Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Where can I find more information (application forms, closing dates, etc) on the undergraduate, honours and masters’ programmes in psychology? 

Students should consult the psychology website on or alternatively contact the Student Support Centre on
I would like to become a psychologist. What should I do next? 
The student should have completed a master’s degree in any one of the directed programmes in Clinical, Counselling or Research Psychology.  The student will have to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), write the HPCSA board exam, complete an internship and write a mini-dissertation. In addition, a student who has completed an MA (Clinical Psychology) will be required to complete a year of community service (refer to Appendix A). 
Can I become a psychologist with my bachelor’s, honours or academic master’s degree?
No (refer to the paragraph above). 

Do I need to take certain subjects in matric (Grade 12) if I want to study psychology? 
No, but potential students need to comply with the AP Score and the University’s admission requirements. 

I want to become an industrial psychologist/educational psychologist.  What do I do? 
Contact the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (Industrial Psychology) and the Faculty of Education (Educational Psychology) for more information. 

What could I do if I do not get selected for a professional training programme (such as the MA Clinical Psychology)?
Students should not allow this to discourage them from exploring the numerous other options that are available after the completion of a bachelor’s and/or honours degree as they have already learned many skills that are relevant to different work environments. 

I studied at another university and have already passed certain modules. Do I get credit?
Students from another university will need to present their academic record, the content of the curriculum they studied (in a yearbook or study guide), and consult with the undergraduate coordinator in the Department to receive credits (where applicable).  Contact the undergraduate coordinator via [email protected] for more information. 

I want to become a neurologist / neuro-psychiatrist / neuro-psychologist / criminal profiler / crime-scene investigator (CSI) / child therapist / child psychologist.  What should I do?
The Professional Master's programmes offered by this Department do not qualify students to register as any of the above. A student may complete the MA degree in Clinical Psychology or Counselling Psychology and develop therapeutic skills to work specifically with children.  Similary, students in these programmes will develop skills in neuropsychology but will not register as neuropsychologists with the HPCSA as this registration category requires a focused degree in neuropsychology, currently only offered at the University of Cape Town.

Is it easy to become a psychologist?
University entrance is governed by various rules and regulations.  A student who has been admitted to bachelor’s programme will be subjected to a selection procedure should he/she wish to gain entry into an honours programme.  Subsequent MA courses (Clinical, Counselling and Research) proceed on the basis of selections. There is no automatic entry into these programmes and only a limited number of places are available in the postgraduate programmes. 

How many years in total does it take to become a psychologist?
This depends on whether a student continues with studies successively and without interruption. THREE years are required for a bachelor’s degree, ONE year is required to complete an honours degree, TWO years are required for the Master's in Clinical, Counselling and Research Psychology degrees (one-year of coursework and one-year internship).  In addition, Clinical Psychology students must complete a community service year after completing their degrees as required by the Department of Health. 

I completed some components of my degree a few years ago and would like to continue with the degree now. What should I do?
The last time the student studied in the field of psychology (undergraduate level) should not be more than five years ago.  If more than five years have passed, the student will have to register for the Humanities Special (for non-degree purposes) and complete the two third-year Psychology modules, as well as certain research modules, in order to apply for admission to an honours programme in psychology. 

I have a calling: I feel the need to help people. Should I become a psychologist?
A prospective student should carefully consider his/her options before deciding to become a psychologist and excluding other possibilities since entry into the postgraduate courses is based on selection procedures.  There are other avenues and other careers that offer opportunities for helping people.  For example, a student may use his/her counselling and communication skills to facilitate youth groups in discussing issues that confront them in their communities. Volunteering offers people excellent opportunities for developing practical skills and for networking with other organisations and people who might recognise their skills and offer them opportunities to work in areas that they had not previously considered. 

Why do you select only a limited number of students for the professional programmes in psychology:
These programmes require intensive training that can only be provided by suitably qualified academic staff. There are also a limited number of interships available to complete the practical component of the degrees.

Would I be able to practice as a counsellor/psychologist in another country?
Educational systems differ and each country – and even regions and provinces within a country – has different requirements for individuals wanting to practice as counsellors and psychologists. Whereas in some countries a person will need a doctorate to practice as a psychologist, a master’s degree is sufficient in others. The professional board of a country will be able to provide details on such requirements. 

Will I be allowed to attend selected master’s-level modules in Psychology if I am not registered for a master’s degree in the Department?
Unfortunately not, only selected candidates in the master’s programmes are allowed to attend the modules. 


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