Psychological Science - 3435

Program Summary

Faculty: Faculty of Science


Campus: Kensington Campus

Career: Undergraduate

Typical Duration: 3 Years

Typical UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC Per Semester: 6

Max UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC For Award: 144

UAC Code: 429027

ATAR: 87.50  

International Entry Requirements: See International Entry Requirements


Bachelor of Psychological Science

Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours)

Bachelor of Psychological Science (Major)

Information valid for students commencing 2013.
Students who commenced prior to 2013 should go to the Handbook's Previous Editions

Program Description

Psychology is a discipline of both scientific research and applied practice. As a science, psychology is concerned with the study of behaviour and its underlying mental and neural processes. Students gain an integrated and comprehensive education in main discipline areas, including developmental, social, cognitive, biological, physiological and abnormal psychology. The program also develops research methods skills. Psychology has many areas of cutting edge interdisciplinary research and application and students have an option to pursue individual interests, choosing electives from a range of specialist areas, including psychology and law; psychology and work; development disorders; psychopathology; health psychology, language, cognitive science, neuroscience and others.

The degree allows students to complete an accredited Psychology degree across three years. The program is also designed to allow the additional study of an appropriate associated major in a related discipline where there is a professional and/or academic rationale that supports the proposed combinations. Majors that may be taken from outside of the Faculty of Science include marketing, human resource management, management, criminology, linguistics, and philosophy. From the Faculty of Science students may study majors in neuroscience or vision science. Students wishing to take a complementary major in other areas may be allowed to do so with the permission of the Program authority. Should students choose to specialise in Psychology, the degree gives students the opportunity to complete an additional fourth year Honours in Psychology, subject to satisfying the entry requirements for honours study outlined below.

The basic rules for the degree are set out under Program Objectives and Academic Rules. Students in the Bachelor of Psychological Science program need to ensure that they complete a minimum of 72 units of credit (UOC) in Psychology (as defined below). The remainder may be taken in Faculty of Science or other Faculties. Please consult School of Psychology for detailed definitions of Complementary majors and their appropriate program structures.

Program Objectives and Graduate Attributes

  1. To develop sound understanding of psychological theory, research skills, and psychological techniques;
  2. To develop the capacity for critical thinking and independent learning;
  3. To enable students to take Psychology elective studies in areas of individual interest;
  4. To provide students with an opportunity to study psychology in combination with other disciplines, and take courses in other Faculties, including Arts and Social Science, and the Australian School of Business;
  5. To develop general and Psychology-specific graduate attributes.

Program Structure

Stage 1
  • 36 UOC electives 1(see 'Notes' below)

Stage 2

Stage 3
  • 18 UOC of Level III Psychology courses from the elective streams A and B below (at least one course from each of the two elective streams must be completed)3(see 'Notes' below)
  • 18 UOC electives 1(see 'Notes' below)
Electives Stream A:
Elective Stream B:
  1. As part of these electives students may need to take courses to satisfy the UNSW General Education Requirements. Please see 'General Education' below for further information. Also, where students elect to complete a complementary major, some or all of these electives will be used to satisfy the requirements for the complementary major.
  2. PSYC2101 Assess Person Psychopathology can be taken in stage 1 semester 2 to facilitate completion of a complementary major.
  3. Please be aware that not all Level III Psychology courses are offered each year.

Complementary majors available in this program:
*see note below regarding the Vision Science complementary major.

Academic Rules

To qualify for the award of the degree at Pass level:
  1. Students must complete 144 units of credit (UOC) including 12 units of General Education;
  2. The degree must contain a minimum of 72 UOC in Psychology (as defined in the Program Structure above);
  3. Complementary Majors that may be taken are: Marketing, Human Resource Management, Management, Criminology, Philosophy, Linguistics, Neuroscience and Vision Science;
  4. A maximum of 72 UOC of Level 1 courses can be taken throughout this entire program. This includes any GEN course or mainstream Level I course taken to fulfil the 12 UOC general education requirement);
  5. No student may commence Level II courses until 24 Level I units have been successfully completed;
  6. Students may commence Level III courses upon successful completion of 72 UOC;
  7. Students must complete 12 UOC of courses as the General Education requirement selected from courses outside the Faculty of Science. For further information, please see 'General Education' below;
  8. The Faculty of Science may award a Pass degree with Distinction to students who obtain a minimum of 75 WAM across the program and complete at least 72 UOC at UNSW. Distinction awards will not be issued to students who continue to enrol in an honours program.
Note: Students wishing to undertake a complementary major in Vision Science should be aware that it is not possible to complete that major along with a Psychology major within 144 units of credit (i.e. within three years of full-time study). It will involve additional time and cost and might have visa implications for international students.

General Education Requirements

To fulfill the University’s General Education requirement students must complete 12 UOC selected from courses outside the Faculty of Science. Science courses are defined in Table 1 below, and cannot be taken to satisfy General Education requirements. Where a complementary major outside of the Faculty of Science is completed, students are deemed to have met their general education requirements.


In the Bachelor of Psychological Science, eligible students may be able to progress onto a 4th year Honours in Psychology. All other students will need to graduate at the completion of 3 years. To qualify for the award of the degree in Psychology at Honours level:
  1. Students must satisfy requirements for a pass degree (144 UOC) with at least 72 UOC of Psychology Stage 1-3 courses with a minimum of 75 percent average, although students achieving an average of 70 percent or more may be admitted at the discretion of the Head of School (subject to appropriate research and supervision resources being available);
  2. Structure: students must undertake 48 UOC in Psychology in Honours year full time. The program includes a substantial research component;
  3. Award: Class I or Class II Division 1, or Class II Division 2 or Class III. If requirements for these classes are not met, a Pass degree will be awarded.

Academic Rules

Please see the Academic Rules above.


For information regarding fees for UNSW programs, please refer to the following website:

Table 1: Definition of 'Science' courses

'Science' courses are courses offered by the following Schools. The course prefixes that are associated with each School are in bold:
 Aviation  AVIA
 Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences  BIOS, BEES, CLIM, GEOS, IEST, MSCI,  ENVS
 Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences  BABS, BIOC, BIOT, MICR
 Chemistry  CHEM
 Computer Science  COMP
 Food Science  FOOD
 Materials Science and Engineering  MATS
 Mathematics and Statistics  MATH
 Medical Sciences  ANAT, NEUR, PATH, PHAR, PHSL
 Psychology  PSYC
 Physics  PHYS
 Optometry and Vision Science  OPTM, VISN
 Science Faculty  SCIF, BSSM

Area(s) of Specialisation