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Psychology

Develop your understanding of human behaviour
Psychology has applications in many areas of life, including relationships, health, work and development.

What is psychology?

As a student in psychology you will learn to ask, as well as how to answer, important questions about behaviour.

  • How does the brain store and retrieve memories?
  • What plays a bigger role – nature or nurture?
  • Can psychology help cure dementia?
  • Why are some people prone to gambling and others not?

Psychology is a fast growing and exciting science. It helps to shape our understanding of how people perceive, think, feel and interact with other humans, animals and even artificial entities in our always changing and dynamic world.

Psychology is the scientific study of the foundations of human behaviour and mental processes. It applies this knowledge to understand and enhance the behaviour of individuals and groups in a wide range of environmental contexts.

Why study psychology with us?

The University of Sydney is ranked 25th in the world for psychology*, reflecting our reputation for quality research and education in this area. We are invested in the future work prospects of all of our students. We are ranked first in Australia and fourth in the world for graduate employability. **

Our research-led teaching means you’ll be taught by leading psychologists and scientists who will share their latest findings with you.

You will also have the opportunity to explore our state-of-the-art research facilities including the Charles Perkins Centre and the Brain and Mind Centre. Here, you will gain hands on experience in many different domains of psychology ranging from neurobiological foundations to clinical therapy, social interaction to decision making, and from psychopharmacology to virtual reality.

If you are a high-achieving student you may be invited to join the Dalyell Scholars program and have access to a range of enrichment opportunities that will challenge you and provide opportunities to work alongside your most promising and talented peers.

Some offerings include; accelerated learning options, tailored mentoring and professional skills development workshops and international experiences.

In recent Dalyell projects students have investigated gambling, obesity, chronic disease, neuropsychology and the application of technology to enhance eyewitness memory.

* QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2018

** QS Graduate Employability Rankings, 2018

What’s it like studying at Sydney?

Studying psychology in any capacity at Sydney will expose you to a number of different learning environments which seek to enhance your ability to work independently as well as in a group setting.

Lectures are used to introduce ideas; laboratory experiments help students to understand psychological research methods and interpret data; and interactive workshop tutorials provide opportunities to discuss concepts more thoroughly and gain experience working in teams.

You can also read our psychology frequently asked questions.

Psychology research can illuminate the mechanisms behind mental disorders and uncover new ways to treat them.
Sara Scott, Psychology honours student
Female psychologist working with a patient

Where psychology can take you

As well as allowing you to pursue registration and further study to become a psychologist, completing honours in psychology opens the door to a wide variety of careers. Honours graduates have the necessary training to work in schools, hospitals, prisons, human resources, with people with developmental disabilities, and in various social policy areas in the private and public sectors.

Some more specific career paths include:

  • clinical, forensic, organisational or sports psychologist (with further study)
  • neuroscientist
  • market researcher
  • school counsellor
  • advertising executive
  • management consultant
  • social policy analyst
  • learning and attention researcher

For additional information about careers in psychology.

How can I study psychology?

Course options

Psychology program

The psychology program consists of 10 psychology units of study studied over the course of three years, which are required to proceed to an honours year (which is one of the steps on the path to becoming a registered psychologist).

The psychology program can be undertaken in any of the following accredited degrees as well as in any degree combined with the Bachelor of Science.

The following degrees can accommodate the psychology program and have been accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC).

The following can also accommodate the psychology program*, and the School is currently applying for APAC accreditation for these degrees from 2018 onwards:

*Dalyell and Advanced streams in the above degrees can accommodate the psychology program, with the exception of BSc(Health)(Dalyell), and BSc(Advanced)/BLaws which cannot.

Bachelor of Psychology

The Bachelor of Psychology is a specialised four year course designed specifically for those interested in a career in psychology. This course includes an embedded honours year (subject to performance) and as such is highly-competitive.

If you are interested in studying psychology but do not wish to pursue professional accreditation, you can complete a Psychological Science major. This major will introduce you to the scientific study of human behaviour, psychology, and mental processes which have applications in many careers.

Whether it’s upskilling or branching out for a new career focus, our coursework degrees are flexible and specialised:

Graduate Diploma in Psychology

Whether you want to gain registration as a practising professional or continue on to higher studies beyond, this course will get you started on the path to becoming a psychologist.

Clinical psychology

This course is the path to working as a professional clinical psychologist in many clinical and community settings. 

Coaching psychology

Coaching psychology is a fast‑growing approach to enhancing the performance, productivity and quality of life of individuals, organisations and the broader community.

The School of Psychology currently has more than 130 research students, forming a vital part of our energetic community.

Postgraduate research students joining the school will enjoy a supportive environment within their area of research specialisation and the wider school community.

Read about our research areas.

To find a potential supervisor visit Research Supervisor Connect or learn more about postgraduate research.

Student studies in a cafe setting

Accreditation

Our four-year Bachelor of Psychology degree and our three-year psychology program with honours are accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC).

These courses will allow you to apply for provisional registration with the Psychology Board of Australia, which is needed to later attain full registration.

To become a practicing Clinical Psychologist and gain full registration, you will need to complete our Master of Clinical Psychology or Master of Clinical Psychology/Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

These courses are also accredited by APAC and are approved qualifications for Associate Membership of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) and the APS College of Clinical Psychologists.

These postgraduate courses are recognised by NSW Health as qualifying for progression to the grade of clinical psychologist.

Although our courses are widely recognised overseas, some countries have their own procedures and controls for professional recognition.

One of the best parts of being a scientist is the fact that I am in a position where I can discover and contribute new knowledge that can have a lasting impact on the field.
Associate Professor Muireann Irish

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