The School offers four research degrees:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Combined PhD / Master of Psychology (Clinical) (PhD/MPsychol)
  • Combined PhD / Master of Psychology (Forensic) (PhD/MPsychol)

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - Program Code 1400

The PhD degree is recognised in every country in the world and signals the culmination of a successful research training experience. Students conduct a research project designed to provide “an original and significant contribution to knowledge” within a domain of psychology and present this research and its theoretical and empirical background and implications in a thesis of no more than 100,000 words. Examination of the thesis is carried out by external examiners from elsewhere in Australia or overseas with acknowledged expertise in the research area involved. The recommended length of enrolment for a full-time PhD student is 3 years (9 terms) and candidates are expected to present their thesis for examination no later than 4 years (12 terms) from the commencement of their enrolment. Options do exist for part-time enrolment and for a certain amount of external study towards this degree, subject to approval.

Master of Science (MSc) - Program Code 2450

The MSc is a lower level research qualification. Students must undertake an original investigation but it is more limited in its scope and in the degree of originality expected than the PhD. External examiners evaluate the thesis and to indicate whether it merits the awarding of the degree. The recommended length of enrolment for a full-time Masters research student is two years (6 terms), and candidates must submit their thesis for examination no later than 3 years (9 terms) from the commencement of their enrolment. Part-time and external study options may be available, subject to the approval of the School.

Combined PhD / Master of Psychology (Clinical) - Program Code 1404
Combined PhD / Master of Psychology (Forensic) - Program Code 1405

The PhD / MPsychol degrees are designed to train a select group of postgraduate students to undertake high calibre research in areas relevant to the professional practice of psychology.

Concurrent Coursework in the PhD and MSc Programs

The PhD and MSc programs at UNSW are essentially pure research degrees. All research students are expected to attend the School Postgraduate Research Seminar and the School Research Colloquium, but in contrast to some overseas countries, it is not usual for students enrolled in these degrees to undertake a comprehensive array of coursework. In general, it is assumed that students will have acquired a thorough grounding in psychology as a scientific discipline prior to their admission as a PhD or MSc candidate. For some students, particularly those admitted from overseas universities, a limited number of additional courses may be prescribed to ensure that they have the knowledge and methodological skills expected for postgraduate research at UNSW. PhD students are also permitted, with approval, to take selected courses from the Master of Psychology degrees that are relevant to their research.

Resources Provided for Postgraduate Research Students

The School has excellent research and professional training facilities that include extensive computing facilities, a psychological test library, a psychology clinic, a career research and assessment service, a technical workshop and laboratories in all areas of experimental psychology. The School also has strong links with professional practitioners in the areas of clinical, neuropsychological, and forensic psychology.

The School endeavours to provide all research students with the infrastructure necessary for their research. All students enrolling in a PhD program are provided with office space and a new high quality computer equipped with current versions of office productivity and statistical packages. Students have access to the University’s computer network, email and web services and to the UNSW library’s extensive database and document delivery systems. Students are provided with basic office equipment and resources and have access to discretionary funds to support more specialised research needs. The School encourages students to develop good lines of communication with researchers in other parts of the world and to attend relevant national and international conferences. Financial assistance is provided for this purpose. Opportunities for paid part-time undergraduate teaching within the School are also taken up by most research students.