Master of Social Sciences in the field of Clinical Psychology

General Office (Tel: 3917 5866, E-mail: cwfung@hku.hk)

The Department of Psychology of HKU offers three postgraduate programmes in clinical psychology, including the Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc) in the field of Clinical Psychology Programme, The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in the field of Clinical Psychology Programme and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with Specialization in Clinical Psychology Programme.

The Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc) in the field of Clinical Psychology Programme aims to train competent and professional clinical psychologists and has an emphasis on science-based practices. The programme is designed:

  1. To train competent and professional clinical psychologists to serve in Chinese societies and beyond.
  2. To produce clinical psychologists with high integrity and professionalism who are committed to life-long learning and continuous education.
  3. To engage in high impact and leading-edge research in clinical psychology and across disciplines.
  4. To make categorical decisions on whether a scientific basis has been established for our diagnosis and treatment methods.
  5. To make systematic observations in the process of clinical work.
  6. To abstract generalities from our observations and deduce manipulative hypotheses.
  7. To advance clinical psychology in Hong Kong and beyond by developing areas of excellence in training and research with a global presence, regional significance and an emphasis on the Chinese context.
  8. To nurture the next generation of clinical psychologists, who are grounded in evidence-based practice, critical in thinking, socially aware, sensitive to diversity, and devoted to serve those in need.

Since its inception in 1971, the programme has had over 200 graduates. Graduates are eligible to become registered clinical psychologists of the HKPS. Graduates are represented in different professional settings, including the Hospital Authority, Social Welfare Department, Department of Health, Correctional Services Department, Hong Kong Police Force, Non-Government Organizations, Student Counseling Centres and private practice.

The curriculum consists of a total of 162 credits.  Candidates are required to complete 21 compulsory courses, including 15 taught courses (6 credits each)  (a total of 90 credits),  5 practicum courses, Practicum I to V with a total of 60 credits, and a dissertation research course given 12 credits (PSYC8006 Dissertation).  Ten of the taught courses are normally taken in the first year and the remaining 5 are taken in the second year.  Each credit-unit is roughly equivalent to 20 hours of student learning activities (including both contact hours and all other forms of student learning activities) for the taught courses and the dissertation, or 30 hours of work for practicum, under supervision of a clinical supervisor.  Whereas the first year of the programme shall focus on the theoretical foundations and basic skills training in Clinical Psychology, the second year shall extend to include the application of the theories and assessment and treatment models to special populations in various clinical settings.

Examinations of the courses followed by a candidate may be either by a written paper in the examination held in December or May of the academic year of study, or by continuous assessment of the candidates’ performance in completing the requirements of these courses, or by a combination of these methods.

First year*
PSYC7024 – Induction Programme
PSYC7029 – Practicum I
PSYC7030 – Practicum II
PSYC7002 – Assessment of personality and psychopathology
PSYC7003 – Individual psychotherapy I
PSYC7004 – Individual psychotherapy II
PSYC7005 – Psychopathology I
PSYC7006 – Psychopathology II
PSYC7018 – Cognitive assessment
PSYC7019 – Research methods and statistics I
PSYC7020 – Research methods and statistics II
PSYC7009 – Clinical seminar I

Second year*
PSYC8011 – Practicum III
PSYC8012 – Practicum IV
PSYC8013 – Practicum V
PSYC8001 – Clinical seminar II
PSYC8002 – Community and health psychology
PSYC8003 – Family and group therapy
PSYC8004 – Clinical neuropsychology
PSYC8005 – Ethics and professional issues

Capstone Experience Course
PSYC8006 – Dissertation

* The courses listed above may be offered at a different year of study.
For PSYC8005 – Ethics and professional issues, the course will be taught across first year and second year.

