Considering immersing yourself in the study of the human mind and all its intricacies through a Bachelor of Psychology at USYD?
Then keep reading as we take a thorough look into just what it is like to study USYD Psychology.
Let’s get started!
What is a Bachelor of Psychology at USYD?
A Bachelor of Psychology at USYD is an undergraduate degree that allows students to investigate the human mind and its influences, as well as to develop understandings of how societies and individuals function. USYD’s Bachelor of Psychology degree provides you with a basis for provisional registration as a psychologist in Australia, while also equipping you with the skills to begin working in the field right away.
This degree is an excellent way to kickstart your career in the psychology industry. If you are interested in how personalities work, the telltale signs of lying, or why murderers kill, this degree may be the one to put on your preferences.
Who should study a Bachelor of Psychology?
Students from a wide array of backgrounds study the Bachelor of Psychology at USYD!
Those who excel in the course demonstrate excellent analytical and writing skills, with the ability to apply learned concepts to new ideas. However, these skills should be complemented with a genuine interest in psychology and an intention to work in the industry.
Completing the honours program means you’ll spend an additional year at uni producing a thesis under the supervision of an academic!
You must maintain a minimum average of 70 percent in your first three years to enter the honours year in psychology, which enables you to graduate with a Bachelor of Psychology, rather than a Psychological Sciences major.
If you complete three years of study for a Bachelor of Psychology at USYD and don’t qualify for entry into the Honours program, you will graduate as a student of a psychology program or Psychological Science major. This gives you the skills and knowledge that will help you attain a career in:
- Market Research
- Public Relations
- Science Journalism
- Public Policy
If you successfully complete four years of a Bachelor of Psychology at USYD, including the Honours program, you can pursue provisional registration as a psychologist or enter other careers in the field. You will be equipped to start working in:
- Developmental disabilities
- Human resources
- Various social policy areas in the private and public sectors
If you wish to practice as a clinical psychologist, you will have to be accredited by completing further study, such as a Masters in Psychology, to attain full registration.
Studying Psychology at Other Universities
USYD isn’t the only university that offers this degree and you might want to consider your other options. If you’re thinking about which university will best suit your needs, you can check out what it’s like studying a Bachelor of Psychology at MQ Uni or UNSW!
Core Units and Majors
As part of the Bachelor of Psychology you are required to study the fully accredited psychology major, however you must also select and study a minor from the shared pool. The minors in the shared pool include Biology, Design, Business Law, Education, Food Science, Sociology, Writing Studies and many others.
The full list can be found here under ‘Subject Areas’!
What are the Core Units?
There are three levels of core studies in the degree that must be completed; junior (12 credit points), intermediate (24 credit points) and senior (30 credit points). These are selected from a defined pool of units, which include courses such as:
You can have a look at the full list here!
You must also complete six credit points worth of first year mathematics subjects.
What internship opportunities are there?
The School of Psychology and USYD’s Psychology Society (PsychSoc) often communicate with students about possible internships and opportunities. However, most placements are embedded within USYD’s Masters program, which takes on the practical elements of a career in psychology.
How to Get into a Bachelor of Psychology at USYD
The Bachelor of Psychology at USYD has an ATAR cut off of 95, however it also offers admission pathways for domestic students on the basis of equity or other adjustment factors.
More details about alternate pathways can be found here!
Entry into the degree requires completion of a maths prerequisite—at the very minimum, as a Year 12 NSW student, you must complete Advanced Mathematics with a Band 4 result. If you choose to complete Mathematics Extension 1 or 2, you must achieve an E3 result, at the minimum.
If you fail to complete these maths prerequisites, you can choose to complete the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for mathematics and the post-MOOC exam, or you can pursue a different degree with no mathematic prerequisite, complete the required studies for mathematics in your first year of university, and then transfer to the Bachelor of Psychology.
If you are a university student looking to transfer into the Bachelor of Psychology, you must be coming from a course where you have undertaken mathematics studies equivalent to that required such as MATH1111.
You can find out more about USYD’s maths prerequisite here!
These scholarships reward those who have received the highest average mark across the first, second and third-year psychology units of study. No application is required, and successful candidates are notified by email.
