Psychology Board of Australia - Higher degree
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Higher degree

The higher degree pathway to general registration involves completing an accredited six-year sequence of study in psychology, typically a four-year undergraduate sequence (Honours of equivalent) followed by a postgraduate degree of two or more years’ duration (two-year Masters or Doctorate).

Accredited postgraduate degrees are listed on the Board’s list of approved programs of study. For information about entry requirements, please contact the university or college directly. Psychologists who meet the requirements for general registration through the higher degree pathway may go on to complete a registrar program, leading to eligibility for area of practice endorsement. For more information visit the Endorsement section of the website.

Provisional registration

You will need provisional registration before starting your postgraduate degree. If you have submitted your provisional registration application and are waiting for it to be approved, you can commence coursework, but you must not start any supervised practice placement.

You need to renew provisional registration annually, from the date you were initially approved. You must maintain provisional registration for the entire duration of your enrolment in the degree, including while undertaking coursework, placement and research thesis.

For details about applying for and renewing provisional registration, see the provisional registration page.

Provisional registration can only be renewed twice. If it is going to take longer than three years to complete your degree, you need to re-apply for provisional registration (we have a streamlined process for this). This will apply to most part-time students and students undertaking a Doctorate or combined Masters and research PhD. See the renewal information on the provisional registration page for more information.

Working in addition to placements

If you want to work in a psychology role separate to your higher degree placements, you will need to apply for Board-approval (using form AWOP-76).

Approval is necessary for any position where:

  • you use the title ‘provisional psychologist’ or any other title that could be taken to mean you hold provisional registration, e.g. ‘intern psychologist’, ‘trainee psychologist’ etc. and/or
  • you have any direct contact with clients, including providing psychology services by telephone.

If you undertake a placement and are offered a position in the same role, you must have the Board’s approval to continuing working in the role after the official university placement ends.

You may want to seek approval to work in addition to higher degree after you have completed the requirements of the degree but have not yet been granted general registration. This may be appropriate if you have been offered a position but do not yet have general registration because:

  • you are waiting for your thesis to be marked
  • you are waiting to receive your final academic transcript or other information you need to finalise your application for general registration, or
  • you have submitted your application for general registration and are waiting for it be approved.

Provisional psychologists working in addition to placements must receive regular supervision by a Board-approved supervisor. For full details, read the Policy on working in addition to placements.

Applying for early general registration

Students undertaking a Doctoral degree or a Masters combined with research PhD may be eligible to apply for general registration once they have completed the requirements of a fifth- and sixth-year level Masters degree (the minimum standard for the higher degree pathway). This means the completion of all Masters-level coursework and placements and sufficient progress with the thesis to the point that it is equivalent in size and scope to a Masters thesis. To qualify for early general registration, the head of school at the university must provide a statement that the applicant has completed the equivalent of a Masters degree. To apply for general registration before completing your thesis you must submit a PDEC-76 form form signed by your Head of School verifying your progress with the thesis.

For full details, see the Board’s Policy for higher degree students applying for general registration. To apply for early general registration, use the PDEC-76 form (Statement of assessment for provisional psychologists).

Further information

Refer to the Board’s registration standards, guidelines and policies and relevant Fact sheets and FAQ.

Page reviewed 1/08/2019