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Programme summary for Professional Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology D.Ed.Ch.Psy

This three-year full-time programme equips students (also known as TEPs – Trainee Educational Psychologists) to work as educational psychologists in Local Authority Children Services and in other settings such as Children’s Centres. The programme has been designed to ensure that it meets both the HPC (Health Professions Council) standards and the DECP (Division of Educational and Child Psychology – British Psycholigical Society) criteria for three-year training.

All UK applications for entry onto this programme MUST be made via the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). UEL has 10 funded places through the NCTL.

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About the programme

Training in educational psychology is well established at UEL with a commitment to children and families going back many years.  It is one of the few universities in the country that offers Doctoral programmes in clinical, counselling and occupational psychology and its commitment to Positive Psychology is well known.

The programme team is a highly experienced, enthusiastic and positive group of professional Educational Psychologists who will nurture, support and challenge you to become the “best EP you can”.

Throughout the programme there is an implicit and explicit emphasis on applying psychology to make a positive difference to children and young people. The importance of listening to children’s views and involving them in decision making is reinforced by a commitment to improving the quality of life for vulnerable children. The programme celebrates the opportunities of working in a diverse society and the importance of recognising the individuality of people. It promotes the development of practice-based evidence to ensure the value of the work of the EP. High quality teaching and problem-based learning ensure TEPs are able to apply psychological theory to the real, and complex, problems that are faced by children and young people, their teachers and parents. Carefully planned and supervised professional placements ensure TEPs become sensitive and mature reflective practitioners over the course of the three-year programme.

The programme benefits from the university’s excellent working relationships with services in the region and the close links with other areas of applied psychology within the university.

Programme structure

This is a 3-year full-time programme. Each year starts in September and runs until August of the following year. Attendance at the University is usually required from mid September to the end of July – with two-week breaks at Christmas and Easter. The programme comprises university-based learning and teaching, self-directed learning, research and supervised placements in Educational Psychology Services (EPS) or other service settings.

Year 1 – TEPs spend most of the first two terms at the university completing four modules on: Professional Practice, Child Development, The Process of Psychological Assessment, and Consultation and Intervention. Some time in each of these modules is spent developing skills with children and young people. In the third term TEPs complete two more modules. The first of these is Professional Practice in the Real World during which the student has a block placement in an EPS. The sixth module is Research Design, which prepares students for their research thesis.

During Year 1 students apply for bursary positions with EPS. It should be noted that students are solely responsible for securing bursaries during Year 1. Whilst the programme assists students, it cannot accept any responsibility whatsoever for the success, or otherwise, of the application. This arrangement is subject to change in line with new longer-term agreements with regional educational psychology services, (currently under negotiation).

Year 2 – In Year 2 students undertake for three days of the week a bursary placement. During the autumn term they complete a module at the university on research – in order to complete their research proposal. Students are encouraged to undertake their research in conjunction with the service where they have a bursary, in order to ensure the research is of value to EPs. Students also take, throughout the year, a triple module on Developing the Competent and Reflective Practitioner in Simple Systems. This module is taught monthly on Thursdays and Fridays. Students also begin the research for their thesis.

Year 3 – In Year 3 TEPs continue with their three-days-per-week bursary placement. TEPs also take throughout the year a triple module on Developing the Critical and Reflective pracititoner in Complex Systems. This module is taught monthly throughout the year on Fridays. In addition students complete their research and write up their research thesis.

Accreditation of prior (experiental) learning

This is a three-year integrated programme where the nine modules need to be completed sequentially. Therefore there are no modules in which accreditation of prior (experiential) learning processes are applicable.

Career opportunities

Graduates can work as a qualified educational psychologist in Local Authority Children Services. They can progress to senior management and directorships in Local Authorities, Children’s Trusts, and relevant clinical settings. They can also take up specialist positions in relationship to CAMHS, Looked After Children, Youth Offending Teams and the Voluntary sector.


Each student has:

  • Regular individual and small group tutorials with their Professional and Academic Tutor over all three years
  • An individual Field Tutor who observes and monitors their work on placement
  • An individual Supervisor on each placement in an EPS
  • A linked specialist librarian to the programme

The Graduate School is responsible for providing a focus to the support of our postgraduate research students and for our institution’s research and scholarly strategy.

Professional Doctorate students have at least two and not normally more than three supervisors, who together demonstrate an appropriate range of academic and professional experience. One supervisor shall be the Director of Studies, with responsibility to supervise the candidate on a regular and frequent basis.


