School of Psychology - Leading psychological science, scholarship and practice

Clinical Psychology

The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is a specialised programme on offer to postgraduate students. Read more about this course here.

Clinical Psychology at The University of Auckland is undertaken as a doctoral programme of study. This programme is restricted to New Zealand and Australian citizens/residents.

The Clinical Psychology programme in our school consists of four years:

  • Year 1: Honours
  • Year 2: Doctor of Clinical Psychology year 1
  • Year 3: Doctor of Clinical Psychology year 2
  • Year 4: Doctor of Clinical Psychology year 3

Clinical Psychology is a broad field of clinical practice and research within the discipline of Psychology. Clinical Psychologists are involved in professional practice, research, teaching and supervision, programme development and evaluation, consultation, public policy and other activities that promote psychological health in individuals, families, groups, organisations and communities. The application of Clinical Psychology is aimed at preventing, treating and reducing emotional and psychological problems, personality issues, psychopathology and skill deficits underlying distress or psychological problems.

A career in Clinical Psychology allows one to work in human service fields, including the District Health Boards, the Department of Correction Psychological Services, private practice and other social welfare and counselling agencies.

The Clinical Psychology programme is based at the Tāmaki campus. In addition to staff offices and a main reception, there are student offices and computer workstations, a Psychology Clinic where students see clients and a clinical test library.

Nigel George
Dr Nigel George in the Psychology Clinic

DClinPsy graduates will:

  1. Demonstrate advanced skills in the definition, management and communication of research in the area of clinical psychology
  2. Have advanced knowledge and comprehension of research, theory, applications and methods of practice in clinical psychology
  3. Demonstrate the skills necessary for providing effective, safe and ethical psychological services in mental health and other agencies that employ Registered Psychologists 
  4. Complete the three-part programme, which consists of Part I, Part II, and Part III as follows. PSYCH 897 and 899 are awarded only on completion of the whole course. 
  5. Pass all years of study. A student who fails any year of the course may be declined permission to enrol again in that year of the course or in the course as a whole. 

Qualification structure

The postgraduate Clinical Psychology Programme has a four year duration. This area of study commences with a one-year Honours degree in Psychology (specialising in the area of Clinical Psychology). Successful candidates are then expected to continue on to a three-year Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy).

The DClinPsy has approval from the New Zealand Psychologists Board and allows graduates to apply to be registered in the Clinical Psychology Scope of Practice.

To gain entry into the three-year doctorate, students must first apply for and complete the Clinical Honours year.

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) / Bachelor of Science (Honours)

You will be required to enrol in courses totalling 120 points.

This includes compulsory clinical courses:

  • PSYCH 708: A & B Clinical Neuropsychology (30 points)
  • PSYCH 718: Psychotherapeutic Assessment and Formulation (15 points)
  • PSYCH 723: Mental Health problems: Aetiology and assessment (15 Points)
  • PSYCH 788: Honours dissertation (45 points)
  • AND one other 15 point postgraduate course (we recommend PSYCH 707)

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

To be eligible for entry into the DClinPsy students must demonstrate the ability and personal qualities necessary to undertake a doctoral level research oriented course of study that satisfies the eligibility requirements for registration to practice as a psychologist. Students must also maintain a B+ average in their Honours year.

Year 1:

  • PSYCH 801: Scientist Practitioner Model—Part 1 (30 points)
  • PSYCH 897: Portfolio of Clinical Research—Part 1 (15 points)
  • PSYCH 899: Thesis—Part 1 (75 points)

(includes 200 hours of placement).

Year 2:

  • PSYCH 802: Scientist Practitioner Model—Part 2 (30 points)
  • PSYCH 897: Portfolio of Clinical Research—Part 2 (30 points)
  • PSYCH 899: Thesis—Part 2 (60 points)

(includes two placements of 200 hours each).

Year 3:

  • PSYCH 803: Internship (60 points)
  • PSYCH 897: Portfolio of Clinical Research—Part 3 (45 points)
  • PSYCH 899: Thesis—Part 3 (15 points)

(includes 1500 hours of internship)

The placement component is at least one child/family and one adult placement. Evaluation is by internal examination for individual courses/placements and external examination for the research components.

Registration as an Intern Psychologist

Students completing an internship are required to register with the New Zealand Psychologists Board. Clients cannot be seen and internship hours cannot be counted until registration has been approved.

