Graduate Diploma in Psychology

Course 340AA (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Year and Campus: 2016 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 061720G
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 125 credit points taken over 12 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Dr Simon Cropper


Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Currently enrolled students:

Future students:

Course Overview:

The Graduate Diploma in Psychology is designed for graduates of other disciplines who may be interested in changing career direction and eventually qualifying as a registered psychologist, or for those who wish to study psychology simply out of interest in the discipline.

The Graduate Diploma in Psychology entails the completion of eight compulsory subjects and two elective subjects, each worth 12.5 points (125 points in total). These 10 subjects comprise the three-year undergraduate 'sequence' accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) , which is required as a first step for professional registration.

Graduate Diploma in Psychology students participate in the normal lectures and classes of psychology undergraduate students. Unlike our undergraduates, Graduate Diploma students only have to complete the ten subject sequence and do not need to take additional subjects in other disciplines. All psychology subjects at the University of Melbourne include a laboratory/tutorial component in addition to a lecture program. All Graduate Diploma students, on successful completion, may apply for entry to an accredited fourth year course in psychology at the University of Melbourne or at other Australian universities.

The Graduate Diploma in Psychology can be completed as either a FULL-TIME or PART-TIME option. The FULL-TIME option allows students to complete the two required Level 100 subjects in an intensive Summer Term and go on to enrol in the remainder of the course full-time over the following two semesters, whilst the PART-TIME option can be completed over a period of up to six semesters.

Learning Outcomes:

100-level psychology subjects are designed to give students an overview of the study of psychology and provide grounding in the methodology of the discipline.

Mind, Brain and Behaviour 1 focuses on the workings of the individual from a psychological perspective. It includes detail of the neural components constituting the brain, the operation of the sensory systems underlying interaction with the external environment and the cognitive processes that construct the internal world experienced by the individual. Careful consideration will be given to the nature of this internal world and the importance of its relationship to the external world.

Mind, Brain and Behaviour 2 focuses on the development of the individual and their interaction with their environment and considers what the consequences are, both when this interaction proceeds smoothly and when it does not proceed smoothly. Questions concerning human development, giving attention to cognitive and to social-emotional aspects, are explored. An understanding of some basic issues in human development is complemented with an examination of the nature and development of personality and human interaction in social groups and cultural settings.

200 and 300 Level psychology subjects provide students with the opportunity to critically examine basic psychological concepts and theories in the areas of biological bases of behaviour, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, sensation and perception, and social and personality psychology. Students also develop skills in research methodology and data analysis. In the third year, students choose two electives which allow them to study an area of interest in depth.

Knowledge: Graduate Diploma in Psychology students should demonstrate:

  • advanced knowledge and comprehension of Psychology’s major concepts, theoretical perspectives, historical trends, and empirical findings to consider how psychological principles apply to behavioural and societal problems;
  • knowledge of the theoretical and empirical bases underpinning evidence-based approaches to psychological intervention.

Skills: Graduate Diploma in Psychology Students should be able to:

  • apply knowledge of the scientific method in thinking about problems related to behaviour and mental processes;
  • interpret, design, and conduct research studies to address complex psychological research questions;
  • apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice;
  • demonstrate effective writing and oral presentation skills to communicate psychological theories and research findings to academic, professional and lay audiences.

Application of knowledge and Skills: Graduate Diploma in Psychology students should be able to use their knowledge and skills to:

  • describe applications of psychology and articulate how psychological principles can be used to explain social issues, address pressing societal needs, and inform public policy;
  • apply psychological concepts and theories to issues in home, community and work-place settings;
  • describe and execute problem-solving and research methods to propose effective solutions to problems of behavioural change in a range of contexts (e.g., workplace, global, etc.); develop and articulate evidence of attaining skill sets desired by psychology employers.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

The Graduate Diploma in Psychology involves the completion of ten Psychology subjects that are equivalent to an APAC accredited Psychology major.

To qualify for the Graduate Diploma students must complete 100 points (eight subjects) of core subjects and 25 points (two subjects) of elective subjects.