Regulations and syllabus of the degree of Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc), please click:
For students admitted in the 2019-20 Academic Year

PSYC7002 – Assessment of personality and psychopathology (6 credits)
This course focuses on the theoretical, practical, and cross-cultural issues related to the assessment of psychopathology and personality. Trainees will be exposed to a variety of clinical evaluation protocols in order to evaluate the level of functioning and symptomatology of an individual. They will also be exposed to the application of these techniques to a wide range of psychiatric problems as stipulated in DSM-5. These include mental state examination, test administration and interpretation, diagnostic decision making, integration of material derived from patient history and other relevant sources, and comprehensive case conceptualization.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7003 – Individual psychotherapy I (6 credits)
This course introduces the common principles and skills of psychotherapies. In addition to reviewing the theoretical rationale and recent research and clinical literature, this course also focuses on the application of the empirically-supported therapeutic techniques to clinical and special populations.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7004 – Individual psychotherapy II (6 credits)
The course focuses on the application of evidence-based psychotherapeutic approaches to the treatment of specific psychological disorders in both adults and children. Cultural issues in the practice of psychotherapy will be discussed when appropriate. Experienced clinicians are invited to introduce common treatment approaches applied to different populations in Hong Kong. In addition, new developments and contemporary issues in psychotherapy will be critically examined.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7005 – Psychopathology I (6 credits)
In this first course of Psychopathology, students will learn important theoretical concepts in the definition, aetiology, features and classification of mental disorders. Major disorders across the life span will be examined. Significant paradigms, such as biological, psychodynamic, cognitive – behavioural and relevant psychosocial theories will be discussed, together with special issues in the diagnosis and conceptualisation of specific mental disorders.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7006 – Psychopathology II (6 credits)
This second course of Psychopathology uses a developmental psychopathology perspective to discuss major topics of mental health problems across the life span. It aims to enhance the conceptualisation and case formulation skills of trainees as scientist–practitioners. The topics will be examined in depth, with special emphasis on the integration of theoretical conceptualisation, research findings and clinical practice. Special attention will be given to current issues of concern in both the Eastern and Western contexts.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7009 – Clinical seminar I (6 credits)
A series of skill-training workshops will be offered to prepare students for further practical training in clinical placements. The course is composed of two arms: Assessment and Intervention. The Assessment arm covers core principles and strategies for intake interview with both adult and children populations. Intellectual assessment in the local context will be covered and commonly used tools for assessing a broad range of cognitive, behavioural, emotional, and social functions in children will also be introduced. The Treatment arm covers basic attitude and skills in counselling and forming therapeutic alliance, as well as specific skills used in cognitive and behavioural therapies.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7018 – Cognitive assessment (6 credits)
This course provides an introduction to the assessment of cognitive functioning. Students learn to administer, score, and interpret a number of commonly used cognitive tests. Students also learn to present test results in professional psychological reports. Related psychometric principles, professional ethics, and cultural issues will be discussed.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7019 – Research methods and statistics I (6 credits)
The topics in this course include intermediate research methods and statistics.  This course is designed to extend the knowledge and skills of students on research design and quantitative methods, using empirical examples in psychology to illustrate the key concepts and statistical reasoning involved. Students learn to become more intelligent consumers of research findings and more independent in conducting their own empirical studies.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7020 – Research methods and statistics II (6 credits)
The topics in this course include intermediate research methods and statistics.  This course is designed to extend the knowledge and skills of students on research design and quantitative methods, using empirical examples in psychology to illustrate the key concepts and statistical reasoning involved. Students learn to become more intelligent consumers of research findings and more independent in conducting their own empirical studies. At the end of this course, each student will have developed a viable research proposal in preparation for his/her thesis according to standards of the American Psychological Association.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC7024 – Induction Programme (6 credits)
This course aims at engaging trainees in a number of orientation activities designed to provide them with a preliminary understanding of the theoretical and practical issues addressed in the programme and to prepare them for their first placement beginning in December of the year of training.
Assessment: 100% coursework

This course will be assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not be counted in the calculation of the GPA. However, grades will be recorded on the official transcript

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PSYC7029 – Practicum I (12 credits)
Practicum I is the first of the five practicum courses.  It consists of a minimum of 44 days of on-site clinical placement.  In addition, students will start their 2-year long, minimum 30 days, in-house supervised clinical activities with the Psychological Services Unit for at least 3 days within this period.  Through the on-site clinical placements, students will have the opportunity to learn and work under the direct supervision of experienced clinical psychologists who are providing services in different settings such as public hospitals, social services agencies, and government departments.  They will gain practical experience in working with a variety of client groups with different problems across the life span.  The training includes supervised practice in assessment, case formulation, and treatment.  Involvement in case conferences, workshops, seminars, or projects within the placement settings may also form part of the training.  Students will learn the professional ethics, service contexts and rules in different settings, and acquire knowledge and skills to work effectively in different teams or structures.
Assessment: 100% practicum

