Skip to main content

Doctor of Philosophy (Science) [MCP/PhD]

Why study clinical psychology with us?

Read: The University of Sydney Advantage

Why study with us

  • No. 1 in Australia

    The University is ranked first in Australia and fourth in the world for graduate employability in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020.

    Find out more
  • 27th in world for Psychology

    We are currently ranked 27th in the world for psychology, reflecting our reputation for quality research and education by QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020.

    Find out more


The Master of Clinical Psychology and Doctor of Philosophy (MCP/PhD) will open the doors to both a professional and research career in clinical psychology. The degree’s combination of clinical and doctorate-level research training will enable you to work around the world as a psychologist.

The MCP/PhD is ideal if you want to become a qualified clinical psychologist, but are also interested in a path into research or academia. In this double degree you will complete the coursework program, the Master of Clinical Psychology (MCP), as well as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) research thesis. 

The four-and-a-half-year course is structured so that MCP coursework is completed over the first three years (1st year is full-time MCP; 2nd and 3rd years are concurrent MCP part-time and PhD full-time) and the remaining three semesters are for full-time PhD studies.

Like the MCP program, the MCP/PhD includes a minimum of 1200 hours of clinical placements. These will be done both in our on-campus Psychology Clinic as well as in outstanding teaching hospitals like Westmead Hospital and the Children's Hospital at Westmead. And, with careful selection of clinical placements and additional clinical placements hours, MCP/PhD graduates can meet UK, European, US and Canadian standards.

Subject areas

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your fee


How to apply

What you'll study

Study plan

In first year, you will enrol full time in the MCP coursework units of study. In second and third year, you will complete the MCP coursework units and commence PhD research. In fourth and fifth year, you will be enrolled full time in the PhD. Upon completion of all requirements for both degrees students will graduate with a MCP/PhD award. Thesis submission requirements and examination procedure as set out in the Academic Board resolutions for this course and the Higher Degree (HDR) Rule.

Work component

This course has a mandatory work component totalling 1200 hours that must be completed as part of the award requirements for the degree.

Degree sample: Master of Clinical Psychology / Doctor of Philosophy

Semester 1 Semester 2
Year 1
Clinical Skills and Practice
Treatment Across the Lifespan
Assessment Across the Lifespan
Research, Ethics and Professional Practice
Case and Research Seminars 1
Placement 1
Health and Neuropsychology
Specialised Areas of Practice
Year 2
Full time enrolment in PhD
Case and Research Seminars 2
Reflective Practice and Placement 2
Full time enrolment in PhD
External Placement 1
Advanced Models and Seminars
Year 3
Full time enrolment in PhD
Research Project 1
External Placement 2
Full time enrolment in PhD
Case and Research Seminars 3
Research Project 2
Year 4
Full time enrolment in PhD
Full time enrolment in PhD
Year 5
Full time enrolment in PhD


Units of Study

Applying for entry

2021 applications will open on 30 July 2020.

Inherent requirements

There are inherent requirements for clinical psychology study at the University of Sydney, including for both the MCP and the MCP/PhD. Applicants should review these inherent requirements to ensure they are able to successfully complete the course.

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course that demonstrate the abilities, knowledge and skills required to achieve the core learning outcomes of the course, while preserving the academic integrity of the University's learning, assessment and accreditation processes.

The University welcomes and encourages applications from students with disabilities, and from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. Where there are physical, intellectual, cultural, religious or other factors that impact on a student’s ability to meet the inherent requirements, the University will make reasonable adjustments to assist the student to meet the requirements. 

Admission requirements

  • Completion of an Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) accredited four year bachelors degree with honours in psychology from a higher education provider, gaining at least an first class honours or equivalent. 
    • The bachelors degree with honours must have been completed within 10 years of commencing the MCP/PhD.
    • The bachelors degree with honours must include a major research project and thesis as an essential part of the degree.
  • You must satisfy the Head of the School of Psychology (or delegate) of your personal suitability for the practice of clinical psychology through your application, references and selection interview.
  • Prior to applying, you must arrange a research supervisor from the School of Psychology, by contacting academics directly to discuss potential supervision. 
  • You will be required to provide evidence of supervisor contact and acceptance. Once you have arranged a supervisor, you will be required to submit a research proposal to support your application. 
  • Search for a potential supervisor with clinically relevant research areas via:
Non-Australian qualifications (if relevant)

The Australian Psychological Accreditation Council (APAC) provides information on APAC accredited psychology qualifications in Australia.

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) assesses non-Australian qualifications for APAC equivalence. All qualifications obtained from a non-Australian Higher Education Provider must be assessed as equivalent by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) before an application may be submitted.

