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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Postgraduate - Course

This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Managing facultyMedicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Abbreviated titleDPsych(Clinical)
CRICOS code040813J
Standard duration of study (years)4 years FT, 8 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Caulfield, Clayton, Monash Medical Centre)
Contact details

Postgraduate studies office: telephone +61 3 9905 1232; email or visit

Research Degrees Office, telephone +61 3 9905 4313; email or visit

Course coordinator

Professor Paul Martin


  • This course requires attendance at off-campus practical placements which may occur in a range of locations.


A feature of the Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (DPsych(Clinical)) is that its training in clinical psychology is extended through specialisation in a choice of areas. Students take 'Advanced clinical psychology' in their third year, which enables them to gain more specialised expertise in an area of their choice.

Depending on student demand, options may include areas outlined below.

Clinical child, adolescent and family psychology

This area focusses on the understanding, assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and families in a variety of mental health, paediatric and community settings. An understanding of presenting issues and behaviours is formulated within a developmental theoretical framework in which the links between the child's outward behaviour, patterns of inner experience, and the external environment (including family, school, community, society and culture) are explored and researched. Clinicians in this field contribute to discussions in the community on policy matters affecting children and families, and to the development of initiatives that promote the emotional and physical well-being of children and families.

Clinical forensic psychology

Focuses on the application of psychological knowledge to the understanding, assessment and management of individuals in the legal system including the behaviour of offenders, victims, witnesses, judges and juries, prisoners and prison staff. Careers in clinical forensic psychology include assessment and/or treatment of accused persons, prisoners, civil litigants, victims, and family members in custody disputes. Clinicians in this field can also act as expert witnesses in consultancy to statutory bodies and the legal profession on relevant areas of psychological knowledge.

Advanced health psychology

Focusses on the application of psychological knowledge to the promotion and maintenance of health and the prevention and treatment of illness , the identification of aetiological and diagnostic correlates of health, illness and related dysfunction, and to the analysis and improvement of health care systems and health policy formation. Students completing this specialisation will learn how to assess and change behaviour and lifestyle relating to common disorders such as obesity and headache/migraine, and the high mortality diseases such as heart disease and cancer. They will also learn about health promotion and the prevention of disease.

For information about research in the faculty visit


Students who have completed the course will demonstrate a thorough understanding of relevant research techniques in their field through a review of the relevant literature. They will demonstrate their ability, under supervision to apply relevant research techniques to their chosen field of study. Students will be able to present high-quality written work suitable for publication in appropriate scholarly journals, and be able to critically evaluate both their own and others' written work in their chosen field.

Students will also be able to

  • identify and define research questions
  • identify the appropriate research methods to address the research questions
  • demonstrate mastery of their chosen research methodology/methodologies
  • demonstrate theoretical knowledge at doctoral level in their chosen field of research
  • communicate their research findings in a format appropriate to their academic discipline
  • write up their research into a high quality thesis
  • contribute new information or new ways of understanding information in the field of research.

The DPsych prepares psychology graduates, using the scientist-practitioner model, to conduct research in applied areas of psychology and to work as clinical psychologists in the assessment and treatment of adults and children with relatively severe emotional and/or behavioural disorders.

Credit for prior studies

The Faculty Board may give credit for coursework and/or supervised practice already completed and equivalent to particular units and practical work. Credit will not be given for work completed more than 10 years prior to admission to doctoral candidature, nor for more than 50 per cent of the coursework. Credit will not be given for coursework credited to another degree or diploma. Appropriate methods for assessment of equivalence of prior study will be applied either through a viva voce, written examination, submission of referees' reports and/or presentation of written work. Credit will not be given for previous research. No credit will be given for elective units.

Research component

70 per cent

Candidature rules

Duration of candidature

The total permissible period of candidature is four years full-time, or its equivalent in part-time candidature up to a maximum of eight years part-time, after which the candidature will lapse. The minimum period of candidature is two years (four years part-time). Candidates are encouraged to complete their theses as quickly as possible.

