Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the application key dates?

Applications open on 1 August and close on 31 October each year.

  1. Is there a mid-year intake?

No. There is only one intake (in Term 1) per year for each Master of Psychology program and each Combined PhD/Master of Psychology program. For term dates, please refer to the academic calendar.

  1. Can I start the Master of Psychology and transfer into the Combined PhD/Master of Psychology?

Yes, this is possible where you:

  • have performed well in the first year of your Master degree,
  • meet the entry requirements for the Combined program,
  • have secured appropriate supervision for your PhD, and
  • have secured a scholarship.

You will be required to work closely with your Program Director to ensure a smooth transition from one program to the other.

  1. Can I "upgrade" to a combined PhD/Master of Psychology (Clinical) program if I am accepted into a PhD program?

There is no provision for students to "upgrade" from a PhD to a Combined program, however (as noted above), it is possible for students to transfer from a Master of Psychology to a Combined PhD/Master of Psychology dependent on their progression through the Master degree.

  1. Can I study part-time, or by distance?

Master of Psychology programs are not offered in distance mode.

It is possible to study part-time, however progression planning will require close consultation with the relevant program team.

  1. Can I work while I study?

Working a job with conventional 9-5 hours is generally not feasible – even if studying part-time. It would be essential to have flexible, casual work – for example, tutoring on an undergraduate course – owing to variability in class times and professional placement days.

Students who need to work to support themselves while studying will need to consider night and weekend work.

Students should anticipate being required on campus 5 days per week in full-time mode. They should also anticipate course-related activities 5 days per week when completing any of the Professional and Ethical Practice (PEP) courses (even in part-time mode).

Sample program schedules (that are subject to change) can be found either in the Timetable or Program Guide sections of the Current Students (Postgraduate Coursework) website.

  1. What does it cost, and are there scholarships available?

Information about fees can be found in the individual course records of the UNSW Handbook, or on the UNSW Fees website.

Master of Psychology (coursework)
Postgraduate Commonwealth Supported Places are available to eligible domestic students.

You can use the Scholarships website to search for available scholarships, but note full scholarships are not generally available for postgraduate coursework programs in psychology.

Combined PhD/Master of Psychology (research)
A number of scholarships are available to both domestic and international students, information about which can be found on the Graduate Research School (GRS) website.

If applying for a scholarship you are strongly encouraged to familiarise yourself with the key scholarship dates, as scholarship application deadlines may fall before the admission application deadline (31 October).

  1. Do I need to find a supervisor before applying?

Master of Psychology (coursework)
No, you are not required to secure a supervisor for the Master of Psychology prior to submitting an application. You will have the opportunity to nominate a potential supervisor within a few months of commencing the program.

Combined PhD/Master of Psychology (research)
Yes. Please review the application procedures here.

  1. What mark do I need to get in to the program?

At a minimum, you must have achieved:

Master of Psychology (Clinical): First Class Honours (or equivalent*)
Master of Psychology (Forensic): First Class Honours (or equivalent*) OR Second Class Division One Honours (or equivalent*)
Combined PhD/Master of Psychology (both streams): First Class Honours (or equivalent*)

As a guide for students from Australian institutions, information about Honours grading in psychology can be found here, under the “Recognition of Achievement” heading. This page provides a numerical equivalent (out of 100) for Honours classifications.

If your degree was completed outside of Australia, you may use the Postgraduate Coursework Entry Score Calculator to give you a rough idea of what your GPA/mark at your home institution could be compared to in UNSW terms. The output is to be used as a guide only, and will not directly impact the School’s admission decisions.

* An applicant’s home institution equivalent. First Class Honours is the highest grade band a student’s result can fall within at UNSW. That is what a Selection Committee will look for in an international qualification where First Class Honours is required.

  1. Must I have my final results before I submit an application?

Only if you are currently studying outside Australia.

If you are currently studying at an overseas institution, you must complete your program before you submit an application. The sole reason for this is that you must have your complete qualification assessed by the APS so the School can assess your eligibility (refer to FAQ 13, below).

If you are enrolled in your final year of psychology in Australia, you can apply to UNSW before your final results are released. You MUST supply evidence of enrolment with your application.

Please carefully read the available information about the application process, including the step-by-step PDF guides on the How to Apply pages (coursework and research).

  1. What is the deadline to provide UNSW with my final results?

There is no definitive answer to this question.

Having complete information about you – including your final results – is critical to the School’s ability to create a shortlist. Ideally, your final results would be available to the School in late November/early December.

However, different institutions have different—and wide-ranging—official result release dates that may not necessarily align with this timeframe. You are therefore encouraged to check if your home institution will be willing to provide unofficial/provisional results directly to the School, to facilitate shortlisting. This is of particular importance if your home institution has an official result release date after December. Some institutions have done so in the past, others have not. Some institutions will require your consent in writing to do so, others may not.