English language requirements (if relevant)

Applicants must comply with the English language requirements of the University of Sydney (a minimum of 7.0 overall and a minimum result of 7.0 in each band). English language test scores must be less than two years old from course commencement.

Applicants must also comply with the English language requirements of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Additional English language requirements apply under the current AHPRA standards for registration. Where AHPRA standards are inconsistent with University of Sydney standards, the higher standard will apply. 

Applicants relying on primary, secondary and/or tertiary qualifications to satisfy AHPRA's English language requirements must provide documentary evidence to demonstrate completion of the qualification, language of instruction, duration and recognised country. Recognised countries include: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, UK or USA.

English language requirements must be met by the application closing date.

Selection criteria

Admission is very competitive due to the large number of high calibre applications received and limited number of places available each year. All applications must be submitted by the application closing date. Incomplete and/or late applications will not be considered for the selection interview. Only top-ranking applicants meeting all academic admission requirements and selection criteria will be invited to attend a selection interview.

In order to be competitive:

  • Within the Faculty of Science in the University of Sydney, first class honours is considered to be an overall fourth year result of no less than 80%. A minimum result of first class honours is required for entry into MCP/PhD.
  • The overall fourth year result includes fourth year units of study only. Results from the first three years of undergraduate study are not included in the calculation.
  • If you are unable to provide evidence of your overall honours result as a mark out of 100 (%) on your transcript or as a letter from your fourth year coordinator or administrator, your numeric GPA or non-numeric grade will be mapped to the lower end of the scale for ranking purposes.

The selection interview aims to identify applicants who have a demonstrated interest in clinical psychology, an awareness of clinical issues, and are personally suitable for clinical practice, with sound interpersonal and relational skills. We are looking for applicants who demonstrate the capacity to achieve high levels of scholarship, to be responsive to diversity, and to handle the stress and demands of clinical training. We aim for our graduates to become emerging leaders in the profession, in clinical, research or academic contexts. The selection interview is usually held in the first week of December.

Offers of admission will be made to qualified applicants on the basis of academic merit and interview, according to the admissions and selection criteria. Offers are usually made from mid-December.

How to apply

What to apply for?

  • The MCP/PhD double degree is only available to domestic applicants. Applicants submit two separate admission applications - one for MCP and one for PhD.
  • Please note that the application for PhD (for MCP/PhD) is different to the application for standalone PhD. Please do not submit an application for standalone PhD.

Gadigal Program

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants who wish to be considered for admission under the Gadigal Program must additionally submit a Gadigal application. Eligible applicants may be given priority for the selection interview.

Application procedure

  1. Identification PDF
  2. Academic PDF
  3. English PDF (if relevant)
  4. Research PDF (research proposal, supervisor acceptance)
  5. Authorisation PDF (for applicants currently enrolled in fourth year honours)
Referee reports

All applicants must provide references via the Psychology Reference System.

MCP/PhD applicants must provide two academic references.

Applicants must register with the Psychology Reference System to nominate their two referees online. Referees are then prompted to complete an online reference. Applicants must share the completed references with the University of Sydney via the Psychology Reference System.

  • Applicants who do not correctly provide completed references and share these with the University of Sydney via the Psychology Reference System by the application closing date will not be considered.
  • Please note that the University of Sydney does not operate the Psychology Reference System. The University of Sydney is not responsible for monitoring and reviewing content of the Psychology Reference System website.


Professional accreditation, registration and endorsement


The MCP/PhD provides a professional postgraduate qualification in clinical psychology. 

  • The MCP/PhD is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) as a 5th and 6th year of study, and is an approved qualification for Associate Membership of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) and the Australian Psychological Society (APS) College of Clinical Psychologists. 
  • The Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA), through APAC, also recognises both courses for the purposes of registration and for endorsement of practice in clinical psychology.
  • The MCP/PhD is recognised, in principle, by the New South Wales Ministry of Health as qualifying the holder for progression to the grade of Clinical Psychologist. 


Provisional registration
  • Before commencing candidature in the MCP/PhD, all students are required to have applied for provisional registration with AHPRA's Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA). 
  • Students must hold provisional registration with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) in order to commence clinical placements in the first year of the MCP/PhD.
Full registration
  • MCP/PhD students will be eligible for full registration with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA), following the completion of all coursework and placements of the MCP, and research writing has progressed sufficiently to be equivalent in size and scope to the thesis requirements for the MCP.

Clinical endorsement

In order to gain endorsement from the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) as a Clinical Psychologist, following the completion of the MCP/PhD, graduates need to undertake a two-year full-time equivalent Registrar program. 

  • The Clinical Psychology Registrar program is a two-year full time equivalent program which involves clinical psychology practice, supervision, and continuing professional development.
  • Students are eligible to apply to AHPRA's Psychology Board of Australia, seeking approval to undertake the Registrar program once they have been granted full registration.

