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MSc Clinical Associate in Psychology

Become a qualified Clinical Associate in Psychology (CAP). You’ll be employed by the NHS alongside your studies for this master's degree apprenticeship.

Course overview

This 18-month part-time course starts in September 2024. You'll study at Bath alongside your work-based practice to complete this degree apprenticeship. Applications must be made to employers (such as an NHS Trust) not directly to the University of Bath.

Please note: For 2024/25 we will run MSc Clinical Associate in Psychology (Adults) and/or MSc Clinical Associate in Psychology (Children and Young People). This depends on a sufficient number of apprentices being enrolled for each strand.

This MSc course will be the foundation for your training to become a qualified Clinical Associate in Psychology (CAP).

Alongside your formal study of clinical psychology theory and practice, you will undertake practice-based learning and supervised clinical practice in a relevant NHS health or social care setting under the supervision of a registered clinical or counselling Psychologist.

You’ll develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary to work safely and effectively as a CAP, including knowledge of governance, ethical and organisational issues.

We will train you to work effectively with individuals experiencing mental health problems using evidence-based approaches. You'll develop skills in psychological assessment, formulation and intervention, and in how to evaluate and enhance your practice. Your developing clinical practice skills and competence will be reviewed and assessed throughout the course.

As you work to become a reflective, ethical and competent practitioner, you'll gain the experience needed to contribute to the effective provision of psychologically informed care across the wider health and social care system.

On completion of your degree apprenticeship, you will have demonstrated the knowledge, skills and behaviours to work as a qualified CAP, and be able to:

  • work autonomously with appropriate support and supervision from a registered psychologist
  • provide personalised and evidence-based care to people from different backgrounds and cultures
  • support service development through quality improvement

This course is designed for psychology graduates employed by health and social care providers as apprentice Clinical Associates in Psychology. The CAP role aims to address unmet needs in mental health provision, as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan and Community Mental Health Framework.

Graduate prospects

On successful completion of this apprenticeship degree, you’ll be eligible to apply for Clinical Associate in Psychology roles in the NHS.

Studying with us

You will join our Department of Psychology, which offers several accredited professional postgraduate programmes in psychology, as well as a highly ranked undergraduate degree in the subject.

Research interests in the department span a broad range of clinically relevant topics, including:

  • ageing
  • autism
  • child maltreatment
  • common mental health problems
  • eating disorders
  • persistent physical symptoms
  • psychosis
  • trauma
The front of an office building.

Course ethos

We aim to provide a supportive, stimulating environment to nurture CAP apprentices as they grow professionally. Because of this, our course mixes learning that is practice-based as well as problem-based.

We believe that the classroom should be an extension of the workplaces in which CAPs are embedded, offering academic learning that is fully grounded in clinical practice. This means that CAPs will be encouraged to bring their experience from practice to the teaching we provide and to take what they learn back to their workplaces to create a virtuous cycle of learning.

By doing this, we will support apprentices to become reflective and ethical practitioners who can work with complex presentations in an evolving health and social care context. In addition to ensuring that the practice we teach is evidence-based and outcome-focused, we will encourage apprentices to pay close attention to wider organisational, social and cultural trends.

Students walking up an outside staircase past a University of Bath sign.

Information for employers

The MSc Clinical Associate in Psychology degree apprenticeship is achieved in collaboration with employing NHS Trusts and care providers.

Teaching on this course will cover theory-driven psychological assessment, formulation and intervention, and equip apprentices to provide training and consultation, and to conduct service evaluation.

The University of Bath will work closely with employers to develop programme content to meet NHS workforce needs. We will support apprentices to become reflective and ethical practitioners who are able to work with complex presentations, and whose practice is evidence-based and outcome-focused.

We strive to engage effectively with all stakeholders and respond to specific workforce training needs where possible. Please contact us if you would like to discuss any aspect of the training programme.

Course structure

You will start in September 2024 and typically complete your training in 2026, once you have successfully passed the End Point Assessment.

Occasionally we make changes to our programmes in response to, for example, feedback from students, developments in research and the field of studies, and the requirements of accrediting bodies. You will be advised of any significant changes to the advertised programme, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

Compulsory units

These compulsory units are currently being studied by our apprentices, or are proposed new units.

Year 1

Year 2

  • Clinical practice unit (continued from Year 1)
  • End Point Assessment

Please note: The units you study will depend on the variant of this course you study.

Learning and assessment

You’ll be taught and assessed by a variety of methods and it will vary between units. These methods are designed to promote in-depth learning and understanding of the subject.


You are expected to spend two days per week studying, with around one day per week of this being structured classes. The rest of the week you will be in the workplace.

Your learning will be made up of:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Workplace-based assignments

You will work as an individual and as part of small groups.


You will experience a balance of different forms of assessment methods designed to support your professional development. These will include:

  • Coursework
  • Open-book written examination
  • Reflective assessment
  • Practical
  • Portfolio

We can make reasonable adjustments to assessment procedures for students with disabilities. Take a look at our Disability Service’s pages for information.

Entry requirements

View entry requirements.

Recruitment and selection for this programme is led by NHS employers, in collaboration with the University of Bath. Therefore, applications must be made to employers (such as an NHS Trust) recruiting apprentice CAPs, not directly to the University. These services typically advertise apprentice or trainee Clinical Associate in Psychology posts on recruitment websites, such as NHS Jobs.

To apply for this course, you should have:

  • a minimum 2:2 undergraduate degree in Psychology, or an equivalent conversion course accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
  • relevant clinical experience in a mental health setting
  • be able to evidence passes at GCSE or equivalent in English and Maths prior to progression to End Point Assessment for successful completion of the apprenticeship

Applicants should be eligible for BPS Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) and will need to have, or applied for, Graduate Membership for entry to the programme. Read more about BPS Graduate Membership.

Fees, funding and eligibility

View fees and funding information for MSc Clinical Associate in Psychology.

Tuition fees

The NHS is the sponsoring employer for this degree apprenticeship and is responsible for recruitment and the payment of tuition fees (i.e. the apprentice does not pay).

See the most recent fees for postgraduate courses


You must meet certain criteria to be able to complete an apprenticeship. Find out more about apprenticeship eligibility.

Please note: If you have undertaken Health Education England-funded training within two years of the start date of this course, you will not be eligible to apply. This also applies for future Health Education England-funded courses following the completion of this course.

IT requirements

To take full advantage of the online resources available to you, you will need regular access to a computer with a microphone and camera, along with a reliable internet connection. The University will make available to you the key software you need for your course, including access to Microsoft Teams through your University account.


Accommodation, food and travel costs (if required) are not included. Accommodation is not available on the University campus, so you may need to book accommodation in Bath.

Application information

View application information.

Contact us

If you have any questions about this course, please contact us.