Clinical Psychology

The great use of a life is to spend it for something that outlasts it. W. James

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The doctoral degree study programme in clinical psychology is primarily open to applicants who have a Master’s degree in psychology, or, in exceptional cases, applicants with a Master’s degree in other related fields concerned with human behaviour and experience (e.g. medicine).

In order to pass the entrance examination, applicants have to demonstrate the high level of scientific thinking and research skills needed for independent scientific work, a profound and systematic knowledge of theories and approaches in the field, and appropriate language skills. The committee can also take into consideration applicants’ previous work experience and publications.

The doctoral degree study programme allows future researchers to obtain the necessary qualifications for a scientific career in a given field. It involves passing a set of compulsory courses specified by the course catalogue while independently conducting research under the supervision of a supervisor, resulting in the publication of scientific papers and a doctoral dissertation. The general aim of the doctoral degree study programme is to ensure that the students acquire theoretical knowledge and skills in a specific research area in psychology, which they will be able to demonstrate in their dissertations. Most importantly, students are expected to develop a substantial capacity for integrating different sources of information and approaches in the chosen field and related fields, as well as critical psychological thinking, psychological sensitivity, and psychological and social skills.

In addition to contributing to the knowledge base of the field, the doctoral degree study programme in clinical psychology promotes a balance between students’ developing academic and professional clinician skills, which are subsequently applied in designing and completing the research project and other academic activities.

After completing the doctoral degree study programme, students will be able to provide a state-of-the-art overview of research in the field while considering its temporal context, and think broadly about the key topics including all interdisciplinary considerations relevant for clinical psychology, psychology of health and illness, psychosomatic medicine and other related medical and non-medical fields (ethics, neurology, etc.). They will also be able to bring together and critically evaluate different theoretical and methodological approaches in designing basic and/or applied research studies. It is especially important that students understand all specific considerations of clinical research and employment of clinical methods in data collection. By the end of the studies, students will be able to discuss general issues of health, illness, and the psychology of health at an advanced level, show knowledge of international classification/diagnostic systems, including important differences, limitations, and controversies, and consider the international, European, and local contexts of clinical epidemiology and social and health policies when addressing clinical psychological issues.


After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

  • demonstrate profound and systematic knowledge and understanding of the state of the art in the field, including the theories and issues that are leading subjects of current international debates
  • expand scientific knowledge through original research
  • provide an appropriate theoretical background for the object of research and develop a well-founded research design
  • employ various methodological approaches in the field and process and analyse quantitative and/or qualitative data at an advanced level
  • write scientific research proposals and design and conduct scientific projects
  • coordinate scientific collaborations
  • communicate original research findings to the domestic and international scientific community as well as to the general public clearly and comprehensibly
  • continue enhancing their knowledge and skills and engage in educational activities for others
  • demonstrate knowledge and skills acquired through philosophical and methodological courses and examinations (especially with regard to issues relevant for the doctoral dissertation project)
  • demonstrate proficiency in at least one scientific lingua franca at the C1 level (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), not only by passing a language exam, but mainly through communicating their ideas

Graduates can work as professional scientific researchers in research institutions, as consultants at institutions providing medical and social care, and as lecturers at universities and other institutions that focus on research, education, and conceptualization of new developments in health and social care.

Graduates of the doctoral degree study programme in psychology have been trained to be independent researchers and educators in the fields of basic and/or applied research. In the most general sense, they are considered qualified for any kind of scientific work, including developing conceptual frameworks, participating in and managing scientific research teams, projects, and boards, and teaching.

Graduates from the doctoral degree study programme in psychology who do not hold a Master’s degree in Psychology are qualified for scientific and academic professions only – they are NOT qualified to work as practising psychologists.


The standard duration of the doctoral degree study programme is four years (eight semesters). The programme has a full-time and a combined-study mode. The programme is designed according to the credit model of four-year doctoral study programmes recommended by the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, and meets the criteria specified in the MU Study and Examination Regulations.

It is expected that doctoral students will manage their own studies according to their own capacities and set process goals for themselves for each semester so that they are able to achieve the minimum of 20 credits necessary for proceeding to another semester.

To complete the doctoral degree study programme, a student must obtain a minimum of 240 ECTS credits from type A/required, type B/selective, and type C/elective courses (see below), pass the specialization exam (in clinical psychology), successfully defend the dissertation, and pass the doctoral final state examination.

