2021: February and July

4 years

2021: A$16,650*
* fee per semester

Application due dates:
We are currently accepting applications for this course.


Advance your psychology career and contribute important ideas to an ever-evolving discipline, with a PhD in Psychology from VU.

PhD in Psychology program at VU

Our PhD program offers advanced research opportunities to those who’ve completed a relevant honours or masters degree in psychology.

During your study, you’ll make real contributions to the psychology field through an original thesis in one of our research-focus areas. You’ll benefit from the support of an expert community of researchers, with world-class opportunities for interdisciplinary research.

We focus on real-world, applicable studies. Our partnerships with educational, health and community organisations can enable you to embed your research in relevant settings.

You’ll learn to present your research in a variety of contexts, such as journals and public presentations.

VU offers expertise and guidance in several specialised research areas.

Our research centres and institutes offer fantastic opportunities for supported and collaborative research:

Our partnerships with educational, health and community organisations offer important research opportunities. Research is undertaken in collaboration with government, not-for-profit organisations and other universities.

Recent relationships include:

  • Western Health
  • Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre
  • BeyondBlue – the National Depression Initiative
  • NorthWestern Mental Health and NorthWestern Mental Health Aged Persons' Mental Health Program; Consultative
  • Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Clinic
  • Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre
  • North West Metropolitan Integrated Pharmacotherapy Network
  • Victorian Govt Department of Health.

We have many postgraduate courses in psychology where you can consolidate your study and take your career to a new level.

A suggested pathway to your PhD is to undertake a research masters following your bachelor degree. You may progress or transfer to a PhD program.

In order to practise as a psychologist, you must complete an appropriately accredited postgraduate course. The Master of Applied Psychology (Clinical Psychology) and the Master of Applied Psychology (Community Psychology) consist of course work, work placements and a research thesis. Graduates are eligible for practice accreditation, and registration with the AHPRA. After completing the applied masters degree, you may apply to the doctoral program.

VU psychology courses are Australian Psychological Accreditation Council (APAC) accredited. APAC accreditation ensures you receive high-quality education and are ready to use your psychology knowledge and skills in the community.

On completion of an applied masters degree, prior to your PhD, you can register as a psychologist in Victoria with the Psychology Board of Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and apply for full membership with the Australian Psychological Society.

We offer various research scholarships for our PhD students. Victoria University has several generous research scholarships for successful applicants. There are also externally-funded scholarships from dozens of organisations, some of which are aimed at postgraduate students.

VU Research gives you opportunities to:

  • connect with other researchers
  • participate in research festivals and competitions
  • develop your research skills
  • get funding for your research
  • publish and promote your findings.

We offer support for graduate researchers including:

Find out more about graduate opportunities at VU.

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We offer a professional clinic for VU's interdisciplinary work between 10 key primary health disciplines.

VU's research festivals let you discover relevant studies and network with other scholars

Careers in psychology research

A PhD will enhance your career opportunities in applied health settings. The Master of Applied Psychology (Clinical Psychology) qualifies you to work as a clinical psychologist, following registration with the AHPRA. Adding a PhD increases your expertise and specialist skills in health-related research.

You’ll also graduate ready for a research career in government, health institutes or universities.

Job titles include:

  • psychologist
  • researcher
  • policy adviser
  • university lecturer.

Use the government website Job Outlook to find average salaries in Australia for various professions:

Course structure

The PhD is a research based degree with a maximum duration of 4 years (full time) and 8 years (part time).
As well as enrolling in Research Thesis units Doctor of Philosophy (Science) students will be required to complete two coursework units, ROP8001 and ROP8002.

An average result of 70% is required in the compulsory coursework units in order to proceed to candidature confirmation. Ongoing progression is subject to policy and procedures for candidature management as per the VU HDR Policy.

Coursework Units

Elective unit

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. expert understanding of a substantial body of theory and its practical application at the frontier of a field of work or learning, including substantial expert knowledge of ethical research principles and methods applicable to the field.  
  2. intellectual independence and cognitive skills to undertake a systematic investigation, reflect critically on theory and practice and evaluate existing knowledge and ideas, including identifying, evaluating and critically analysing the validity of research studies and their applicability to a research problem.  
  3. expert cognitive, technical and creative skills to: design, develop and implement a research project/s to systematically investigate a research problem; develop, adapt and implement research methodologies to extend and redefine existing knowledge; manage, analyse, evaluate and interpret data, synthesising key ideas and theorising within the context of key literature.  
  4. expert communication skills to explain and critique theoretical propositions, methodologies and conclusions; to disseminate and promote new insights; and to cogently present a complex investigation of originality, or original research, both for external examination and to specialist (eg researcher peers) and non-specialist (industry and/or community) audiences through informal interaction, scholarly publications, reports and formal presentations.  
  5. capacity to reflect on, develop and evaluate strategies for achieving their own learning and career goals.  
  6. intellectual independence, initiative and creativity in new situations and/or for further learning.  
  7. ethical practice and full responsibility and accountability for personal outputs.  
  8. autonomy, authoritative judgement, adaptability and responsibility as an expert and independent scholar.  

What's a unit?

A unit or 'subject' is the actual class you'll attend in the process of completing a course.

Most courses have a mixture of compulsory 'core' units that you need to take and optional elective units that you can choose to take based on your area of interest, expertise or experience.


Each unit is worth a set amount of study credits based on the amount of time you study. Generally, 1 credit is equal to 1 hour of study per week.

Admission & pathways

Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee you entry into this course. Some courses receive more applications than the number of places available. In this situation we will also assess your education, work and other relevant experience.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements you may be eligible for one of our special admission programs. We also encourage you to explore our study pathways to help you reach your goal.

Find out more about how to apply for our courses, and our commitment to admissions transparency.

Entry requirements

Achieved an IELTS, (Academic Module) result with an overall score of 6.5 (no band less than 6) or equivalent and completed a Masters degree or a relevant four year undergraduate degree with Honours or its equivalent at a high standard.

Find out if you meet the entry requirements, including English language and academic requirements.

There are many ways you can start your education journey at VU. Pathways offer an easy transition between courses at different levels, so that you can start with a certificate and progress right through to postgraduate study.

Find out more about pathways and credits.

If you have completed study with another university or institution and believe you are eligible to receive credit for skills and past study, you can apply for advanced standing.

Applications for advanced standing can be made after a discussion with your course chair or academic adviser.

How to apply

We are currently accepting applications for this course.

Methods of applying:

International students can apply directly to Victoria University using our online application system, or apply through an education agent.

Direct online applicationFind an education agent

If you have questions about your application, you can:

Information and fees listed above are for non-resident students. Fees are accurate at the time of viewing and will be subject to annual increases. Some courses require students to purchase equipment or clothing that they will need in the course. These equipment or clothing costs are not included in the course fees listed above – check your Letter of Offer for an estimate on non-tuition-fee-related expenses.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this course information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that course information is current with the Student Contact Centre.