BlogUniversityPros and Cons of a Bachelor of Psychology at UNSW

Pros and Cons of a Bachelor of Psychology at UNSW

Psychology UNSW - Featured Image

You’ve read everything there is to know about studying a Bachelor of Psychology at UNSW, but now you want to get a little more insight.

While having the info about course formats, assessments and major options is definitely a must, there are certain details that you can only get from an expert in the subject. And who better to ask than someone who has literally done the course from beginning to end? 

Meet Danika. She’s a certified UNSW Bachelor of Psychology expert, currently in her final year as an Honours year student.

We sat down to have a chat with her so we could find out all the hot goss about the course that you won’t find in a handbook. Read on to see what she had to say!

Why should you study a Psychology Degree at UNSW?
Top 3 Pros of a Psychology Degree
Top 3 Cons of a Psychology Degree
Things to Know Before Starting UNSW Psychology
What Makes this Degree Different
Potential Career Paths

Why should you study a Psychology degree at UNSW?

Psychology UNSW - Student Quote

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves — this course is a fantastic option for anyone who is dead-set on a career in Psychology. It will teach you absolutely everything you need to know to get a strong foundation in all of the areas in the discipline.

It’s the second best Bachelor of Psychology degree in the country, boasting world-class facilities and a very impressive faculty. In other words it’s academic heaven for all of you Psych buffs reading this!

Top 3 Pros of a Psychology degree

#1: It’s a Flexible Course

Everything in life is about balance, which is why the course offers 8 electives. While it’s true that the course is very Psych-focused, there’s still a lot of room for you to explore whatever your heart desires — “I personally spent most of my electives studying French,” explains Danika. 

This is definitely a massive pro, as some courses offer very few or zero electives. Electives are a great way to get a well-rounded education and they may help you find a passion you never even knew you had.

#2: The Amazing Faculty

A course is only as good as the people teaching it. You could have the best labs and the best facilities, but without a good teacher, they won’t get you very far.

All senior academics and PHD students that I came into contact with were top-notch and highly regarded in the academic world […] you could tell that these people had a real talent and passion for their field,” she says. 

#3: Fantastic Exchange Opportunities

UNSW has exchange partners all over the world, but not every student has access to them. Sometimes it can be hard to line up your courses with another university overseas.

Because UNSW Psychology has so many electives, you can pretty much go anywhere if you plan your courses well — the world really is your oyster. I personally went to Geneva in Switzerland for a semester and had a great time learning their way of doing Psychology and also understanding a very different way of life,” says Danika (and we’re very jealous).


Top 3 Cons of a Psychology degree

#1: Post-graduate Study is Necessary to Become a Psychologist

This one might be one to take out on the Australian education system rather than UNSW, but it’s still a little frustrating. According to Danika, a Bachelor of Psychology alone will not get you very far in the field, “You really need postgraduate education to get anywhere with this degree.” 

You could probably break into another industry like communications, or any writing-focused industry without a Masters. If you’re set on Psychology though, you’re gonna need a Masters, or “four more years of internships.” 

#2: There Aren’t Any Majors

Whether you’re interested in Clinical Psychology, Organisational Psychology, or Forensic Psychology, it doesn’t matter because, “The Bachelor of Psychology restricts you to having no specific ‘major’ or ‘minor’ other than Psychology itself.”

This means you’ll have to study all areas of Psych, including the ones you don’t like. You’ll only be able to pick a specialisation once you start your Masters (hang in there!).

#3: Not Much Interaction in Tutorials

This probably doesn’t seem like a massive con, but trust us when we say that after a while it’ll make you want to pull your hair out! According to Danika, “Tutorials are usually 20-30 people, they encourage discussion between classmates, but they’re not always successful at doing so!” 

Without class participation in a communication-heavy subject like Psychology, the tutorials might feel like they go on forever. Why not turn this con into a pro by taking the class discussion into your own hands?

What do you wish you had known before starting the degree?

#1: You Won’t be Job Ready After Graduation

“The four years really don’t equip you for any practical work except for research, so if you start this degree, be prepared to do at least 6 years total, if not 8 or 10 to finally be practicing as a psychologist somewhere,” recommends Danika.

It’s definitely important to keep this in mind before you start. If your heart is set on Psychology though, this really shouldn’t be too much of a problem. It’s also not too hard to internally transfer at UNSW, so don’t stress too much!

#2: The Community is a Little Disjointed 

“The culture can also be a little disjointed because there are hundreds of people in your classes who you have never met before, that may be taking Psychology as an elective or as a minor,” explains Danika. 

That’s why it’s definitely a good idea to put the effort in to join a society or do some extracurricular activities that will allow you to meet some new people.

What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities? 

One of the cool things that UNSW Psychology offers is a research internship right on campus. You’ll need an average mark above 80 to qualify for it, and if you do we definitely recommend you take the opportunity.

Danika says, “I found it extremely helpful to learn the skills for the Honours year, and found the whole process very supportive with a great cohort of only 20-40 people each term.” If you do choose to head for a career in research, it’s also a great networking opportunity and introduction to research-based work.

What are the possible career paths?

Psychology UNSW - Careers

As we already said, you’ll need a Masters degree to become a practicing Psychologist, but career paths don’t always take a traditional path.

You might decide to go straight into research, or maybe you’ll use your psychology skills to become a management consultant. You could even jump ships into communication or journalism!

Danika points out that studying “Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology or even Physiotherapy, will get you a job easily after four years,” but if you really want to become a Psychologist then this is definitely the course that you should go for!

Learn more about a career as a Psychologist here!

Cody Williams is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education. While Cody studied a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and French Studies at UNSW, he quickly realised that his dream job would have him sit happily behind a keyboard. Cody’s digital writing career started with an internship at Bauer Media where he was writing for ELLE and Harper’s BAZAAR’s online publications. Once he had a taste for writing he never looked back, moving to Brisbane soon later to work as a Producer for Channel Nine Queensland. After a year in television media, he dusted off his online writing shoes so he could put them to good use, stamping out some scorching-hot career and educational resources at AOS.


45,861 students have a head start...

Get exclusive study content & advice from our team of experts delivered weekly to your inbox!

AOS Website Asset 2

Want to study Science?

Discover how we can help you!

AOS Website Asset 1