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Career in Psychology

A university degree in Psychology prepares students for work in a variety of settings ranging from health care institutions, schools and educational settings (as school psychologists or counsellors), academia, marketing, management, information technology, as well as consultation services and private practice. Psychology is a professional discipline and is associated with a number of registration categories with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

Clinical psychologist
A clinical psychologist typically works either for a medical institution or in private practice, administers psychological tests to diagnose mental conditions, and performs psychotherapy. The minimum requirement for this has until recently been a directed MA degree in clinical psychology with an internship of one year, which enables one to register with the Health Professions Counsel of South Africa (HPCSA) as a Clinical Psychologist. The system is however currently under revision. In future, candidates will have to achieve a doctoral degree before registration will be possible (commencing in 2007). The Masters course in Clinical Psychology is very intensive, and only a small number of students are selected each year. Applications for selection must reach the University before 30 June of the year prior to the first year of the course.

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Researcher / consultant
For persons who are interested in psychology as the scientific study of human behaviour, rather than in the applied field of therapy, there is the possibility of a directed MA degree in Research Psychology. The aim here is to train social scientists as researchers and as consultants in the general area of psychological and social science research. This will enable them to pursue a career in industry, commerce, universities or public institutions in various research-related fields. It is of relevance to persons contemplating a career in, for example, marketing, management, or information technology. There is a selection process for a limited number of places and students must be available for lectures at the Pretoria campus of Unisa. Applications for the following year usually close in August.

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The BPsych specialisation degree will enable one to qualify as a Counsellor in psychology. After completion of the course, plus a practical section which includes an internship, it will be possible for candidates to register with the HPCSA as a Counsellor. There is a selection process for this qualification and a limitation on the number of candidates per year.

More information on the BPsych degree is available here.

Tuition in other registration categories in psychology such as Industrial Psychologist and Educational Psychologist are available from the Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology and the Department of Educational Studies respectively.  Training as a Counselling Psychologist is not currently available from Unisa.

A file containing general information on what you can do with a psychology degree and what Unisa offers in the field of psychology is available here. (Note: his pdf file requires an Acrobat reader)