October 11, 2021

How Hard is a Psychology Degree? 8 Secrets Revealed.

According to forecasts for job growth of more than 20% over the next five years, a Psychology degree is one of the most popular undergraduate courses in Australia. It is an incredibly diverse degree that can be applied in most work roles or careers, meaning that it opens up numerous possibilities for graduates. 

Learning about the human mind and how it functions is very appealing and may help you to understand or develop stronger social relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. However, while interest in human behavior may sound like an excellent foundation for a career in psychology, it's essential to consider that this degree is very competitive and requires hard work and dedication.

What is it like to Study Psychology at University?

A bachelor's degree in psychology is a four-year program that develops critical thinking and analytical skills. Although this degree does not focus on a single subject, it focuses more on the holistic study of the individual rather than specializing in one area. 

The emphasis will be placed on understanding how individuals develop mental disorders. As a result, there is greater time management needed to master psychology at this level. Students should note that doing other part-time employment or internships while studying may be difficult due to the high amount of work.

Few students who enroll in a psychology program understand what it takes to complete the coursework necessary to gain entry into graduate programs or obtain registration and endorsement as a psychologist.

To adequately prepare for such strenuous academic requirements, students should seek out accredited online schools which offer flexible degree programs at all levels, from Undergraduate through to Masters and Doctorate degrees. It is helpful to ‘start with the end in mind’ regarding the type of psychologist you may want to become or what key skills you want to develop for your future career, as not all universities provide the same amount of courses in some states.

What skills will I develop?

Studying human behavior and cognition can help you understand yourself and others more deeply. The psychology study will teach you to think critically, question ideas, assess empirical evidence, solve problems, make meaning from experiences, manage feelings, practice ethical reasoning, work well with others in teams, find common ground with diverse populations or clients, and advocate for positive change. You may develop specific proficiencies depending on the focus of your studies if you work hard.

Unfortunately, there is not a huge focus on developing counselling skills during a psychology degree, as these skills are developed in postgraduate courses. However, it may be possible to develop these skills via counselling units that may be available as part of external electives.

Unfortunately (again), there is a big focus on developing statistical analysis skill-sets as psychology is a type of science and needs to be treated accordingly, so this will need to be factored in when choosing to study psychology at a university degree.

How difficult is it to study psychology?

Psychology is not one of the most straightforward degrees to obtain since it requires a great deal of time and dedication. You can choose how many units you complete at a time, however most students complete four units/subjects simultaneously. The workload can be very draining, but this degree prepares students well for their future careers in a wide range of career fields (working with people, counselling, marketing, etc).

Regardless of what level of university or college you're studying it in, psychological science will always have a degree of difficulty, involving lectures, exams, and coursework. If you're studying an online psychology program, it's feasible to reduce your workload somewhat.

The courses you'll take will differ depending on where you go to university and what field of psychology you're interested in, although the following are standard modules in psychology:

  • Introduction to social and differential psychology
  • Research methodologies
  • Social and cognitive development
  • Communication and Language
  • Observation and action on the neural basis: neuropsychology or cognitive neuroscience
  • Human Behaviour

When it comes to grades, how harshly your marker will critique your assignments will depend on what year level you are in. Typically, your first year of the degree will involve the least amount of pressure to perform well, so assignments are graded more leniently to help build your confidence as a student. 

However, marking becomes progressively more strict as you progress through each year level toward your final year and Honours, so high grades in first year can lead students into a false sense of security when in fact, they require mentorship to improve. We recommend sourcing an experienced and reliable psychology tutor to help improve your core skills such as scientific writing and statistics.

How much coursework is involved when studying psychology?

The coursework required to complete a psychology degree will depend on what level of study you're attending, however it is very common for coursework to include:

  • Weekly readings (0-150 pages)
  • Weekly short-answer or multiple choice quizzes
  • Assignments (1,000 to 2,500 words)
  • Exams at the end of the teaching period

The deadlines for coursework are not particularly adaptable, so we recommend that you start working on assignments as soon as they become available to you, giving you heaps of time to process the information, instructions, create a plan, consult a mentor (tutor, lecturer, student forums), and complete a final draft without stressing right up until the deadline.

To stay organised, it is recommended that you place 3+ calendar months up on your wall where you can visually see the timeline of all deadlines, and plan accordingly. Reverse engineering is a very effective approach to effective time management.

For mentorship and support regarding your assignments involving research methods, scientific writing, statistics, mentoring, career advice, or just to VENT about how stressed your are, please visit us and sign up for our online tutoring services and courses!

What prerequisites from high school do I need to study psychology?

All that is required for most of the universities and affiliated colleges for a bachelor's degree with more than 50% pass in mathematics.

There are no subject prerequisites, but biology or life science would be beneficial since psychology focuses on the human sensory systems, including the brain. However, brain and biology can also be explored as part of your elective units at university.