Probationary candidature

Probationary candidature applies for all doctoral candidates, except where doctoral candidates have transferred from a masters by research program. Candidature will be confirmed subject to the receipt of a satisfactory report of progress at the end of the 18-month (full-time) or 36-months (part-time) period of probationary candidature.

Time available for study

Full-time candidates must be able to devote the equivalent of a minimum of four days a week to the pursuit of their research project; all part-time candidates must devote at least two full days a week to their studies. In the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, part-time candidates in laboratory disciplines must undertake their two days of study during normal working hours/week days. For those part-time students in non-laboratory disciplines, at least one of their study days must be a week day.

Employment restrictions

Full-time candidates are permitted, with the approval of their main supervisor, to undertake a strictly limited amount of paid employment throughout the year, being no more than 15 hours of work per week on average. Up to a maximum of six hours only on average of this employment may be undertaken during normal working hours (9 am to 5 pm, Mondays to Fridays). However, this may be extended to a maximum of eight hours if the employment is limited to one weekday. The candidate's supervisor(s) must be satisfied that any part-time work undertaken does not interfere with the candidate's study program and progress. International students need to be aware that the employment restrictions outlined above apply even though a student visa permits students to work up to 20 hours a week.

Professional recognition

The program has been accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) for the purposes of registration as a psychologist in Australia and membership of the Australian Psychological Society (APS). In addition, it has been approved by the APS College of Clinical Psychologists as meeting their requirements for full membership. Graduates who have completed the forensic specialisation in third year, as well as a doctoral thesis in the field of forensic psychology, are also eligible for membership of the APS College of Forensic Psychologists.

Candidates may apply for full registration as a psychologist in the state of Victoria upon successful completion of the degree. Further information may be found on the Psychologists Registration Board of Victoria's website at


The program consists of a number of coursework units (20 per cent), practicum placements (10 per cent) and research culminating in a major thesis (70 per cent). Assessment is by thesis, written examinations, oral presentations and practical reports.

The first two years must be undertaken full-time. From third year, students may elect to complete their studies on either a full-time or part-time basis. Part-time paid internships may be offered to selected students who wish to study part-time while gaining supervised experience.



Students submit a thesis of approximately 60,000 to 70,000 words.The thesis may be in the form of a traditional monograph or as a thesis by publication.

The work presented for examination must be the original work of the candidate, except where due reference is made in the text. A candidate may include published work which is directly relevant to the argument of the thesis, provided such work has been written during the period of candidature. Candidates may not present in, or in support of, a thesis any work which the candidate has presented for any other degree or diploma at this University, or any other institution, except with the permission of the Research Graduate School Committee.

Coursework and practicum placements

First year

Semester one
  • DPSY5101 Psychopathology 1
  • DPSY5102 Psychological assessment 1
  • DPSY5103 Research methods in professional psychology
  • DPSY5104 Fundamentals of professional practice
  • DPSY5105 Clinical developmental psychology
  • DPSY5203 Theories and techniques of intervention 1
Semester two

Second year

Semester one
  • DPSY6106 Advanced clinical practice
  • DPSY6107 Health psychology and behavioural medicine
  • DPSY6199 Intermediate practicum
Semester two

Third year

Clinical forensic psychology option
Semester one
  • DPSY7111 Introduction to forensic psychology
  • DPSY7211 Psychology and criminal law
Semester two
  • DPSY7112 Psychology and children's and family law
  • DPSY7212 Psychology and civil law
Health psychology option
Semester one
  • DPSY7131 Clinical health and medical psychology 1
Semester two
  • DPSY7231 Clinical health and medical psychology 2
Clinical child, adolescent and family psychology option
Semester one
  • DPSY7141 Clinical child, adolescent and family psychology 1
Semester two
  • DPSY7241 Clinical child, adolescent and family psychology 2


Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology