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M.A. (Clinical Psychology)

Course Structure


In the first year (Year 1) the student is required to do a research project and produce a minor dissertation on a clinically related topic, attend case conference presentations at the Child Guidance Clinic (CGC) and participate in community projects run under the auspices of the CGC.


The second year (M1) involves intensive clinical training aimed at developing the core competencies defined by the Professional Board for Psychology, Clinical and related administrative skills, such as psychological assessment, diagnosis, case formulation, report-writing, therapeutic interventions and case presentations, are acquired through supervised practical experience. In addition, students receive theoretical input on various therapeutic models which they use in their work with children, adolescents and their families as well as with adult individuals.

Personal development in trainees is facilitated, particularly in areas which have a bearing on professional skills. The student is expected to work consistently towards developing sound self-knowledge such that he/she is able to detect and compensate for response modes that may interfere with effective treatment of clients, or co-operative teamwork with colleagues from various disciplines. Assistance is provided in this area through regular feedback from staff and peers.


On successful completion of the academic requirements for both years, students have to complete a ONE year internship at hospitals registered with the Professional Board (HPCSA) as internship sites. In accordance with government regulations, Valkenberg Hospital can no longer guarantee UCT students an internship position and students must apply to various hospitals and internship sites. This is the student's responsibility and, while support and assistance is given by staff where necessary, the CGC offers NO guarantee of an internship after completing the course.


After satisfactory completion of internship, students are required to do one year of community service in designated posts that were established to provide services in under-resourced areas of South Africa. The salary is equivalent to that of an entry-level registered psychologist in government service and relocation costs are covered.


In order to register as a clinical psychologist after completing community service, trainees are required to pass the Professional Board for Psychology’s National Exam. The examinations are usually held in Pretoria, Polokwane, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Bloemfontein. You will be permitted to either write the examination prior to commencement of community service or during the completion of the 12 month’s community service, but prior to their registration for independent practice.


Psychologists are expected to develop a higher degree of professional competence after qualifying and it is essential that graduates undertake continuing education in some field(s) of clinical specialisation and seek out supervision for their work after completing this basic training.


The University Library, email and sports facilities are available to trainees in both years of the course.


  • Trainees are expected to familiarise themselves with, and adhere to, standards of ethical and professional conduct for clinical psychologists, in accordance with the standards, ethical guidelines and regulations as described by the HPCSA Professional Conduct & Ethics. Whilst at any training institution the trainee is expected to abide by the regulations laid down by the Head of that Institution.
  • Trainees are requested to present themselves appropriately when dealing with members of the public, or when attending, for any purpose, at any community or professional settings.
  • Trainees are expected to maintain a satisfactory standard of academic and clinical work and interpersonal conduct during the period of training. Should progress in any of these areas not be satisfactory, the trainee will be given due warning and additional assistance and monitoring will be provided as far as possible. Should this not result in improved performance the trainee may be:

a) required to serve additional time at any institution of training; or

b) required to discontinue the course.

Measures of this nature will be decided on by the MA (Clinical Psychology) Team.