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Doctoral Degree (Research) in Clinical Psychology - Awards and Programs Schedule

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Section 1 - Introduction

(1) As a higher education provider authorised to self-accredit, the University of Newcastle is responsible under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (Cth) for ensuring that programs comply with the Provider Course [Program] Accreditation Standards. This Schedule provides the detailed principles and criteria that underpin the self-accreditation process for each Doctoral Degree (Research) in Clinical Psychology award that may be delivered and conferred by the University of Newcastle.

(2) This Schedule supports the implementation of the Higher Degree by Research Policy. The Rules describe each type of research higher degree qualification offered by the University and provide descriptions of authorisations for program management.

(3) Within the Schedule the general program principles and structures have been tabulated and the approved programs that are offered under it will be listed in the Appendices - Table A - Approved Programs covered by this Schedule. 

(4) In the event of an inconsistency between subordinate policy documents and any Rule(s) or Schedule to the Rule(s), the Rule(s) made by Council prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

(5) In the event of an inconsistency between an Academic Senate policy document and a College policy, procedure or guideline, the policy document of Academic Senate prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

(6) Extracts from AQF (Second Edition) have been included in this document with permission of the Australian Qualification Framework Council (27 February 2012).

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Section 2 - Transition arrangements for implementation of this schedule

(7) This schedule supports the Academic Senate strategy of offering AQF-compliant programs as soon as possible. During the transition to the new schedule, the pre-2013 Awards and Programs Schedules will remain in the Policy Library with an annotation to indicate that their AQF-compliant status has not been confirmed. Between 2013 -2015 current program offerings will be reviewed and, following the approval from the Program and Course Approval Committee, transferred to Table A of this Schedule.

(8) The introduction of the new schedules is expected to result in recommendations from College Boards for new programs, major revisions and the transition arrangements and discontinuations of existing programs. These recommendations will be considered for approval by the Program and Course Approval Committee in accordance with the delegations held by that Committee.

(9) Through this transition process the Assistant Dean (Education) will be responsible to the Program and Course Approval Committee for ensuring that continuing students will not be disadvantaged by a program revision or discontinuation and:

  1. appropriate teach-out or alternative arrangements have been made for current students; and
  2. consideration is given to international applicants in accordance with the ESOS legislation.

(10) The Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar together with the Assistant Dean (Education) and the relevant Program Convenors will be responsible for ensuring that students and staff are notified of any relevant program changes. This notification may include recent graduates who may seek to upgrade their programs for AQF compliance.

(11) Programs offering admission to students in 2015 will need to operate under an AQF compliant schedule no later than June 2014 to ensure AQF compliance from 2015. 

(12) Non-AQF compliant programs will be automatically discontinued by last meeting of Academic Senate in 2014 unless they have been approved for continuation.

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Section 3 - Principles and Program Structures

Model: Doctoral Degree (Research)

(13) This table describes an AQF level 10 program leading to the award of Doctoral Degree (Research) in Clinical Psychology under the Rules Governing Research Higher Degrees clause 18.