Academic performance is the only prerequisite that universities will assess when enrolling students into a university psychology course, however, this score threshold varies between institutions. For example, some highly popular institutions will not accept a final grade lower than 70 or 80, whereas other less popular universities will. So, if you wish to pursue this course at university, we recommend concentrating on boosting your academic performance as early as possible to increase your opportunities.

What kind of university courses are available to apply for and do they offer the same career opportunities? 

Most students only know about the classic psychology course most commonly referred to as Bachelor of Psychology (Honours), which typically requires a final VCE score of 80+.

But, there are many different titles for similar courses that offer the same level of qualification, course content, and opportunities to apply for Honours or places in post-graduate degrees including course titles such:

  • Bachelor of Applied Psychology
  • Bachelor of Psychological Science
  • Bachelor of Psychology
  • Bachelor of Behavioural Science
  • The list goes on depending on the university and state of Australia!

BUT, the best thing of all is that they typically require a lower entrances score to enrol compared to their more well known counterpart: Bachelor of Psychology (Honours).

So, the moral of the story is, contact your local universities and apply for several courses.

How much reading is involved?

There is no denying that studying psychology does involve a good deal of reading (and scientific writing), depending on the program. You can expect to read between 0 and 150 pages per week in content (not including powerpoint lectures). 

Psychology is a challenging major, and many of your tasks will need you to reference sources from online journal article databases and support many of the claims you make. There will also be plenty of lectures, however, your learning will be focused on reviewing various academic viewpoints and empirical evidence. 

Check out this article to learn how any psychology student can efficiently find academic research articles using specialised search methods.

The study of psychology is constantly evolving, which means there will always be a need to keep up with the most recent research conducted by industry experts. The viewpoints and opinions on particular approaches or innovations in the field are crucial for you as a graduate student.

How much does it cost to study psychology?

The cost depends on whether you choose to study online or attend a traditional brick-and-water university. Most subsidised HECS loan psychology degrees will cost approximately $30,000 (give or take $5,000 to $10,000 as this will vary depending on the cost of electives you choose).

Most university degrees are subsidised by the government, meaning you can pay back your university loan slowly each year once you obtain full-time work over a certain salary threshold (example: $55,000 per annum). So you won’t need to pay this back until after you graduate or earn above this threshold.

You can also find information about the average cost of courses in your area by visiting the website for your chosen institution. They usually provide this type of information on their site as part of their downloadable Course Unit Handbooks which list pricing across all compulsory and non-compulsory electives. Make sure you read through their specific course costs so that you know everything there is to know before committing to enrolling at an educational organisation.

If you're interested in an online degree, the tuition fees are often significantly reduced compared to attending classes with other students physically at different institutions worldwide. Therefore, these schools must offer quality education that prepares graduates for entry into graduate-level programs or employment opportunities without any hassle.

Although the cost of university never goes down, there are always many scholarships, bursaries, and grants to assist with the cash aspect if necessary.

What jobs can you get with a psychology degree?

Psychology degrees consist of broad areas of study including but not limited to addiction, human behaviour, cognitive neuroscience, counselling, statistics, psychopathology, etc! 

This field is becoming increasingly popular to employ new graduates in the job market because it offers flexibility when looking for suitable jobs without prior experience or knowledge.

After completion of an Honours degree in Psychology (4-years of study in total), you can pursue your registration as a psychologist as part of a 4+2 pathway (supervised trainee) or go for higher study (a master's degree, and/or doctoral program) or look for a wide career opportunity in the fields of research, clinical psychology, social psychology, counseling psychology, child psychology, cognitive psychology as:

  • Research Assistant
  • Research Associate
  • Clinical Trial Coordinator 
  • Advice worker
  • Careers advisor
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Organisational Psychology
  • Actuarial analyst
  • Primary care graduate mental health worker
  • Counseling psychologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Educational psychologist
  • Forensic accountant
  • Further educational enthusiast (psychology professor)
  • Health psychologist
  • Occupational psychologist
  • Wellbeing practitioner
  • Psychologist in Sports Teams
  • Marketing / Advertising Consultant
  • HR (Human Resources)
  • Many more!

Final Words

According to PayScale, psychologists with a Bachelor of Science degree in Australia make an average annual salary upward of $75,000. However, graduates who own and run their own private practice can earn substantially more above $100,000.

We know the career path of a psychology student is long and intense, but we know how rewarding it is once you can make your paycheque reflect the hard work that has been done.

If you take the time to do some research on psychology degrees and how they can help you get ahead in life, then you'll be able to find the program that's right for you. If this is something worth striving for, then go out there and show them what you're made of!

We hope our article was helpful and provided all necessary information about Bachelor in Psychology Degrees. For more details regarding your university course, research methods, scientific writing, mentoring, career advice, please visit us and sign up!