What Type of Psychology Degree Should I Study?

19th July 2022

Unlocking why we feel, think and act the way we do generates deep insights into the complexities of human behaviour. And these insights are instantly applicable to a broad range of fields and endeavours. If understanding what makes humans tick fascinates you, studying psychology could be the perfect postgraduate degree choice.

But whether you’re still completing your university studies or transitioning to a brand-new career, you’re probably wondering: What type of psychology degree should I study?

When you first begin investigating psychology degrees, it can be tricky to determine which pathway you should choose. There are multiple pathways to becoming a psychologist, and the skills you gain can be applied in a variety of industries and roles including clinical settings, lab work, universities, human resources, education and more.

What’s the right course for you? Do you want to study full-time or part-time? How will the course fit in with your current commitments? And, of course, what type of subjects should you study?

If you’ve been wondering how to start studying psychology or what you can do with a psychology degree, we’ll help you explore those avenues. And if you’re wondering if you should do a Graduate Certificate of Psychology or a Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging) online, don’t worry! Read on to discover which pathway is perfect for you.

Why study psychology?

Psychologists often work with people from all walks of life. This can be rewarding, as you get to help people overcome their challenges and improve their lives.

In addition, psychologists can work in a wide range of settings, such as hospitals, schools and private practices.

Finally, working in psychology can be deeply satisfying, as you see your work positively impact people’s lives. It can be gratifying to know that you have helped someone overcome a challenge or improve their life.

But pursuing a career as a psychologist isn’t the only reason to study psychology. There are many benefits to gaining knowledge of this field. For many, it is an opportunity to better understand human behaviour. This type of expertise can be helpful in a range of professions, especially in human-centred fields.

Here are some more reasons why people choose to study psychology:

  1. Develop valuable skills. Studying psychology at any level will allow you to develop valuable skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and research skills. These skills are also transferable to other careers.
  2. Gain an understanding of psychological theory and research methods. When you study psychology at a postgraduate level, you’ll gain a foundational understanding of the major theories and research methods used in the field. This knowledge will be valuable in your future career, whether you work as a psychologist or in another field.
  3. Make a difference. Whether you choose to pursue a career as a psychologist or simply want to understand human behaviour better, by studying psychology you can positively impact the lives of others.

The field of psychology is constantly evolving, and there are many different specialities to choose from. If you’re interested in studying psychology, it’s a great way to expand your career options.

Want to become a psychologist in Australia? Here’s how

There’s more than one way to become a psychologist.

First, you will need to gain an APAC-accredited degree, either an undergraduate degree with a major in psychology or an equivalent postgraduate degree like the Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging).

After that, you will need to complete an APAC-accredited fourth year degree.

Upon completing an APAC-accredited fourth year degree, there are several more steps you have to take to become a registered psychologist.

You will need to enrol in a two year Psychology Board of Australia approved postgraduate program, or a one year Psychology Board of Australia approved postgraduate program plus one year of supervised practice. After enrolling, you will also need to apply for provisional registration as a psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (APHRA) and the PBA.

In terms of your further study, you can choose from two pathways:

  • The higher degree pathway, which is an approved postgraduate degree accredited at the fifth and sixth year level (such as a two-year masters) or higher (such as a three or four year Doctorate).
  • The 5+1 internship pathway, which is a fifth year degree plus one year internship.

You can find more information about these pathways on the APHRA website.

What is a psychology bridging course?

A bridging course is a postgraduate qualification for people who have not studied psychology before. It is the equivalent to a three-year bachelor’s degree in psychology and is designed to be a pathway to further study.

This means that if you already have a career in another field and want to become a psychologist, a postgraduate bridging course can allow you to get started on your new career path without having to complete another undergraduate degree.

That’s why we offer our Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging), so that you can take the first step towards your psychology career.

Should you choose the Graduate Certificate of Psychology or the Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging)?

JCU Online offers a Graduate Certificate of Psychology and a Graduate Diploma of Psychology. Both courses provide an understanding of psychological theory and research methods.

So, which one is right for you?

The Graduate Certificate of Psychology online is a shorter course comprised of four subjects, covering a variety of subjects that can include psychological theory and research methods. It is ideal for those who want to gain a foundation in psychology so that they can apply it to their current field, such as human resources, education or marketing.

Alternatively, it can be a good entry point for students who are interested in learning about psychology, but haven’t decided if they want to start the pathway towards becoming a psychologist.

