Psychological Science - 3435

Program Summary

Faculty: Faculty of Science


Campus: Sydney

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: 429800

Domestic Entry Requirements: See Domestic Entry Requirements

International Entry Requirements: See International Entry Requirements


Bachelor of Psychological Science

View program information for previous years

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 specialize 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 78 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

The three-stage program leads to the degree of Bachelor of Psychological Science. At the conclusion of this program, students should be able to:

1) Demonstrate a broad and coherent body of knowledge of psychology, with depth in the underlying principles and concepts.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the history and philosophy of science and psychology
  • Demonstrate understanding of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, research methods, empirical findings, and historical trends in the core topics of psychology;
2) Understand, apply and evaluate basic research methods in psychology.
  • Understand the basic characteristics of the science of psychology;
  • Describe, apply and evaluate the different research methods used by psychologists;
  • Demonstrate the capacity to design and conduct basic studies to address psychological questions across a wide variety of domains.
3) Develop and demonstrate critical thinking skills.
  • Recognise the major formal and informal fallacies of human reasoning and question claims that arise from myth, stereotype, pseudoscience or untested assumptions;
  • Use logic, evidence and psychological science to critically evaluate and to develop arguments.
  • Demonstrate a rigorous and objective attitude in thinking and learning about human behaviour
4) Demonstrate appropriate professional values.
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to diversity in individuals [aspirational: apply that sensitivity in practice, and reflect on the sociocultural, historical, geographical and international contexts that influence beliefs, values and behaviour: i.e., develop cultural awareness and competence];
  • Recognise ethical and moral influences that impact on individuals in a globalized society;
  • Demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of relevant professional codes including (a) the Australian Psychological Society Code of Ethics and the complementary Ethical Guidelines, (b) relevant values identified within the Australian National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce, and (c) relevant values identified in those institutional codes regarding student behaviour (e.g., intellectual integrity)
5) Develop effective communication skills.
  • Write effectively in a variety of formats and for a variety of purposes (i.e., standard research reports and research proposals; observing ethics of written communication);
  • Demonstrate effective oral communication skills in various formats and for various purposes;
  • Demonstrate interpersonal skills for communicating between individuals and ability to work collaboratively in groups to complete projects;
6) Understand and apply psychological principles to personal, social, organisational and global issues.
  • Understand the links between basic psychological theories and their application (e.g., capacity to explain psychological phenomena using the concepts, language, findings and major theories of the discipline).
  • Apply knowledge of legislative frameworks (including privacy, human rights);
  • Demonstrate a responsibility and capacity for independent learning to sustain personal and professional development in the changing world of the science and practice of psychology.

Program Structure

Stage 1
  • 30 UOC electives 1(see 'Notes' below)
Recommended elective (this course is not required but is recommended as a good complementary course for this program; it is only available to first-year students who have taken less than 48 UoC of Level I units):

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. 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. If undertaking a complementary major outside the Faculty of Science, students are not permitted to take GEN-coded courses to satisfy their free elective requirements.
  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:

*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.

Sample Program

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. GENS prefixed courses cannot be taken for the purposes of General Education. If completing a complementary major outside of the Faculty of Science, students are deemed to have met their general education requirements.


This degree gives students an opportunity to enrol in an additional Honours year. Students who wish to undertake Honours in Psychological Science will need to enrol in 4518 Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours). This program can only be taken full-time and includes a substantial research component.

To gain entry into Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours), students must satisfy requirements for a pass degree (144uoc) with at least 78 UOC of Psychology Stage 1-3 courses with an average of 75% or higher across Psychology courses that they have taken as part of the Psychology major sequence, although students achieving an average of 70% or more may be admitted subject to appropriate research and supervision resources being available and at the discretion of the Head of School. Level 1 elective courses in Psychology such as PSYC1022, PSYC1023, PSYC1024 and PSYC1031 do not count in the calculation of this average.

Academic Rules

To qualify for the award of the degree:
  1. Student must complete 144 units of credit (UoC) including 12 units of General Education.
  2. The degree must contain a minimum of 78 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. Students wishing to take a complementary major should declare their major as early as possible. Subject to meeting the academic rules of the program, additional complementary majors may be allowed with the permission of the Program authority.
  4. A maximum of 72 units of credit of level 1 courses can be taken throughout this entire program. This includes any General Education 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 units of credit.
  7. Students must complete 12 units of credit of courses as the General Education requirement selected from courses outside the Faculty of Science. “Science Schools" are defined in Table 1 below. This requirement is met if a complementary major offered by a Faculty other than the Faculty of Science is completed.
  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.


For information regarding fees for UNSW programs, please refer to the following website:  UNSW Fee 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, ENVS, GEOS, MSCI
 Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences  BABS, BIOC, BIOT, INOV, MICR
 Chemistry  CHEM
 Computer Science  COMP
 Data Science  DATA
 Food Science  FOOD
 Materials Science and Engineering  MATS
 Mathematics and Statistics  MATH
 Medical Sciences  ANAT, NEUR, PATH, PHAR, PHSL, SOMS
 Psychology  PSYC
 Physics  PHYS
 Optometry and Vision Science  OPTM, VISN
 Science Faculty  SCIF

Dual Degree Program Rules

Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Psychological Science as part of a dual degree must complete a minimum of 96 Units of Credit (UoC) for the award of the degree. Academic rules relating to the Bachelor of Psychological Science as one part of a dual degree are as follows:
  1. Students must complete a minimum of 96 units of credit (UoC) including a minimum of 78 UoC in Psychology (as defined in the Program Structure above).
  2. Students must follow the program of study as outlined in this Handbook and defined under the Program Structure above, with or without a complementary major sequence;
  3. Complementary majors may only count towards one of the two degrees that make up the dual award (i.e. students who declare a complementary major in Psychological Science may not declare the same major in the ‘other’ degree).
  4. No student may commence level II courses until 24 units of credit of level I courses have been successfully completed.
  5. Students may commence level III courses upon successful completion of 72 units of credit.

Faculty of Science Rules

he Faculty of Science has some rules that relate to all students enrolled in programs offered by the Faculty in relation to recognition for prior learning, general education, course exclusions, study load, and cross-institutional study. All students should read the information contained on the Faculty General Rules and Requirements page in this Handbook.

Area(s) of Specialisation