Are you passionate about exploring all things related to the human mind and behaviour? Want to make a difference in people’s lives and learn more about mental health and wellbeing? Studying Psychology at UniMelb might be the thing for you!
To help you consider whether it’s the right choice for you, we’ll be unpacking everything you need to know about the major including core units, teaching format, career paths, university culture and more.
Let’s jump right in!
What is a Psychology Major at Melbourne University?
Psychology is offered as a major at Melbourne Uni and you can study it as part of a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Biomedicine or Bachelor of Science.
The Psychology major is basically a deep dive into human behaviour and explores everything from the complexities of the mind and cognitive processes to the practical elements of developmental, social and clinical psychology.
There’s a highly-competitive Honours program available for a Psychology major at Melbourne University. This fourth year Honours program is a prerequisite for any further studies needed to register as a practising psychologist.
In order to be eligible for the Psychology Honours program, you need to have graduated with a weighted average of at least 70% in your second and third-year units.
You can find out more about the Honours program here!
Most careers in psychology-related fields will require further study; however, this major can be the starting point for a range of careers.
With further training, you can become a registered practising psychologist and work in various fields like:
- Clinical psychology
- Community psychology
- Forensic psychology
- Educational psychology
It can also lead you to a career in research and academic psychology, especially with Melbourne University’s research-heavy Psychology major!
Studying Psychology at Melbourne Uni can also come in handy in various other fields and careers such as marketing, human resources and government.
Core Units for this Degree
If you’re looking to register as a practising psychologist, a Psychology major accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) is a prerequisite for any further study you undertake.
This is a 125-point accredited major with 10 subjects overall. For an APAC-accredited major sequence, you’ll study 10 subjects overall with 8 core units. The other core units you study will vary depending on your degree.
Some of the core units you’ll study for an APAC-accredited sequence include:
- Mind, Brain and Behaviour 1
- Personality and Social Psychology
- Research Methods for Human Inquiry
- Developmental Psychology
Alongside your core units, you’ll study a range of elective and breadth subjects. As part of the APAC-accredited Psychology major, you have 2 compulsory psychology electives where you can choose from a range of units such as Perception, Memory and Cognition or Development of the Thinking Child.
You’ll also get to study science or arts-related elective units and breadth subjects from other faculties and disciplines.
Are there any built-in internships or placements?
While there aren’t any built-in internships for a Psychology major, you can choose an Internship elective as part of your Arts, Science or Biomedicine degree.
There are also plenty of opportunities to seek out internships and placements on campus by reaching out to your lecturers and other researchers in the Psychology faculty. However, these are mostly research internships and finding clinical experience while studying a Psychology major can be quite challenging.
“If you want to find an internship for Psychology specifically, it’s a big struggle… It’s much easier to get a research internship but if you want to find some clinical work it’s kind of hard.” — Jasmine Kaur Sareen, Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) III at UniMelb
How to Get into a Psychology Major at UniMelb
Since Psychology at Melbourne University is offered as a major, there are a lot of different ways to get into the degree!
You can study it as part of a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Biomedicine, or Bachelor of Science. The ATAR requirements vary depending on the degree you choose.
For a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science, you’ll need an ATAR of 88.00. Meanwhile, a Bachelor of Biomedicine has an ATAR cut-off of 95.00.
But don’t worry, Melbourne Uni takes your personal circumstances into account through their Access Melbourne scheme! By applying, you might receive an offer despite having an ATAR below the published minimum requirement.
Find out more about the Access Melbourne scheme, how to apply and your eligibility here!
Are there any prerequisites?
The prerequisites for studying Psychology at UniMelb vary depending on the degree you choose but English, Mathematics and Chemistry and/or Biology are some common subjects that may be prerequisites or assumed knowledge for Psychology.
Melbourne University has plenty of scholarships out for grabs including academic, equity and sporting scholarships. Make sure to do some research to find scholarships and check your eligibility here!
What’s the Teaching Format?
At Melbourne University, courses are taught in semesters which means you’ll study two sessions per year. Psychology at Melbourne Uni is taught through lectures and lab classes.
While your contact hours may vary from year to year, you’ll usually have up to 10 contact hours a week for all your subjects combined.
Lectures are where you’re introduced to key concepts and course content. These are quite large with up to 500 students and you’ll usually only listen and take notes as the lecturer goes over the content.
Since lectures have a large cohort and are even pre-recorded, they aren’t very hands-on.
Lab classes are a lot more interactive and hands-on! This is where you discuss lecture content in smaller groups of around 15 to 25 students, perform experiments and collaborate with your peers.
What are the assessments like?
A Psychology major at Melbourne University is very research-focussed so you’ll find yourself writing a lot of lab reports and essays. These are particularly important in second and third-year units and are usually worth around 40-50%. You’ll have frequent exams and multiple choice tests.
The weightage of assessments vary depending on the subjects and year of study. For example, exams have the greatest weightage in first-year and can be worth up to 50-60% while essays or reports are only worth around 30%. However, in later years, your lab reports and essays are worth more while exams may have a smaller weightage.
In your first-year, you’ll also have participation assessments where you gain marks for participating in Melbourne University’s research. These have a very small weightage of up to 5%.
Skills That You Refine and Learn
You’ll learn and refine a range of skills throughout your degree. In addition to the scientific and psychological knowledge you gain, you’ll also refine your essay writing and scientific report writing skills.
Melbourne University has a strong research focus so you’ll develop strong research skills with your Psychology major.
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?
The Melbourne University School of Psychological Sciences is a super supportive and helpful faculty. Most of your lecturers and professors are fun, engaging and very approachable!
“Things were quite different when we would have in-person lectures… They’re still really helpful but it was quite fun because you could stay after lectures to ask questions and have a chat.” — Jasmine Kaur Sareen
Part of Melbourne Uni’s vibrant and exciting culture is the opportunity to live on campus. If this is something you’re consider, you can check out the student accommodation options here!
“I lived in student accommodation in first-year which was a great way to connect with other Melbourne University students and get involved.” — Jasmine Kaur Sareen
Clubs and Societies
While studying Psychology at UniMelb, you’ll be learning alongside a group of like-minded, talented and interesting people.
Even though the course does get competitive at times, this is only because of the limited Honours places and the culture remains fun and supportive despite the competitiveness! You’ll especially feel a sense of community with your peers through the Psychology Student Association.
There are more than 200 clubs on campus so in addition to the Melbourne University Psychology Student Association, you can join heaps of fun societies that interest you!
From music and dance clubs such as the Biomedicine Students’ Orchestra to special interest clubs such as the Debating Society, you’ll never have a dull moment on campus. Find out more about the clubs and societies that interest you here!
Maitreyi Kulkarni is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications (Public Relations and Social Media) at Macquarie University. She loves writing just about anything from articles to poetry, and has also had one of her articles published with the ABC. When she’s not writing up a storm, she can be found reading, bingeing sitcoms, or playing the guitar.