Further information for psychology higher degree students

Working in addition to university placements

Under the Policy on working in addition to placements provisional psychologists undertaking an accredited higher degree may seek the Board’s approval to obtain extra experience working under supervision in psychological positions that do not contribute to the requirements of the degree.

Board approval must be obtained before working in any psychological position where:

  • you use the title ‘provisional psychologist’ in the position, or any other title that could be taken to mean you are a provisional psychologist (‘intern psychologist’, ‘trainee psychologist’ etc.), and
  • you will have any direct contact with clients in the position (including providing psychology services via telephone).

This includes psychological work in positions that are completely separate from your degree. It also applies if you undertake a university placement and then the employer offers you a position in the same role but that will not be contributing further to the requirements of your degree. All psychological work undertaken by higher degree students must be appropriately supervised and approved by either an accredited university or the Board. The university can only approve and take responsibility for psychological work you undertake that will be recognised towards the requirements of the degree. So once the official university placement ends, you must ensure you have the Board’s approval before undertaking any further psychological work in the role.

You can apply for approval to undertake additional supervised psychological work at any time that you hold provisional registration for the higher degree pathway.

You can also apply for approval to undertake supervised psychological work as a provisional psychologist for a short period after you have completed the requirements of the degree but have not yet been granted general registration. This may be appropriate for you if you have been offered a position but do not yet have general registration because, for example:

  • 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 
  • you have submitted your application for general registration and are waiting for it be approved.

For full details please read the Board’s Policy on working in addition to placements (423 KB,PDF), Word version.

Forms for working in addition to placements:

Applying for early general registration

Psychology higher degree students who are undertaking a doctoral degree that is higher than the minimum standard for general registration can apply for general registration early. That is, before they have completed all the requirements of their doctoral degree, but when they have completed the equivalent of the minimum higher degree standard (fifth and sixth year level Masters).

This applies to student undertaking program accredited at fifth, sixth and seventh year (or higher) such as a Doctor of Psychology, and also to students who undertake a combined degree with masters level coursework and a doctoral thesis.

To qualify for early general registration, the head of school at the applicant’s university must provide a statement on the Board’s PDEC-76 form that the applicant has completed the equivalent of a Masters degree. That is, all Masters level coursework and placements are completed and the thesis writing is sufficiently progressed as to be equivalent in size and scope to a Masters thesis.

For full details please read the Board’s Policy for higher degree students applying for general registration, and the Fact sheet on the PDEC-76 form for heads of psychology schools and higher degree candidates.

Transition provisions for area of practice endorsements

When the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme commenced on 1 July 2010 the Board approved a number of transition provisions for students and graduates applying for area of practice endorsements. The following provisions apply to psychology higher degree candidates who were actively enrolled on the day before the National Scheme commenced:

The Psychology Board of Australia has determined that any student who had commenced and was undertaking a higher degree on 30 June 2010 or who was a recent graduate on 30 June 2010 will be permitted to apply for an area of practice endorsement under the following rules:

  • Any psychologist who on 30 June 2010 was undertaking an APAC accredited Master of Psychology degree (or combined MPsyc/PhD*) associated with an area of practice endorsement will be eligible to apply for an area of practice endorsement after completing their degree plus one year of the Psychology Board of Australia registrar program. 
  • Any psychologist who on 30 June 2010 was undertaking an APAC accredited Doctorate of Psychology degree associated with an area of practice endorsement will be eligible to apply for an area of practice endorsement after completing their degree.

“Completing their degree” means completing all degree requirements, including the thesis being marked and accepted, and receiving a transcript demonstrating that the degree has been completed.

Students who complete a different APAC accredited qualification to the one they were enrolled in on 30 June 2010 are included in these transition provisions (i.e. MPsyc student who changes to a DPsyc).

Policies, codes and guidelines

Refer to the Board’s codes, guidelines and policies web page.

Fact sheets and frequently asked questions

Refer to the Board’s Fact sheets and FAQ web page for FAQ for higher degree students and other useful information.

Page reviewed 18/08/2016