Doctor of Psychology

Course Code





Arts, Education and Social Sciences

Award Requirements


Course Structure




Advanced Standing

Award Details

Academic Requirements

Admission Requirements

Course pre-requisites

Completion of a first or second class honours degree from a course accredited by the Australian Psychological Society or equivalent qualification from an overseas institution; or

Completion of four year degree or a postgraduate diploma from a course accredited by the Australian Psychological Society, achieved at a level at least equivalent to a second class honours degree; or

Completion of 24 credit points of study with a Distinction average, in the Master of Psychology at this university; or

Adequate experience and/or training and academic competence to succeed in the course.

Minimum English Language Proficiency Requirements

Students of non-English speaking backgrounds must have an adequate English language capacity assessed under the Australian International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The IELTS score required for admission to this course can be found in Schedule I of the JCU Admissions policy.

Additional selection requirements

Candidates must satisfy the Selection Committee as to their personal suitability for a professional career in psychology. Applications are considered by a Selection Committee comprising the Head of the Department of Psychology, the Director of Professional Programs and at least one other member of the Psychology staff.

Special admission requirements



Confirmation of candidature

Confirmation of candidature in the doctoral thesis occurs through the successful completion of PY6201 Research Thesis A and PY6212 Doctoral Thesis B (Part 1 of 2) and PY6216 Doctoral Thesis B (Part 2 of 2). Enrolment in certain subjects is restricted to students who have completed PY3107 (Introductory Psychometrics, Assessment and Ethics) or its equivalent

Expected time to complete

3 years full-time or equivalent part-time

Maximum time to complete

6 years

Maximum leave of absence

2 years

Academic Requirements for Course Completion

Credit points

72 credit points as per course structure

Additional course rules

Applicants who already hold an APS-accredited Master of Psychology degree, or its equivalent –except as specified otherwise under Advanced Standing must complete at least 36 credit points in this course, of which 24 credit points comprise the thesis.

The doctoral research project must be on a topic distinctively different from that submitted for their Master of Psychology degree and entailing a research project to be spread over two calendar years.

Additional completion requirements


Course Structure


Select a Major from the table below


Type of major



Credit points in major

72 credit points

Special requirements





Clinical and Clinical Geropsychology















Appointment of Supervisors

A candidate admitted to the Doctor of Psychology shall be assigned a primary and secondary supervisor who shall be members of the staff of the University and on the Register of Supervisors of the University.

At least one associate supervisor may be appointed on account of his or her professional experience and special knowledge of the candidate’s intended program of study. Associate supervisors need not be staff members of this university, but should have appropriate expertise and professional experience.

With the approval of the Faculty Research and Postgraduate Studies Committee (FRPSC), an additional associate supervisor may be appointed to provide supervision if and when the candidate is at a distance from the University.

Supervisors’ reports

The supervisor and candidate will be required to report annually on the candidate’s work. If, in the opinion of the Head of the School of Arts and Social Sciences, the candidate’s progress is unsatisfactory, the Head may recommend to the FRPSC termination of candidature or other action he or she deems necessary.


Thesis requirements

A thesis of not less than 30,000 words and not more than 50,000 words must be submitted for examination. The thesis must constitute a significant contribution to knowledge and practice in psychology.

Published contributions may be submitted to support or to form part or all of the dissertation, provided they have not been submitted to support or form part of another academic qualification.

The candidate in submitting published works shall state generally in a preface and specifically in notes the main sources from which the information is derived and the extent to which the candidate has made use of the work of others, especially where joint publications are concerned. Countersignature by co-authors is required. The candidate may also signify in general terms the portions of the work claimed as original or a significant contribution to knowledge and practice in psychology.

The original and two copies of the dissertation shall be submitted to the Graduate Research School for examination.

Appointment of Examiners

The Research Education Sub-Committee (RESC) will appoint examiners on the advice of the Head of the School of Arts and Social Sciences. The examination of the thesis will be administered by the Graduate Research School.

Examiners will be fully briefed on the nature of the Doctor of Psychology program and be made cognisant of the proportion of the course to be assessed through the material they examine.


The thesis will be examined by at least two external examiners and up to three examiners. One of the external examiners should normally be an appropriately qualified professional psychologist.

Successful candidates must be judged through examination to have made a significant contribution to knowledge or practice in their profession.

Examiners’ reports

Examiners’ reports and the recommendations that follow from them will be forwarded to the Head of the School of Arts and Social Sciences for recommendation to the Faculty Research and Postgraduate Studies Committee (FRPSC).

The FRPSC, on consideration of the reports of the examiners, may recommend

  • The award of the degree;

  • The award of the degree subject to revision of the thesis to the satisfaction of the Head of the School of Arts and Social Sciences;

  • Not to award the degree;

  • To appoint another examiner;

  • To invite the candidate to resubmit the thesis for an appropriate Masters degree; or

  • To require the candidate to resubmit the thesis or parts thereof either rewritten or containing further research material for re-examination for the degree of Doctor of Psychology.


Timeframe for appeal

A candidate may appeal against a decision of the FRPSC.

Such appeal shall be lodged in writing, setting out the grounds for the appeal and submitted to the University Registrar within 28 days of the notification to the candidate of the decision being appealed.

Consideration of appeal

The appeal shall be determined by an Appeal Panel appointed by the FRPSC and independent of the original panel.

Composition of Appeal Panel

The Appeal Panel shall consist of a Head of one of the Schools in the Faculty other than Arts & Social Sciences and two members of the Faculty chosen by the FRPSC.

Role of Appeal Panel

The Appeal Panel shall consider only:

  • The grounds of the request for the appeal;

  • Any documents relevant to the decision against which the candidate has appealed;

  • Such further material as the Appeal Panel may, in the exercise of its discretion, permit to be placed before it if it considers it necessary or desirable in the interests of justice to do so.

Candidate representation

The candidate shall have the right to be heard in person or to make submissions in writing and to be represented by the Student Association Academic Support Coordinator, the Student Association Welfare Coordinator, or another member of the University community, provided that any candidate to be so represented must notify the Registrar at least 48 hours prior to the time set for the appeal.

Outcome of Appeal

The Appeal Panel shall have the power to allow or dismiss an appeal against the decision, or vary the decision of the FRPSC.

The Chair of the Appeal Panel shall notify the University Registrar forthwith of its decision and reasons and the University Registrar shall notify in writing the student within 14 days of the Appeal Panel’s decision.

The Appeal Panel decision shall be final.

Advanced Standing


Candidates, who have successfully completed subjects that form part of the Doctor of Psychology while enrolled in other postgraduate courses at JCU, will receive full transfer of advanced standing for those subjects.

Candidates who have completed subjects that are part of an APS-accredited postgraduate program at another Australian university may apply to advanced standing those subjects towards the Doctor of Psychology degree at JCU. Advanced standing normally will be granted where a subject completed elsewhere is, in the opinion of the Director of Professional Programs and the Head of School, equivalent to a subject that forms part of the JCU Doctor of Psychology program.

Maximum allowed

36 credit points


Advanced standing will be granted only for studies completed in the 10 years prior to the commencement of this course


Advanced standing gained for any subject shall be cancelled 10 years after the date of the examination upon which the advanced standing is based if, by then, the candidate has not completed this course.

Other restrictions

Not applicable

Award Details

Inclusion of majors on testamur

The major studied may appear on the testamur.

Exit prior to completion

In the event of withdrawal from the degree for any reason, subjects successfully completed while enrolled in the Doctor of Psychology may be credited towards any other single JCU postgraduate qualification for which those subjects are specified or allowed.