The set of type A/required courses for the doctoral degree study programme also includes courses that are common for all doctoral degree students at the faculty (Philosophy for Doctoral Studies and Foreign Language for Doctoral Studies – demonstrating at least a C1 level proficiency according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), which are all included in the required number of credits.

Philosophy for Doctoral Studies 1 and 2

Foreign Language (Publication and Paper in FL – Variant A)

Foreign Language for Doctoral Studies (Language Exam)

Literature Review and Research I, II, III, IV

Manuscript Preparation Ia, Ib, Ic, Id

Manuscript Preparation II (from 5th year of studies)

Doctoral Seminar I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII

Theory and Methodology of Psychology

Clinical Psychology (Specialization Exam)

Conference Presentation I, II

Scientific Publication I, II

Special Lecture

International Student Exchange (One-Semester Stay)

Doctoral Dissertation Summary

Doctoral Dissertation

Doctoral final state examination

Further information on the doctoral degree study programme in clinical psychology can be found here:

The doctoral degree study programme in clinical psychology is regulated by the version of the course catalogue and registration templates that are valid for the student’s matriculation year, which can be found in the IS MU.

Since the doctoral degree study programme focuses on developing research skills and independent research activities, requirements include scientific publications, presentations at conferences, and international mobility.

Other requirements of the full-time mode of the doctoral degree study programme include: a) teaching and assisting teachers of undergraduate students in the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree study programmes (practical instruction, teaching of specialized selective courses, etc.); b) collaborating on research projects conducted at the department; and c) participating in organizational and administrative activities at the department.


Students demonstrate the required practical academic and research skills by meeting the requirements of type A/required courses and by passing the specialization exam.

Since this doctoral degree study programme provides training for a scientific career, placements and practical training at other institutions are not required.


The specific course of studies in the doctoral degree study programme in clinical psychology is highly personalized and supervised by the supervisor. Graduation requirements are stated in the MU Study and Examination Regulations:

The doctoral degree study programme is completed by passing all compulsory courses listed in the appropriate version of the study catalogue, achieving the necessary minimum of 240 ECTS credits, submitting a doctoral dissertation and a doctoral dissertation summary, successfully defending the dissertation, and passing the doctoral final state examination. Further information can be found here:

The defence of the doctoral dissertation, which is a part of the doctoral final state examination, is a public defence in front of a board of examiners which include the chair of the board, the student’s supervisor, and several specialists in the field. A doctoral dissertation defence typically involves the following: introduction of the student by the supervisor, the student’s presentation of the key points and findings of the dissertation project, reading of the reviews, the student’s response to the reviews, and a discussion. After the discussion, the board decides on the student’s final grade by a vote.

Doctoral dissertation requirements:

1) Dissertation length: The dissertation must have the required number of characters. Dissertation parts that are counted in the required length include the main body of the text, footnotes, endnotes, and the table of contents. References, title pages, appendices, declaration of originality, etc. are not counted. The minimum required length of a doctoral dissertation recommended by the MU Faculty of Arts is 180,000 characters. This number may be adjusted according to the individual needs and conventions of the various fields of study.

2) Hard copy requirements: Two-sided printing may be allowed when both sides of the page are clearly readable. All doctoral dissertations must be submitted in a hardcover inseparable binding that does not allow any subsequent manipulation of the individual pages. Departments may request one hardcover copy for archival purposes.

3) Archiving: The complete text of the dissertation must be uploaded in the IS.

General requirements on doctoral dissertations follow from the MU Study and Examination Regulations. More information can be found here:

The doctoral final state examination is a public oral examination by a board of examiners consisting of specialists in the given field. It focuses mainly on the topics and issues that are required for the student’s specialization. However, the student must show substantial knowledge of the entire field of psychology including current leading theories and approaches, and be able to integrate knowledge and information sources, discuss interdisciplinary overlaps, and apply the information in the research ideas. The list of required topics is identical with the specialization examination in clinical psychology and draws substantially on other basic and applied disciplines of psychology. The topics are selected to test the student’s knowledge of the field and scientific argumentation skills.


Field of study specifications

Field of Study: Clinical Psychology
Abbreviation: PSK
Code: 7701V001
Type: doctoral degree programme
Degree: Ph.D.
Accreditation: to 31/12/2024
Programme: P7703 D-PS4 Psychology (4-years)
Faculty of Arts
Field of study guaranteed by:
Faculty of Arts
Field guarantor:
prof. PhDr. Mojmír Svoboda, CSc.

Additional Information