Course Overview

Many qualified clinical psychologists (“qualified” is defined as eligible for full membership of the Psychological Society of Ireland Division of Clinical Psychology) completed their training in clinical psychology before it was a 3 year professional doctorate degree. The current Doctoral level training offered by the five training programmes in Ireland became the gold standard in the early 2000’s. Prior to that, qualified clinical psychologists had a Masters level training or a HDipPsych. The PSI also operated a professional training programme until 2005, which conferred the qualification of PSI Diploma in Clinical Psychology. This cohort of qualified clinical psychologists, who completed degrees at a level lower than doctoral level, is the intended audience for this programme. 

The programme will consist of three years of part-time study. The time commitment for class attendance will be one day per week of lectures on research methods for 12 weeks per year plus orientation activities (library skills etc). Students will also be expected to dedicate a half to one day per week throughout the year in order to complete the work requirements of the course. In addition, students will attend occasional specialist workshops in research skills and statistics and will also need to commit time for meetings with their thesis supervisor and consultation with programme staff. The total ongoing time commitment over the three years of the programme is a minimum of one day per week. 

The programme will focus entirely on the development and assessment of research skills and the completion of applied projects and a major research thesis. Learning research skills will be achieved in several different ways:

  • In lectures, students will learn to design studies using a range of different approaches and to critically evaluate these in group discussion. Students will lean both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
  • In designing service-based research projects, the student learns the practicalities of conducting research in a setting relevant to the professional practice of clinical psychology. In this context, the student is expected to progress their research project in collaboration with a service-based manager or mentor and the Programme Research Coordinator.
  • Students will also learn to carry out a systematic review or meta-analysis of an area relevant to clinical psychology practice, in order to enhance their work as an evidence-based practitioner.
  • The major research thesis facilitates the student's progression through all stages of the process of independent research, from an original idea through to final submission. Students select feasible ideas and submit a formal proposal on their planned study. The Programme Team and the Programme Research Coordinator will guide the student in further developing and refining their ideas. All stages of the research proposal enhance the skills of the independent researcher.
  • Statistical analysis consolidates the formal teaching, and students may learn new statistical approaches at this stage. Formal academic writing skills are developed through discussion of drafts of the thesis. All research work involves a consideration of ethical issues. Submitting an Ethics Approval application provides further practical learning. Students will be required to receive ethical approval for their studies from the NUI Galway REC and any local Research Ethics Committees (RECs) involved in the sample generation. Guidance on the REC submission process is provided by the research coordinator and experienced staff within the School of Psychology.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Garda vetting/police clearance is required for this programme. 

Applicants must submit a personal statement outlining why they wish to undertake the course and identifying potential areas of research interest (max. 2 pages). Garda vetting/police clearance may be required for this programme depending on the research projects undertaken. An interview may also form part of the selection process.

Who Teaches this Course

Prof. Brian McGuire, BA, MClinPsych, DipCrim, DipClinEd, PhD, CClinPsychol,
Professor of Clinical Psychology.

Requirements and Assessment

Year 1 Assessment: Systematic Review/Meta-analysis

Year 2 Assessment: Quantitative or Qualitative Service-Based Research Project

Year 3 Assessment: Thesis and Journal article

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

The programme is intended for those who have previously obtained a qualification in Clinical Psychology such as a Masters or Professional Diploma.  The programme is intended as a “top up” Doctoral qualification. 

Candidates must hold a degree or PDip in psychology recognised by the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) as granting eligibility for graduate membership of PSI. The qualification must be at least upper
Second Class Honours level (barring exceptional circumstances). Qualifications deemed equivalent by the College of Arts may also be accepted. At least one year of practical and/or research experience
relevant to clinical psychology is generally required. Successful applicants are expected to have a means of transport to enable them to participate in all elements of the programme, including undertaking supervised clinical placements in health settings.

Garda vetting/police clearance is required for this programme. 