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PSYC7030 – Practicum II (12 credits)
Practicum II is the second of the five practicum courses.  It consists of a minimum of 44 days of on-site clinical placement.  In addition, students will continue their 2-year long, minimum 30 days, in-house supervised clinical activities with the Psychological Services Unit for at least 3 days within this period.  Through the on-site clinical placements, students will have the opportunity to learn and work under the direct supervision of experienced clinical psychologists in different settings such as public hospitals, social services agencies, and government departments.  They will gain practical experience in working with a variety of client groups with different problems across the life span.  The training includes supervised practice in assessment, case formulation, and treatment.  Involvement in case conferences, workshops, seminars, or projects within the placement settings may also form part of the training.  Students will learn the professional ethics, service contexts and rules in different settings, and acquire knowledge and skills to work effectively in different teams or structures.
Assessment: 100% practicum

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PSYC8001 – Clinical seminar II (6 credits)
The seminar provides in-depth clinical case discussions, with a focus on contemporary approaches to case conceptualization and treatment planning for a range of complex psychological problems.  Emphasis is placed on integration of psychological theories and clinical practice, as well as training on therapeutic skills and treatment strategies for effective implementation.  Students will get the chance to learn advanced knowledge and skills in specialist areas of psychological practice. Experienced clinicians and scholars will be invited to share their expertise on specialized topics.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC8002 – Community and health psychology (6 credits)
This course provides an overview of the history, context, and development of community psychology and health psychology. Students will be exposed to key concepts and values associated with the fields. They will also explore the application of community psychology and health psychology in the local context. The course provides ample opportunities for students to collectively develop and examine community-based initiatives to tackle mental health problems. Special emphasis is given to multicultural and diversity issues.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC8003 – Family and group therapy (6 credits)
This course provides an overview of the theories and practice of family and group interventions. For Family Intervention, it covers fundamental concepts, theories and frameworks in working with families and couples. Students will be able to develop basic knowledge and different theories of family therapy and how it can be applied in special populations. The course will be conducted in didactic lectures with case illustrations, videos and/or exercises.

The Group Intervention component aims to familiarize the trainees with the major theories, principles and techniques of group interventions through reading, discussion, videos and role plays. Group development, dynamics and different stages in the group processes will be examined. The empirical basis for efficacy of group interventions and group interventions for different populations and different psychological disorders will be addressed.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC8004 – Clinical neuropsychology (6 credits)
This course aims to provide an overview of basic functional neuroanatomy and clinical neuropathology. Literature in neuroscience and clinical neuropsychology will be reviewed and discussed. Neuropsychological assessment approaches will be introduced.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC8005 – Ethics and professional issues (6 credits)
The focus of this course is on the process of ethical decision making in the professional practice of clinical psychology. Models of ethical decision making will be introduced, discussed, and applied. In addition to the Code of Professional Conduct published by the Hong Kong Psychological Society, a number of ethical codes, guidelines, and standards of practice will be reviewed.
Assessment: 100% coursework
This course will be assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not be counted in the calculation of the GPA. However, grades will be recorded on the official transcript

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PSYC8006 – Dissertation (12 credits)
While in residence, each student proposes and completes a substantive, scholarly work relevant to clinical psychology. The dissertation must represent a student’s individual work. The examiners may also prescribe an oral examination on the subject of the dissertation. The title of the dissertation shall be submitted for approval on March 31 of the final academic year of study, and the dissertation shall be submitted by June 30 of the final academic year of study.
Assessment: 100% coursework

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PSYC8011 – Practicum III (12 credits)
Practicum III is the third of the five practicum courses.  It consists of a minimum of 44 days of on-site clinical placement.  In addition, students will continue their 2-year long in-house supervised clinical activities with the Psychological Services Unit for a minimum of 3 days within this period and plan to complete a minimum of 30 days of the in-house training by the end of the 2-year training.  Through the on-site clinical placements, students will have the opportunity to learn and work under the direct supervision of experienced clinical psychologists in different settings such as public hospitals, social services agencies, and government departments.  They will gain practical experience in working with a variety of client groups with different problems across the life span.  The training includes supervised practice in assessment, case formulation, and treatment.  Involvement in case conferences, workshops, seminars, or projects within the placement settings may also form part of the training.  Students will learn the professional ethics, service contexts and rules in different settings, and acquire knowledge and skills to work effectively in different teams or structures.
Assessment: 100% practicum

