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Psychology can be broadly defined as the scientific study of behaviour and its causes. It is a diverse discipline that investigates everything from the structure and function of brain cells through to the behaviour of people in social groups. The Bachelor of Psychology is an Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) accredited program and the first step in the psychologist registration process. The courses included in this degree are designed to enhance students’ understanding of work in this field.
Studies in psychology can lead to jobs in a number of fields ranging from people centred work including psychological assessment, counselling, community welfare, health promotion, business consulting and recruitment, through to research work in many areas such as health, education, consumer behaviour, environmental behaviour, employment, criminology and sport. For information on the current areas of psychology research at the University of Newcastle, see the School of Psychology website. Psychology graduates also have the skills and training to work in government departments and not-for-profit organisations, in the areas of policy development, program management and administration.
The types of jobs available to psychology graduates will therefore depend on the level and quality of qualifications they obtain. Many occupations will require post graduate qualifications which are often competitive to gain entry. For example, to become a school counsellor in some states in Australia it may be necessary to have both teaching and specialist psychology qualifications, read more.
Becoming a Registered Psychologist
The four year Bachelor of Psychology provides a pathway to becoming a provisionally registered psychologist in Australia. A further two years of approved training is required for full registration. The Psychology Board of Australia is responsible for developing the standards and overseeing the registration process for practicing psychologists and sets out the general registration standard. Registered psychologists can branch out into a variety of specialisations or fields. See this document for more information.
The Bachelor of Psychological Science Option
Once you have completed all 1000, 2000 and 3000 level courses you have the option of graduating with a Bachelor of Psychological Science and not doing a 4th year. You might do this because you decide to pursue a career which does not require you to be a registered psychologist or for many other reasons.
If you do want to be a psychologist then it would definitely be best to complete the 4 years of the Bachelor of Psychology. But if you do not see yourself as going on to become a registered practicing psychologist (which will require at least two more years of supervision/study once you have finished 4th year) then the Bachelor of Psychological Science is an option for you to consider.
Academic advice: view Study Pathways for this degree »
Fourth Year of Bachelor of Psychology Honours:
Honours is conferred for outstanding performance in the program overall. For more information, see Program Handbook. Entry into the Bachelor of Psychology Honours stream at 4th year requires a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 5.5 over all 1000, 2000 and 3000 level courses. Honours may assist entry into some postgraduate programs that are necessary for registration as a psychologist.
Further Study Options:
The following are postgraduate programs offered at the University of Newcastle that will lead to registration:
There are a very broad range of postgraduate course work programs that can provide specialist qualifications in other areas. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/program/postgraduate/
Below is a sample of job titles and descriptions that includes positions suitable for graduates of the Bachelor of Psychology four year accredited program as well as positions that will require further study or experience.
- Access and Equity Advisor
- Art Therapist
- Business Analyst/Consultant
- Careers Counsellor
- Case Worker/Manager
- Client Service Manager
- Clinical Research Coordinator
- Community Development Worker
- Community Liaison Officer
- Coordinator of Social Services
- Data Analyst
- Diplomat / Foreign Affairs and Trade Officer
- Disability Services Officer
- Education Officer
- Genetic Counsellor
- Generalist Programs
- Specialist Programs
- Graduate Recruitment Consultant
- Health Promotion Officer
- Human Resources Officer
- Instructional Designer
- Intelligence Officer
- International Aid/Development Worker
- Job Analyst
- Juvenile Justice Officer
- Learning and Development Consultant
- Lifestyle Co-ordinator
- Management Consultant
- Market Research Analyst
- Music Therapist
- Personnel Administrator
- Police Officer
- Policy Officer/Analyst
- Program Manager / Project Coordinator
- Project Worker
- Recruitment Consultant
- Research Officer
- School Counsellor
- Sciences Technician
- Social Researcher
- Social Scientist
- Training & Development Manager
- Training Officer
- University Lecturer / Academic
- Welfare Officer
- Youth Worker
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Psychology graduates are employed across a variety of industries including health, business, education, administration and defense. Below is a sample of employers who recruit psychology graduates, including those organisations that have graduate programs.
Check employers’ websites for a section called Employment, Careers, Graduate Programs or similar titles. Some of these employers may offer vacation work opportunities.
- Accenture Australia Ltd (International)
- Anglicare (Australia)
- ANZ (Australia)
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (Australia)
- Australian Customs Service (Australia)
- Australian Defence Force (International)
- Australian Secret Intelligence Service (Australia)
- Australian Taxation Office (Australia)
- Centrecare (Australia)
- Centrelink (Australia)
- CRS Australia (Australia)
- CSIRO (Australia)
- Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) (Australia)
- Deloitte (Australia)
- Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (Australia)
- Department of Families, Housing, Communities and Indigenous Affairs (Australia)
- Department of Immigration and Citizenship (Australia)
- Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (Australia)
- Mars Australia (Australia)
- National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd (Australia)
- NSW Department of Community Services (Australia)
- NSW Department of Health (Australia)
- Oxfam (International)
- PricewaterhouseCoopers (Australia)
- Rehab Management (Australia)
- Salvation Army (Australia)
- The Samaritans (Australia)
- Telstra (Australia)
- UNICEF Australia (International)
- UnitingCare Ageing (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- Australian and New Zealand Art Therapy Association (Australia)
- Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) (Australia)
- Australian Human Resources Institute (Australia)
- The Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (Australia)
- Australian Institute of Welfare and Community Workers (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Psychology are the skills, abilities and knowledge that are required to practice in the psychology field. The attributes are highly sought after by an even broader range of employers. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
- Committed to utilisation of evidence-based practices in Psychology.
- Capable of locating and understanding relevant sections of the psychological literature in order to make informed decisions about best practices (good research consumers).
- Able to evaluate new practices and applications on the basis of evidence provided by others.
- Capable of directly contributing to the scientific evaluation of new practices and applications through the application of appropriate methodologies.
- Able to apply theoretical and empirical knowledge in a real-world context.
- Able to understand ethical principles involved in research and practice of psychology, and a commitment to act in an ethical manner.
- Able to use independent thinking in order to arrive at ethical solutions to a range of research and applied psychology problems.
- Able to understand the role of APS and registration boards in the training of psychologists.
- Able to understand the seven certificates required by the NSW Psychologist's registration board, and to be trained to a preliminary level in each of them.
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.
Sample Job Ads & Tips
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note, the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.