to stand a good chance of getting onto the programme?

Q11)I am a voluntary worker, which involves helping those with mental illness, but I have just been offered a job as an assistant psychologist.  I was wondering which position you would look most favourably on when looking at applicants?

Q12) What do you look for in applicants with regards to postgraduate experience?  Would it be preferable for me to do an MSc combined with voluntary work or would it be better to spend some time working as a psychology assistant or research assistant?

Q13) By the time the interviews are held I will have acquired 6 months work experience but currently have only a few weeks experience in a caring role.  Do you see any merit in me applying now?  Would you instantly dismiss my application?

Q14) I don’t have any paid employment as an assistant psychologist but, having cared for someone in the family with depression, I feel I’ve gained a wealth of experience – does this count?

Q15) It is really difficult to get assistant psychology jobs. How else can I obtain the experience you require?

Q16) I have previously worked in business in an area that seems relevant to clinical psychology.  Will this be considered as relevant?

Q17) I’m a trained Clinical Psychologist in Italy – do I have to do the DClinPsy programme before I can work in the UK?

Q18) I am not a EU citizen.  Can I apply to the programme?

Q19)I am concerned about whether there is an upper age limit for training.  Will my age be a problem in getting a place on the programme and securing employment afterwards?

Q20)What is the experience of Black/Asian/ethnic minority candidates in applying for a place on the programme?

Q21)I have a disability that might make it difficult for me to participate in the interviews.  Could you give me some advice?

Q22)I have a chronic health condition.  Would this prevent me from applying?

Q23) My main concern is about how accessible the programme is for a disabled person?  I would appreciate any thoughts or comments you have on this matter.

Q24) Is the programme accessible to wheelchair users?

Q25) How can I improve my application form and make it stand out?

Q26) I have not been offered an interview this year, can I have feedback on my application form?

Q27) What are you looking for at interview?

Q28) Would it be possible to call in to have a chat with someone regarding my suitability at some point?

Q29) What is the Alternative Handbook?

Q30) Who employs me?

Q31) Can I do the programme part-time?

Q32) Do I have to work in North Wales after I finish the programme?

Q33) How much do trainees get paid?

Q34) How much annual leave will I get?

Q35) Are there any exams?

Q36) Will I be disadvantaged if I cannot speak Welsh?

Q37) What is the start and finishing time of the working day so I can sort out childcare arrangements before I get started?

Q38)Will I be given the opportunity to develop in a flexible way i.e. are there opportunities for me to develop my knowledge of areas which interest me in teaching and placements?

Q39)Would I need to be able to drive?

Q40) Will I get a PhD at the end of the training?

Q41) I will not be completing my PhD until after the interviews and have my Viva after the Programme will have started in October.  Will you consider my application?

Q42) When does the programme actually start?

Q43) You require a reference from my current employer. I have only worked with them for a few months and feel that my previous employer would be able to give a better reference, as they know me better. What would you like me to do?

Q44) How does the Programme contact me about whether I have been successful in obtaining an interview?


Answers

A1) In Bangor, we usually have around 150 applicants for normally eleven training places. We normally interview 24 candidates. 
<return to top>

A2) That depends on your performance at undergraduate degree level and possibly beyond. We would expect applicants to have achieved at least a 2:1 at degree level. Unfortunately we are no longer considering applications with a 2.2. or lower, even if you have obtained a further masters degree. Only a PhD could compensate for a low undergraduate degree.
<return to top>

A3) As a postgraduate programme, there are various standards that need to be maintained. Clinical Psychology Programmes are academically demanding and we require you  to have demonstrated that you can cope with these demands. Evidence of success at undergraduate studies is seen as favourable. I would urge you to focus on getting a 2:1 degree if this is at all possible. Please see also the answer to question 2.

If your undergraduate degree is not of a 2.1 standard, I suggest you have a look on the Clearing House website for other programmes’ selection criteria. There are programmes that do consider a 2.2 with a Masters and a 2.1. On other programmes you can sit an entry exam, regardless of your undergraduate degree classification.
<return to top>

A4) You need to concentrate on obtaining the highest academic grade possible. This is your priority if you want to maximise your chances. Ensure that an academic tutor, who will be able to provide a very supportive academic reference, notices your work.

