Before moving ahead, It is necessary to mention that it is only a memorandum and not the official notice. These changes will be implemented just after further formal public notice. This post and post explain the points that mentioned in Memorendum only.
To finalize alternatives to the terminated M.Phil. Programs in Clinical Psychology and Psychiatric Social Work, a meeting was conducted on August 29, 2023, with the Hon’ble Member (Health), NITI Aayog serving as the meeting’s chair.
The honourable Member (Health), NITI Aayog welcomed the participants from various reputed organisations. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss replacements for the Clinical Psychology and Psychiatric Social Work M.Phil. programs that have been discontinued and to create new career paths for each of these fields by the updated National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines.
Dr Neha Garg gave a presentation on the decisions and suggestions made by the committee led by the director of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS).
The Committee identified two training routes for clinical psychology and psychiatric social work. It is suggested that both of these tracks be introduced concurrently as an alternative to the current M.Phil. system in the next academic year 2024 by permitting the current M.Phil. courses to run for another 5–6 years to maintain continuity in the current system.
Important Note: Suggested changes in memorandum is not applicable to person who are pursuing Masters in Psychology or Completed Masters in Psychology. They have to pursue M.Phil Clinical Psychology to get license.
Alternatives Tracks to Current M.Phil. Program:
1. Allied Professional Track:
(4-year B.Sc. (Hons.) Clinical Psychology and B.A. (Hons.) Psychiatric Social Work)
- These two will be newly developed, 4-year graduate professional programs, similar to those in allied professions like physiotherapy, optometry, occupational therapy, etc.
- The National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professionals (NCAHP) will serve as the program’s regulating body and be in charge of creating a competency-based curriculum and its corresponding course contents.
- For entry into the B.Sc. (Hons.) Clinical Psychology program, students must have completed their 12th grade in a science stream or the equivalent; for entry into the B.A. (Hons.) Psychiatric Social Work program, students must have completed their 12th grade in a science or arts stream or the equivalent.
- For Clinical Psychology and Psychiatric Social Work, respectively, the clinical competencies will be the main focus of training under these professional courses. Throughout the course, the training would take place mostly in clinical/practical settings (OPD/IPD) of hospitals, clinics, medical schools, and other mental health institutes, etc.
- Well in advance of the start of the upcoming academic session, NCAHP will designate training hospitals, mental health facilities, and other institutions for these courses.
2. General Academic Track:
(4-year graduation followed by 2-year masters in Clinical Psychology and Psychiatric Social Work)
- This 4+2 years training format will replace the current 3+2+2 (Graduation + Masters + MPhil course) training model. The fourth year of the graduate program must contain clinical orientation and instruction in either psychiatric social work or clinical psychology. The Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) would still be in charge of regulating these master’s programs.
- This pathway will consist of two parts: a graduate (Hons.) study lasting four years and a two-year master’s program in either clinical psychology or psychiatric social work. This track (4+2), which is NEP-compatible, is a revision of the previous (3+2+2) M.Phil. degree program.
- The M.A. in Clinical Psychology and M.A. in Psychiatric Social Work, respectively, are the master’s degrees that follow the B.A. (Hons.) in Psychology and B.A. (Hons.) in Social Work.
- This format’s three years of practical training, which consists of one year during the four-year graduating phase and two more years at the master’s level, is an advance over the previous M.Phil. System, which only allowed for two years of practical training during the M.Phil. phase. With a shorter timeframe (six years as opposed to seven years in the M.Phil. System), the suggested 4+2-year arrangement has the advantage of a stronger practical immersion.
- The M.Sc. in Clinical Psychology and M.A. in Psychiatric Social Work, respectively, are the master’s degrees that follow the B.Sc. (Hons.) in Psychology and B.A. (Hons.) in Social Work.
- This format’s three years of practical training, which consists of one year during the four-year graduating phase and two more years at the master’s level, is an advance over the previous M.Phil. system, which only allowed for two years of practical training during the M.Phil. phase. With a shorter timeframe (6 years as opposed to 7 years in the current M.Phil. system), the suggested 4+2-year arrangement has the advantage of a stronger practical immersion.
- RCI will start looking for training facilities well in advance of the start of the upcoming academic year. You will find facilities for practical training in the fourth year of graduation and two years of the master’s program.
- While both 3- and 4-year bachelor’s degrees are acceptable under the National Education Policy, the 4-year route is more prevalent.
- In both tracks, there should be a strong focus on clinical orientation and education beginning in the first year of graduation for the Allied Profession track and continuing through post-graduate for the General Academic track.
- The National Education Policy (NEP) permits master’s degree students to withdraw after the first year. After 4+1 years of training, the student will be awarded a PG Diploma in Clinical Psychology/Psychiatric Social Work in this situation.
- It is important to distinguish between people with a Bachelor’s Degree, PG Diploma and those with a Master’s Degree in terms of roles and skills.
- People with a Bachelor’s Degree can work in the mental health field as an Allied Mental Health Professional with a license issued by NCAHP.
- While what these Diploma holders can and cannot do in comparison to those who enroll in a 2-year master’s program should be made very clear by the RCI guidelines for issuance of a license in the upcoming years.
Note: Professionals who complete either of the two courses will be eligible for PhD alternatives in accordance with NEP/UGC standards.