Psychology is a deeply interesting field with a wide range of applications in multiple disciplines ranging from health care, business, family, relationships to more elusive field like human factors, and human mating. From an international student perspective, where oversea education is less about merely learning something interesting and “finding oneself” and more about making a financial investment, one needs to make some decisions beforehand about the directions one wants to take with a Psychology degree. Unlike other degrees with clear career progression like Engineering, Accounting, Law, a graduate with a 3-year Psychology degree (or a 4-year degree with Honours) would have considerably more difficulty finding a job. As the path to becoming a Psychologist of any sort invariably requires a Master degree. With that caveat in mind, let’s proceed.
1. Entry Requirement.
This might vary across different universities throughout Australia. Most of the time, it might require a 1-year bridging program where you can learn a variety of entry-level university courses. I advise checking with a foreign study agency if you intend to attend universities in Australia, you might be able to skip the pesky year 12 in Vietnam (emphasize “might”). This one year has nothing to do with your Psychology degree, it’s just there to make sure students coming from different parts of the world would start university at a similar level of English and basic knowledge.
2. Psychology Careers Progression.
There are a lot of things you can do with a Psychology degree. To become a registered Psychologist, one needs to do a 2-year Master in the relevant field (Applied Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology, Organizational Psychology, etc.). To become a Psychological researcher, you need to do a PhD. Unlike other parts of the world, one can start your PhD right away after the Honours year provided your Honours results are good enough. Needless to say, the Honours year is quite critical.
3. How to study Psychology.
Information from this section onward specifically applies to the University of Queensland. The system might be similar in the rest of Australia but do exercise caution and do your research. There are three ways to study Psychology:
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) 3 years
- Bachelor of Science (BSc) 3 years
- Bachelor of Psychological Science (BPsySc) 3 years + 1 Honours year
Both BA and BSc are umbrella degrees that cover a lot of fields. They are generalist degrees that allow you to explore vastly different disciplines as you have to pick two or more disciplines to focus on. But if you’re visiting VIET Psychology, I assume you are in this for a long haul, and the rest of my article is written with this assumption in mind. If you’re serious about becoming a Psychologist or a Psychological researcher (these are two different things in Australia), then BPsySc is the degree for you. Not only will you have access to more Psyc courses, you’re also more likely to secure a spot in the critical Honours year. For those who would like to opt out of the Honours year after doing 3 years, you’re eligible to apply for the Master of Counseling and on completion, become a Counselor.
4. Studying Psychology.
Unlike the States, upon the commencement of your Psychology degree, you would immediately take first-year Psychology courses along with electives of your choice. First-year courses give you a brief overview of the many topics in Psychology along with a beginner Statistic course. Statistics is going to be your companion through your Psyc degree with a total of four Stat courses throughout your 4-year degree. Most find them highly unpleasant but a bit of Math should be no problems for us Vietnamese. They’re also high useful later on so try to do well and retain as much Stat knowledge as possible.
Here’s the Course List for Psychology. Some courses are compulsory; some are optional so you could explore topics you’re interested in. There are no clear specialization throughout the degree, that’s what you get in your Master degree and Honours year.
Picking a university to spend your undergraduate is an entirely different matter from picking where to do your postgraduate Master/PhD program. The university rating one can find online is probably reliable for the former purpose. I wholeheartedly recommend the University of Queensland (UQ) for your undergraduate Psyc degree. We have a beautiful campus, great academics, a variety of research scholarships and informative seminars and talks throughout the years. There are also a good number of world-class research centres focusing on different Psychological disciplines.
Regardless of the university you choose, it is important to do well in your Honours year to ensure ease of transition to higher education.
Feel free to contact the author, HA, at firstname.lastname@example.org