Volume of learning 320 units completed in 4 years or equivalent.
Purpose The degree of Doctoral Degree (Research) in Clinical Psychology shall be an ungraded degree awarded for an original and significant contribution of merit achieved through a program of advanced study and research in Clinical Psychology.
Time requirements
The thesis, coursework and clinical placements shall be completed and submitted for examination in:
a) not less than two years of full-time or equivalent part-time enrolment from admission to candidature, except with the permission of the Dean of Graduate Research.
b) not more than four full-time years of enrolment or equivalent part-time enrolment from admission to candidature, except with the permission of the Dean of Graduate Research.
Principles and Structure A candidate will be admitted to a program of advanced study and research approved and completed to the satisfaction of the Head of School. The research will primarily be embodied in a thesis; and other work as approved by the Head of School may be submitted and considered in conjunction with the thesis. Coursework and clinical placements are a requirement of the program.
Admission and Selection Criteria
An applicant for admission to candidature for the degree shall:
1. Hold a four-year degree (or an equivalent three year/one year postgraduate combination) with Honours Class 1 or Honours Class II, Division 1 in Psychology that has been accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council; and
2. be eligible for provisional registration with the Psychology Board of Australia; and
3. Satisfy the School of Psychology of their suitability for the professional practice of Clinical Psychology.  Entry to the program is competitive and places are limited.  Applicants must submit a professional portfolio as detailed in Appendix 1 which will allow the School to evaluate the applicant's suitability. Shortlisted applicants are then interviewed.
For international applicants
1. It is a requirement of the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) that all non-Australian qualifications, including qualifications from New Zealand, are assessed by the Australian Psychological Society (APS).  The APS is the national assessing authority in Australia for assessment of overseas academic qualifications in psychology. For a set fee, the APS determines the level at which an applicant's qualifications are equivalent to an accredited Australian program of study.
2. Applicants who have not completed their secondary education in English, will be required to undertake a language proficiency test within two years of applying for registration. Applicants will be required to achieve a minimum IELTS score of 7. Further details can be found on the PBA website.
An applicant shall not be admitted to candidature unless adequate supervision and resources are available. Whether these are available shall be determined by the Head of School after considering advice from the School.
Closing date: Applications close on the first Friday in October.
Specialisation or major This section is intentionally blank.
Additional Requirements
Completion of Coursework and Placements: Admission to the degree shall also be conditional upon the satisfactory completion of the prescribed coursework and clinical placements.
Further additional requirements may be prescribed by a School.
Graduate Learning Outcomes
Graduate learning outcomes underpin the design of all academic programs offered by the University. Graduate learning outcomes will be developed for each program in accordance with Academic Senate policy and as prescribed by AQF including:
i) fundamental skills, such as literacy and numeracy appropriate to the Level 10 Doctoral Degree (Research), including English language proficiency;
ii) people skills, such as working with others and communication skills;
iii) thinking skills, such as learning to learn, decision making and problem solving; and
iv) personal skills such as self-direction and acting with integrity.
i Knowledge
Graduates of a Doctoral Degree will have a discipline specific:
i) substantial body of knowledge at the frontier of a field of work or learning, including knowledge that constitutes an original contribution
ii) substantial knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to the field of work or learning
ii Skills
Graduates of a Doctoral Degree will have discipline specific:
i) cognitive skills to demonstrate expert understanding of theoretical knowledge and to reflect critically on that theory and practice
ii) cognitive skills and use of intellectual independence to think critically, evaluate existing knowledge and ideas, undertake systematic investigation and reflect on theory and practice to generate original knowledge
iii) expert technical and creative skills applicable to the field of work or learning
iv) communication skills to explain and critique theoretical propositions, methodologies and conclusions
v) communication skills to present cogently a complex investigation of originality or original research for external examination against international standards and to communicate results to peers and the community
vi) expert skills to design, implement, analyse, theorise and communicate research that makes a significant and original contribution to knowledge and/or professional practice.
iii Application of Knowledge and Skills
Graduates of a Doctoral Degree will demonstrate the discipline specific application of knowledge and skills:
i) with intellectual independence and skills
ii) with initiative and creativity in new situations and/or for further learning
iii) with full responsibility and accountability for personal outputs
iv) to plan and execute original research; and
v) with the ongoing capacity to generate new knowledge, including in the context of professional practice
Qualification for the Award The candidate will be recommended for admission to the degree by the Dean of Graduate Research on the advice of the Research Training Sub-Committee.
Grading of the Award The award will be conferred as an ordinary award.
Qualification Title Doctor of Philosophy
Pathways - General
Our pathways for students have been developed in accordance with the AQF Qualifications Pathways Policy.
Approved entry pathways are described in Admission and Selection Criteria, above.
Pathways – Credit and advanced standing
Credit is not consistent with the framework of a Research Higher Degree and therefore cannot be granted.
A Master of Philosophy is not available in Clinical Psychology.
Pathways – Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
For Research degrees RPL is a process that assesses the individual’s formal, non-formal and informal learning to determine the extent to which that individual has achieved the required learning outcomes, competency outcomes or standards for entry to a qualification. 
For Research degrees, candidates are assessed on research experience: i.e. demonstrated research experience that is equivalent to the standard of Honours Class II, Division 1 such as professional work experience in a research environment, published papers in refereed journals, conference papers or equivalent creative material.
RPL will not be recognised for credit or advanced standing.
Pathways – combined degree A candidate for the degree shall not be concurrently enrolled as a candidate for any other degree or award whether of this or another tertiary institution, except with the permission of the Dean of Graduate Research. Candidates in a JARHDP will be concurrently enrolled at the partner institution and the University of Newcastle.
Pathways – nested or integrated qualifications Nested or integrated qualifications are not consistent with the framework of a Doctoral Degree (Research).
Pathways – Exit There is no exit award from a Doctor of Philosophy.
Pathways - Graduate The Doctor of Philosophy is the peak award granted by Academic Senate.
Professional Accreditation This degree program is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council and approved by the College of Clinical Psychologists for the purpose of determining eligibility for membership of the College.
Additional Information
Submission of Thesis for Examination
The candidate shall submit three copies of the thesis in accordance with the provisions of the Rules Governing Research Higher Degrees and the Thesis Preparation and Submission Guidelines, and in the case of a Jointly Awarded Research Higher Degree Program, the Memorandum of Agreement.

Examination of Thesis
The Dean of Graduate Research shall appoint two examiners and at least one reserve, none of whom shall normally be a member of the staff of the University.
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Section 4 - Relaxing Provision

(14) To provide for exceptional circumstances arising in any particular case, the President of Academic Senate, on the recommendation of the relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor or relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor may relax any provision of this Schedule.

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Section 5 - Reporting

(15) The President of the Academic Senate will report all applications of the relaxing provision of this Schedule to the Academic Senate.

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Section 6 - Appendix 1 – Additional Admission and Selection Criteria

(16) Entry to the program is competitive and places are limited.  In addition to meeting the admission requirements detailed in the schedule, applicants must submit a professional portfolio. Shortlisted applicants are then interviewed.

(17) The professional portfolio must include:

  1. An application letter (3 x A4 pages maximum) which clearly states why the applicant should be considered for the program and a statement that addresses how they meet the following criteria:
    1. Demonstrated understanding of Clinical Psychology and the areas in which a Clinical Psychologist might work;
    2. Relevant experience helping people with physical and/or mental health problems, or otherwise working with children, adolescents, adults or the elderly;
    3. Relevant additional training (e.g. workshops, short courses).
    4. Desirable criteria:
      1. Research experience additional to Honours degree;
      2. Involvement with professional organisations (e.g. APS or Australasian Society for Behavioural Health and Medicine (ASBHM))
      3. University or Civil Awards
      4. Extracurricular activities
  2. A resume
  3. Reports from two referees are also required and must be written on the appropriate forms . At least one of the referees should be a registered psychologist who can comment on the applicant's experience and/or potential to practice in Health/Clinical Psychology. The appropriate referee’s report forms must be used. Referee’s Report Forms (Academic and Professional/Clinical) are available from the Program Handbook at under Further Information.
  4. Certified copies of university transcripts
  5. Brief outline (3 pages maximum) of the Research proposed.