Something important to note, is that the Graduate Certificate of Psychology will not enable you to apply for a fourth-year psychology course. If you want to do that, you should consider our Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging).

The Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging) online is a more comprehensive, 10-subject course, covering a broader range of topics. It’s ideal for those who want to begin the pathway towards becoming a registered psychologist, or who just want to gain a more in-depth understanding of the field so they can apply it to their career in a human-centred field.

This course is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), so you can be assured you’re getting a quality education.

Upon successful completion, you can continue your studies in a fourth-year psychology program and continue the pathway towards becoming a registered psychologist.

Alternatively, you may wish to leverage your Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging) in your current human-centred career. Your understanding of psychology can be applied to roles in a diverse range of fields such as teaching, human resources and consulting.

What do you learn in the Graduate Certificate of Psychology?

If you’re looking to gain a foundation and study a course aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, JCU’s online Graduate Certificate of Psychology covers a wide range of subjects. Depending on when you choose to begin your studies, you will study four subjects which can include options like Social Psychology, Human Development Across the Lifespan and Individual Differences in Personality.

It’s a great way to begin your journey in psychology, as it helps you:

  • Diversify your knowledge about current psychological theories.
  • Add depth and differentiation to your professional CV by showing you understand contemporary psychology.
  • Gives the option to continue your studies to gain the Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging).

If you don’t pursue further psychology studies, the Graduate Certificate of Psychology can empower you to apply your skills in equally fulfilling human-centred roles. This includes careers in business, education, community services, health services and protective services.

What do you learn in the Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging)?

JCU’s APAC-accredited online Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging) is the perfect option if you want to pursue a career as a practising registered psychologist and already have an undergraduate degree in another discipline.

Alternatively, if you want to be able to gain an in-depth understanding of psychology to apply to your current career, this graduate diploma will help you achieve that.

In this course, you’ll:

  • Understand contemporary psychology disciplines.
  • Gain confidence using data and technology.
  • Develop a global perspective aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as well as current and emerging global health challenges.
  • Be empowered to continue your studies after you graduate and continue the pathway to becoming a registered psychologist.

Our Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging) is the equivalent to a three-year undergraduate degree in psychology. In this case, however, you’ll complete 10 subjects over 20 months.

How can I become a psychologist after studying with JCU Online?

If you want to become a psychologist, our Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging) will be your first step.

After graduating, you’ll need to complete an accredited fourth-year course, such as an honours program or a Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Fourth Year) – this diploma is not to be confused with the Graduate Psychology Diploma (Bridging).

From there, you can apply for provisional registration and then continue your studies through the 5 + 1 pathway or the higher degree pathway.

How much does it cost to study psychology at JCU?

The cost of the courses varies depending on the number of subjects you take. It costs $3,180 for each subject in both courses. You’ll need to choose four subjects to complete a Graduate Certificate of Psychology and ten subjects to complete the Graduate Diploma of Psychology.

If you find these figures intimidating, rest assured that eligible students can apply for FEE-HELP at JCU Online.

What do you need to study psychology?

Our 100 per cent online psychology programs are designed for students without any prior experience in the field.

To be eligible to enrol, applicants must have completed an AQF Level 7 Bachelor qualification in any field other than psychology at JCU or another university.

Careers with a psychology degree

You need to think about what you want to do with a psychology degree and where your pathway will take you. Do you want to be a positive influence on those with mental health issues? Partner with law enforcement? Work with athletes?

If your goal is to become a psychologist, you can choose to specialise in many different fields, including:

  • General or clinical psychology
  • Clinical neuropsychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Organisational psychology
  • Community psychology
  • Counselling psychology
  • Educational and developmental psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Sport and exercise psychology

For those wanting to grow in their current human-centred roles, a psychology degree can enhance your career trajectory in:

  • Teaching
  • Human resources
  • Marketing
  • Counselling
  • Consulting

Still wondering what type of psychology degree to study?

If you’re considering studying psychology at a postgraduate level, JCU Online has a course for you.

If you want to start the journey towards a career in psychology, our 100 per cent online Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging) is for you. If you want to gain an in-depth understanding of the field that you can apply in your human-centred field, this is also a great option.

If you want to expand your skillset in your current role and study a shorter qualification, our Graduate Certificate of Psychology is for you. Alternatively, if you are unsure what your goals are, the graduate certificate can also be a great starting point that will allow you to continue your studies if you wish.

Still not sure? Speak with one of our Enrolment Advisors today.

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Find out more about JCU’s online Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Bridging).

Get in touch with our Enrolment team on 1300 535 919

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