We expect candidates to have paid experience of working with a clinical population similar to the people a clinical psychologist would see. Usually this means getting experience before and/or after completing a degree in psychology. We require a minimum of one year of paid work, and most candidates will have significantly more than this. In order to obtain these sorts of posts, you will need to ensure that you have relevant other experience. Sometimes working in a voluntary capacity can be a stepping-stone in to paid employment. Consider posts such as care assistant, mental health advocate, classroom assistant, mental health worker. We are aware that posts in the health service can be difficult to obtain. However, you will need to have an understanding of the role of a clinical psychologist working in the NHS and working as an assistant psychologist would be an asset.

There are different paths to getting onto a clinical training programme. Some candidates have mainly a clinical background while others have conducted research and also have some clinical experience.
<return to top>


A5) A clinically related PhD is an acceptable route to getting useful experience, which will then support your application for clinical training. We are looking for a blend of academic competence, research competence, clinical experience and personal qualities. A successful PhD would mean that you could demonstrate the first two but not necessarily the latter two.
<return to top>

A6) One of the minimum entry requirements is having a degree which is recognised by the BPS as fulfilling the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (ww.bps.org.uk/membership/). If you are in any doubt about the status of your own degree programme, you should consult a member of staff in your undergraduate department or consult the BPS website for details: www.bps.org.uk/careers.
<return to top>

A7) The DClinPsy programme is a professional training programme to train clinical psychologists. If your interest is purely in research, you could consult the School of Psychology website for details of research opportunities within the psychology department. It may also be worth investigating the possibility of taking a conversion programme in psychology, which might fulfil the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with the British Psychological Society (see question 6). Once you have completed a conversion programme, you would have the option to then apply for clinical training.
<return to top>

A8) Successful applicants usually have more than 12 months paid employment in an area that allows them to work with a clinical population similar to that of a clinical psychologist. See also questions 5.
<return to top>

A9) The experience you describe seems relevant. The strength of your previous experience does not necessarily depend upon working directly with a clinical psychologist. However, we would like you to have worked within a psychological framework and one way of achieving this is by working under the supervision of a clinical psychologist. You are expected to be able to demonstrate some understanding of the role of a clinical psychologist and be able to indicate the steps you have taken in learning about the role.
<return to top>

A10) We expect candidates to demonstrate some understanding of the role of a clinical psychologist and have some work experience in a helping role. Usually this means getting experience after completing a degree in psychology. We require a minimum of one year of paid work – but most candidates will have much more than this. In addition to purely clinical experience, research or experience of clinical service evaluation are also valuable.
<return to top>

A11) Your voluntary work is relevant and will be a valuable asset in your application for further paid posts. We expect candidates to have experience of paid employment in a helping profession ideally under the supervision of a clinical psychologist. NHS work is particularly valuable because it would enable you to gain an understanding of the context in which you will be employed during training.
<return to top>

A12) In general, neither clinical experience nor clinical research is given more weight. Alongside a strong academic background you will need to have clinical experience. Getting a good first degree, 1st class or a 2.1 is an important first step. Having some further academic or research experience in a clinically related area after your degree will certainly be relevant and would weight to your application. Non-clinical research would probably be less suitable given that you should have already have demonstrated your academic abilities. Direct clinical experience would be of equal value depending upon how you have done in your degree. If you find it difficult to get an assistant psychology post in a clinical setting then you might want to consider getting experience of working with people in another clinical context with relevance to clinical psychology.
<return to top>

A13) We consider your experience up to the time of short listing, unless you have indicated that your contract will end before then.  However, although we do look for a minimum of a years experience of being in a caring role, other experience such as working in a research role also contributes - for example, did you get involved in data gathering with either individuals or groups of people? Was your research experience in any way linked to human experiences/emotion?
<return to top>

A14) The programme looks positively on applicants who have personal experiences. While such experiences are not necessarily equivalent to professional employment, they make a good contribution. Your personal experiences of coping with mental ill health in your family/carer would be considered as relevant to your application. However, you will need additional relevant paid experience to support your application.
<return to top>

