Bachelor of Psychology

The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.

The Bachelor of Psychology forms an ideal base for students wishing to pursue registration as a psychologist, and offers study in a wide range of specialist psychology areas. This specialist four-year course includes an honours year, and is ideal for students with a strong interest in all aspects of psychology and who have decided on psychology as a career.

In the Bachelor of Psychology, you enrol in either the science stream or the arts stream, depending on where your interests lie. The psychology subjects you study are identical for both streams. In the first 3 years of the course, you will start to build your specialisation in psychology, and in the fourth year, you will complete an honours program that includes a research project in a specialised area of psychology that interests you.

You will engage in areas of study in this course such as behavioural neuroscience, social psychology, personality theory, perception, intelligence, abnormal psychology, and developmental psychology.

After graduating you will be eligible to apply for entry into all professional psychology programs that qualify you to become a registered psychologist. You will also have the training necessary for work in areas such as research, teaching, human resource management and various social policy areas in the private and public sectors.

Please see the section below on Further Study for information about what you need to do if you wish to pursue registration as a psychologist in Australia.

Bachelor of Psychology (Science) stream

Major in Psychology

Other Science areas of study:
Agricultural Chemistry, Anatomy and Histology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biology, Cell Pathology, Chemistry, Computational Science, Computer Science, Environmental Studies, Financial Mathematics and Statistics, Geography, Geology and Geophysics, History and Philosophy of Science, Immunobiology, Information Systems, Marine Biology, Marine Geoscience, Marine Science, Mathematics, Medicinal Chemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Nanoscience and Technology, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Physics, Physiology, Plant Science, Soil Science, Statistics


Bachelor of Psychology (Arts) stream

Major in Psychology

Major in one of the Arts areas:
American Studies, Ancient History, Anthropology, Arab World, Islam and the Middle East, Arabic Language and Literature, Archaeology, Art History, Asian Studies, Biblical Studies, Celtic Studies, Chinese Studies, Cultural Studies, Digital Cultures, Economics, English, European Studies, Film Studies, French Studies, Gender Studies, Germanic Studies, Government and International Relations, Greek (Ancient), Hebrew (Classical), Hebrew (Modern), History, Indigenous Australian Studies, Indonesian Studies, International and Comparative Literary Studies, Italian Studies, Japanese Studies, Jewish Civilisation, Thought and Culture, Korean Studies, Latin, Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Modern Greek Studies, Music, Performance Studies, Philosophy, Political Economy, Sanskrit (Indian Sub-Continental Studies), Social Policy, Socio-Legal Studies, Sociology, Spanish and Latin American Studies, Studies in Religion

Students should note that Bachelor of Psychology students must complete an Honours year in order to satisfy degree requirements. The degree awarded is the Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) degree. Students should also be aware that there are progression rules for the degree – details can be found in the Faculty of Science Handbook.

Please note that places in this course are limited and subject to strict enrolment quotas.

Watch Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) graduate, Amanda Green, talk about her career as a clinical psychologist and how she got there.

Course outline

View a sample study plan/course structure table.

Study plan


The Bachelor of Psychology may be undertaken full-time over four years or part-time over eight years. Full-time students enrol in units of study to the value of 48 credit points (cp) in each year.

All students complete core studies in psychology from a defined pool of units each year comprising a minimum 12cp of junior units, a minimum 24cp of intermediate units, and a minimum 30cp of senior units in psychology. You must achieve a minimum 65 percent in first year and maintain a minimum average mark of 75 percent in second and third years to proceed to the honours year in psychology, which comprises a research project of 48cp for the award of the degree.

In addition to your psychology studies, the course offers a choice of two streams. The arts stream caters for students whose interests lie in the humanities and social sciences, while the science stream caters for those who are more interested in sciences. Rounding out your studies, you will have the opportunity to complete additional electives in arts or science in both streams.

Majors

Further course information

Progression rules

(1) Students must achieve a minimum average mark of 65 in junior psychology units of study and a minimum average mark of 75 in both intermediate and senior psychology units of study in order to progress to the final honours year.

(2) Students who fail to maintain the required average in psychology units of study specified above will be transferred to either the Bachelor of Science or the Bachelor of Arts in their next year of enrolment with full credit for the units of study completed.

(3) Students who complete all course requirements to the end of the third year, but fail to achieve the required average in psychology units in order to progress to the honours year will be awarded the Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts.

(4) Completion of the honours year in psychology is a requirement for the award of the Bachelor of Psychology.

(5) To qualify for admission to the honours year a candidate must have completed 144 credit points including the remaining common requirements and the relevant units from arts or science.

(6) To qualify for the award of the Bachelor of Psychology a candidate must complete 48 credit points of units of study from the honours units of study table, with an honours mark of at least 65.

What is an elective?

An elective is a unit of study (subject) which you are allowed to enrol in as part of your course and which will count towards the completion of your course. It differs to a core unit in that you have a choice about which electives, amongst a given set of electives, you want to study.

Depending on how you structure your Bachelor of Psychology course, you could be doing up to a quarter of your units as non-science electives. Elective units are available from any other faculty at the University, provided that you receive permission from the relevant department and the Faculty of Science to add that elective to your course plan.

See the Bachelor of Psychology study plan table to get an idea of how electives fit in amongst your other units of study.

