3.5 to 4 years full-time.
Interrelated streams of theory, research and practice provide the skills needed to become a registered psychologist.
Our award winning teaching strategies and learning resources, include simulation and competency-based assessment approaches.
The course is based on the scientist/practitioner model that rests firmly on a foundation of established knowledge and current evidence-based research.
Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) covers clinical psychology across the lifespan and also includes a focus on the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and families.
You will have opportunities to develop clinical skills in our unique clinics imbedded in public mental health and through placements in an array of community agencies.
You will undertake a program of independent supervised research that makes a significant and original contribution to the knowledge and practice of clinical psychology.Read More
- Award granted
- Doctor of Psychology (Clinical)
2024 course information
- Deakin code
- CRICOS code?
- 022556D Burwood (Melbourne)
- Higher Degree Research
- Approval status
This course is approved by the University under the Higher Education Standards Framework.
- Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognition
The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 10.
To complete the Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) students must attain 24 credit points covering three strands: theory, research and practice.
This is a full-time course, designed for completion within 3.5 to 4 years. It is comprised of three inter-related strands of theory, research, and practice.
The coursework units are in the first and second trimesters, with placement and thesis components undertaken throughout the entire year (Trimesters 1, 2 and 3). In the later part of the third year and into the fourth year, students will focus on completion of their thesis. Some students will be ready to submit their thesis earlier than the maximum completion time. Students should note that delays in either completion of the research thesis or delays in accessing or completing placements may mean that the duration of the course may be extended.
The course formally commences in early February, when students are required to attend an orientation session and commence work on their thesis.
Students are required to meet the University's academic progress and conduct requirements.
Students who commenced their course prior to 2017 should refer to previous handbook entries.
Level 1 - Trimester 1
Level 1 - Trimester 2
Level 2 - Trimester 1
Level 2 - Trimester 2
Level 3 - Trimester 1
Level 3 - Trimester 2
Note: Consistent with a developmental approach, there is a prescribed sequence for coursework and placement units such that successful completion of earlier units is required to enrol in later units. Specific information regarding pre-requisites are described in the individual Unit Guides.
Intakes by location
The availability of a course varies across locations and intakes. This means that a course offered in Trimester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Trimester 2 or 3. Check each intake for up-to-date information on when and where you can commence your studies.
Trimester 1 - March
- Start date: March
- Available at:
- Burwood (Melbourne)
Additional course information
Additional Course Information
The Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) is a research degree and requires students to complete a thesis equivalent in conceptual complexity to the traditional research PhD, but of somewhat lesser size and scope. The thesis consists of two components:
1) a Major Investigative Project, involving a report on an empirical study or series of studies on a topic of relevance to clinical psychology and that can be undertaken by publication or in traditional form;
2) Four Research Case Reports that use single-subject case study methodology and include a critical appraisal of relevant literature.
Each student will work with a supervisory team to complete their thesis.
Course duration may be affected by delays in completing course requirements, such as accessing or completing work placements.
Mandatory student checks
In accordance with Department of Human Services policy, all students are required to undertake a National Police Record Check prior to clinical placements in each calendar year of their course.
In accordance with the Department of Justice 2007, Working with Children Act 2005, amended 2017, all students are required to undertake a Working with Children Check at the commencement of their course. Students who fail to obtain a Police Record Check and a Working with Children Check prior to the commencement of clinical placement will not be able to undertake clinical placement and this will impede progress in the course.
Students may also be required to declare their immunisation status to satisfy the requirements of health organisations where they will be undertaking their clinical learning experience. A health organisation may refuse to accept a student for placement if the student’s immunisation status is not satisfactory to the health organisation.
Under the regulations of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009, Master of Psychology students are required to be provisionally registered from the commencement of enrolment and for the duration of enrolment in their degree. This is a mandatory requirement. Students should apply online for provisional registration with the Psychology Board of Australia as soon as they have been accepted into the degree. Alternatively, a paper form is available on the Board’s website (see Application for provisional registration - APRO-76
The Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) program is a full-time course and as such, it requires a full-time commitment from students.