  1. Why did you ask me to submit my results as a mark out of 100?

Different institutions have different grading systems, so it is ideal for final results to be submitted to the School in the format of a mark/marks out of 100 (where possible). Not every institution will be able to do this, but it is most helpful for each Selection Committee to have this information.

For example, UNSW psychology Honours students are awarded one overall mark out of 100 upon completion of their Honours year. This is the only number that will appear on their official academic transcript. To supplement this, they also receive a separate Statement of Attainment, showing each component mark that contributed to the overall mark.

Some institutions use letter grades only (e.g., High Distinction HD, Distinction DN), others use Grade Points with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (e.g., High Distinction 7, Distinction 6).

If this sounds like your institution, please check if your School or relevant administrative department can provide you with a letter confirming your overall and/or individual subject marks out of 100. In past years, for example, UQ has called this a "Percentage Results Letter".

  1. My psychology degree is not from Australia. Am I eligible to apply?

The School is unable to answer this.

If your psychology qualification is/will be awarded by a non-Australian institution, you must apply (at a cost) to have it assessed by the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

If the APS determine that your qualification is comparable to a four-year, APAC-accredited sequence of study in psychology completed in Australia, and you have completed a research thesis/major research project as part of that qualification, then you are eligible to apply.

Note that the APS will only assess qualifications that have been completed.

  1. My psychology degree was awarded more than 10 years ago. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, you may submit an application.

Generally, applicants should have completed an accredited four-year sequence in psychology within 10 years of their expected commencement at UNSW. Exceptions may be possible in limited circumstances.

  1. I don’t have a psychology degree. Am I eligible to apply?

No. You must have completed an APAC-accredited four-year sequence in psychology (or international equivalent) to be eligible to apply.

If you are a graduate of another discipline, you may like to apply for UNSW’s Graduate Diploma in Psychology, or find another suitable accredited bridging psychology sequence by using the search function on the APAC website.

  1. Do I need work experience in a related field?

Admission is based on your academic record, referee reports and performance at an interview/Assessment Centre. While work experience is not an admission requirement, any experience you might have may prove valuable should you be invited to participate in an interview (Clinical) or Assessment Centre (Forensic).

Experience working directly with the public may potentially be helpful in providing insight into the psychology profession, as well as your personal strengths and challenges in undertaking this work. Charities and other organisations can provide such opportunities, however the School is unable to provide a list of suitable organisations.

Forensic program only: While work experience is not an admission requirement, applicants with employment histories will be positively regarded. An applicant’s employment history does not necessarily need to include clinically- or forensically-relevant experience; a track record of employment could indicate an applicant’s familiarity with team environments (or, conversely, autonomous work), working to deadlines, managing stressful situations, dealing with the public, and any number of other skills.

  1. What is an Assessment Centre?

The term 'Assessment Centre' does not refer to a location, but to a process. A typical Assessment Centre incorporates a set of varied exercises which are designed to simulate different aspects of the relevant work environment.

The Assessment Centre for the Forensic program lasts approximately five hours, usually with one session starting in the morning (8am) and another starting in the afternoon (12pm) of the same day. The 2020 Assessment Centre will run on Thursday, 26 November. Only if necessary will a second Assessment Centre be run on Friday, 4 December.

  1. Can interviews be conducted using Skype?

Only for the Clinical program. While it is the School’s preference that Clinical applicants attend interviews in person, Skype may be used in exceptional circumstances (such as for overseas-based applicants) at the discretion of the Selection Committee.

In-person attendance is mandatory for the Forensic program’s Assessment Centre.

  1. Can I get an offer (or conditional offer) now for reason A, B, C?


The School is unable to make offers – conditional or otherwise – to any applicant, for any reason, before interviews are completed (typically between late November and early to mid-December).

  1. Can I defer my offer?

No, offers cannot be deferred.

If you are made an offer and cannot accept it for whatever reason, you are welcome to re-apply for the next available intake and compete against a new applicant cohort.

  1. When I complete the program will I be able to work as a psychologist in Australia?

All the School’s Master of Psychology and Combined PhD/Master of Psychology programs are APAC-accredited. Upon completion, graduates will be eligible to apply for registration as a psychologist in Australia. More information about general registration can be found on AHPRA’s website.

  1. When I complete the program will I be able to work as a Clinical Psychologist/Forensic Psychologist?

Yes, subject to further supervision (refer to AHPRA’s website).

  1. When I complete the program will I be able to work as a psychologist overseas?

Probably not without completing further qualifications. Unfortunately there is little international agreement regarding psychology qualifications. Although the country you want to work in may give you some credit for your Australian qualifications, you are likely to need to complete additional qualifications. It is particularly difficult for an Australian-trained psychologist to work in the USA.

Information current at: June 2020

In Profile