What’s the Teaching Format?
Lucky for you, a Bachelor of Psychology at USYD is taught over semesters, through lectures and tutorials, so you won’t have to deal with those pesky trimesters—you only have to worry about two academic sessions per year.
In offline learning, lectures fetch around 70-110 people, though you will find the number will vary depending on how interesting the subject is and the presentation style of the lecturer. Many students often opt for online lectures which can be attended from the comfort of your home.
Tutorial classes comprise of around 15-25 students and are used to ingrain and refresh the content covered in lectures. They also provide students help with their research reports, and allow them to participate in demonstrations of psychology.
For example, in a previous tutorial, a lie detector was brought in and students had to compete to see who could fake lying the best!
How many hours do you have to go to university?
In a Bachelor of Psychology, you must attend three lectures and a tutorial for every unit per week. On a full-time load of study—four units per semester—you will be attending twelve lectures and four tutorials every week.
Lectures and tutorials run for around an hour each, meaning you have around sixteen contact hours a week. This can be completed through a variety of offline and online venues.
What are the assessments like?
A typical psychology unit usually consists of four types of assessments: quizzes, research participation, research report and a final exam.
Written by cognitive psychologists, quizzes are held in the middle parts of the semester and cover whatever has been taught up to a certain point in time. Quizzes require you to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the content by applying them correctly.
This means signing up and volunteering hours to contribute to an honours student’s research. Five hours of participation makes up 5% of your final unit mark.
As the major assessment in psych units, a research report requires you to write a scientific report based on a study conducted on your cohort in that year. While their topics range in scope, they are generally informed by the unit you are studying, such as sleep and cognition, how testing before learning affects learning and prejudice in conservative and progressive individuals.
They require you to demonstrate academic writing skills and understanding of the course literature. The research report is definitely the most time consuming assignment that benefits most from an early start and good time management.
Also written by cognitive psychologists, the final exam consists of multiple choice and short responses on the more complex aspects of psychology. It requires you to apply the content and concepts taught during the unit.
Skills You Develop
A Bachelor of Psychology preps you with the skills to work within the industry, enabling you to consistently appraise and analyse new information by applying learned concepts. As a science, it also ingrains the importance of research and academic writing and its application to real life.
You’ll also develop your ability to manage your time well with the research report you will have to complete, as well as staying organised and thinking critically when learning new content.
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?
USYD, as one of the most popular universities of Australia, draws in a large variety of people from all over NSW and even the world. Though it might be daunting at first to be around so many people, the university fosters a vast range of societies and clubs to suit an abundance of interests.
Superficially, the USYD cohort may seem very elitist and unapproachable but by putting yourself out there and finding people with similar interests, you will find it’s easy to find new friends.
Similarly, the psychology cohort at USYD is composed of students from a range of backgrounds. While the cohort shares the stressful experience of maintaining a 70 WAM, it is generally not toxic, and students are always up to help one another.
“It’s quite a chill and diverse cohort with many people doing it as a major or minor from various faculties.” – Vicky Xu
Most students taking a Bachelor of Psychology at USYD join PsychSoc (USYD’s Psychology Society), which hosts a range of activities throughout the year and brings like minded people together. Their events range from society barbecues, to networking events, to running a podcast with Max Loomes.
PsychSoc is a great place for psychology students to both explore their psych interests and meet new people.
“The society is like one big family, we’re community-minded and inclusive. “ – Vicky Xu
Psychology students also often join SciSoc (Science Society) or other societies that relate to their personal interests or minor.
New students are also offered a chance to join the Science Undergraduate Peer Mentorship Program in their first semester of university, where you will be partnered with an older student studying the same degree. This will help you in your transition to university and offer degree-specific tips and insights to boost your university career.
Jacinda Yang graduated in 2018 and is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Media and Communications) at the University of Sydney. She has been an avid writer and reader for as long as she can remember, dipping into public speaking competitions, short stories, slam poetry and even the dark, unmentionable days of Wattpad fiction. These days you can find her bingeing Netflix comedy specials or guiltily still indulging in young adult novels.