Monash University

Postgraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2013 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2013 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Managing facultyMedicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Abbreviated titleDPsych(Clinical)
CRICOS code073634F
Standard duration of study (years)4 years FT, 8 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Caulfield, Clayton, Monash Medical Centre)
Off-campus (Clayton)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

School of Psychology and Psychiatry: telephone +61 3 9905 3968; email or visit

Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Research Degrees Office: telephone +61 3 9905 4313; email or visit

Course coordinator

Professor Nicole Rinehart


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • The first two years of study must be undertaken full-time.
  • This course requires attendance at off-campus practical placements which may occur in a range of locations.


The Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology is a research degree offered by the School of Psychology and Psychiatry with coursework, clinical placements and research components, and requires the candidate to submit a thesis. The work undertaken as part of this research degree must constitute a significant contribution to the knowledge and understanding of the field of clinical psychology, and must demonstrate the capacity of the candidate to carry out independent research.

Clinical psychology is a field which applies the scientific knowledge, methods and principles of psychology to the understanding, assessment and treatment of adults and children with relatively severe emotional and/or behavioural disorders.

A candidate for the DPsych is required to conduct a prescribed program of research for a specified period under the direct supervision of a member of the academic staff. The supervisor, in consultation with the candidate, is responsible for developing the research program to be followed by the candidate, and for reporting at regular intervals on the candidate's progress.

This course prepares psychologists for research in applied areas of psychology and to work as clinical psychologists in the assessment and treatment of adults and children with emotional and/or behavioural disorders in a broad range of settings. In particular, it equips psychologists to work in the treatment of children and families; the assessment and management of people in the legal system; or the application of psychological knowledge to the promotion of health and the prevention and treatment of illness.

A feature of the DPsych(Clinical) is that its training in clinical psychology is extended through specialisation in a choice of areas. Candidates complete an advanced internship in their third year, which enables them to gain more specialised expertise in an area of their choice.

Depending on candidate demand, options may include areas outlined below.

Clinical child, adolescent and family psychology

This area focuses on the understanding, assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and families in a variety of mental health, paediatric and community settings. An understanding of presenting issues and behaviours is formulated within a developmental theoretical framework in which the links between the child's outward behaviour, patterns of inner experience, and the external environment (including family, school, community, society and culture) are explored and researched. Clinicians in this field contribute to discussions in the community on policy matters affecting children and families, and to the development of initiatives that promote the emotional and physical well-being of children and families.

Forensic psychology

This specialisation focuses on the application of psychological knowledge to the understanding, assessment and management of individuals in the legal system including the behaviour of offenders, victims, witnesses, judges and juries, prisoners and prison staff. Careers in forensic psychology include assessment and/or treatment of accused persons, prisoners, civil litigants, victims, and family members in custody disputes. Clinicians in this field can also act as expert witnesses in consultancy to statutory bodies and the legal profession on relevant areas of psychological knowledge.

Advanced clinical psychology

In this specialisation students have the opportunity to undertake advanced units and an internship to consolidate and extend their clinical psychology skills.


Candidates who have completed the course will demonstrate a thorough understanding of relevant research techniques in their field through a review of the relevant literature. They will demonstrate their ability, under supervision to apply relevant research techniques to their chosen field of study. Candidates will be able to present high-quality written work suitable for publication in appropriate scholarly journals, and be able to critically evaluate both their own and others' written work in their chosen field.

Candidates will also be able to

  • identify and define research questions
  • identify the appropriate research methods to address the research questions
  • demonstrate mastery of their chosen research methodology/methodologies
  • demonstrate theoretical knowledge at doctoral level in their chosen field of research
  • communicate their research findings in a format appropriate to their academic discipline
  • write up their research into a high quality thesis
  • contribute new information or new ways of understanding information in the field of research.

Credit for prior studies

Credit will not be given for work completed more than 10 years prior to admission to doctoral candidature, nor for more than 50 per cent of the coursework component of this course. Credit will not be given for coursework previously credited towards another degree or diploma. Credit may be granted for coursework and/or supervised practice already completed and equivalent to particular units and practical work in this course. Appropriate methods for assessment of equivalence of prior study will be applied either through a viva voce, written examination, submission of referees' reports and/or presentation of written work. No credit will be given for the elective units in this course.

Research component

70 per cent

Conditions of candidature

Duration of candidature

The total permissible period of candidature is four years full-time, or its equivalent in part-time candidature up to a maximum of eight years part-time, after which the candidature will lapse. The minimum period of candidature is two years (four years part-time). Candidates are encouraged to complete their theses as quickly as possible.


Throughout their candidature, all candidates must regularly attend their academic unit and participate fully in the intellectual and research activities of the unit. The first two years of the program must be undertaken on a full-time basis, Full-time candidates must be able to devote the equivalent of a minimum of four days a week to the pursuit of their research project; all part-time candidates must devote the equivalent of one-and-a-half days a week to their studies. The half-day should normally be a week day.

Employment guidelines

Full-time candidates are permitted, with the approval of their main supervisor, to undertake a strictly limited amount of paid employment throughout the year, being no more than 15 hours of work per week on average. Up to a maximum of six hours only on average of this employment may be undertaken during normal working hours (9 am to 5 pm, Mondays to Fridays). However, this may be extended to a maximum of eight hours if the employment is limited to one weekday. The candidate's supervisors must be satisfied that any part-time work undertaken does not interfere with the candidate's study program and progress. International students need to be aware that the employment restrictions outlined above apply even if their visa permits them to work more than 15 hours a week. Part-time candidates may engage in full-time or substantially full-time employment provided their employer confirms that sufficient time is available to comply with conditions of part-time candidature, and they have the support of their supervisors.