A15) We are aware that assistant posts are difficult to get these days. However, assistant psychologist posts are not the only way you can obtain experience. We are looking for paid experience of working with a clinical population, similar to that of a clinical psychologist. This can be achieved in working as a care assistant in a care home for older people or people with a (intellectual) disability, a mental health advocate or a classroom assistant. IAPT post can be useful, as well as other mental health post. The challenge in a post where the supervision is not from a clinical psychologist, is to maintain a focus on the psychological perspective of your work.
<return to top>

A16) We can consider business and community-based work or experience in a caring profession as being relevant. Other experiences such as this will add breadth to your application and may count towards our minimum requirement of 12 months experience in a caring role.
<return to top>

A17) For people who have trained in clinical psychology elsewhere (particularly in other EU Countries) – provision is made by Health Care Professions Council. I suggest you contact them for more information (www.hcpc-uk.org/).
<return to top>

A18) If someone is offered a place on the North Wales Clinical Psychology Programme, the Welsh Government funds all tuition fees and the trainee is paid a salary and has employment status within the UK.  The Welsh Government will not meet the cost of fees for overseas students.  The main consequence of this is that if you are not from an EU member country, you would need to have a work permit to enable you to enter training programmes.  If you hold EU nationality (i.e. a passport from an EU country) then this is not an issue. There are other programmes in the UK that do consider non EU candidates, I suggest you have a look on the Clearing House website.
On our programme, we have several people who are non-UK nationals from the EU, and whose first degrees in psychology were completed in another country.
<return to top>

A19) There is no specified age limit for training and we have a diverse age profile amongst our successful applicants.
<return to top>

A20) We are very positive about having people from diverse cultures and backgrounds train as clinical psychologists because that reflects the multi-cultural mix within the UK client population. We are aware of the underrepresentation of black and ethnic minorities in the profession. Trainees from these backgrounds have successfully completed their training with us.
<return to top>

A21) We encourage applicants with disabilities to contact us at the earliest opportunity once they have been offered an interview. In consultation with you as an applicant, we will attempt to make the process as fair and accessible as possible.
<return to top>

A22) We expect all successful applicants to undergo a BCUHB Occupational Health screen. If you are judged fit to work as a trainee clinical psychologist, you would not be prevented from continuing with the programme.  We will endeavour to make reasonable adjustment to facilitate your training (Also see question 20).  This might mean that the start of your training might be delayed, to allow us to put the required adjustments in place.
<return to top>

A23) We aim to actively support trainees who have a disability. However, given that each person is likely to have individual needs, this is one situation when we would suggest that you contact c.lamers@bangor.ac.uk (Admissions Tutor).
<return to top>

A24) Our university site is wheel chair accessible as are all the teaching and resource rooms. The programme staff are more than happy to make arrangement to see you in an accessible room. We are regularly conduct surveys of placements to assess which placements can provide access for wheelchair users. If you contact us directly, we should be able to give you up to date information regarding this.
<return to top>

A25) We will assess your application form on a range of aspects, including spelling and grammatical errors. Correctly completed forms, where the questions are answered as requested will give a good impression. There is not much space on the application form to express yourself. Draw out the relevance of your experience to clinical psychology. Don’t try to cram in additional information by using small fonts etc.
<return to top>

A26) We provide feedback by phone on your application. You can contact Carolien Lamers at a specified time provided on the letter informing you of the outcome.  We also would recommend that you look carefully at these FAQ´s to enable you to identify areas in which you might have strengths and weaknesses.
<return to top>

A27) We are looking for the qualities that make a competent clinical psychologist such as communication skills, psychological and analytical thinking. At the interviews we want to get a sense of what you are like as a person and whether you have the academic skills to cope with the programme.
<return to top>

A28) You should find that most of the answers to your questions are addressed in this and other programme documentation such as the Clearing House entry and the Alternative Handbook. If you have a specific question that we have not addressed then you can email c.lamers@bangor.ac.uk, phone, or write to us.
<return to top>

