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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 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 seven research units (212.5 credit points or 53%).

Year One
MPLc1 Clinical Placement Intensive Workshops
MCB1 Cognitive Behavioural and Internal Process Interventions
MDT1 Psychological Assessment, Diagnostic Testing and Interview Competencies
MPE1 Professional Practice and Professional Ethics
MRP1 Research Project A
MPLc2 Supervised Clinical Placement B
MPM1 Professional Practice Management & Evidence-Based Treatment Methods
MRP2 Research Project B


Year Two
MHP1 Health Psychology
MSC1 Assessment, Diagnosis and Intervention for Specific Conditions
MPLc3 Supervised Clinical Placement C
MRP3 Research Project C
MPP1 Brief Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
MIP1 Interpersonal Processes and Communication Skills
MPLc4 Supervised Clinical Placement D
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 D
DRP6 Research Project E


Year Four
DPLc6 Supervised Clinical Placement F – with Supervision and Supervisory Training
DRP7 Research Project F
DRP8 Research Project G


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 applications will be invited to attend an interview with members of the School Teaching Faculty, providing potential students the opportunity to discuss any questions they have about the proposed course of study.

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
  • Able to gather information systematically from a wide range of source.
  • Able to practice with clients across the life-span.
  • Able to analyse, articulate and synthesise clinical psychology as a systematic body of knowledge.
  • Administer and interpret a comprehensive range of psychological tests and assessments.

Graduates are adaptable and work professionally and ethically:

  • Communicate and collaborate with other mental health and allied health professionals in a range of organisational contexts and applied settings.
  • Adaptable, flexible, open to new ideas and able to manage change.
  • Apply a range of evidence based psychotherapies and clinical interventions.
  • Apply the professional ethics and guidelines as set down by The Australian Psychological Society Code.
  • Adaptable, flexible, open to new ideas and able to manage change.
  • Recognise the need and be open to continuing professional education and learning.

Graduates are aware of environments:

  • Respect clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  • Understand the impact of culture on therapy.
  • Respect for multiple points of view.
Career Opportunities

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.