Nevertheless, it is recognised that many students will need to work to support themselves for the duration of their study. Students are advised that working over and above 8 hours per week is likely to impact their progress through the course.
The Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) program is a multi-campus program across Deakin Burwood and Deakin Waterfront. The face-to-face coursework component is predominantly held at the Burwood Campus in a purpose built clinical teaching facility. Some teaching will be held in Geelong including some full-day clinical teaching workshops while other aspects of the teaching and learning occurs online. As part of their placement program, trainees will engage in placements in key partnerships across Barwon Health and metropolitan Melbourne as well as rural and regional placement opportunities.
Students are required to complete 4 compulsory clinical placements of 2-3 days per week for approximately 20-25 weeks. These placements include at least one placement in the Barwon region.Placement can occur at any time, including during standard holiday breaks. Learn about key dates at Deakin.
Reasonable adjustments to participation and other course requirements will be made for students with a disability. More information available at Disability support services.
The clinical placements are designed to equip students with a range of professional skills and an awareness of professional issues. Students will benefit from Deakin’s key placement partnerships including Barwon Health other organisations to ensure they gain experience across child, adolescent and adult populations. The placement program will be determined jointly by the student, the placement coordinators, and the course leadership team. Each placement requires the full complement of days to be completed. Failure of any one placement may result in exclusion from the course.
The placement program overall provides students with diverse clinical experience across community and institutional care; and medical and non-medical agencies. The placement program will be determined jointly by the student, the placement coordinators, and the course leadership team. Contracts will be drawn up which will clearly specify the skills to be taught and the responsibilities of the student and placement supervisor. With few exceptions, Placement supervisors are registered psychologists with a clinical endorsement as a specialised area of practice, as well as being Registered supervisors. Each placement requires the full complement of days to be completed. Failure of any one placement may result in exclusion from the course.
Selection is based on a holistic consideration of your academic merit, work experience, likelihood of success, availability of places, participation requirements, regulatory requirements, and individual circumstances. You will need to meet the minimum course entry requirements to be considered for selection, but this does not guarantee admission.
- completion of a four year tertiary program* of study from an APAC accredited program completed in the last 10 years, with a minimum of Honours 2A average in the fourth year of study or equivalent and
- eligibility for registration as a provisional psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia
*The fourth year may be an honours program or a graduate diploma. If you are applying with an international qualification this must be assessed as equivalent by the Australian Psychological Society.
English language proficiency requirements
To meet the English language proficiency requirements of this course, you will need to demonstrate at least one of the following:
- bachelor degree from a recognised English-speaking country
- IELTS overall score of 7.0 (with no band score less than 6.5) or equivalent
- other evidence of English language proficiency (learn more about other ways to satisfy the requirements)
The pre-requisites for admission to the course are the completion of a four year major sequence of study in psychology that is APAC accredited and meets the requirements for registration as a provisional psychologist in Australia. The fourth year may be an honours year or a graduate diploma.
Entry is extremely competitive, based on academic results, relevant work experience, referees’ reports, personal statements and performance at interview before a panel of School selection staff. Applicants are required to have achieved a minimum honours grade of H2A in their fourth year of study, but ideally a H1 first class honours grade, or equivalent.
Admission to research degree candidature is normally granted on the basis of a bachelors degree with honours or a bachelors degree followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology.
You will be required to provide two referee reports with your application. Two academic referees are preferred but where a second academic referee cannot be sought by an applicant, a professional referee may be suitable if they are in the position to respond to the criteria assessed in the referee reports. Information on how to obtain and share references can be found at the Psychology Reference Portal.
Preferred referees include 4th year supervisors and course directors from your university, however we will also consider other academic referees with working relationships within the area of psychology. You are not required to include referee information through the Deakin University direct application portal.
Recognition of prior learning
Credit for coursework can be approved only if it is strictly equivalent to coursework in the current course and was successfully completed in an APAC accredited course within the previous ten years. Credit for placement experience completed as part of their current employment can only be given if it is of direct relevance to the course, would ordinarily be undertaken by a qualified psychologist, and if supervision fulfils all of the usual requirements of course placements. Credit cannot be provided for previous employment experience prior to entry into the course as it is not integrated into the overall learning undertaken during the course. Credit cannot be provided for previous research experience, including research higher degrees.