The programme has 10 funded places through the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). This is the route that UK applicants should follow. In addition UEL usually takes a few overseas students (please see below).

All applicants applying to UEL as one of their (maximum of 3) courses should download and read the NCTL Educational Psychology Training Entry Handbook and monitor the NCTL website.

It is important to know that there are usually over 200 applications at UEL for the NCTL funded places. We always have more strong applicants than we have places. Thus, failure to secure a place does not necessarily mean you are unsuited to train as an EP. We usually have on the programme at least a few TEPs who applied and were interviewed a number of times before they were offered a place. The following advice is offered to assist in preparing an application.

The Admission Process

The admissions process is divided into two steps: An online application through the NCTL which leads to a decision about whether to interview the applicant. The second step is the interview.

Step 1: The Online Application

Each application is reviewed by a member of the Programme Team in light of the criteria listed below. Moderation of the selection for interviews is carried out by a representative of the local Principal EPs.

Essential Shortlisting Requirements

Applicants must have:

1. An honours degree in Psychology (1st or 2nd Class) or its equivalent such that it meets the criteria for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

If you are uncertain whether your qualifications meet the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership requirement for entry onto the course please contact the British Psychological Society (BPS):

British Psychological Society
St. Andrews House
48 Princess Road East

Tel: 0116 254 9568
Fax: 0116 247 0787

2. A good command of reading, written and spoken English is essential for all applicants: Where English is not the applicant’s first language, a minimum IELTS Academic English, or such qualifications as our University deems comparable, score of 7.0 overall, with a minimum of 6.5 in all components, is required at entry. Such assessment of English language competence must normally have been undertaken no more than two years prior to application, though relevant and more recent successful study in a United Kingdom Higher Education Institution may be accepted as sufficient proof of ability.

3. Two years relevant experience of working with children within educational, childcare or community settings: Examples of the kinds of settings in which relevant experience is likely to be gained include work as: a teacher, a Graduate Assistant in an Educational Psychology Service, a Learning Support Assistant, an Educational Social Worker, a Learning Mentor, a Speech and Language therapist, a Care Worker or a worker in early years settings.

Desirable Shortlisting Criteria

Whatever kind of work has been done, it is important to demonstrate on the application the following knowledge and skills:

4.  Understanding of, and ability to work with, young people

5. Understanding of, and ability to work, in organisations

6. Commitment to train as an EP

7. Ability to learn

Invitations to interview are based on each application’s score against these criteria.

Step 2: The Interview Process

Succesfull shortlisted applicants are invited for a half-day interview. On each of these half days, eight applicants are invited to attend. We recognise that interviews can be stressful and we aim to encourage all applicants to give of their best on the day.

The interview half day consists of:

  • An Introduction to the Programme by the Programme Director and an opportunity to ask questions about the programme
  • An observed group discussion with other applicants
  • A written task based on the group
  • A small panel individual Interview

During the half day applicants have the opportunity to meet representatives of the Year-1 cohort and and are able to discuss, anonymously, any aspects of the programme.

Succesfull shortlisted applicants who are invited for interview are also sent a letter indicating the criteria for selection. In addition to the areas already mentioned for shortlisting the criteria include:

  1. Effective interpersonal communication skills
  2. A commitment to promoting equal opportunities and inclusion.

The individual interviews are carried out by a team of three that always includes a member of the Tutor Team and a Principal or Senior EP working in an EP Service in London or the South East of England.

Each aspect of the interview is scored and success at the interview is based on these scores.

References are checked after the interviews have been concluded to cross-validate the interview process.

Equality and Diversity

The University of East London is home to one of the most diverse student and staff bodies in the country, with some 60% of our students and over 20% of our staff coming from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Our Charter for Inclusivity states:

We are committed to working together to build a learning community founded on equality of opportunity - a learning community which celebrates the rich diversity of our student and staff populations. Discriminatory behaviour has no place in our community and will not be tolerated.

Within a spirit of respecting difference, our equality and diversity policies promise equal treatment and opportunity for all regardless of gender, sexuality, race, colour, disability, religion, age, and ethnic or national origin. We call on all members of our community to make a personal commitment to these aims.

Our admission process has been devised in accordance with UEL’s Equalities policies covering equal opportunity, disability, race, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs. It is UEL policy that in the recruitment, selection, education and assessment of students the only consideration must be that the individual meets, or is likely to meet the requirements of the programme or course. The requirements being met, no student will be discriminated against on the basis of their sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality (within current legislation), disability, marital status, caring or parental responsibilities, age, or beliefs on matters such as religion and politics.

