Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology Practice


Degree Name:

Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology Practice

Degree Code:


Level of Qualification:



1 year full time^

Number of Units:

3 x units of study (48 credits)

Study Load:

3 units per trimester, full time


On campus - Sydney

Student Placement:

1,400 hours in total

Award Title:

Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology Practice

Cricos Code:


^ Maximum permitted duration 3 years, subject to regulatory or professional association requirements


The Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology Practice provides a sixth year of professional training in psychology for fifth-year APAC accredited psychology graduates seeking to complete the 5+1 pathway to registration.

The Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology Practice involves extensive hands-on psychological practice and we work collaboratively with you to find a suitable long-term internship that will meet your interests and professional development needs. We also offer assistance in commencing your internship through an internal ACAP placement, where required. All students are supported through regular individual and group supervision, delivered by experienced staff who are familiar with Psychology Board of Australia requirements. Professional development explicitly designed to prepare you for the hurdle requirements of the 5+1 pathway - the national psychology exam and writing case studies - is incorporated throughout the course.

The course objectives of the Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology Practice are:

  1. demonstrate the ethical and professional standards of conduct and practice required of a psychologist
  2. demonstrate the integration of psychological theory and practice
  3. demonstrate relevant psychological principles, knowledge and skills in a wide variety of professional settings, with a variety of client groups (such as individuals, groups, couples, families, organisations) and client presentations (such as depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship issues, work effectiveness, change management, selection and recruitment, promotion of wellbeing)
  4. demonstrate competence in the administration and interpretation of a range of psychological assessment tools and techniques
  5. demonstrate skills in diagnosing psychological disorders and formulating, delivering, recording and reporting appropriate interventions and outcomes
  6. demonstrate the capacity to work collaboratively with a variety of professionals
  7. cultivate self-evaluation skills to develop awareness of professional competence and limitations
  8. participate in and understand the philosophy of ongoing professional development in order to maintain and increase their effectiveness as a psychologist, and
  9. participate effectively in the supervision process with an approved supervisor(s).

The Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology Practice has been developed in alignment with Psychological Sciences’ educational philosophy that aims to provide students with comprehensive evidenced-based theoretical and practical learning and with close reference to the Psychology Board of Australia General Registration Standard. The program is based on the scientist-practitioner model that integrates knowledge of the discipline of psychology, psychological research, professional training, and professional practice. It is designed to develop skills in observation and in formulating testable hypotheses that can be empirically examined, and in selecting and evaluating interventions and assessments that are based on defensible theoretical positions and informed by evidence of effectiveness.

The hypotheticodeductive approach is applied equally to critically evaluating evidence from the literature and to working with clients. Professional psychologists are held to high standards of ethical practice requiring: a) knowledge of evidence-based interventions and assessment tools; b) awareness of relevant legislation; c) adherence to professional standards and codes of conduct; d) ability to objectively evaluate and reflect on professional work. The ACAP Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology Practice profiles these essential elements of professional practice throughout the program, aiming to develop life-long professional practice of personal and shared reflection through supervision and peer consultation.

Professional psychology draws on a dynamic research literature, and as well as equipping graduates with skills in using well-established assessment tools and approaches, the program aims to develop skills for critically evaluating new approaches and methodologies to support life-long professional development. Psychologists practice in work environments, where changes in health and social policy impact on professional practice. With this in mind, the program seeks to equip graduates with skills for understanding and responding to the broad policy and legislative frameworks that impact on their professional practice. Professional psychology is an intrinsically collaborative and interactive field, and the program seeks to develop skills for practicing within a multidisciplinary model of service provision.

Professional Accreditation

The Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology Practice is accredited with the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency.

Graduate Attributes

  1. Knowledge of psychological principles, professional ethics and standards; theories of individual and systemic functioning and change; dysfunctional behaviour; psychopathology; and the cultural bases of behaviour and organisational systems
  2. Appropriate application of legal, ethical and professional aspects of psychological practice;
  3. Knowledge of use of psychometric tools that enable description, conceptualisation, and prediction of relevant aspects of a client's functioning, behavior and personality;
  4. Competence in activities that promote, restore, sustain or enhance cognitive functioning and a sense of well-being in individual or group clients through preventive, developmental, remedial services, and/or restoring or enhancing group and/or organisational functioning;
  5. Competence in the application of critical analysis to evaluate and apply findings from scientific publications in psychology to working with clients, as well as to evaluate and report on interventions;
  6. Capacity to convey, appraise, and interpret information orally and in writing, and to interact on a professional level with a wide range of client groups and other professionals;
  7. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding of how the practice of psychology is influenced by social, historical, professional and cultural contexts. This includes demonstrating the ability to competently and ethically practice with people who differ from the provisional psychologist in ways including, but not limited to age, race, colour, culture, gender, geography, language, sexual orientation, educational attainment, physical attributes, cognitive capacity and socio-economic status and religious-spiritual orientation. This includes sensitivity and knowledge of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  8. Ability to apply understanding of how the practice of psychology is influenced by the life stage of clients, including the ability to competently and ethically practice with people from each of the major lifespan stages: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and late adulthood.

Pathways to Future Study

Course Structure

Our Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology Practice includes practical placements, supervision and online based coursework. It is sequenced to promote an integration of knowledge and skill development.

Students will:

  • complete a minimum of 1,400 hours of practical/skills training
  • receive at least 1 hour of supervision per 17.5 hours of practical work
  • Undertake professional development explicitly tailored to the eight core competencies and the hurdle requirements of the 5+1 pathway
  • Acquire the professional skills to meet the requirements for the ‘5+1’ internship pathway to registration

For more information about the sequencing and structure of the Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology Practice, see our course guide.