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Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)

The Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology) involves intensive high-level research training in the professional skills of clinical psychology. Clinical psychology is a specialisation focusing on psychopathology and the assessment and treatment of clinical disorders across the life span. Students will develop advanced knowledge/skills and experience in psychopathology, assessment and therapeutic interventions for adults and children suffering from clinical disorders.

Most clinical psychologists develop expertise in specific areas of clinical psychology. They provide a wide range of psychological services to individuals across the lifespan and for mental health conditions that range from mild to severe and complex. In addition to professional practice, clinical psychologists may be involved in research, teaching and supervision, program development and evaluation, public policy and other activities that promote psychological health in individuals, families, groups, and organisations.

Students in the program participate in supervised work placements and undertake qualitative or quantitative research into aspects of psychological interventions, such as the therapeutic process, experiences of clients and therapists, change processes, differing presenting issues and studies of treatment outcomes. Students also undertake course work units comprising of advanced study which is central to the practice of clinical psychology, as well as units of professional skills development and training.

Location: Hawthorn East Intake: Semester 1 each year
Delivery:  Full Time Only Fees:  Fee information can be found here
Duration: 4 Years FEE-HELP: Yes
Course Code: PY101  
Course Duration and Structure

This four year full time program consists of 400 credit points. Students undertake a total of 22 units of study consisting of nine coursework units (112.5 credit points or 28%), six placement units (75 credit points or 19%) and eight research units (212.5 credit points or 53%).

Year One
MPLc1 Clinical Placement Intensive Workshops
MPE1 Professional Practice and Professional Ethics
MRP1 Research Project A
MDT1 Psychological Assessment, Diagnostic Testing and Interview Competencies
MPLc2 Supervised Clinical Placement B
MCB1 Cognitive-Behavioural Processes and Interventions
MPM1 Child and Adolescent Psychopathology and Intervention
MRP2 Research Project B
Year Two
Supervised Clinical Placement C
MHP1 Health Psychology
MSC1 Adult Psychopathology and Intervention
MRP3 Research Project C
MIP1 Interpersonal Processes and Communication Skills
MPLc4 Supervised Clinical Placement D
MPP1 Psychodynamic Therapy
MRP4 Research Project D
Year Three
DAP1 Advanced Diagnostics and Interventions for Complex Presentations
DPLc5 Supervised Clinical Placement E – with Case Analysis
DRP5 Research Project E
DRP6 Research Project F
Year Four
DPLc6 Supervised Clinical Placement F – with Supervision and Supervisory Training
DRP7 Research Project G
DRP8 Research Project H
Admission Criteria

Applicants accepted into the program must have:

  • A degree from an Australian university and have completed a four-year APAC accredited sequence of studies in psychology at first or upper second class level, normally H1 (80%), in a course or courses accredited by the Australian Psychological Society, or equivalent overseas qualifications recognised by the APS, or a Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)  recognised by APAC.
  • Demonstrated possession of an appropriate level of knowledge and skill related to research. In accordance with the guidelines set by The Cairnmillar Institute to have applied for and gained candidature approved by The Cairnmillar Institute Student Review Committee. Applicants who fail to gain candidature will not be eligible to continue in the doctoral program and may choose to apply for a place in the Master of Psychology (Clinical Psychology) program.

For entry into the course, students are required to submit an application through the Apply Now page, with certified or original scanned copies of the following supporting documentation:

  • Most recent academic transcripts
  • A current curriculum vitae
  • A 500 word personal statement outlining what factors have contributed to the application
  • Proof of residency/citizenship (e.g. passport, birth certificate, or citizenship certificate)
  • Two academic and one professional reference using the online HODSPA reference system. A guide on how to use the system is available here.

Successful applicants will be invited to attend an interview with members of the School Teaching Faculty. Potential students will also have the opportunity to pose any questions they have about the proposed course of study at the interview.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Students applying for this program may enter into a process in which they may be granted credit or partial credit towards the qualification in recognition of previous experience where an equivalence of earlier learning can be established. Credit transfer for an Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) course, is only applicable for recently completed APAC accredited postgraduate programs.

Credit or partial credit is not granted in recognition of knowledge or skills gained through work or life experience. The granting of credit for placements on the basis of previous experience gained as a registered psychologist is not permitted by APAC.

Graduate Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology) develop skills in each of the areas listed below so as to be able to commence the Psychology Board of Australia’s Registrar Program after they graduate, which will allow them to go on to full registration as a psychologist with an area of practice endorsement in clinical psychology.

Knowledge of the Discipline

  • Implement core clinical psychology principles across a range of settings.
  • Assess and diagnose a variety of clinical presentations with reference to the DSM 5.
  • Interpret current research on psychopathology and apply this to formulate appropriate intervention and assessment protocols.

Ethical, Legal and Professional Matters

  • Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the Australian Psychological Society’s Code of Ethics as well as relevant legislation that informs current professional practice.
  • Apply ethical principles to professional practice.

Psychological Assessment and Measurement

  • Develop knowledge of a broad range of assessment measures and understand the theoretical frameworks and psychometric properties that support their empirical validation.
  • Demonstrate an ability to administer, score, interpret and write up specific assessment batteries.

 Intervention Strategies

  • Demonstrate an understanding of a select range of empirically validated interventions suitable for use with adults and children.
  • Perform interventions in an effective and ethical manner and to be able to evaluate therapeutic outcomes.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of interventions used for work with clients who have complex presentations.

Research and Evaluation

  • Demonstrate an expert understanding of a particular topic relevant to Clinical Psychology. This understanding is exhibited by: the development of the intellectual skills necessary to interpret previous findings and developments relevant to their research in clinical psychology and the ability to devise and implement an original research project that is based on sound and current research methods.
  • Conduct high quality research independently and ethically and be able to disseminate findings to both specialist and non-specialist groups.
  • Produce an extended research thesis that makes a unique contribution to existing scholarship in an area of clinical psychology.

Communication and Interpersonal Relationships

  • Demonstrate effective and efficient written and oral communication skills.
  • Relate appropriately to a range of clients and mental health professionals across academic and clinical settings.

Working within a Cross Cultural Context

  • Develop competence in working in a culturally sensitive manner with clients from diverse backgrounds.

Practice across the Lifespan

  • Deliver a range of psychological services appropriate to adults, children, adolescents and older adults.

Supervision and Reflective Self-Practice

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the importance of reflective self-practice and the ability to implement constructive feedback in order to improve clinical practice.
  • Recognise the dynamics of the supervisory relationship in preparation for potential roles as supervisors and leaders in the field of clinical psychology.
Career Opportunities

Graduates of the Cairnmillar Institute’s Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology) are highly sought after for their academic acumen and professional suitability. They have an appreciation of the breadth and depth of psychological practice and are creative and flexible in their thinking. Graduates are committed to working within the scientist-practitioner model and to using interventions and assessments that have been empirically validated. They are familiar with working with a range of clients and their practice is ethical and culturally sensitive.

Graduates are trained for careers in clinical psychological practice, in research, hospital settings, community mental health, education, clinical rehabilitation services, general medical practices, mental health services, and private practice.

Professional Recognition

On completion of the course, graduates of the program will be eligible for:

  • Membership of The Australian Psychological Society (APS)
  • Registration as a psychologist with AHPRA
  • Recognition by the Psychology Board of Australia as a Clinical Psychology Registrar.
  • After one year of a Psychology Board of Australia approved registrar program, membership of the APS College of Clinical Psychologists.
  • Registration as a specialist clinical psychology practitioner with Medicare Australia.