Programme Information

We want to give you the background of the programme, our connections and history, as well as information about the programme itself, our philosophy and who works here. This will hopefully give you a flavour of what studying in North Wales might be like.

General Information

This three year doctoral programme is a collaborative venture between the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) and Bangor University.  Successful candidates will obtain a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, which confers eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC, and eligibility for chartered status with the British Psychological Society.  The North Wales programme was the first in the UK to establish the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, leading the way for other programmes.  BCUHB clinical psychologists have close working links with the Bangor University School of Psychology.  There are at present some 120 qualified clinical psychologists in North Wales,working across the age range, from birth to death, in mental and physical health, intellectual disabilities, neuropsychology, medium secure services and prisons.   Nearly all are involved in the programme through teaching, supervision (clinical/research), assessing academic work, selection and representation on committees.

One of the distinctive aspects of the North Wales programme is its close integration into an academic psychology department that is highly rated for both research and teaching.  In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014, the School of Psychology maintained its status as one of the top psychology departments in the UK, with 89% of research output as internationally excellent or world leading.  It has one of the most vibrant and friendly research communities and was ranked 13th (of 116) for Research Quality (Complete University Guide 2018).  The Schools of Psychology, Healthcare Sciences, Sports Health and Exercise Sciences, Medical Science, and the Institute of Medical and Social Care Research form the College of Health and Behavioural Sciences.  This brings Schools with an interest in health together creating an environment for shared research strategies and health-related training activities in terms of professional learning.               

The School is a centre of excellence for training in clinical practice and has particular strengths in clinical and health psychology, cognitive neuroscience, applied behaviour analysis, and learning and developmental psychology. Michaela Swales, who is internationally recognised for her expertise in dialectical behaviour therapy and leader of the British Isles Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Training Team, is our programme deputy director and is a locally practising clinical psychologist.   Elizabeth Burnside, our Academic Director, is an ACT peer reviewed trainer, one of 11 in the UK. The UK's leading Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice is also based in the school.  The School prides itself on excellent teaching and during the most recent internal quality audit of the School of Psychology, the North Wales Clinical Psychology Programme was commended for both its teaching and pastoral care of trainees.  During our last accreditation visit in February 2012, the Programme was approved by the HCPC, accredited by the BPS and validated by Bangor University. We were commended for our comprehensive learning trajectory from Beckian CBT to third-wave therapies (Mindfulness, ACT and DBT), excellence in older adult and intellectual disability psychology research and practice, feedback mechanisms, the supportiveness and accessibility of the programme team for the trainees and collaboration with stakeholders, including service users and carers.  We were delighted to receive such strong endorsement from the HCPC, BPS and Bangor University, and we believe this illustrates the robust and cohesive nature of our programme.  Our next accreditation visit is due in January 2019.