Postgraduate Psychology FAQs
- Q. What do I need to know about before applying?
Entry is competitive. We strongly encourage you to simultaneously apply for all professional and clinical psychology programs - 442 Master of Professional Psychology; 599 Master of Psychology (Clinical) and consider 209 Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology). Our first year (5th year) is a common year of core training in psychology in preparation for general registration. Because there are limited places in each course and competition is very high, applying for all programs gives you the best opportunity of getting a place in our programs. Note also we have transfers at the end of the first year from the MPP to the MPC; and MPC to PhD Clinical for high performing students.
Note also the MPP has two streams - the standard on campus program (Master of Professional Psychology), or a flexible delivery program (Master of Professional Psychology (School Psychology) for those wanting to become a school psychologist in New South Wales. Both programs develop the same competencies required for general registration as a psychologist. To obtain a place in the flexible program requires admission to the University and holding a scholarship from the NSW Department of Education. Information on the joint admissions process is in the 'how to apply' section.
- Q. Why apply for a PhD Clinical degree?
The PhD Clinical degree is a four year integrated program comprising two thirds research work and on third professional training (all coursework and placements of the MPC). The PhD Clinical degree is for outstanding applicants who wish to become senior leaders in their field either as a senior practitioner or academic, and graduates demonstrate advanced research competence. A PhD usually involves 2-4 studies in sequence. PhD Clinical students are usually able to obtain access to supervised registrar training on campus working with complex cases in their final years.
- Q. How are applicants selected to get into the training program?
Applicants are selected according to their academic grades, referees reports, and their personal statement regarding their relevant attributes and work or volunteer experience. Shortlisted applicants are then required to attend a selection interview. Applicants for the PhD are also judged on their research proposal. Current students are also able to apply to upgrade to Clinical or PhD programs after the first year of study.
- Q. I didn't get into a training program this year. Should I give up?
No. Re-application after a year or two of acquiring further relevant experience is strongly encouraged, and may make the difference in being successful with your application.
- Q. How can I find out more about the programs?
The Professional and Clinical Handbook contains a complete statement about the structure, content and requirements for training, including practicum training and research.
- Q. Why study at Wollongong?
The University of Wollongong has an outstanding reputation for excellence and innovation in professional and clinical psychology training in Australia and Internationally. Commencing in 1980, for almost 40 years we have been training psychologists, and many of our graduates have gone on to be leaders in the field as senior and principle psychologists in teaching hospitals and government departments, senior researchers and academics, and influential community private practitioners. The quality of our training is reflected in the quality, depth and breadth of our staff who are leaders in the field and provide one of the richest and most diverse training experiences in Australia.
The University of Wollongong is recognized for its excellence in teaching and research, and has a five out of five star rating for educational experience and graduate outcomes. Students at Wollongong enjoy the close collegial atmosphere and the opportunity to hone their clinical skills in a positive and encouraging environment. Northfields Clinic is the third oldest psychology clinic of its kind in Australia - after University of Sydney and Western Australia. It is situated within the beautiful surrounds of the main university campus, and is recognized as one of the best clinical training facilities in Australia. The training programs are accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council as a pathway to full registration as a psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia.
- Q. Do I get exposed to different forms of practice apart from CBT?
Yes. Wollongong follows a scientist-practitioner model of clinical training; as such, the training recognizes that in the field of clinical psychology new approaches are always emerging, and that research evidence supports a variety of approaches. The focus of the core clinical training is on acquiring the core competencies of practice required for general registration as a psychologist following the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council standards. We use the Australian Psychological Society's Evidence-Based Psychological Interventions in the Treatment of Mental Disorders: A Literature Review (4th edition; 2018) which articulates the evidence for a variety of approaches for different disorders including CBT, Psychodynamic Therapy and Family Interventions. Our staff have expertise in a number of approaches, and students will have the opportunity to study with our experts and gain systematic training in skills and strategies that are evidence-based.
- Q. I live in Sydney. Can I do my practicum placements there?
Yes. Approximately one half of students live in Sydney and are able to do the majority of practicum placements in Sydney.
- Q. Do I get a choice about where I do my practicum placements?
Yes. Students are able to provide their preferences from a wide variety of placements available. The University organises placements with consideration to the students preferences and the quality and availability of placements. For on campus students, the first placement is at Northfields Clinic. For MPP students, a variety of high quality placements are available. For MCP students, a variety of placements is required in adult, child and family, psychiatric and inpatient, and specialist clinical practice.
- Q. I need to do paid work whilst studying. How much can I do?
Practical training is extremely demanding and requires a significant commitment to be completed successfully. We recommend that where possible students devote themselves full-time to their training. However, for full time study, some students have been able to do 1 day a week of paid work (or a maximum of 2 if one day is on the weekend). For part time study, students in the past have been able to do 2-3 days of work. A full time student is required to be on campus 2-3 days a week, and a part-time student 1-2 days a week. Apart from being on campus, students will need another 1-2 days for practicum training and research.
- Q. How much does training cost?
The Professional and Clinical programs currently offers Commonwealth Supported Places. This subsidy more than halves the cost of completing the course for eligible domestic students.
- Q. Is there a research project?
Yes. All programs require you to complete research. The Master of Professional Psychology requires a capstone project, the Master of Psychology (Clinical) program requires a research project written in the form of a journal article. The PhD require a doctoral thesis which is examined independently by recognized experts in the field. For PhD candidates it is important to talk in advance to individual staff in the School about your interests to ensure there is a good fit with the expertise of available supervisors. You will be required to submit a research proposal with an identified supervisor in the school. Also consult the Handbook for recent publications of clinical staff to gauge the current areas of research activity being undertaken.
- Q. What are my prospects for finding work after completing my training?
98% of our graduates find good psychology positions within a very short period of graduating. In fact, a large number are offered positions before they have officially graduated.