A29) It is a survey of the views of current clinical trainees. The DCP Affiliates Committee compile and publish it each year, by sending questionnaires to trainees on all programmes. Please check out www.bps.org.uk › DCP Pre-Qualification Group.
<return to top>

A30) All trainees are employed on a three year fixed term contract by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) for the duration of their training.  BCUHB provides acute, community, mental health and learning disabilities health services to North Wales delivered through a network of hospitals, health centres and clinics.  The aim of the BCUHB is to provide the highest quality care for the population of North Wales.
<return to top>

A31) We do not currently offer a part-time programme.  However, please contact us (c.lamers@bangor.ac.uk) as we may be able to assist you if you have particular requirements for accessing the programme.
<return to top>

A32) The aim of the programme when it was established was to provide clinical psychologists for NHS Wales.  There is a strong expectation that those who train in North Wales will take up local available NHS posts once qualified.  On occasion, circumstances preclude this.  However, we hope all trainees will work within the NHS as qualified Clinical Psychologists.
<return to top>

A33) Trainees are paid according to the current NHS Agenda for Change. Trainees are located in Band 6. (www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/details/).
<return to top>

A34) You will get 27 days leave a year, 29 after 5 years NHS service and 33 days after 10 years service (plus bank holidays).
<return to top>

A35) No, we use a variety of programme work to assess competence.
<return to top>

A36) As a substantial proportion of the clients are Welsh speakers, we strongly encourage Welsh speaking applicants to apply.  On average we have one or two Welsh-speaking trainees per year, which means that the majority of successful candidates are non-Welsh speaking.  We offer support for you to learn Welsh and attend the summer school.  The total number of welsh speaking applicants remains low at about 1% of all applicants.
<return to top>

A37) The teaching normally starts at 9.30 and finishes at 5.00 pm.  The teaching takes place in the School of Psychology at Bangor University. Individual working arrangements are made for trainees when they start their placements in collaboration with their clinical supervisor.  As you are a BCUHB employee, you are required to work 37.5 hours per week.
<return to top>

A38) We endeavour to train you in a wide range of theories, approaches, interventions, research and professional issues. In terms of therapeutic approaches we focus on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Third Wave therapies: Mindfulness based approaches, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy.  Within the placements, some consideration will be given to your specific developmental needs and wishes.  This can particularly take place in the third year when you can choose your elective placement.  It is expected that you will complete all of your clinical placements within the North Wales area, however under exceptional circumstances related to individual training needs, you may apply to undertake a placement outside North Wales.  Within most of the academic assignments the tasks allow you to focus on a clinical area or topic that is relevant at your time of training and interest.
<return to top>

A39) The programme strongly advises that trainees hold a full driving licence and own a car or take advantage of the NHS Lease Car Scheme. Reasonable adjustments are made for candidates who are unable to drive as a result of disability.
<return to top>

A40)The training to become a clinical psychologist will give you a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.  This is different from a PhD, which is a research degree that is obtained by completing a piece of defined research, usually over a 3-year period.  The clinical training will contain several pieces of academic work including 3 research projects.  The first piece of work is carried out by a small group, which will try to answer a research question through a systematic review of the literature.  One project is working with existing data from a service to answer an audit question that is related to (and often generated by) the service.  The larger project is clinical relevant research, designed and carried out by you.  You spend some 24 months completing this piece of work on which you will receive a vice voce examination.
<return to top>

A41)We will certainly consider your application using our selection criteria, but we will not be able to award you points for the PhD as this is not completed at the time we undertake our shortlisting.
<return to top>

A42) The programme starts on the 1st October, or the first Monday following that date.
<return to top>

A43)We would like you to provide a reference from your current employer. Always ask if your employer feels that they can give you a supportive reference. Most employers have got plenty of experience and are well placed to give a reference. Only under exceptional circumstances, ask a previous employer and please do not forget to explain why your current employer was not able to provide the reference.
<return to top>

A44)We would like you to provide a reference from your current employer. Always ask if your employer feels that they can give you a supportive reference. Most employers have got plenty of experience and are well placed to give a reference. Only under exceptional circumstances, ask a previous employer and please do not forget to explain why your current employer was not able to provide the reference.
<return to top>

Site footer