What you should know if you want to study Psychology

Marilyn is a second-year Bachelor of Arts student majoring in Psychology, and hopes to become a Clinical Psychologist in the future. In her free time, she enjoys rowing and singing with the University choir.

Majoring in Psychology

Since Psychology is an extremely popular major in this university, here’s a lowdown on the major sequence in Psychology.

An APAC-accredited major in Psychology (APAC stands for Australian Psychology Accreditation Council) requires students to take 10 Psychology subjects over the course of their degree. At Unimelb, 8 of these subjects are compulsory, and the remaining two are electives. (Students in the Bachelor of Arts are limited to two elective subjects, but those pursuing a Bachelor of Science are allowed to pick more elective subjects.) Also, for students in the Bachelor of Arts, two of your Psychology subjects (one from Level Two and one from Level Three), will have to be taken as breadth subjects, leaving you with a maximum of four breadth subjects instead of six.

The screengrab from the Unimelb handbook (below) shows all the possible subjects that can count towards a major in Psychology. Most of these subjects, especially those at Levels Two and Three, build on what is learnt in previous years, and so it is recommended (but not mandated) that students pursue Psychology subjects at the previous level before enrolling in these subjects.

psychology major
University of Melbourne handbook

If you are doing a different undergraduate course and think that Psychology sounds pretty cool, once you’ve finished your Bachelor degree you can apply for the Graduate Diploma in Psychology. In the Grad Dip, you undertake all the subjects from the APAC-accredited undergraduate major. This is often completed in one year, but can be extended if that suits you! Some students choose to do the subjects over three years, at the same time as students completing the undergraduate major. There is a mid-year intake for this course.

Careers in Psychology

After an undergraduate degree in Psychology, you could work in Marketing, Advertising or Human Resource Management.

If you pursue a postgraduate degree in Psychology, you can work in a role more closely related to Psychology, such as becoming a Clinical Psychologist, Neuropsychologist or a researcher. To enter any of these fields requires you to have a Bachelor’s degree with Honours and a Master’s degree, a PhD or even both. This means that any student who intends to enter one of these specialised fields will have to be willing to spend at least six years at university.


You should also know that Honours in Psychology is very competitive! So it’s important to start working hard early to give yourself the best chance. The absolute minimum weighted average required is at least 70%. However, according to the psychology rumour mill, the cut-off for 2017 entry was just over 80%!

The information here is not exhaustive, and only lists a few career paths you can pursue at each level. For more information, check out the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences website, or speak to an advisor at the Careers and Employability Service in Stop 1.

– Marilyn

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