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Postgraduate study and qualifications

Postgraduate study and training is a requirement to become a Chartered Psychologist and to register as a practitioner psychologist with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC).

Typically postgraduate study will take at least 3 years to complete, and will involve a combination of both academic and practical work.

The exact nature training you need to complete will depend on the field of psychology you want to work in.

In order to pursue a postgraduate qualification you will normally need to have a 2:1 or higher from an undergraduate degree accredited by the Society.

Graduates with a 2:2 or lower grade will not normally be accepted unless they have achieved a higher qualification, such as a masters degree.

You should always check with the universitiy to find out their specific entry requirements.

Click here to search for an accredited postgraduate course.


In general course organisers will want you to demonstrate sufficient knowledge and ability before they will consider you as a candidate for postgraduate study.

Usually this will mean having completed an MSc or MPhil in which you have successfully completed an applied research project, preferably one which is relevant to the area of psychology you waish to pursue.

Many postgraduate training programmes will also require you to have significant relevant work experience in order to demonstrate that you are a dedicated candidate in possession of some real-world, applied psychological knowledge. This experience may have to be gained in a voluntary capacity rather than as part of a paid position.

Your university psychology department should have information on current work-experience positions relevant to you, and the following links may also be of use:

If you are a graduate in a subject other than psychology, or you have a psychology degree that isn't accredited by the Society, you may be able to gain Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership by taking a Society accredited conversion course.

Conversion courses normally take at least a year to complete, however the actual timescale can vary dependent on the course provisions and any previous psychological study which you may have undertaken.

For further information about entry requirements, fees, funding and course duration, we encourage you to contact the relevant institution directly.

Click here to search for an accredited conversion course.

In addition to accrediting courses, the Society offers examinations and qualifications for candidates that wish to take an independent approach to learning.

We currently offer qualifications in the following areas:

Candidates and their supervisors will need to make appropriate arrangements for access to academic facilities and support throughout the period of training. This may involve arranging library access at local universities and might include buying into modules of training courses.

Supported by events, workshops and supervision, candidates undertake a high standard of training to become eligible for Chartered Membership which, in turn, makes them eligible to apply to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for registration. 

Candidates enrolled for the Society’s independent route qualifications must ensure that they have appropriate professional liability insurance.

Our qualifications are work based learning designed to enable people to develop and demonstrate the competencies required for practice in the UK. This page provides some additional information for those who may not be familiar with the UK context.

Professional recognition

Some of our qualifications are approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and people who are awarded one of the approved qualifications are eligible to apply to the HCPC for registration. It is a legal requirement that anyone who wishes to practice using a title protected by the Health Professions Order 2001 is on the HCPC Register

Entry Requirements

You must be a Graduate Member of the Society with Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership. The GBC is awarded to those who have qualifications in psychology awarded at the equivalent of a UK second class honours degree which covers a range of areas of psychology. When you apply for Graduate Membership of the Society your application for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership will be considered at the same time.

In order to be eligible to enrol for one of our qualifications applicants from overseas must meet the same requirements as applicants from the UK.

Co-ordinator of Training/ Co-ordinating Supervisor

Before enrolling you must have a Co-ordinator of Training or Co-ordinating Supervisor. 

He or she will:

  • be a Chartered Member of the Society
  • be a registered practitioner psychologist
  • be a full member of the relevant Division
  • have undertaken the appropriate training for the role.

You might find an appropriate person to take on this role within your employment or you may need to pay someone privately to provide this service.More information about Co-ordinators of Training/ Co-ordinating Supervisors can be found with the information on the relevant qualification.

Work Based Learning/ Supervised Practice

When you apply to enrol you will need to show us that you are in a position to complete the supervised practice elements of the qualification. This means you will need to demonstrate that you have a paid or voluntary position where you will be able to undertake your supervised practice. The majority of your supervised practice will need to be undertaken in the UK and you will need to tell us about the supervised practice you have arranged in the UK so that we know you will be able to meet this requirement.

If you cannot find the information you want on these pages, contact the Qualifications Office at:

Securing funding is one of the main hurdles graduates face when it comes to postgraduate study.

 

Funding opportunities will vary, dependent on the field of psychology you want to pursue.

There are a number of websites that offer information about postgraduate funding. A few examples are listed below:

The BPS also runs a number of awards and grant schemes for postgraduate psychology students.

This grant provides opportunities for research students to visit another institution
to experience new skills and training.

​This award provides opportunities for a postgraduate psychologist to work at POST
providing objective briefing material for MPs and Peers on psychological topics.

Our Research Interests List contains information on the research interests of academics and researchers in psychology in the UK.

You may also want to view our guide on Postgraduate Research in Psychology.

The Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group (PsyPAG) is a support group for postgraduate students. Throughout the year we hold regular events and contact members with updates and news.

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