Psychology is an immensely popular major at uni. However, understanding how to study it at Unimelb can be a bit tricky. There is no straight our ‘Bachelor of Psychology’ due to the nature of the Melbourne Model.
Myself (Reanna!) and a number of other contributors are studying Psychology, so we thought we would help shed some light on how to work out this crazy course. But as a quick disclaimer, please keep in mind when reading this it is only a guide. Please refer to the appropriate links and websites, rather than follow our advice as gospel!
Undergrad (Arts/Science) or Grad Dip: Psychology can be taken as a major in both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science. Alternatively, people who have already finished a Bachelors degree (at Unimelb or elsewhere) can take a Graduate Diploma of Psychology, which is purely the ten subjects required to complete the major. Both majors and the Grad Dip are APA accredited.
Psychology in Commerce: It is possible for student studying a Bachelor of Commerce to complete 100 points of Psychology as their breadth track (still APA accredited!), as well as a limited number of Commerce subjects being able to credit as Psychology subjects. Check out this page for more information.
10 subject major: Over the three years of your undergraduate degree, you have to complete 10 Psychology subjects. Eight of these are compulsory, while the other two are electives which you can choose based on your interests. Except for 3rd year Psychological Science, the rest of the subjects have no prerequisites and can be taken any time in the duration of your degree.
Breadth requirements for Arts students: All students are required to complete a minimum of four to a maximum of six breadth subjects. However, due to Psych being a 10 subject major, two of your psych subjects count towards breadth. So if you want, you can only undertake two breadth!
Exchange: Because of how many compulsory subjects you have to undertake, going on exchange can be difficult for a Psych major. Furthermore, the Psych department have their own process of subject approval for overseas institutions. However, it can be done! Talk to your faculty’s exchange advisor, or talk to the Psych department themselves. Usually you can only use your two third year Psych electives overseas. Your timetable might go a bit crazy (eg. doing second year subjects in third year, or vice versa) as a result.
General Subject Overview:
First Year: First year is ‘adaptation’ year. You get to do a little bit of here and there, make lots of mistakes for your lab reports (it’s okay, we’ve all been there). As for the subjects, MBB1 and MBB 2, it can be a bit overwhelming and abstract at first (brains, neurons, abstract stuff that Simon talks about in lectures, etc.). But on the bright side, you get to write about the sunset essay (Wheeeeee!) and a ‘simpler’ lab report in second sem!
Second Year: Second year is more narrow and specific. The various sections you learnt in MBB1 and MBB2 are split into the four subjects that you take in semester 1 and 2. This means that you go into more detail for the four different types of Psych, and get a better idea of what each component consists of. All four subjects have a lab report and an end of year examination.
Third Year: Third year is when the fun begins! You get to explore your interests with your elective subjects. Just remember that as an Arts student, you are only allowed to take two psych electives whereas Science students are allowed to take a maximum of four. If you are unsure, definitely speak to a course adviser. Most electives have one or two lab reports or essays due during the semester and a final exam.
Honours & Beyond:
Applications for Honours: Postgraduate studies in Psychology require that you have completed an honours year (i.e. a fourth year for high achieving students that provides you with research experience). Psychology majors can complete their honours year at Unimelb or any other university (check out each uni for details about application processes). Mentioning Psychology honours to any Psych majors at Unimelb will probably result in a groan – it is a highly competitive program with a limited number of places. Check out the MSPS page for more information.
PhD vs. Masters: After an honours year, there are two options for those who want to pursue Psychology:
- PhD: Like the sound of ‘Doctor’ before your name? For those looking for a life in research and academia, then a PhD is the way to go. Conduct your own research project over three years under the guidance of leading psychologists. Check out here for more information.
- Masters: If want to be a clinical psychologist, then this is the path to follow. Have a look at this page for application information and a course outline.
What’s more, is that you can combine these two options if you are so inclined.
MUPA: MUPA is a student run Psychology Association at Unimelb. They run a few academic and social events throughout the semester. It’s a great way to meet other psychology students and get advice on where to buy cheap second hand textbook and which are the best third year electives.
And there you have it! We hope this may be useful to prospective Psychology students, or those of you are considering taking it as a major. If you have any questions about things not covered here, refer to this page or as your course adviser.
– Reanna, Natalia, Shirley, & Mallika