Admission to the programme will be based on the following criteria: (a) Applicants must demonstrate that they are eligible for Full Membership of the PSI Clinical Division (b) Applicants other than those who are self-employed must provide written evidence of approval from their employer to undertake the course. 

Additional Requirements


3 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2020

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

To be advised.

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting



Course code


Course Outline

Course Outline

Year 1

Block 1: Core issues in Psychological Research.

Duration: One full day each week for 6 weeks in Block 1.

Overview: In this block students are introduced to the Scientist Practitioner Model and Evidence Based Practice. We review basic concepts in psychological research, descriptive statistics, graphical representations of data, Ethics in Research and engage in some preliminary thesis forward-planning.


  • To introduce trainees to the scientist-practitioner model.
  • To re-familiarise trainees with ‘psychological research’.
  • To prepare trainees for the completion of a Systematic Review.

Learning Objectives:                        

By the end of the Block students will:

  • Understand the importance of evidence based practice.
  • Have an understanding of the core methods used in service-based research.
  • Be familiar with the types of data that can be used in clinical research and service evaluations and audits.
  • Understand the importance of designing and engaging in ‘ethical research’.
  • Understand the fundamentals of completing a Systematic Review.
  • Have begun thinking about potentially fruitful topics for their service-based project and major thesis.

Topics: The Scientist Practitioner Model, Research Design, Descriptive Statistics, Psychometrics/Survey Design, Ethics in Research, APA Style.

Block 2: Intermediate Statistics.

Duration: One day each week for 6 weeks in Block 2.

Overview: In this block students are introduced to the most commonly used parametric and non-parametric statistics. They acquire an understanding of the computational basis to each test, and when and how to use each test. By the end of the block students are competent in the use of SPSS and can interpret and report inferential statistics in APA format. The practice exercises that accompany the course material include clinical RCTs and service-based evaluations.


  • To re-familiarise students with the parametric and non-parametric inferential statistics.
  • To ensure students are proficient users of SPSS.
  • To ensure students can interpret and report inferential findings.
  • To complete a Systematic Review.

Learning Objectives:                       

By the end of the Block students will be able to:

  • Select the most appropriate statistic for their data.
  • Run the required statistic(s) using SPSS.
  • Interpret SPSS output.
  • Calculate effect sizes.
  • Report findings in APA format, suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Produce a Systematic Review.

Topics: Introduction to Inferential Statistics, Non-parametric alternatives to the T-test,

ANOVA, Non-parametric alternatives to the ANOVAs, Chi-Square, Survey-design & Thesis forward planning

Year 2

Block 1: Introduction to Qualitative Research

Duration: One day each week for 6 weeks in Block 3.

Overview: In this block, the focus turns to qualitative methodologies and methods. Students examine the various epistemological positions underpinning the different approaches to ‘doing’ qualitative research.  Subsequently they receive input on Grounded Theory, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and Focus Grouping. The Block also includes a session on applying for Research Ethics approval through the University REC as a thesis preparation session. A session on service evaluations is also included.


  • To develop an appreciation for usefulness of appropriate qualitative research solutions.
  • To prepare for the completion of Small Service-based Research Project (SSRP).
  • To prepare for the major thesis. 

Learning Objectives:                       

By the end of the Block students will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of epistemological position in qualitative research.
  • Differentiate between the main qualitative approaches used in clinical research.
  • Select the most appropriate qualitative approach to address any specific research question.
  • Appreciate the usefulness of qualitative research solutions in informing decision making and clinical services in general. 

Topicss: Introduction to Qualitative Research, IPA, Grounded Theory, Focus Groups, Applying for Research Ethics, Service Evaluation and Audit.

Block 2: Qualitative Research Continued. 

Duration: One day each week for six weeks in Block 4.

Overview: In this block we complete the training on qualitative research. Having looked at the main approaches to doing qualitative research in Block 3, students consider how best to analyse transcripts and report findings using Grounded Theory and Thematic Analysis. There is also a session on data from an IPA perspective and writing up IPA studies. The remaining sessions on this Block deal with Regression designs and Factor Analytic techniques.


