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Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology for Adult Lifespan (CAAP) (MSc)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

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Why study this course


Year long clinical workplace

An opportunity, within a specific NHS health board, to develop clinical competencies associated with the role of the Associate Psychologist.


Professional supervision

Supervision from Psychological Therapists, Practitioner Psychologists and applied academic experts.


Wide range of teaching techniques

These include practical on-the-job learning, theory based tutorials, simulated cases and small group tuition.


Top 10 in the UK

We are ranked in the top 10 for psychology in the UK in both the Complete University Guide (7th) and Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2022 (8th).

Clinical Associates in Applied Psychology (CAAPs) are new roles within NHS psychological services which fill an identified skills gap between assistant psychologist and qualified clinical psychologist.

The purpose of this programme is to provide you with the skills necessary to work as a CAAP to give high quality, evidence-based psychological interventions for adults experiencing mental health problems. You will learn about psychological evaluation, assessment, formulation and interventions derived from rigorous psychological research and practice.

As a qualified CAAP, you will be able to practice autonomously with appropriate support, working within your scope of practice, under the supervision of a Practitioner Psychologist.

The programme has a year-long clinical workplace in the NHS. In parallel, you will complete academic modules on the theory behind clinical practice, such as clinical research; assessments and formulations; and clinical interventions. Some of the academic modules will take place on campus and some through online delivery.

Where you'll study

School of Psychology

Study in a dynamic and stimulating learning environment, informed by our leading research in psychology and neuroscience.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4007
  • Marker70 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT

Admissions criteria

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Course structure

You will complete a workplace placement in the NHS under the supervision of a Practitioner Psychologist. In parallel, you will complete academic modules on the theory behind clinical practice, such as clinical research; assessments and formulations; and clinical interventions.

You will be on workplace in the NHS for around three days per week and the remaining two days will be spent completing your academic work. Some of the academic modules are taught on campus and others through online delivery. This means that extensive travel may be involved, depending on placement location.

The programme is for one year. Practical skills will be covered both on workplace in the NHS and within academic modules. The theory underpinning these skills will be taught in both settings with a focus on this occurring within University teaching and workshops, delivered online or on campus.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

The programme is for one year. Practical skills will be covered both on placement in the NHS and within academic modules. The theory underpinning these skills will be taught in both settings with a focus on this occurring within University teaching and workshops, delivered online or on campus.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

This programme is taught by practicing experts who are able to provide the right balance between the theoretical and the practical skills necessary to be a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology (CAAP). You will receive a mixture of practical on-the-job training under the supervision of NHS specialists and theory provided by university-based experts. There will be a wide range of teaching techniques suitable for the range of skills you will learn, including simulated clinical cases and small group tuition. Some of the workshops will be delivered online and some on campus.

The medium of instruction will be English. However, you will be given the option of having a personal tutor who speaks Welsh and of submitting written assessments in Welsh. We will attempt to find a Welsh speaking clinical supervisor but this will depend on whether one is available in your practice locality.  

How will I be assessed?

A large part of the programme will be assessed by demonstrating skill based clinical competencies. These will be evidenced within a clinical portfolio. On your placement you will be expected to satisfy a range of clinical competencies with details recorded in your portfolio. You will also be assessed using practice based report, clinical observations, and standard academic assessments such as essays, reports and presentations. You will be given formative assignments and support throughout the programme to prepare you for the summative assignments.

How will I be supported?

You will be assigned a personal tutor at Cardiff University who will support you with pastoral concerns. If you encounter any problems which affect your studies, your personal tutor should always be your first point of contact; they will be able to put you in touch with the wide range of expert student support services provided by the University and the Students' Union as appropriate. You are required to meet with your personal tutor at several points during the year but you are also encouraged to get in touch with them at any other point if you need help or advice.

For day-to-day information, the Professional Academic support staff of our Postgraduate Student Hub are available, in person, by telephone or by email, from 8am to 6pm each weekday during term time to answer your questions.

In addition, as an employee of the NHS you will be able to access NHS support services and occupational health services. The programme team and your workplace supervisor will be able to signpost you to this support and information will be available within your staff pages in the NHS and on the Health Board webpages.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will achieve by the end of your programme at Cardiff University and identify the knowledge and skills that you will develop. They will also help you to understand what is expected of you.

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of your Programme you will be able to:              

KU 1       Demonstrate systematic and critical understanding of the professional and ethical practice of being a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology (CAAP).

KU 2       Demonstrate critical knowledge and psychological understanding of common clinical presentations relevant to the target population.

KU 3       Demonstrate advanced understanding of the role of CAAPs and the scope of practice, and their relationship with other health professionals and the broader context of clinical provision.

KU 4       Demonstrate critical understanding of assessment, formulation and intervention in clinical theory and practice.

KU 5       Demonstrate critical understanding of existing clinical research and the skills necessary to conduct research under supervision.

Intellectual Skills:             

On successful completion of your Programme you will be able to:

IS 1         Critically integrate psychological theory and research into clinical practice and consider novel concepts and approaches.

IS 2         Demonstrate advanced problem solving, flexibility and reflective skills in complex clinical contexts.

IS 3         Integrate and synthesise complex information when working with individuals, systems and teams.

IS 4         Analyse and critique clinical interventions where complex, incomplete or contradictory evidence maybe present.

Professional Practical Skills:        

On successful completion of your Programme you will be able to:

PS 1        Make ethical, reflective, collaborative and effective decisions, under supervision, in the provision of a range of evidence-based psychological assessment, formulation, intervention and evaluation.

PS 2        Demonstrate the ability to work as a reflective practitioner, including the capacity to monitor own fitness to practice and wellbeing.

PS 3        Demonstrate effective communication of information from a psychological perspective to a variety of different audiences.

PS 4        Demonstrate adaptable and professional practice, treating people with dignity, respect, embracing diversity and inclusion, and working within the scope of the CAAP role.

PS 5        Demonstrate an ability to assess and formulate problems affecting well-being and then design, implement and evaluate appropriate evidence-based interventions.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of your Programme you will be able to:

KS 1        Communicate complex theoretical and clinical information to clients, family members and carers, and members of a broader multidisciplinary team.

KS 2        Collaborate effectively with others to promote effective inter-professional and psychologically-informed practice.

KS 3        Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological research.

KS 4        Demonstrate the ability to develop positive working relationship with clients and colleagues within the context of mental health service provision.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

This programme is funded by the Welsh Government for current NHS Wales Employees. Those interested in self-funding should contact the School directly via the admissions tutor.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

NHS employment is a required part of this course. Therefore, this course is not available for international students.

Additional costs

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Master's Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Careers and placements

This programme is supported by providers of NHS psychological services. The programme is commissioned and supported by Health Education and Improvement Wales, and ultimately by Welsh Government. There is an expectation of continuation of employment post qualification within the appointing Health Board.


This programme is designed to equip you with the skills necessary to become a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology (CAAP) for adults. You will learn practical skills during your clinical placement and the underpinning theory in your academic modules.

The programme is in the process of applying for BPS accreditation and on completion of this CAAPs will be eligible to register on the BPS’s ‘Wider Psychological Workforce Register’.

Further qualification into a different NHS funded substantive role (e.g. Clinical Psychology Training) may be possible during your career post qualification. However, NHS commissioners will not support this until two years from successful completion of the CAAPs MSc. This would not preclude seeking NHS internal funding to support in-role (CAAP) post qualification training.

Next steps


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How to apply

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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.