A Deakin scholarship might change your life. If you've got something special to offer Deakin – or you just need the financial help to get you here – we may have a scholarship opportunity for you.
For more information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply webpage. If you're still having problems, please contact us for assistance.
As a HDR program, it is not typical for students to seek for transfer to an alternative course. In the unusual circumstances where students are not meeting the competencies for the coursework and practice aspects of the program, they may seek to or be encouraged to transfer to a research only program (including to a PhD). In these cases they must can apply in the usual manner for entry into the PhD course, competing with newly applying HDR students. They must also successfully undertake a Doctoral level thesis confirmation.
Our friendly advisers are available to speak to you one-on-one about your study options, support services and how we can help you further your career.
Clinical psychologists are specialists in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of psychological and mental health conditions that range from mild to severe and complex. They are often involved in designing and implementing a diverse range of prevention and mental health promotion programs, and may work with infants, children, adolescents, adults and older adults. Graduates typically are employed in one of the many government and non-government agencies that employ clinical psychologists in either community or hospital settings. After some years of practice and clinical supervision, some clinical psychologists establish a private practice. 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 and groups.
This course has been accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) in accordance with the Accreditation Standards for Psychology Program (APAC, 2010). These standards are designed for accreditation of programs such as this for pathway to practice as a registered psychologist. As such, this course is approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) for the purposes of approving it under the National Law.
On completion of this course graduates may apply to the PsyBA for registration as a psychologist. To obtain endorsement in the Clinical area of specialisation graduates are required to complete one year of approved supervised practice and fulfil professional development requirements.
Note: This course is accredited at the date of publishing. The eligibility of students for registration by the Psychology Board of Australia, and for membership of professional bodies such as the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and its Clinical College is subject to meeting the requirements of the regulatory body and the professional association. Deakin University makes no representation that students will meet those requirements.
Students should note that the Accreditation Standards for Psychology Programs have been reviewed and updated (Accreditation Standards for Psychology Programs (2017)) and these new standards will apply to incoming students from 1 January 2019.
Course learning outcomes
Deakin's graduate learning outcomes describe the knowledge and capabilities graduates can demonstrate at the completion of their course. These outcomes mean that regardless of the Deakin course you undertake, you can rest assured your degree will teach you the skills and professional attributes that employers value. They'll set you up to learn and work effectively in the future.
Graduate Learning Outcomes
Course Learning Outcomes
Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities
Display an advanced and integrated knowledge of psychopathology and the theoretical principles underlying the practice of clinical psychology, with respect to evidence-based practice of assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention across the lifespan and with a focus on children and families.
Compose clearly written case reports; demonstrate effective verbal and interpersonal communication skills using appropriate language to communicate with specialists and non-specialists such as other health professionals, clients and carers within a range of professional settings.
Expert use of appropriate technologies to collect relevant discipline-specific information; assemble, evaluate, justify and integrate this information to formulate appropriate hypotheses, assessment and treatment approaches and disseminate this information to clients and health professionals.
Competence in the design and conduct of research; and critically evaluate, synthesise and integrate complex scientific evidence, transform this information into case formulations, assessment, interventions and policy that demonstrate evidence-based professional practice in the field of clinical psychology.
Expert skills to critically analyse theoretical frameworks and adapt knowledge and skills from psychological, biological and medical fields to design multiple, creative assessment and treatment approaches tailored to meet the needs of diverse client presentations.
Demonstrate ethical and professional practice, showing personal autonomy, accountability, good judgment and reflective practice in all areas of psychological and professional work and scholarship.
Develop, maintain and manage professional, ethical and collaborative relationships with multidisciplinary team members and stakeholders to work effectively together in the best interest of the client and the profession.
Demonstrate, report and apply ethical, legal and professional principles to work productively as a clinical psychologist within diverse social, cultural and environmental contexts by collaborating and communicating in a self-reflective and culturally sensitive manner.