Becoming a Psychologist Part 2 - Postgraduate study and qualifications

21 Jun 13:00 by Kai Theriault


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).

Postgraduate Study

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:

Conversion Courses

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.

Independent Learning

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.

For further information covering Funding, Awards & Grants, Support and how to apply from outside the UK, please click here.

For more information on becoming a Psychologist, visit -