The progress of doctoral candidates is formally reviewed via three candidature milestones: confirmation of candidature, mid-candidature review, and the pre-submission seminar. The mid-candidature review and pre-submission seminar are mandatory requirements for all doctoral candidates who commenced their candidature from 1 January 2010.

Probationary candidature applies for all doctoral candidates, except where doctoral candidates have transferred from a master's by research program. Candidates are required to present their work in progress to a review panel and submit a confirmation of candidature report at the end of their 18 months (full-time) probationary period.

The Mid-Candidature Review is undertaken between 21 and 27 months of equivalent full-time candidature. Candidates are required to give an oral presentation and written submission, including their project timeline, to the review panel.

The Pre-Submission Seminar should be held no more than six months equivalent full-time candidature prior to the final thesis submission. Candidates are required to give a public oral presentation, in addition to a thesis summary and chapter outline to the review panel.

Candidates should also note that satisfactory performance in all three components of the DPsych is necessary throughout the course, and that progression is contingent on satisfactory completion of coursework, placement and research requirements. In addition, an assessment of personal suitability to undertake or continue work as a trainee clinical psychologist is made prior to each placement.


All HDR candidates are required to re-enrol for the next year of candidature in their research program. Candidates must complete an annual questionnaire in order to re-enrol. The questionnaire provides an opportunity for a candidate to identify any issues that may be affecting their candidature as well as fulfilling legislative requirements.

Professional recognition

The program has been accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) and on completion, qualifies for membership of the Australian Psychological Society (APS). Candidates may apply for full registration as a psychologist in Australia upon successful completion of the degree.

In order to gain endorsement as a Clinical Psychologist, an additional minimum one year of approved, supervised, full-time equivalent practice with a Board approved supervisor is required.

For further information, refer to

This additional year is also required for membership of the APS College of Clinical Psychologists and Forensic Psychologists. In addition, membership for the APS College of Forensic Psychologists requires completion of the forensic specialisation in third year, as well as a doctoral thesis in the field of forensic psychology. For further information, refer to


This course consists of a number of coursework units (20 per cent), practicum placements (10 per cent) and research culminating in a major thesis (70 per cent). Assessment is by thesis, written examinations, oral presentations and practical reports.

The first two years must be undertaken full-time. From third year, candidates may elect to complete their studies on either a full-time or part-time basis



Candidates submit a thesis of approximately 60,000 to 70,000 words. The word length for a thesis does not include footnotes, references or appendices, nor does it include equations, tables, diagrams or other illustrations. The thesis may be in the form of a traditional monograph or as a thesis by publication.

The thesis should embody the results of the candidate's investigation, which demonstrates independence of thought and the candidate's ability to carry out research in that discipline.

The work presented for examination must be the original work of the candidate, except where due reference is made in the text. A candidate may include published work which is directly relevant to the argument of the thesis, provided such work has been written during the period of candidature. Candidates may not present a thesis which the candidate has presented for any other degree or diploma at this University, or any other institution, except with the permission of the Graduate Research Committee.


Coursework is conducted over two 12 week semesters in each of the first three years of the course. Coursework objectives will be assessed through seminar presentations, case presentations, written assignments and examinations. The Monash University system of grades is used for most units, with participation in seminars and practical sessions taken into consideration in the assessment process.

In addition to the core coursework units, candidates will be expected, from time to time, to attend workshops and relevant special seminars.

While much of the teaching will take place at Monash University's Clayton campus and the Monash Medical Centre (Clayton) campus, candidates should be prepared for some travel to other teaching venues

First year

Semester one
  • DPSY5101 Psychopathology 1
  • DPSY5102 Psychological assessment 1
  • DPSY5103 Research methods in professional psychology
  • DPSY5104 Fundamentals of professional practice
  • DPSY5105 Clinical developmental psychology
  • DPSY5203 Theories and techniques of intervention 1
Semester two
  • DPSY5201 Psychopathology 2
  • DPSY5202 Psychological assessment 2
  • DPSY5299 Introductory practicum
  • DPSY6103 Theories and techniques of intervention 2

Second year

Semester one
  • DPSY6106 Advanced clinical practice
  • DPSY6107 Health psychology and behavioural medicine
  • DPSY6199 Intermediate practicum
Semester two

Third year

Forensic psychology option
Semester one
  • DPSY7111 Advanced clinical psychology: Forensic/legal
  • DPSY7211 Psychology and criminal law
Semester two
  • DPSY7112 Psychology and children's and family law
  • DPSY7212 Psychology and civil law
Advanced clinical psychology option
Full year
  • DPSY7131 Advanced clinical psychology: General
Semester one
  • DPSY7111 Advanced clinical psychology: Forensic/legal
  • DPSY7141 Advanced clinical psychology: Child, adolescent and family, Part
Clinical child, adolescent and family psychology option
Semester one
  • DPSY7111 Advanced clinical psychology: Forensic/legal
  • DPSY7141 Advanced clinical psychology: Child, adolescent and family
Semester two
  • DPSY7241 Clinical child, adolescent and family psychology

Practicum placements

Candidates are required to gain supervised assessment, treatment and professional experience with a range of problems across varying age ranges. Thus, placements are available with clients of varied age groups in settings within the psychiatric, forensic and health domains. Candidates' responsibilities in their placements increase as they proceed through the training so that by the final placement, they should be able to independently carry out assessments and generate, implement and evaluate management plans.


Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology