The Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) is a four-year research degree comprising a substantial and original piece of clinical psychology research with coursework and field placement.

Admission requirements

Applicants must hold an approved bachelors degree with honours class 1 or upper 2A in the field of psychology or qualifications deemed equivalent by the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences Board (hereafter referred to as 'the Board'). Shortlisted applicants will be subjected to interview in which clinically-relevant skills and experience, as well as ability to pursue doctoral level research, will be assessed. Referees' reports will be called for. Before an applicant is admitted, the Board must be satisfied that the proposed program of studies can be conveniently pursued and appropriately supervised. 

Course aims

The course aims to equip graduates of the program to be eligible for clinical college membership of the Australian Psychological Society so that they can practice as clinical psychologists.  The requirements of such programs are made explicit by the Clinical College guidelines as well as the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council.

Learning outcomes

Specifically, on successful completion of the course a student will:

  • have a good understanding of current conceptualisations of the etiology of psychological disorders
  • be able to assess and diagnose psychological problems
  • be able to perform basic psycho-educational and cognitive assessments of children and adults
  • be able to develop and deliver evidence-based psychological interventions
  • have a thorough understanding of the ethical and professional issues relevant to the practice of clinical psychology
  • have completed a thesis of no more than 90,000 words, involving comprehensive research and writing to qualify for the qualification.

Program of study

To qualify for The Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology), a student must complete 144 units with a grade of P or NGP or better in each topic.

Not all topics are necessarily available in a given year and other options may be offered.

Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology) candidate’s thesis and research is governed by the University’s Research Higher Degree Policies and Procedures, which also details policies regarding unsatisfactory progress.

In addition, the following rules apply.

The award of a grade of Fail (F) in the same topic on more than one occasion or in more than one topic may constitute prima facie evidence of unsatisfactory progress for the purpose of the University’s Policy on Student Progress.

 Core - Year 1 topics

 Semester 1

 PSYC9006  Introduction to Clinical Child Psychology  (4.5 units)
 PSYC9007  Counselling and Professional Issues  (4.5 units)
 PSYC9036  Psychological Assessment  (3 units)
 PSYC9999  Higher Degree Thesis (PhD)  (6 units) 

 Semester 2

 PSYC9014  Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy  (4.5 units)
 PSYC9008  Interventions in Clinical Child Psychology  (4.5 units)
 PSYC9009  Abnormal Psychology and Psychopharmacology  (4.5 units)
 PSYC9999  Higher Degree Thesis (PhD)  (4.5 units)

Core - Year 2 topics

 Semester 1

 PSYC9005  Further Applications of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy  (4.5 units)
 PSYC9010  Practicum A  (4.5 units)
 PSYC9999  Higher Degree Thesis (PhD)  (9 units) 

 Semester 2

 PSYC9004  Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine  (4.5 units)
 PSYC9999  Higher Degree Thesis (PhD)  (13.5 units)

Core - Year 3 topics

 Semester 1

 PSYC9011  Practicum B (4.5 units)  (4.5 units)
 PSYC9999  Higher Degree Thesis (PhD)  (13.5 units)

 Semester 2

 PSYC9012  Practicum C  (4.5 units)
 PSYC9999  Higher Degree Thesis (PhD)  (13.5 units)

Core - Year 4 topic

 PSYC9999  Higher Degree Thesis (PhD)  (36 units)

Note: University regulations require the research thesis to be at least two-thirds of the total unit value. In this current scheme, 96 units (66.7%) allocated to the research thesis.