Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the application key dates?

Applications for Master of Psychology programs can be submitted between 1 August and 31 October each year. Applications submitted after 31 October will not be accepted.

Applications for Combined PhD/Master of Psychology programs must be submitted by the relevant Term 1 scholarship round deadline. Applications submitted after 31 October will not be accepted.

  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.

Should you commence a PhD and wish to be considered for a Combined program you will need to submit a new research (Combined) application (available for commencement in Term 1 only).

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

While adjustments were made in 2020 (and in some cases are continuing in 2021) to accommodate remote study as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not possible to complete a Master of Psychology program as a distance student.

The Master of Psychology programs do not strictly follow the University’s academic calendar, meaning that trainees should expect to have commitments prior to official teaching period start dates and past official teaching period end dates.

For this reason, the programs are not offered ‘part-time’ in the traditional sense (e.g., a simple halving of the study load), but a modified progression may be negotiated in 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 following a modified progression. 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.

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

Trainees 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 if following a modified progression).

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?

Generic information about fees can be found on the UNSW Fees website. Fees for individual courses can be found in the individual course records in the UNSW Handbook.

Master of Psychology (coursework)
Postgraduate Commonwealth Supported Places are available to eligible domestic students. Only a small number of offers are made each year and while in recent years all domestic offers have been for CSPs, there is no guarantee this will continue to be the case and is subject to change at any time.

Use the Scholarships website to search for any available scholarships, but note that currently there are no postgraduate coursework scholarships offered by the School.

Combined PhD/Master of Psychology (research)
Please refer to the website of the Graduate Research School (GRS) for information about domestic and international research scholarships.

Applicants should familiarise themselves with the key scholarship dates, as scholarship application deadlines may fall before the admission application deadline (31 October).  Questions about scholarships should be directed to the Admissions and Scholarships team at the GRS.

  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 applying. 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 assessment of your application.

* An applicant’s home institution equivalent. First Class Honours is the highest grade band a student’s result can fall within at UNSW. The Selection Committees will typically consider an international qualification awarded at the highest grade band/level as comparable to an Australian First Class.

  1. Must I have my final results before I apply?

Only if you are currently studying outside Australia.

If you are currently studying at an overseas institution, you must complete your program before you apply. 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 mid- to late November.

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 in or 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". Ensure that you leave sufficient time for your request to be processed – you should not expect that this additional information can be issued to you immediately.

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

The School cannot 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.

Generally, applicants must have completed an APAC-accredited four-year sequence in psychology (or international equivalent) within 10 years of their expected commencement. 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. Assessment Centre details will be published on the School’s website once available..

  1. Can interviews be conducted using Skype?

While it is the School’s preference that Clinical applicants attend interviews in person, Skype may be used in exceptional circumstances (e.g., for interstate applicants) at the discretion of the Selection Committee.

Traditionally, shortlisted applicants have been expected to attend the Assessment Centre in person. In 2020 adjustments were made to accommodate remote attendance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 the School will offer remote attendance as an option to those who are unable to travel, but in-person attendance will be encouraged for those who can (if in accordance NSW Health advice at the time).

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

No.

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 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 Master of Psychology and Combined PhD/Master of Psychology programs are APAC-accredited as a fifth and sixth year of study of psychology. Upon completion, graduates will be eligible to apply for registration as a psychologist in Australia (refer to information about general registration)

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

Yes, subject to further supervised training (refer to information about area of practice endorsement).

  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.

  1. Who should I use as my two referees? Does one have to be academic and one professional?

The School looks for one academic referee and who you nominate as your second referee is up to you. While there is no set requirement for one academic and one professional referee, you should consider who can best speak to your capabilities and suitability for the program/s to which you are applying.

If you do not use your fourth year/Honours supervisor as your academic referee, as this is a reasonably important academic relationship, you will be asked to provide a reason (e.g., you have since completed a PhD and your PhD supervisor can provide a more relevant reference).

The Selection Committee/s will read only two references. If you share more than two references with UNSW, only the ones written by the referees nominated on your Supplementary Application Form (SAF) will be read. If the references you share with UNSW are not written by the referees nominated on your SAF you will be asked to re-confirm your referees.

Information current at: April 2021

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