The UNSW combined PhD/Masters of Psychology (Forensic) is a four-year, full-time degree designed to train a select group of postgraduate students to undertake high-calibre research in areas relevant to the professional practice of Psychology. 

The degree has an emphasis on advanced training in Forensic Psychology research areas and has three compulsory components including coursework, professional practice and the development of a research project. As part of their studies, students are required to lead a significant contribution to the knowledge of the nature of psychological processes in the field of Forensic Psychology.

Forensic Psychology Program

This program is a pure research degree, and all research students are expected to attend the School Postgraduate Research Seminar and the School Research Colloquium. Before applying as a PhD or MSC candidate, students are required to form a grounding in Psychology through a scientific discipline.  

For some students, particularly those admitted from overseas universities, a limited number of additional courses may be prescribed to ensure that they have the knowledge and methodological skills expected for postgraduate research at UNSW. PhD students are also permitted to take selected courses from the Master of Psychology degrees that are relevant to their research. 

Program Requirements

While work experience is not an admission requirement, applicants with employment histories will be positively regarded. An applicant’s employment history does not necessarily need to include clinically- or forensically-relevant experience; a track record of employment could indicate an applicant’s familiarity with team environments (or, conversely, autonomous work), working to deadlines, managing stressful situations, dealing with the public and any number of other skills. 

Students must also hold a full scholarship in order to be eligible for the combined degree – self-funding is not permitted. 

Gain Professional Accreditation

The UNSW Psychology (Clinical) PhD/Masters program is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC). Completion of the program leads to full membership of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and registration as a Psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA).  

Graduates of the program are eligible for Associate Membership of the APS College of Clinical Psychologists. After completing a further 1.5 years of full-time equivalent supervised practice, graduates are also eligible to apply for full membership and endorsement as a Clinical Psychologist.  

Learn with the Best

The UNSW School of Psychology is considered the best in Australia. We’re ranked 21st in the QS World Rankings, attracting award-winning staff and offering excellence and innovation in our teaching.  

The School has excellent research and professional training facilities that include extensive computing facilities, a psychological test library, a psychology clinic, a career research and assessment service, a technical workshop and laboratories in all areas of experimental psychology. The School also has strong links with professional practitioners in the areas of Clinical, Neuropsychological and Forensic Psychology. 

Your Career 

There is an increasing demand from legal, investigative, corrective, and policy agencies across Australia to obtain psychological expertise to aid understanding and management of forensic issues.

Forensic psychologists work in a wide range of settings, including:  

  • prisons  
  • courts  
  • probation and parole  
  • child protection  
  • juvenile justice  
  • insurance  
  • mediation  
  • private practice  
  • public policy  
  • legislative review.