Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology

Course 443AA (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Year and Campus: 2013 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 026666K
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 100 credit points taken over 12 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Prof Yoshi Kashima


Marianela Delgado-Henriquez

Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology Coordinator

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

12th floor Redmond Barry Building (Building 115 Map)

Telephone: + 61 3 8344 4387



Course Overview:

The Graduate Diploma in Psychology is offered as an alternative to the BA and BSc Honours degrees and is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) . Staff supervising and teaching the fourth year program have national and international recognition in research in their specialisation, and bring to the program the breadth and depth of that experience.

The Postgraduate Diploma is identical in content and assessment to the Honours program, but has a different grading structure (an Honours student requires a minimum of 65% to successfully complete the degree, whilst a Postgraduate Diploma student requires a minimum of 50%). The academic results obtained through both courses are considered equivalent for those intending to undertake further study. The Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences offers an innovative fourth year program that has been designed to provide students with flexibility and choice in coursework areas, as well as a significant research component.


The objective of the fourth year program is to help students to 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.

  • Critically analysing the existing knowledge about a research topic prior to one's own research (e.g. conceptual analysis of relevant content/area/literature/intervention program etc., critical appraisal of one's own and others's research, generation of productive research questions).
  • Constructing research plan (e.g. research design, methods of observation) to address one's research question.
  • Executing one's research plan adequately to obtain data.
  • Analysing the data to address the research question appropriately.
  • Discussing the implications of the results coherently within the context of the existing knowledge relevant to the research topic.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

The Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology program involves the completion of four advanced coursework subjects and a research project subject.

Each advanced coursework subject entails 400-level lectures and seminars, literature reviews, oral presentations, and other activities. The research project subject comprises two asignment components: Literature review and empirical thesis in the format of a journal article completed under the guidance of an academic who specialises in your area of interest.

Students' academic transcripts will record a separate result for each advanced coursework subject they undertake as part of the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology, and the research project subject.

This course is normally undertaken on a full-time basis, and is completed within a year. There is, however, provision for part-time enrolment over two years. In this case, students must complete the entire coursework component in the first year and the thesis in the second year. Transfer from full-time enrolment to part-time enrolment will not be permitted after the commencement of the first semester.

Course Requirements

To qualify for the Postgraduate Diploma students must:

  • pass 100 points at the fourth-year level; and
  • achieve an overall weighted average of at least 50 percent for their honours studies.

Some subjects have hurdle requirements that must also be met.

The structure of the program is set out below:

Subject Options:

Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology

Compulsory Subjects

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013

Elective Subjects

Students must choose two subjects from the following list:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Entry Requirements:

Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology

Entry is open to graduates with an ordinary Bachelors degree (or equivalent qualification) that includes an APS accredited three-year sequence in psychology (or equivalent). Successful applicants must satisfy the Department's selection criteria.

Selection into fourth year is based on academic performance.

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. 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 Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is University and Faculty policy to take all reasonable steps to enable the participation of students with disabilities, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the Department's programs.

Students must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.

The inherent academic requirements for study in Psychology are:

  • The ability to comprehend complex disciplinary and interdisciplinary information related to the courses taught in the Faculty.
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate a knowledge and application of behavioural and social sciences principles and practices during assessment tasks.
  • The ability to actively and safely contribute to laboratory-based learning activities.

Students who feel their disability will prevent them from participating in tasks involving these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit.

Further Study:

Graduates of the Postgraduate Diploma who achieve a grade average of 75% over the third-year of their undergraduate psychology studies and the Postgraduate Diploma will be eligible to apply for entry to the University of Melbourne's Master of Psychology program. Graduates of the Postgraduate Diploma who achieve a grade average of 80% over the third-year of their undergraduate psychology studies and the Postgraduate Diploma will be eligible to apply for entry to the University's combined Master of Psychology/PhD and PhD programs.

Graduate Attributes:

Graduates will have:

  • drawn together the theory and practical skills gained in previous undergraduate studies;
  • developed new research and professional skills to take into the workforce or further study; and
  • gained an in-depth knowledge in a particular discipline.
Professional Accreditation:

The Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology is accredited by the Australian Psychological Accreditation Council as the fourth-year of a professionally accredited six-year sequence.

Download PDF version.