Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology)

Why study the Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) at UNE?

The University of New England is committed to maintaining its strong research culture, underpinned by high research training standards. The University Doctor of Philosophy Rules provides the framework for the University's highest level award. They provide the rigorous processes that are essential for the maintenance of academic quality and integrity in the University's operations, and that reflect the University's values of providing a formative, respectful, inclusive, flexible and innovative environment for the delivery of high quality research training for its students.

Eligible Australian and New Zealand students who meet the criteria for entry to this course will not incur fees and will be funded under the Australian Government's Research Training Program (RTP) for the normal duration of the course. International Students incur tuition fees.

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Degree Snapshot


4 Years Full-time
8 Years Part-time




Research Period 1, Online
Research Period 1, On Campus

Official Abbreviation PhD(ClinPsych)
Course Type Postgraduate Research
CRICOS Code 053917E
Location Admission Period Mode of Study
Armidale Research Period 1 Online
Armidale Research Period 1 On Campus
Course Duration
  • 4 Years Full-time
  • 8 Years Part-time
Fees RTP / International
For fee information, click here
Entry Requirements

All applicants must meet the requirements for all Higher Degrees by Research as stated in the English Language Requirements Higher than the University Minimum Requirements Annex to the University's English Language Requirements for Admission Rule.

1. Admission to candidature in the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) (PhD(ClinPsych)) may be approved by the Committee only when the Head of School has:

(a) certified that the necessary facilities and appropriate support for the applicant undertaking the proposed PhD program are available; and

(b) norminated an appropriate Principal Supervisor and Co-supervisor(s) in accordance with Rule 5.

2. The Committee may, on the recommendation of the relevant Head of School, admited to candidature into the course for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) (PhD(ClinPsych)) an applicant who:

(a) has a degree of Bachelor with at least upper second class honours (AQF Level 8) accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council; and

(b) has completed the first year of the Master of Psychology (Clinical) course work component at distinction level; and

(c) has completed and had approved by the Committee a PhD research proposal.

All applicants must meet the University's English Language Requirements for Admission Rule.

Academic Colours

White (BCC 1)

Further Information

Please contact Research Services on (02) 6773 3715 or for online information go to AskUNE

These course rules & plans are ONLY to be used if you commenced, transferred or changed versions in the Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) in 2020.

1. Admission to Candidature

1.1. Admission to candidature in the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) (PhD(ClinPsych)) may be approved by the Committee only when the Head of School has:

(a) certified that the necessary facilities and appropriate support for the applicant undertaking the proposed PhD program are available; and
(b) nominated an appropriate Principal Supervisor and Co-supervisor(s) in accordance with Rule 6.

1.2. The Committee may, on the recommendation of the relevant Head of School, admit to candidature into the course for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) (PhD(ClinPsych)) an applicant who:

(a) has a degree of Bachelor with at least upper second class honours (AQF Level 8) accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council; and
(b) has completed the first year of the Master of Psychology (Clinical) course work component at distinction level; and
(c) has completed and had approved by the Committee a PhD research proposal.

1.3. All applicants must meet the University’s English Language Requirements for Admission Rule.

2. Period of Candidature

2.1. The minimum period of candidature is four years (eight years for part-time candidates), unless otherwise approved by the Committee. The first year is completed full time on campus as part of the Master of Psychology (Clinical).
2.2. The maximum period of candidature is normally six years (eight years for part-time candidates). Extensions may be granted by the Committee in recognition of exceptional circumstances. Part time study is only permitted after successful completion of the first year of full time on campus study as part of the Master of Psychology (Clinical).

3. Course of Study

3.1. The course of study shall comprise a program of course work and practicum experiences and a research thesis on an approved topic:

(a) a first year of course work study in clinical psychology; completion of a practicum placement and completion of the proposal for the thesis completed as part of the Master of Psychology (Clinical);
(b) a second and third year including further course work study in clinical psychology; completion of practicum placement(s); and work focused on thesis research; and
(c) a final year devoted to thesis completion and completion of a final practicum if not completed earlier.

3.2. Program of Study: PSYC503, PSYC505, PSYC506, PSYC507, PSYC512, PSYC513, PSYC515 completed while enrolled in the Master of Psychology (Clinical) and PSYC523, PSYC524, PSYC525 and PSYC526 and a thesis.