Instructions for how to register are available on the Psychologists Board website.

An essential part of the registration process is the completion of a police vetting process in order to comply with the requirements of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 and the Vulnerable Children Act 2015. You are required to provide the Board with information and authority for them to apply to the Police for disclosure of your records.

Please make sure that you start this registration process at the time of acceptance in the third year of our programme (internship). The police vetting process may take several weeks to complete so late applications for registration with the Board could result in delays to starting your internship.

The application documents are indicated below. All documents should be sent to the NZPB. If you have questions you could contact the NZPB or us directly.

Applicants must provide a copy of:

1)                  Fully completed and witnessed three-page application form and certified colour passport sized photo.

2)                  The police vetting forms – do not complete page 2

3)                  A photocopy of your driver's licence

4)                  Your official university transcript

5)                  Your CV

6)                  References – must be originals

You need not pay the application fee until you commence your internship.

Upon request we can provide a reference letter.

Once you have secured your internship placements, provide the NZPB with a work address and email.


Students who already have Honours/Masters/PhD

Students may also apply for entry to the Clinical Psychology programme if they have the following minimum academic entry criteria:

  1. a Masters or Honours degree in Psychology
  2. a PhD in Psychology.

If selected they will enrol in PSYCH: 708, PSYCH: 718 and PSYCH: 723, if they have not already been credited with these courses. These courses must be completed prior to commencing the three-year DClinPsy.

Please remember if you have completed these prerequisites, that we select our students as a complete cohort. This means you would have a stand down year while the rest of your cohort completes these requirements.


Supervision areas

  • Adult mental health
  • Child and adolescent mental health
  • Forensic psychology
  • Trauma
  • Clinical neuropsychology
  • Family psychology including divorce and stepfamilies
  • Psychotherapy

Entry criteria

To gain entry into the three-year Doctor of Clinical Psychology programme students must first apply to, and complete, an Honours year specialising in Clinical Psychology. This includes compulsory Clinical Psychology courses.

Students who already have a postgraduate Psychology degree (such as Honours or Masters) would, if selected, undertake only those compulsory courses they have not already passed.

Entry into the Clinical programme is limited to 11 students per year and restricted to New Zealand/Australian citizens/residents. Entry is based on application, selection and interview. Applicants must meet the faculty entry requirements for BA or BSc (Hons), as well as school requirements. Students should consult the relevant faculty and The University of Auckland calendar for the regulations governing these qualifications.

Application forms are available online by the end of August of the year previous to study and the closing date for applications is 1 November. Up to 25 applicants are formally interviewed in mid November and from this group, up to 11 applicants will be selected for the programme.

Find the application forms for Clinical Psychology on Application forms.

Please read this in conjunction with the Clinical information sheet which is also provided under Application forms.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the course?

In total, this is a four year programme. One year studying at Honours level, then three years of doctoral study.

I have already completed all the pre-requisite courses before selection. Can I go straight into the doctorate?

Generally students who have already completed the pre-requisites will have a stand-down year if they are selected. There are a limited number of spaces and each year will move through as a cohort.

I have completed courses at another university that sound similar to the prerequisites. Can these be cross-credited?

No, courses between universities differ to some extent, and each course here is designed specifically to our requirements.

What do I need to do to apply?

Applications are open each year from 1 September to 1 November. There are three steps to applying:

  • Apply for Admission through Student Services Online (SSO). DO NOT apply for the doctoral at this stage. You are applying for pre-entry - either Honours or a Certificate of Proficiency (COP) dependent on your existing qualifications.
  • Apply directly to the School of Psychology on the Supplementary application form found on the webpage
  • Organise two references and send them either the reference form or the electronic link from the webpage.

I have a degree in a different subject, what can I do?

Please see the information on our bridging programmes. You can complete a one year course of study taking the required Psychology courses either as a Graduate Diploma or a Certificate of Proficiency.  Completing the bridging programme does not guarantee you entry into the Clinical Psychology programme, studens will still need to apply and go through the selection process.


Further information

Further information about Clinical Psychology can be obtained from:

Clinical Programme Co-Director
Dr Susan Cowie 
Phone: +64 9 923 8513

Clinical Programme Co-Director
Dr Margaret Dudley 
Phone: +64 9 923 6869

Academic Services Coordinator
Sheryl Robertson
Phone: +64 9 923 6852