Welcome to School of Psychology


Welcome to the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney. Before introducing the School, I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. It is upon their ancestral lands that the University of Sydney and our School of Psychology is built.

The School of Psychology at the University of Sydney is the oldest School of Psychology in Australia. We have a proud tradition, stemming from this history, but we firmly believe in continued innovation to ensure that we remain current. We are continuously changing to improve further on the excellence that characterizes our research and teaching.

The research that emanates from our academics is internationally renowned. Our academics have been very successful in the competitive process of grant applications, through government agencies, such as the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council, as well as many other important funding sources. Recently, our School received a donation of nearly 34 million dollars to study the medicinal use of cannabinoids. This donation places our School and the University of Sydney at the forefront of medicinal cannabinoid research, and makes Australia the leading country worldwide in this field.

We are proud to have one of the most well respected clinical psychology programs in Australia. We cover topics in clinical psychology and mental health across the lifespan from young children, adolescents, adults, to our aging population. Moreover, we have a special clinical focus on sleep and gambling related problems. Towards the end of 2015 we will be relocating all our clinical services to a new, state-of-the-art building, which has specifically been redesigned to our specifications. This will bring together some of the leading clinicians from a range of disciplines in the University to be working together with local stakeholders in the Central Sydney region to ensure that we continue to lead the way in both research and clinical service provision.

In parallel with these exciting new developments in clinical service provision, our School and its researchers have recently been brought together with other disciplines into Special Priority Areas for Collaboration (SPARCs). There are three SPARCs with which our School has strong links:

  • The Brain & Mind Centre (BMC): Where researchers work together on mental health, cognitive neuroscience, and brain sciences
  • The Charles Perkins Centre for Obesity, Cardiovascular Disease & Diabetes
  • The oncology SPARC where our world-leading research group on psycho-oncology is based

Although these areas are current priorities for our University, we are fortunate to have a School with interests in a surprisingly diverse area of topics, that range in focus from pure science investigating the fundamentals of human behaviour and cognition, to very applied topics that aim to improve various different aspects of our society. Some of our topics include decision making, problem solving, forensic psychology, ostracism, perception in all modalities, development of language and speech, learning, memory, human factors and cognitive engineering, psychopharmacology, gaming, placebo effects, and many more (see the many web links on our web page).

Our Coaching Psychology group was one of the first established in the world. This group has trained many of the current leaders in the Central Business District of Sydney and beyond.

We are proud to have an excellent track record on delivering the very best graduates to our society. Many now have prime positions around the world. They have achieved excellence in industry, media, health, finance, and many other areas… even politics. Our PhD graduates have pursued high-level research careers, not only at leading universities and research institutes, but also in the private sector.

Our School is now focusing even more on education. Inspired by our Deputy Vice-Chancellor Pip Pattison, who is also a very successful quantitative psychologist, and the development of SPARCs, we are always working on new teaching technologies. We carefully listen to what society is looking for and integrate this in our teaching.

Psychology is one of the fastest developing and most exciting sciences with many questions that need answers. We invite you to come and join us in our journey of discovery!

Professor Frans Verstraten, Head of School and McCaughey Chair of Psychology