Subject Options:

Part-time course requirements

Students enrolled in the part-time Graduate Diploma complete the course over two or three years, completing the following core subjects, plus two third-year elective subjects from the elective list below.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Full-time course requirements

Students enrolled in the Full-time Graduate Diploma complete the course in one year, including taking the two first-year subjects in the summer semester. They take the core second and third year subjects in first and second semesters, together with two elective subjects from the lower list (one in first semester and one in second semester).

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Elective Subjects

All students, whether completing the Graduate Diploma in part-time or full-time mode, MUST complete two elective subjects in addition to the core subjects listed above. Ideally, one elective should be taken in each semester of the third-year (for part-time students) or in each semester of second- and third-year subjects (for full-time students).

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed:
• an undergraduate degree with a major other than Psychology, or equivalent.
Meeting this requirement does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:
• prior academic performance.

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Academic Board rules on the use of selection instruments.

4. Applicants are required to satisfy the university’s English language requirements for postgraduate courses. For those applicants seeking to meet these requirements by one of the standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 6.5 is required.

A mid-year intake is available for part-time students only. Graduates who apply and are selected for mid-year intake should note that their sequence of study will be different to those students who begin in the first semester. Applicants for mid-year entry will need to discuss their course plan with the Department prior to enrolling in the Graduate Diploma in Psychology.

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:

In order to become eligible for registration as a Psychologist in Australia, it is necessary to complete an APAC accredited six-year sequence, consisting of an undergraduate major in Psychology (or its equivalent, eg Graduate Diploma), a fourth-year Honours program (or equivalent eg Advanced Graduate Diploma in Psychology) plus a two-year coursework Master's qualification, which includes substantial clinical placement components.

Graduates of the Graduate Diploma are eligible to apply for entry to the Advanced Graduate Diploma of Psychology. Entry to the Advanced Graduate Diploma is by competitive selection and applicants must achieve a minimum grade average over second and third-level subjects of 77%.

Graduate Attributes:

Upon completion of the Graduate Diploma in Psychology students should demonstrate the following graduate attributes:

  • Specialist knowledge of psychology.
  • Students should demonstrate a depth and breadth of knowledge of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in the core topics of psychology, as outlined by the National Accreditation Body (currently the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council).
  • Advanced capacity for scientific reasoning, problem solving and research skills. Students should demonstrate advanced skills and concepts in interpreting the key factors underpinning behaviour, evaluating and drawing conclusions from research findings, and in applying research design principles to execute a clearly articulated and theoretically motivated research plan.
  • Advanced understanding and application of ethical principles as they relate to psychological practice in a diverse world. Students should embody a deep understanding of and adherence to the regulations that govern ethical practice in psychology and display professional values that will help them work effectively with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Psychological literacy and effective communication skills.
  • Students should be able to articulate cogent scientific explanations of psychological concepts, theories and research findings, and should be able to communicate these ideas effectively to professional and lay audiences in both written and oral formats.

Reflective thinking and interpersonal intelligence. Students should be able to apply psychological principles to enhance self-reflection, recognise and guard against the major fallacies of human reasoning, and collaborate effectively on group projects. They should develop work and study habits that sharpen readiness for employment, and/or further study.

Professional Accreditation:

The Graduate Diploma in Psychology is accredited by the Australian Psychological Accreditation Council (APAC) as the equivalent of an undergraduate Psychology major.

Generic Skills:

Upon completion of the Graduate Diploma in Psychology students should have developed the skills to:

  • apply research and inquiry skills to challenges in workplaces and communities;
  • create novel ideas by critically evaluating alternative possibilities and viewpoints;
  • set their own goals, manage their time and priorities, and organise and direct their own learning;
  • work effectively, both independently and collaboratively;
  • provide evidence beyond personal opinion to support proposed solutions to problems;
  • articulate and demonstrate a high regard for human rights, social inclusion, cultural diversity, ethics and the environment;
  • reflect critically and apply skills in self and peer assessment; maintain a high-level of personal and professional integrity.

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