4. Conditions of Candidature

4.1. Each PhD candidate is required to consult regularly with his or her supervisors. This may be either in person or using ICT, including video. The supervisors and the Head of School will determine the nature and extent of such consultation after consultation with the candidate.
4.2. The candidate is required to undergo a Confirmation of Candidature process as detailed in the Confirmation of Candidature Policy and Guidelines for UNE Doctoral Students.
4.3. The candidate is required to complete an academic progress report every 6 months.
4.4. The Committee, on the advice of the Head of School, may grant leave of absence from the course of study and research in special cases. The period of such leave shall not be counted as part of the prescribed term of candidature.
4.5. The candidate is required to pursue the course wholly under the control of the University.
4.6. Research may be undertaken away from the University, on the recommendation of the Head of School if the Committee is satisfied that:

(a) the candidate will have access to the required facilities; and
(b) an appropriate supervisor at the away location will be appointed, unless the Head of School recommends otherwise; and
(c) the nature and extent of the consultation between the candidate and University supervisor will be appropriate.

4.7. The candidate will enrol in specified coursework and practicum/practice-based research units concurrently with the PhD thesis as detailed in the program of study.
4.8. A candidate may have their candidature terminated on the grounds of unsatisfactory progress or unprofessional or unethical conduct. Unprofessional or unethical conduct shall be determined with reference to the Australian Psychological Society Code of Ethics and the UNE General Rules, Student Coursework Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism Rules and Student Behavioural Misconduct Rules.
4.9. A candidate may be required to show cause in relation to their performance in the program, consistent with the Higher Degree Research Show Cause Policy and Procedures.

5. Progression Pathway

5.1. A candidate exiting the PhD before completion may be eligible to transfer from the PhD to the Master of Psychology (Clinical) (AQF Level 9).
5.2. Withdrawal from any coursework or practicum unit shall be deemed to be withdrawal from candidature.
5.3. On the recommendation of the Head of School, in consultation with the Course Coordinator, the Committee may readmit to candidature a person who has withdrawn from any component. The Committee, on recommendation from the Head of School shall decide what, if any, of the candidature completed prior to the withdrawal shall be counted towards the new period of candidature.

6. Supervisors - Nomination, Appointment and Responsibilities

6.1. The Head of School must nominate at least two supervisors of the candidate, for appointment by the Committee. This will be varied only under exceptional circumstances as deemed by the Head of School.
6.2. One supervisor shall be nominated as Principal Supervisor and the remaining as Co-supervisors.
6.3. Principal and Co-supervisors must comply with the Registration of Research Higher Degree Supervisors Policy and Procedures.
6.4. The nomination of supervisor will include an estimate of the expected percentage input from each supervisor.
6.5. For external candidates, a suitable supervisor at the external location, who has agreed to act as such, shall be nominated, where appropriate, as a Co-supervisor.
6.6. The Committee, on the joint recommendation of the Head of School and the PVC (Research), may recommend termination of candidature, if it is satisfied that the University can no longer provide appropriate supervision. In such circumstance, the University will provide any necessary administrative assistance to the student to facilitate the transfer to another institution.
6.7. The candidate has the right to request a change of supervisor. Such a request must be submitted to the Head of School, who after consultation will provide the Committee with a recommendation and nomination of alternative supervisor for approval.

7. Examination Process

7.1. Eligibility for the Award

7.1.1. To be eligible for the award of the Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology), a candidate must have:

(a) passed the prescribed course work program at the equivalent of Distinction-level or better;
(b) successfully completed all clinical practice experience prescribed by the School; and
(c) successfully passed the examination of the thesis.

7.1.2. The outcomes described in Rule 7.1.1.(a) and (b) are considered to be mandatory program hurdles. The final outcome for the award of the degree is determined entirely by whether or not Rule 7.1.1.(c) is achieved.