We therefore aim to recruit, within a transparent admissions process a diverse cohort each year and welcome applications irrespective of age, disability, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. The Schoolof Psychology is wheelchair-accessible, and applications from people with disabilities will be welcomed. Helpful relevant information is also contained in the Health Professions Council publication: A disabled person's guide to becoming a health professional.

It is our policy to encourage potential applicants from under-represented groups within the profession.

Essential Requirements for Admission (Post Interview)

Enhanced DBS Check

In accordance with the UEL’s Child Protection Policy, admission to the programme will be dependent on an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check, and/or clearance from the relevant overseas authorities. This process is activated by the Programme Administrator for successful applicants and will take place over the summer before the start of the programme. A fee (currently £36) has to be paid by the TEP for this enhanced DBS check. Applicants are unable to undertake placements until a disclosure has been received. Please note that this applies to all applicants, including those who have a DBS check from their present employment.

Where a criminal conviction is disclosed, consultation will take place with the Field Leader and the Dean of School (Psychology) to consider if the conviction might affect the applications ability to meet the HPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics. In addition, confidential consultation would take place with members of the Programme Operations Committee who represent placement providers to see whether or not the conviction has implications for the applicant’s ability to meet the Health Profession Council’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics.

Health Requirements

The programme operates in sensitive environments and therefore applicants who have an impairment or condition that has a bearing on their occupational health are required to disclose this on the fitness questionnaire. This enables the programme to make well-informed decisions about fitness to train as an EP,  to consider reasonable adjustments and ensure support is in place at the beginning of the programme. It is important to emphasise that we actively encourage disabled applicants. Having a disability does not in itself exclude students from pursuing a career as an Educational Psychologist.

Successful applicants will therefore be sent a Pre-Employment/Placement Health Questionnaire, which they need to return to UEL Occupational Health Department within 2 weeks. Occasionally follow-up information may be sought or an appointment offered. The purpose of this is to ensure that applicants are physically and psychologically capable of meeting the standards required to work as an Educational Psychologist, and that they do not present a risk to the vulnerable children and young people with whom they will be working. In addition, a separate form is provided for applicants with medical conditions who can meet the requirements of the programme, with reasonable adjustments to use in providing details of the support needed.

All offers are also subject to the UEL’s General Conditions for Entry. Full details of which will be provided with the offer letter from registry. These conditions include the requirement that a student must comply with UEL’s registration procedure, must observe its statutes and regulations and must provide original evidence of qualification.

Applications from outside the UK

Applicants who are not eligible to apply through the NCTL process are able to apply directly to UEL. The programme usually offers a few places in this way each year, often to overseas students who are supported by their Government or another organisation in their own country.

Overseas applicants usually go through the same selection process as described above. If there is not the opportunity for a group interview, a discussion is held so that they can demonstrate their thinking and interpersonal skills in this area.

Overseas applicants follow the same modular programme as described above. The first year of training is primarily based within the University, and placements are provided in Local Authorities and supervised in the same way. In years 2 and 3 two placement options are available.

1. Home Country:  Most overseas applicants have their placement in their home country. This is usually in place before acceptance on the programme and is discussed at interview. The placement time and activities is the same as for all trainees. Supervision is undertaken by a home country supervisor, who is eligible for Chartered Educational Psychology status with the British Psychological Society (or equivalent with the Psychological Society of their home country). In addition, the trainee’s Academic and Professional Tutor undertakes an extended visit where they observe the trainee undertaking the same activities as would be observed if on placement in this country.

2. UK: It is sometimes possible for an overseas trainee to undertake an unpaid placement in a UK Educational Psychology Service. They will usually arrange this themselves. When this option is chosen the trainee has exactly the same supervisory arrangements as any of the NCTL funded cohort.

Fees for non NCTL funded students are given in the fees section.

Please note that all module fees are not fixed but are normally subject to annual increases, click on this link for further information about tuition fees.

Key facts

You can start many programmes in either September or February and applications are simple to make. Click below to:

Apply online D.Ed.Ch.Psy (Professional Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology)

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Tuition Fees - 2013/14

Home/EU Fees

  • Part Time - Annual Fee: N/A
  • Home Full Time - Annual Fee: Contract
  • EU Full Time - Annual Fee: £16,110

International Fees

  • Part Time - Annual Fee: N/A
  • Full Time - Annual Fee: £21,850

Fees based on 30 credit modules (unless otherwise indicated) For further information regarding postgraduate fees please refer to


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