University of the Witwatersrand Clinical Psychology

University of the Witwatersrand Clinical Psychology

Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology

The Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology programme comprises three main elements: a year of theoretical coursework and applied training offered full-time at the university; the completion of a clinically orientated research study and report; and a full-time internship of 12 months at sites in the greater Johannesburg area. The theoretical orientation of the Wits Clinical Masters programme is largely Psychodynamic, however, much of the intervention is offered from an integrated perspective drawing upon a range of psychotherapeutic models and modes of intervention. Close supervision of applied work is a particular strength of the programme. Close attention is paid to clinical ethics and multicultural sensitivity throughout the teaching and applied aspects of the programme. The programme offers good community-based clinical experience in the first year. Some components of the course are offered as part of an integrated programme, Seminars in Professional Psychology (SPP), allowing for contact with Counselling and Educational Psychology trainees and multiple expert input.
Upon completion of all the academic and internship requirement the Professional Board of Psychology (under the auspices of the Health Professions Council of South Africa) requires that Clinical Psychologists complete a year of paid community service in order to register as an independent practitioner. Upon completion of the internship, prospective psychologists also have to complete the Board Exam of the Professional Board of Psychology before they can complete their registration.
Applicants for the programme are selected by a Selection Panel, consisting of staff from both the Department of Psychology and the Intern Training Centres. Acceptance is provisional upon several criteria, including acceptable academic performance in an Honours degree and during the first few months of the programme.

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The following modules are offered in 2024 and may be modified in :
Students receive training in the skills necessary for practice as a psychotherapist, in a range of psychotherapeutic methods and focus areas, including group and family therapy, play therapy and intensive input on psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Psychological Assessment
The course covers a range of aspects pertaining to psychological assessment including clinical observation, history taking, specialized interviewing, intellectual, personality, neuropsychological and pathology testing, report writing and making professional recommendations.
Students receive intensive input on how to conceptualize a research study and how to prepare and write up a research proposal. Research ethics and academic writing skills are also covered. This course is then supplemented by ongoing individual/group supervision with a research supervisor on an identified project written up in the form of a final research report. This research report is due towards the end of the first year of the degree.
Students are exposed to a broad range of disorders, examining symptoms, classification, differential diagnosis and treatment. Lectures are complemented by case conferences and ward rounds. Understandings of psychopathology are also incorporated into supervision of cases.
Community Clinical Practice
Students work at the Emthonjeni Clinic (based at the University) as Trainee Psychologists, seeing clients with a range of community mental health problems. Initial training is given in conceptual models of assessment and treatment in contexts in which intervention is of necessity flexible and short-term in orientation. Close attention is paid to multicultural dynamics and also to working with other complementary networks and social services.
Developmental Psychology
This course covers a range of perspectives on the early development of psychological health and difficulties. Although the essence of core theories is covered in general, the primary focus is on how developmental understandings can contribute to an enriched understanding of psychopathology and interpersonal dynamics, as well as application of psychoanalysis to social and contextual issues.

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During the second year of the course, students are required to work at one of the intern placement sites. Internship placements are an integral part of the Wits training programme and successful completion of an internship is necessary for the award of the degree. Placement is at the discretion of the internship team based on student preference lists.


A central requirement for the degree is a research report which presents research in an area related to clinical psychology. Students will be invited to a summer school in November 2024 where they will start to prepare for their research. Each student will be assigned a supervisor, who will help the student to prepare a research proposal for approval by the Department and by the Faculty of Humanities. The student will then conduct the research. We expect our students to complete their research by the end of their first year of study.


Application closing date (for study in ): 09 May 2024
Dates for selection week: 18 to 22 July 2024
Please visit for regularly updated information
Please submit your University Postgraduate Admission Form online at the Student Enrolment Centre ( and your Department Course Application Form to the Department of Psychology. Be sure to enclose official university transcripts and one passport sized photograph with your department application form. These forms can be obtained from the Psychology Department (011 717 4500) or online.
In addition to your application, please choose two referees from people acquainted with your academic and/or professional performance. Choose people who have an understanding of the needs of the profession. Ask them to send referees reports to the Department of Psychology, to arrive before the closing date.
Incomplete or late Department Course Application Forms will not be accepted, nor applications sent to the Faculty.
Applications and referees’ reports should be emailed to
Please copy your email to and

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Application queries can be directed to the department by telephoning (011) 717 4500. Those applicants invited to selection week will be notified via email. Applicants may also check, where a list of invited applicants will be posted before 7 July 2024.

Department Application Form   MClin application form
Click here to download the MClin Application information booklet
Referee Report Form MClin confidential referee’s report form