University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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Psychological Science Major

Psychological Science is the scientific study of human behaviour, psychology, and mental processes. It is concerned with the way we behave as individuals as well as in groups; it is concerned with the way we act as well as the way we think; and with our interaction with the physical world as well as our interaction with others.

When you study Psychological Science, you will cover a range of areas including behavioural neuroscience, personality theory, social influences on the behaviour of individuals and groups, forensic psychology, health psychology, developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, memory, attention, intelligence, sensory processes and perception, research methods, and theories of learning and motivation.

The School of Psychology is part of the Faculty of Science. Units of study in this major are available at standard level, except for PSYC2015 Brain and Behavioural Psychology (available at advanced level in PSYC2915), and PSYC3011 Learning and Behaviour (available at advanced level in PSYC3911), PSYC3013 Perceptual Systems (available at advanced level in PSYC3913), PSYC3014 Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience (available at advanced level in PSYC3914) and PSYC3016 Developmental Psychology (available at advanced level in PSYC3916).

About the major

The Psychological Science Major is designed for students who do not wish to train to become accredited psychologists. Rather, this is designed for students who wish to engage in higher degree research in one or more of the areas of psychological science and/or to complement their studies in another major where expertise in one or more of the areas of psychological science would be beneficial.

Please note:

The Psychological Science major is not a pathway to professional accreditation as a Psychologist.

Students who wish to undertake professional training at the postgraduate level to become registered psychologists must complete the full Psychology Program, which requires the completion of two additional Psychology units.

Requirements for completion

The Psychological Science major and minor requirements are listed in the Psychological Science unit of study table.

Contact and further information


T +61 2 9351 7327

School of Psychology
Brennan MacCallum (A18)
The University of Sydney NSW 2006

A/Prof Ian Johnston
T +61 2 9351 4353

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Psychological Science will be able to:

  1. Critique the major theories of core disciplines within the psychological sciences.
  2. Describe, apply and evaluate basic research methods in psychology including research design, data analysis and interpretation, and the appropriate use of technologies.
  3. Select, critically evaluate and synthesise information from appropriate research and literature and communicate findings in scientific research reports, essays, presentations and other media.
  4. Apply psychological concepts to personal, social, and professional issues, and across cultural and social boundaries.
  5. Plan, design, carry out and interpret experimental research in psychology.
  6. Address authentic problems in psychology and behavioural sciences, working professional and ethically and with consideration of cross-cultural perspectives, within collaborative, interdisciplinary teams.
  7. Recognise and apply the ethical standards of the discipline and profession, demonstrating an understanding of the complexity of sociocultural and international diversity, and the value of empirical evidence.