Study Psychology in Australia

Study Psychology in Australia. Psychology is a popular field of study in Australia and is taught at universities in every state and territory. There are currently 37 public universities offering more than 518 accredited psychology courses across Australia. Most Australian universities are located in or near major cities, with a few in rural locations and all have psychology departments with high academic standards

The first step to becoming a psychologist requires at least four years of full-time university study. Common courses are a four-year Bachelor of Psychology or a three-year degree followed by an Honours program in psychology. Graduates must then go on to complete two years of either postgraduate study in a specialist area or supervised practice. Completing this six-year sequence is the minimum requirement for registering to work as a psychologist in Australia. All students studying accredited courses are eligible to be Student Subscribers of the Australian Psychological Society.

The Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) is the body which sets standards for accreditation of Australian psychology programs and only APAC-accredited university courses are recognised by registration boards as suitable training for psychologists. 


The APAC website has a list of accredited courses in Australia as well as a useful FAQ section:

Go to the APAC website

View the Course Accreditation Guidelines -

Study Psychology in Australia
Most Australian psychology undergraduate courses will consist of a mixture of lectures, practical classes and tutorials, require students to read widely, and employ a variety of assessment methods including exams, essays, other short reports and sometimes group projects. Most courses emphasise the core areas of knowledge and understanding in the first three years of the undergraduate program rather than any specialist areas.

Australian undergraduate psychology programs continuously introduce students to the scientific study of psychology and research methods as a preparation for more advanced topics and involvement in a research project during the fourth year of training. Postgraduate psychology courses (5th and 6th years) introduce knowledge and training which is more specialised in nature and more focussed on the competencies needed to prepare students for entry into the workforce. They are typically coursework masters degrees which include practical training such as fieldwork placements. For more information about the typical content of courses see “What to expect in an APAC-accredited psychology course” -


What do psychologists do?
Psychologists are interested in how people think, feel and behave. They study this at an individual, group, organisational and community level. Psychologists apply this knowledge to assess, diagnose, prevent, and treat problems.

Psychologists use scientific methods to study the human mind and behaviour. They develop theories and test them, which provides new information that adds to the body of established knowledge.

Despite popular belief, most psychologists do not do most of their work with people who have a mental illness. The majority help mentally healthy people find ways of functioning better, for example, training people to handle stress in the workplace.

Some of the areas in which psychologists work include:

Academic and applied research
Counselling or interviewing clients
Designing and implementing programmes to modify and improve behaviour
Evaluating the efficacy of psychological treatments or programmes
Assessment and treatment of psychological problems
Designing and administering a wide range of tests to assess and predict how people think, feel and perform.

What are the employment prospects for psychologists?


Future job prospects for psychologists in Australia are good and employment growth is expected to be strong, according to Job Outlook, a Federal Government career information service on the internet.

For information on the psychology workforce in Australia, such as job prospects, average weekly earnings and main employing industries, see the Australian Government's Australian Careers website -


Where do psychologists work?


Psychologists work in a wide range of workplaces, such as:

Health and welfare services – hospitals, rehabilitation agencies, substance abuse services, youth services

Corporations - consulting firms, market research companies, recruitment firms, test

Development Corporations

Education - universities, schools, career services

Government departments

Private practice

Community agencies

Police force, law courts and prisons

Counselling services

Defence forces

Not-for-profit organisations and professional associations

Research institutions

Training and development services


What are the main areas of specialisation in psychology?


Clinical Neuropsychologists assess and manage individuals with brain impairments.
Read more

Clinical Psychologists diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of mental and physical health issues.  Read more -

Community Psychologists help people achieve their goals in areas such as welfare and community projects.  Read more -

Counselling Psychologists help individuals and groups with personal wellbeing, relationships, work, recreation, health and crisis management. Read more

Educational and Developmental Psychologists provide children and adults with assessment, intervention and counselling services for learning and developmental issues across the life span.  Read more -

Forensic Psychologists work with police, the law and legal processes, and in correctional services.  Read more -

Health Psychologists promote the prevention and treatment of illness and may work within the health care system.  Read more -

Organisational Psychologists specialise in the areas of work, human resource management, training and development, and market research and advertising.  Read more -

Sport Psychologists help people involved in sport and exercise maximise their performance, enjoyment and participation.  Read more -

Academic Psychologists conduct research and teach in universities.

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