Undergraduate - Area of study

Students who commenced study in 2013 should refer to this area of study entry for direction on the requirments; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your area of study.

print version

This area of study entry applies to students commencing this course in 2013 and should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. Any units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Science
Offered bySchool of Psychology and Psychiatry
Campus(es)Clayton, Gippsland, Sunway
CoordinatorAssociate Professor Shantha Rajaratnam (School of Psychology and Psychiatry); Dr Kumaran Nayaranan (Sunway)


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • Some units may not be available in the on-campus mode to students enrolled at the Gippsland campus. Please check the unit entry for details on availability.


The School of Psychology and Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences offers an undergraduate program for students who intend to specialise in psychology by completing a 60-point major sequence which is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) within accredited degrees.

This program provides an avenue to further study in psychology with the option of proceeding to a degree with honours, or into postgraduate programs of study, and to the training required to practise as a psychologist.

The 60-point accredited major sequence may be taken in the following accredited courses:

  • 0050 Bachelor of Science
  • any Bachelor of Science double degree

A 48-point major in psychology may be sufficient to satisfy the requirements for a major sequence in any of the Bachelor of Science single or double degrees, and some courses in other faculties, but is not APAC-accredited and will not permit entry to fourth-year programs in psychology.

Further details of the psychology units and sequences, and the locations at which they are available, are provided in the 'psychology' entry in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences areas of study section of this Handbook.

Learning outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  • describe and discuss the major theories and empirical findings in core areas of the discipline of psychology at an introductory level, and some of these core areas at an advanced level, eg basic psychological processes such as perception, cognition, learning, motivation and emotion, and language, social and biological bases of behaviour, abnormal psychology, lifespan developmental psychology, individual differences in capacity and behaviour, history of psychology, testing and assessment, intercultural and indigenous psychology
  • demonstrate critical understanding of a range of issues related to psychological inquiry requiring skills and knowledge about behaviour and mental processes, and can interpret and use research to inform understanding and commentary on relevant issues in the community
  • recognise the importance of the relationship between knowledge of the scientific discipline of psychology and the application of this knowledge in the practice of psychology, and have gained an understanding of human diversity, and an insight into their own and others' behaviour
  • demonstrate a mastery of design and analysis of scientific research studies by: identifying research problems, designing and conducting research investigations of the bases of behaviour by applying a range of appropriate methodologies, applying the appropriate univariate statistical analysis to evaluate and interpret research outcomes, and clearly communicating the findings of their psychology inquiry according to the professional requirements of the discipline
  • exhibit effective interpersonal and communication skills, and can utilise modern information technologies to facilitate communication of ideas, for a range of audiences
  • demonstrate a capacity to complete independent assignments and group-work effectively
  • demonstrate an awareness of ethical, professional and OHS issues relating to the research and practice of psychology, and be suitable for employment, both nationally and internationally, in a range of areas requiring knowledge and skills in psychology.


Level one

Core units

Level two

Core units

  • PSY2031 Developmental and biological psychology
  • PSY2042 Cognitive and social psychology
  • PSY2051 Research design and analysis

Level three

Core units

  • PSY3032 Abnormal psychology
  • PSY3041 Psychological testing, theories of ability and ethics
  • PSY3051 Perception and personality
  • PSY3062 Research methods and theory

Elective units*

  • PSY3180 Human neuropsychology: Developmental and neurodegenerative disorders
  • PSY3190 Addiction studies**
  • PSY3230 Psychological foundations of law
  • PSY3240 Psychology of music**
  • PSY3250 Positive psychology
  • PSY3270 Neuroscience of cognition and behaviour

* Offerings of elective units will vary from year to year

** Also available by off-campus learning

Sequence requirements

Minor sequence in psychology (24 points)

Major sequence in psychology (48 points)

  • PSY1011 and PSY1022
  • PSY2051 and at least one level-two PSY unit
  • the remaining 18 or 24 points from the PSY units at level three

Students wishing to gain accreditation by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) or apply for entry into fourth-year courses in psychology must complete 60 points of PSY units including the following nine units: PSY1011, PSY1022, PSY2031, PSY2042, PSY2051, PSY3041, PSY3051, PSY3032 and PSY3062, and one elective PSY unit at level two or three. The additional PSY units required for professional accreditation are above the requirements of a major sequence in course 0050 Bachelor of Science.


Level one

Students intending to complete either a minor or major sequence in psychology must complete both PSY1011 and PSY1022 at level one. For information on unit choices contact

Level two

Some level-three electives may be undertaken at level two providing prerequisites and corequisites are met. Students intending to complete the APAC-accredited major sequence are advised to select their level-two units carefully. For information on unit choices contact

Level three

Up to four elective units are available at level three (Clayton campus only), so that it is possible for students to study 48 points of psychology at level three. The electives offered may vary from year to year depending on staff availability. For information on unit choices contact


Students completing a degree with a 60-point APAC-accredited major sequence in psychology are eligible to apply for entry to a fourth year in psychology through an honours year.

Full details regarding entrance requirements and course structure for honours is described in course 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science.

Relevant courses

Single degrees

  • 0050 Bachelor of Science
  • 3520 Bachelor of Science Advanced with Honours
  • 1120 Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program)

Double degrees

  • 0530 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science
  • 3537 Bachelor of Arts (Global) and Bachelor of Science
  • 1469 Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science
  • 3517 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Computer Science
  • 3711 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education
  • 1633 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education
  • 0086 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Laws

Honours degrees

  • 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science
  • 2188 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program)