The academic programme is carried out over three 10-week terms in each year of the Course.
Following a four-week induction block, academic teaching closely parallels the clinical experience of trainees on placement, taking a developmental and lifespan perspective. Teaching modules include: adult mental health; children, young people and families; learning disability; older people; health psychology; neuropsychology; substance abuse; psychology and the law, and professional issues.
Clinical skills and a variety of theoretical and therapeutic models including cognitive-behavioural, systems, psychodynamic psychotherapy and group work are taught and opportunities are available to encourage trainees to integrate these into their clinical work. In the third year there is a less intensive programme of teaching with an emphasis on current developments, ethical issues and professional concerns.
The Course aims to encourage creative self-directed learning and where possible the academic programme provides workshops, seminars and interactive sessions, rather than formal lectures. Teaching is delivered by Course staff, clinical supervisors working in the three counties, and external lecturers. Trainees have access to world class libraries in Oxford, including the Bodleian. Recent innovations to the academic programme include enquiry-based learning, strengthening leadership and resilience modules, and greater involvement of service users and carers within the academic programme.