International equivalency

In regard to international equivalency for accreditation and registration of the MCP/PhD, students are advised to contact the relevant accreditation and registration bodies in their own country for accurate advice.

However, with careful selection of clinical placements and additional clinical placements hours, MCP/PhD graduates may meet UK, European, US and Canadian standards.

Career Pathways

The MCP/PhD is a path to professional specialisation in clinical psychology. By the end of this double degree, you will have the highly developed knowledge base and strong clinical skills needed to work as a professional clinical psychologist in many clinical and community settings.

The MCP/PhD is recognised by the NSW Ministry of Health as qualifying the holder for progression to the grade of clinical psychologist.

Upon graduation, students are eligible for membership of the APS College of Clinical Psychologists, and Associate Membership of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA).

Domestic students

Indicative Postgraduate Student Contribution Amount

The student contribution amount for a Commonwealth Supported Place is an indication only of the amount payable in Year 1 for a standard full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The exact student contribution that you pay will depend on the calendar year in which you undertake your study, and the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol. For further information about how to calculate your specific total student contribution, please refer to the University's Tuition Fees website.

Annual review and fee increases

Importantly, student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the University, and will increase each year of your period of study (subject to a Commonwealth specified cap), effective at the start of each calendar year.

Indicative Postgraduate Domestic Tuition Fee

The tuition fee for a domestic postgraduate student is an indication only of the fees payable in Year 1 for a standard full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). Depending on the calendar year in which you undertake your study, and if your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL, your tuition fee will differ from the indicative amount.

Annual review and fee increase

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review by the University, and will increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Domestic Higher Degree by Research Student fee information

Commencing 1 January 2017, the Research Training Program (RTP) has been introduced by the Australian Government to support postgraduate research scholarships. The RTP enables the University to award eligible domestic and international Higher Degree by Research students (RTP Students) with a RTP Fees Offset, which is a type of RTP Scholarship. This RTP Scholarship is to assist with tuition fees that would otherwise be payable by students. The University's allocation of funding under the RTP is governed by the Higher Education Support Act 2003 and the Commonwealth Scholarship Guidelines (Research) 2017 (as may be amended or replaced from time to time) and relevant Conditions of Grant prescribed by the Government (Relevant Laws).
A student's continued eligibility is subject to Relevant Laws and University rules, policies and procedures (as may be amended or replaced from time to time). A RTP Fees Offset entitles a student (depending on their course) to a period of tuition fee support for either up to a maximum of four years full-time equivalent study for a Doctorate by Research, or up to a maximum of two years of full-time equivalent study for a Master's by Research from the course of study commencement date. Different periods of support apply for a part-time student as set out in University policy and procedures. Please note that, when a student has exhausted the maximum period of support under this RTP Scholarship, or they do not comply with a requirement of the RTP Scholarship as set out in University policy and procedures, the University must terminate the Scholarship. If the student wishes to continue their candidature in the same degree (and they are approved to do so), they will be transferred to a domestic fee paying place and may be liable for tuition fees at a rate determined by the University at the time.
Please note that a student's award of, and continued entitlement to, the RTP Scholarship is subject to change consistent with Relevant Laws and University rules, policies and procedures (as may be amended and replaced from time to time). The University determines the allocation of this Government support and the processes by which this support is managed.
Please consult the Australian Government's website at: for information on RTP Scholarships and eligibility requirements.

Additional incidental costs

For some courses there are incidental costs additional to the student contribution and/or course fee. Some of these incidental costs are significant, for example, course-specific materials, tools, protected clothing and equipment. Further information about these costs is available from

Visa/MasterCard/American Express/JCB surcharge

Please note that a surcharge of 1.53% will apply for payments made by Visa, MasterCard, American Express or JCB. The surcharge is subject to review and may change. Information about payment methods and the surcharge is set out at:

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about fees.

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP)

A limited number of CSP may be awarded to domestic students each year subject to availability. CSP are awarded for the MCP component of the MCP/PhD. CSP are awarded on the basis of merit to the top-ranked applicants. Eligibility: Australian citizens, Australian permanent humanitarian visa holds, New Zealand citizens. Recipients must enrol on a full-time basis. Deferral is not permitted. 

Domestic applicants who are successful for admission to the MCP or the MCP/PhD yet miss out on a CSP will be offered a full-fee paying place. Recipients must enrol on a full-time basis. Deferral is not permitted. 

Student assistance

The MCP is an approved course for student payment purposes (eg. youth allowance, austudy) by the Department of Human Services (Centrelink). Domestic students may be eligible for assistance when enrolled full time in the MCP. 

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.