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PSYC8012 – Practicum IV (12 credits)
Practicum IV is the fourth of the five practicum courses. It consists of a minimum of 44 days of on-site clinical placement.  In addition, students will continue their 2-year long in-house supervised clinical activities with the Psychological Services Unit and work towards completing a minimum of 30 days of the in-house training by the end of the 2-year training.  Through the on-site clinical placements, students will have the opportunity to learn and work under the direct supervision of experienced clinical psychologists in different settings such as public hospitals, social services agencies, and government departments.  They will gain practical experience in working with a variety of client groups with different problems across the life span.  The training includes supervised practice in assessment, case formulation, and treatment.  Involvement in case conferences, workshops, seminars, or projects within the placement settings may also form part of the training.  Students will learn the professional ethics, service contexts and rules in different settings, and acquire knowledge and skills to work effectively in different teams or structures.
Assessment: 100% practicum

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PSYC8013 – Practicum V (12 credits)
Practicum V is the fifth of the five practicum courses.  It consists of a minimum of 44 days of on-site clinical placement.  In addition, students will have to complete their 2-year long, minimum 30 days, in-house supervised clinical activities with the Psychological Services Unit within this period.  Through the on-site clinical placements, students will have the opportunity to learn and work under the direct supervision of experienced clinical psychologists in different settings such as public hospitals, social services agencies, and government departments.  They will gain practical experience in working with a variety of client groups with different problems across the life span.  The training includes supervised practice in assessment, case formulation, and treatment.  Involvement in case conferences, workshops, seminars, or projects within the placement settings may also form part of the training.  Students will learn the professional ethics, service contexts and rules in different settings, and acquire knowledge and skills to work effectively in different teams or structures.
Assessment: 100% practicum

MSocSc (CP) Advisory Panel

NameOrganization
Dr. Judy Shuk Han HUI (Chairperson)Correctional Services Department
Dr. Yiu Kee CHANClinical Psychological Service Branch, Social Welfare Department
Dr. Amos CHEUNGDivision of Clinical Psychology, Hong Kong Psychological Society
Dr. George Heung Chuen CHONGClinical Psychology Service Unit, Kwai Chung Hospital
Dr. Edmond Kam Lun LAUPsychological Services Group, Hong Kong Police Force
Ms. Jeanie Chiu Foon NGANPamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital
Dr. Lucia Yee Ha TSANGChild Assessment Centre, Department of Health

Honorary Professors

Dr. Anthony Chung Ming CHAN ( Honorary Associate Professor of Practice )
Dr. Becky Mee Yin CHAN ( Honorary Associate Professor )
Dr. Raymond Won Shing CHAN ( Honorary Associate Professor )
Dr. Amy Shuk Man FUNG ( Honorary Associate Professor )
Dr. Judy Shuk Han HUI ( Honorary Associate Professor of Practice )
Dr. Edmond Kam Lun LAU ( Honorary Associate Professor )
Mr. Helios Kar-cho LAU ( Adjunct Associate Professor )
Prof. Peter Wing Ho LEE ( Honorary Professor )
Dr. Jeffrey Chak Chun LIU ( Honorary Associate Professor of Practice )
Dr. Ellen Yee-man MA ( Honorary Associate Professor )
Dr. Chee-wing WONG ( Honorary Associate Professor )
Dr. Mike Tak Po WONG   ( Honorary Associate Professor of Practice )
Ms. Delphine Cheuk-wai YAU ( Honorary Associate Professor )

Ms. Doris FUNG (General Office)
Tel: (852) 3917 5866
Email:  cwfung@hku.hk

Admissions Coordinator :
Dr. Shirley X. LI (msscp@hku.hk)

Deputy Admissions Coordinator :
Dr. Wai Sze CHAN (msscp@hku.hk)

Programme Director:
Dr. Christian CHAN (shaunlyn@hku.hk)

For admission information, please go to this web page
MSocSc in Clinical Psychology

HKU Psychology