Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology

Course 104-PY (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Year and Campus: 2008
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Undergraduate


For any course enquiries, see
Course Overview:

Psychology is concerned with the study of human behaviour and experience. People trained in psychology work in a wide variety of areas in health, education, industry, commerce, welfare and government.

Psychology has been a part of a tradition of academic excellence and research achievement at the University of Melbourne since the late 1800s. The Department of Psychology, formally established in 1946, is the single department in the School of Behavioural Science, and is part of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. It is one of the largest departments of psychology in Australia.

The Department of Psychology undergraduate program has been designed to provide students with flexibility and choice in coursework areas and offers a broad range of subjects aimed at providing a thorough and extensive grounding in the discipline.


The objective of the fourth year program is to help students acquire the knowledge, skills, and scholarship necessary for achieving excellence in psychology. More specifically, the fourth year program is designed to provide students with the opportunities to learn the intellectual background, ethical principles, and content areas of psychology as a scientific discipline, and to acquire the general skills for:

  • critically analysing the existing knowledge about a research topic prior to one's own research (eg. sophisticated conceptual analysis of relevant content area/literature/intervention program etc., critical appraisal of one's own and others' research, generation of productive research questions);
  • constructing a research plan (eg. research design, methods of observation) to address one's research question;
  • executing one's research plan adequately to obtain data;
  • analysing the data so as to address the research questions appropriately; and
  • discussing the implications of the results coherently within the context of the existing knowledge relevant to the research topic.
Course Structure & Available Subjects: The course structure for fourth year involves the completion of three compulsory subjects (which includes the research project), and two elective subjects.
Subject Options:

Compulsory subjects

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2

Elective subjects

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Entry Requirements:

Entry is open to graduates who have qualified for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with an APAC accredited three-year sequence in psychology (or equivalent) at an honours level. Successful applicants must satisfy both the Department's and Faculty's selection criteria.

The Faculty of Arts recommends that entry into the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree requires the fourth year of study to be commenced within five years of completion of the Bachelor of Arts. If the Bachelor of Arts degree is more than five years old, the applicant should apply for entry into the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology.A numerical index is computed for each applicant using a combination of second and third level subjects. The index is a weighted average of all third level subjects and all second level psychology subjects. All results are converted to the University of Melbourne scale. Third level marks are weighted by their credit-point value, and second level psychology subjects are weighted by one third of their credit-point value. (For University of Melbourne students, second level psychology subjects usually contribute around 20% of the final index.)

In the event of students completing a psychology major as part of a combined degree, the selection committee exercises judgement in the use of non-psychology third level subjects.

For students completing a major as part of the Graduate Diploma in Psychology or other second degree (eg. BLitt), the numerical score is constructed in the manner described, but using only those non-psychology subjects (if any) completed in the second degree.

Students are ranked for selection according to the index and the highest ranked students falling within the agreed quota are recommended to the Faculties for selection. It should be noted that students are only considered for selection if the credit-point weighted average of all second and third level psychology subjects is at least 70% (when converted to the University of Melbourne scale).

Core Participation Requirements: The Bachelor of Arts (Honours) requires a standard level of ability across all disciplines. It will be assumed students are able to access and attend classes on a regular basis, are capable of learning in a University environment and will be able to take responsibility for their own learning. Any ability beyond this threshold will be robustly supported through the curriculum. There are no pre-requisites for first year subjects, and any intensive use of IT or technologies will be adequately supported. Certain subjects have more specific requirements and demands, such as fieldwork or travelling, which are clearly outlined in the Handbook's subject description. However, the University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. The Faculty Disability Contact Officer works with students, the University Disability Liaison Unit and teaching staff to assist students with their special requirements, with a particular focus on accommodations for in-class and examination assessment tasks. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at
Further Study: There are many opportunities for further professional training and research. For details, see
Graduate Attributes: See for more information
Generic Skills: See for more information
Notes: .

Download PDF version.