Why Study at the University of Sydney?
Train as a Clinical Psychologist
Clinical psychologists are involved in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of psychological disorders. Some examples include: eating disorders and weight control problems; fears, phobias, and anxiety disorders; marital and family relationship problems; chronic pain conditions; depression and grief; sexual difficulties ; children's learning and behavioural difficulties; developmental disorders e.g., autism; drug, alcohol and gambling addictions.
While most clinical psychologists are practitioners, they may also teach and conduct research in various settings such as universities, hospitals, schools, and community health centres, particularly looking for causal factors that may contribute to mental ill-health. They are often involved in the development of new treatment techniques or the refinement of well established methods, in order to extend our knowledge of abnormal behaviour.
Accredited by Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) and Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA)
The MCP and MCP&PhD programs are accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) as a 5th and 6th year of training, and is an approved qualification for Associate Membership of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) and the Australian Psychological Society (APS) College of Clinical Psychologists. (Please note that as a newly developed degree the MCP has accreditation with conditions, until the first cohort of graduates have graduated from the programme.) The Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) also recognizes the MCP and MCP&PhD programs for the purposes of registration and for endorsement of practice in clinical psychology. The MCP and MCP&PhD degrees are recognized, in principle, by the New South Wales Ministry of Health as qualifying the holder for progression to the grade of Clinical Psychologist.
Graduates of the MCP will be eligible for full registration with the Psychology Board of Australia. For the MCP&PhD program, students will be eligible for full registration with AHPRA's Psychology Board of Australia, following the completion of all coursework and placements of the MCP, and research writing has progressed sufficiently to be equivalent in size and scope to the thesis requirements for the MCP.
In order to gain endorsement from the Psychology Registration Board of Australia as a Clinical Psychologist, following the completion of the MCP or MCP&PhD program, graduates need to undertake a two-year full time equivalent Registrar program. The Clinical Psychology Registrar program is a two-year full time equivalent program which involves clinical psychology practice, supervision, and continuing professional development.
MCP - Two years of full time study
The Master of Clinical Psychology(MCP) is a two year full time program comprised of academic course work, supervised clinical placements and research, as outlined below:
- Academic coursework involves lectures, workshops, forums and seminars by University of Sydney academic staff. The coursework component is timetabled on-campus during business hours.
- Supervised clinical internship experience is gained through two internal clinical placements in the on-campus Psychology Clinic and two external clinical placements in hospital and community settings. The program includes a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised clinical placement experience.
- The research component is approximately 25% of the program, averaged across the three years, and requires the completion of a research thesis.
Coursework is timetabled throughout the two years of the program, with the most intensive component in first semester of first year. The subsequent semesters average at one and a half days per week for coursework and two days per week for clinical placements. Students are expected to devote one to one and a half days per week to research in the first year, with this load increasing to two days per week in the second year. Due to such an intensive workload and timetable, students often only manage to work one day per week.
MCP & PhD - Combined Degree
The combined degree of Master of Clinical Psychology and Doctor of Philosophy (MCP&PhD) provides clinical psychology training to candidates who also wish to complete a PhD because they are interested in a research or academic career in clinical psychology. The program is structured so that 96 credit points of the MCP coursework is completed over three years: students enrol full time in the MCP coursework in first year; the second and third years involve concurrent part time enrolment in the MCP coursework and full time enrolment in the PhD. Students will enrol full time in the PhD for the remaining three semesters. The total duration of this combined degree is 4.5 years (or 9 semesters). Full time enrolment in the PhD will allow students to be eligible for research scholarships from the second year of the course.
Students are advised to contact the relevant accreditation and registration bodies in their own country for accurate advice regarding international equivalency for accreditation and registration of the MCP and MCP & PhD programs. However, with careful selection of clinical placements and additional clinical placements hours, MCP & PhD graduates can meet UK, US and Canadian standards.
Scientist Practitioner model
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 a professional Clinical Psychologist in a variety of clinical settings. Advanced units of student and external clinical placements allow students to develop a breadth of clinical experience as they are introduced to additional therapeutic approaches.
Interns receive in depth training in cognitive behaviour therapy which they can then apply to a wide range of clinical disorders. The academic and clinical staff are at the cutting edge of the application of CBT and other therapies in their fields of interest. Although clinical students become proficient in the application of CBT, they are offered training in other forms of treatment as well, such as family therapy, interpersonal therapy, schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy and integrated psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
Emphasis on professional practice
The academic and practical components of the program are focused on providing a sound research-based foundation of diverse knowledge for professional clinical practice and interns are strongly supported in the application of this knowledge to develop skills, understanding, ethical values and approaches necessary for good clinical practice. Commencing from a foundation of strong cognitive-behavioural therapy applications, other theoretical models and approaches are integrated into practise in response to the client’s needs. This provides a well-rounded and thorough education and training that best suits a wide range of clients in most settings.
Throughout training, strong supervision is offered by experts in a range of settings with a variety of clients presenting with diverse problems. In the training clinic, expert supervision is provided by academic and clinical staff in the practical application of knowledge and theory. A developmental model of supervision is utilised whereby clear direction and focus is offered early on with a gradual increase in self-direction by interns over time as confidence and skills build. In external internships, interns undertake work with specialists in adult therapy, child, adolescent and family therapy, and in an area of specialisation that may be linked to their area of research. This best prepares them for clinical practice in a range of areas as well-qualified professionals.
On Campus 'training' - Psychology Clinic
Before proceeding to the two 6-month long external clinical placements in hospitals and community settings, students are trained in a Psychology Clinic on campus across two internal clinical placements. The on campus Psychology Clinic offers psychological services to the general community for a broad range of problems for adults, children, adolescents and families, psychometric assessments and group therapy. The Clinic receives a steady flow of referrals, often with a waiting list of clients. Students receive both one to one and group supervision. Supervisors are able to observe the student's work directly through a one way observation window, through audio and video recordings and also through the live direct feed audio-visual system.
Intensive clinical supervision with observation facilities
In late 2010, the Psychology Clinic moved into a newly refurbished space. The Clinic has twelve consulting rooms, including a group/meeting room and eleven others equipped for therapy and psychometric assessments. Six of the Clinic rooms have observation windows with audio equipment for direct observation from an observation room. All rooms have audio-visual recording and viewing capacity.
The Interns' Office is equipped with computers, printer, office supplies, etc. for use whilst on clinical placement in the Clinic. The Interns' Office has three phone booths for confidential telephone contact with patients. In the early stages of training, Clinical Supervisors observe sessions. In addition, students may make audio and visual recordings of their sessions for feedback and teaching purposes. Weekly supervision is provided in small groups of up to four, in addition to weekly individual supervision.
Excellent links with Sydney teaching hospitals
The clinical program has excellent links with major teaching hospitals in Sydney (both public and private) as well as community based settings. The School of Psychology is one of the only Universities in Sydney to foster clinical conjoint academic positions in hospital settings. As a result, we have outstanding clinical rotation opportunities at both Westmead Hospital and the Children's Hospital at Westmead. We are able to offer clinical internships in diverse settings resulting in our students becoming competent treating adults, adolescents, children and older adults, with complex psychiatric/psychological disorders.
Excellent clinical research opportunities
Academic staff have expertise and are able to supervise research projects in a range of areas, including anxiety disorders, eating disorders, health psychology, gambling, neurological conditions, child clinical psychology, neuropsychological disorders, and child clinical neuropsychology. Students have the opportunity to specialize within the MCP program by tailoring both their choice of external clinical placements and research project to their area of interest.