7.2. Submission Requirements

7.2.1. The candidate shall present for examination a thesis in a format approved by the Committee embodying the results of the PhD work.
7.2.2. The thesis, exclusive of appendices, shall not exceed 100,000 words and in scientific subjects should not normally exceed 50,000 words (200 pages). In special cases these limits may be exceeded on the recommendation of the Principal Supervisor and Head of School and approval of the Committee.
7.2.3. A thesis must be in English unless the Committee has approved otherwise.
7.2.4. The sources from which the information is derived, the extent to which the work of others has been used and to which the assistance of individuals, associations or institutions has been obtained, must be acknowledged generally in a preface or introduction, specifically in notes, a bibliography or appendices, and must be, throughout the thesis, shown clearly and fully by appropriate references.
7.2.5. The candidate may not present as the thesis any work that has been the basis of the award of a degree at this or another university but, if clearly indicated may be incorporated in the thesis.
7.2.6. The candidate and supervisors will ensure compliance with the Management and Storage of Research Data and Materials Policy.
7.2.7. The candidate shall submit to the Committee the thesis in digital format and three hard copies. If the thesis has multi-media or creative practice components, four copies of such components must also be submitted along with clear instructions as to their usage as well as a listing of computer hardware, software and other requirements needed by examiners and other readers of the work. All multimedia or creative practice components must be accessible by examiners.
7.2.8. At the time of thesis submission, the Principal Supervisor shall submit certification to the Committee that the supervisors and Head of School consider the form and content of the thesis are suitable for examination.
7.2.9. Candidates can appeal to the Committee if thesis examination is requested without certification of the Principal Supervisor and the Head of School. If the Committee accepts the thesis for examination then the examiners will not be advised that the thesis was submitted without School support.

7.3. Thesis Examination Process

7.3.1. Prior to the submission of a thesis the Head of School and Principal Supervisor must recommend to the Committee the names of three examiners and a reserve fourth examiner, selected from a pool of at least five potential examiners, assembled through consultation between the Principal Supervisor, the candidate and all current supervisors. The Committee makes the final appointment. The candidate will not be given any indication of the final set of examiners that have been recommended and appointed.
7.3.2. At least two of the actual examiners must be independent experts with international standing who are external to the University and to any collaborating institution involved in the work. The Committee must be advised on both potential conflicts of interest (Conflict of Interest Policy), provide evidence of international standing and indicate whether each examiner has experience examining higher-degree research theses. The Head of School or Principal Supervisor, as appropriate, will obtain written or email consent from each examiner excepting the reserve, to examine the thesis within 6 weeks of receipt.
7.3.3. Additional examiners, if required during the examination process will be made from the original pool of examiners, unless otherwise instructed by the Committee.
7.3.4. Each examiner shall make a separate written report on the merits of the thesis but thereafter may be required to consult with the other examiners and report to the Committee. Each examiner will be requested to provide his or her report within six weeks of receipt of the thesis. If an examiner fails to provide his or her report, after appropriate reminders, within a maximum of two months, the Committee, after consultation with the relevant Head of School, may notify the examiner that his or her services are no longer required and the reserve examiner may then be activated as a replacement.

7.4. Thesis Examination Outcomes

7.4.1. Taking into account the recommendations of the examiners, the Committee may:

(a) recommend that the degree be awarded;
(b) recommend that the degree be awarded conditional upon the making of such amendments as the Committee deems appropriate;
(c) request the examiners to consult and report to the Committee;
(d) appoint an additional examiner or examiners;
(e) appoint an external adjudicator who shall consider the examiners’ reports in light of the thesis and recommend a resolution to the Committee;
(f) require the candidate to sit for such written, oral or practical examinations as the Committee may prescribe;
(g) permit a candidate to revise the thesis for re-examination if, in the opinion of the Committee the work is of sufficient merit to warrant this concession;
(h) recommend that the degree be not awarded.

7.4.2. A candidate awarded the degree in terms of Rule 7.4.1(b) shall complete the amendments within three months for minor amendments and six months for major amendments. These will be made to the satisfaction of the Principal Supervisor and the relevant Head of School.
7.4.3. A candidate permitted to revise a thesis for re-examination in terms of Rule 7.4.1(g) shall complete the revision within 9 months under the supervision of a Principal Supervisor or supervisors endorsed by the Committee.
7.4.4. A candidate who has revised a thesis in terms of Rule 7.4.1(g) and the outcome is that the degree not be awarded shall only be eligible for a further examination through an appeal under the Academic Assessment Appeals Policy.
7.4.5. An external adjudicator will only be appointed by the Committee if the three examiners are unable to come to a consensus recommendation. The adjudicator will be required to consider the examiners’ reports and the thesis and recommend a resolution. If the adjudicator recommends that the candidate’s thesis be revised and resubmitted, then the adjudicator will serve as the sole examiner for the resubmitted thesis.