Course opportunities

The course includes opportunities to participate in the University's Study Abroad and Exchange Program, the Science Link-Up and Mentoring (SLAM) Program and the Science Talented Student Program (entry by invitation from the Dean of Science), and opportunities specific to majors or subject areas, such as the Year in Industry program offered by the School of Chemistry.

Study Abroad and Exchange Program

Science Link-Up and Mentoring (SLAM) Program

Science Talented Student Program

Year in Industry Program

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

After four years of study (including an honours year), you will have achieved the basis for registration as a psychologist. Graduates of the Bachelor of Psychology have the necessary training to obtain work in areas such as schools, hospitals, prisons, human resources, and various social policy areas in the private and public sectors. Registered psychologists are in high demand.

The four-year qualification you receive after completing the Bachelor of Psychology is the pre-requisite for entry into higher research courses (e.g. PhD) and all professional psychology programs, such as the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology, which will qualify you to become a clinical psychologist.

Watch graduate Amanda Green talk about her work as a clinical psychologist and how she got there.

Course accreditation

The Bachelor of Psychology at the University of Sydney is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council.

Further study

To meet the requirements for registration as a psychologist in Australia, you must complete an accredited four-year basic tertiary program in psychology, like the Bachelor of Psychology. Full registration as a professional psychologist in Australia is overseen by the Psychology Board of Australia and also requires a fifth and sixth year of graduate study in professional psychology; or one year of graduate study in professional psychology plus one year of a Board approved internship; or two years of a Board approved internship.

About honours

The Bachelor of Psychology includes a fourth year honours course that involves specialised individual research. This fourth year of honours is essential if you intend to apply for postgraduate study that will lead to registration as a professional psychologist.

In order to progress successfully into the honours year of the Bachelor of Psychology, you must satisfy the minimum progression requirements expected of students in this course.

The honours year in the Bachelor of Psychology will allow you to explore your research potential and allow you to put the theory from your previous studies into practice. During honours, you will design a project in a specialised area of psychology, and undertake your project under the supervision of an academic staff member. The specialised areas offered in the psychology honours program include clinical, cognition, developmental, health, learning, method, neuroscience, perception, personality and intelligence, and social psychology. Please note that the areas available may differ from year to year.

Other study options

It is possible for non-degree students to enrol in a unit of study (subject) offered in the Faculty of Science without being enrolled in an award course (degree). This provides a valuable opportunity for professionals to update their knowledge to enhance career pathways or for personal interest. Non-degree students pay full tuition fees, take the unit of study with award course students, and are assessed at the same level. Non-degree applicants meet the same prerequisites as students enrolled in an award course at the University of Sydney (or have completed equivalent units of study at another institution) to be able to enrol in any particular unit of study.

More information about non-degree study.

Units of study may also be undertaken cross-institutionally by students, subject to the approval of the Dean. Cross-institutional candidates are enrolled in an award course at another university and have approval from their home institution to complete a unit or units of study at Sydney, to be credited toward their degree.

More information about cross-institutional study.

Admission

Admission requirements

Admission to this course is on the basis of a secondary school leaving qualification such as the NSW Higher School Certificate (including national and international equivalents), tertiary study or an approved preparation program. English language requirements must be met where these are not demonstrated by sufficient qualifications taught in English. Special admission pathways are open for domestic mature aged applicants who do not possess a school leaving qualification, educationally disadvantaged applicants and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Applicants are ranked by merit and offers for available places are issued according to the ranking.

Assumed knowledge

Science stream: Mathematics.
Both streams: Other assumed knowledge depends on subjects chosen.

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Applications for the University's undergraduate courses are made through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC). On-time applications for the March Semester close on the last working day of September.

Further requirements

There are no formal prerequisites for candidates wishing to enrol in the Bachelor of Psychology. However for students enrolling in the science stream, the degree is taught on the assumption that candidates will have successfully completed HSC mathematics. You may attend one of the bridging courses in mathematics offered by the Mathematics Learning Centre if you feel you need to.

International students

How to apply

Overseas applicants may apply:

(i) directly to the University's International Student Office using the online application form, or
(ii) through a University overseas representative (education agent), or
(iii) through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) International, for students applying on the basis of a current Australian Year 12 secondary school examination, or studying either an International Baccalaureate** in Australia or a New Zealand Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 3.

** All International Baccalaureate (IB) applicants seeking admission to the University of Sydney may now apply either directly to the International Student Office using the online application form or through UAC International.

Further admission requirements

There are no formal prerequisites for candidates wishing to enrol in the Bachelor of Psychology. However for students enrolling in the science stream, the degree is taught on the assumption that candidates will have successfully completed HSC mathematics. You may attend one of the bridging courses in mathematics offered by the Mathematics Learning Centre if you feel you need to.

Fee disclaimer

Domestic students

Indicative Undergraduate Student Contribution Amount

This student contribution amount for a Commonwealth Supported Place is an indication only of the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2014 for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The exact student contribution that you pay will depend on the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol. If you are a Commonwealth supported student and was enrolled in a University course before 1 January 2013 your student contribution may differ.

For further information about how to calculate your specific total student contribution, please refer to the University's Future Students' website.

Annual review

Importantly, student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study (subject to a Commonwealth specified cap), effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the student contribution. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

International students

Indicative international tuition fees for undergraduate students

This international tuition fee is an indication only of the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2014, for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The exact tuition fees that you pay will depend on the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol.

For further information about how to calculate your specific total tuition fees, please refer to the University's Future Students' website.

Annual review

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees and health insurance

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the tuition fees. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

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