  • To develop an appreciation for usefulness of appropriate qualitative research solutions.
  • To complete SSRP.
  • To prepare for the major thesis.

Learning Objectives:                       

By the end of the Block trainees will be able to:

  • · Conduct qualitative methods.
  • · Analyse qualitative data.
  • · Analyse and write up a SSRP.

Topics: Grounded Theory and Thematic Analysis, IPA, Reporting Qualitative Research, Regression designs, Factor analysis

Year 3

Block 1: Advanced issues and Thesis Preparation. 

Duration: One day each week for 6 weeks in Block 5.

Overview: This block is primarily concerned with research training essential to the successful completion of the DPsychSc. thesis, as well as covering multivariate statistics. The block commences with a review of the structure of doctoral thesis and the importance of a thesis having a cohesive ‘identity’. We then deal with the process of putting together a literature review. Endnote will be revised. Students are also expected to submit a draft of their Method chapter by the end of this Block, and training to support this is provided. We return to SPSS and practice running multivariate statistics and advanced statistics (Receiver Operating Characteristics & Structural Equation Modelling).


  • To ensure students understand the identity and structure of their thesis.
  • To cover advanced statistical techniques.      

Learning Objectives:                       

By the end of the Block students will be able to:

  • Describe their thesis and provide an overview of the structure and content of the document.
  • Know what they can most probably exclude from the literature review.
  • Run MANOVA and MANCOVA and interpret output and write-up a results section.
  • Be familiar with advanced statistical techniques such as ROC and SEM.
  • Be familiar with advanced clinical trial designs and research methodologies.

Topics: Identity in research, Literature reviewing, Methodology, SPSS re-familiarisation, MANOVA and MANCOVA, Advanced statistics

Block 2: Advanced issues and Thesis Preparation continued. 

Duration: One day each week for 6 weeks in Block 6.

Overview: This Block takes place in the weeks leading up to submission of the thesis. The Block has minimal scheduled tuition, with time given over to thesis drafting. In terms of tuition, we meet once each week for approximately three hours to cover advanced research skills. The remaining time is devoted to one-on-one research meetings with the Research Coordinator and/or supervisors and thesis drafting.


  • To cover advanced statistical techniques.
  • To support students in presenting the final thesis document to the Clinical Programme.
  • To prepare for viva voce examination.
  • To prepare the students for submission of a summarised paper to a peer-reviewed international journal.

Topics: Results Chapter, Discussion Chapter, Advanced report writing skills, Writing (thesis) for publication, Viva Preparation.

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
A module you may choose to study.
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (20 Credits)

Required PS675: Clinical Research Methods 1 and Applied Project

Trimester 3 | Credits: 20

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PS675: "Clinical Research Methods 1 and Applied Project" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Year 2 (20 Credits)

Required PS676: Clinical Research Methods 2 and Evidence Bases Research Project

Trimester 3 | Credits: 20

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PS676: "Clinical Research Methods 2 and Evidence Bases Research Project" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Year 3 (20 Credits)

Required PS677: Clinical Research Methods 3 and Dissertation

Trimester 3 | Credits: 50

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module PS677: "Clinical Research Methods 3 and Dissertation" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

This part-time programme provides additional research training to those already holding a qualification in clinical psychology.

Successful completion of the programme awards a Doctorate of Psychological Science (DPsychSc) in Clinical Psychology to those already holding a qualification in clinical psychology that pre-dates the introduction of Doctoral-level training (i.e., Professional Diploma or Masters). The programme focuses on the development of clinical research skills and is assessed through a series of academic and research projects, including a research thesis.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

Fees: Tuition

Fees: Student levy

Fees: Non EU

Find out More

Professor Brian McGuire
T: +353 91 493 266
E: |

Ms Alma Greally
T: +353 91 493 266

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