7.5. Process Upon Recommendation of 'Degree Not Be Awarded'

7.5.1. Where any examination, adjudication or consultation report is received by the Committee, on which basis the Committee is considering recommending that the candidate not be awarded the degree pursuant to 7.4.1(h), the Candidate and their Principal Supervisor shall be notified in writing of the content of that report and may within eight weeks lodge a response limited to the academic and substantive matters raised therein.
7.5.2. The Principal Supervisor and student’s responses may then be sent to the examiners who shall be invited to provide a comment on the impact of those responses on their original recommendations.
7.5.3. The Committee shall take into account the submissions of the Principal Supervisor and/or student, and any comments on these from the examiners, in determining whether the degree be awarded.

7.6. Appeals against decisions of the Committee concerning academic assessment of PhD candidates

Candidates have the right of appeal against an unfavourable examination outcome described in Rule 7.4.1 and may appeal under Section 1.8(g) of the Academic Assessment Appeals Policy and Section 10 of the Academic Assessment Appeals Procedures.


Course Aims

The Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) course aims are to provide a program of independent, supervised research for high calibre graduates that makes a substantial and original contribution to scholarship and mastery of an academic field of knowledge. In addition it aims to equip graduates with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for general registration as a psychologist in Australia.

Learning Outcomes Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. exhibit an expert understanding of an academic field of knowledge relevant to Clinical Psychology by: (a) having systematically acquired a substantial body of intellectual skill and experience that is grounded in contemporary developments in the field of Clinical Psychology; (b) creating and communicating original scholarship of a quality to satisfy peer review, extending the frontier of the field of knowledge and potentially meriting publication: (c) demonstrating thorough knowledge of research principles and methods applicable in advanced academic inquiry;
  2. conduct research independently and systematically by: (a) conceptualising, designing and implementing a project which will increase knowledge that is applicable or contributes new insights to the field of Clinical Psychology: (b) evaluating ideas and making informed judgments on complex issues or challenges in the field of specialisation; (c) communicating ideas, methodologies and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences; and
  3. be accountable for their own learning and professional training by: (a) demonstrating the capacity to undertake further learning and/or a further career in or around research at an advanced level, and contributing substantially to the development or dissemination of new techniques, ideas or approaches; (b) displaying the qualities and attributes necessary to exercise personal responsibility and autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations, whether in professional environments or in the public domain.
Graduate Attributes
Knowledge of a Discipline

Graduates have an extensive knowledge of clinical psychology practice, including an understanding of assessment, diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology across the lifespan. Graduates also have an advanced and demonstrated knowledge in research within clinical psychology. Graduates site their clinical practice within international perspectives on theory, diagnostic systems and evidence-based treatments. Graduates respect clients from diverse cultural backgrounds and understand the impact of culture on therapy.

Communication Skills

Graduates have high level verbal and written communication skills and effective interpersonal skills for psychology practice and research. Graduates communicate with professionals and the general and scientific community via case reports, research reports, peer-reviewed publications and oral presentations.

Problem Solving

Graduates are logical and critical thinkers, able to select and use evidence-based procedures and techniques and critically evaluate their practice as well as research evidence.

Information Literacy

Graduates have advanced information literacy skills gained through literature searching, objective scientific writing, and exposure to resources for professional practice and research.

Ethical Conduct and Social Responsibility

Graduates practice within the legal and ethical frameworks of the profession. Graduates also have a sense of social responsibility for knowledge and decision-making and its application in professional practice. Through the application of the scientist-practitioner model, graduates contribute to the development of the profession.

Lifelong Learning

Graduates engage in continuing professional development accessing research and skills training to inform clinical practice. Graduates are also adaptable and flexible, open to new ideas and able to manage change. Graduates communicate research findings to the scientific and professional communities.

Independence and Collaboration

Graduates practice across a variety of clinical and research settings and work independently or collaboratively within multidisciplinary teams. Graduates respect multiple points of view and interact in accordance with professional ethics.

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