Honours in Psychology, Psychology, Macquarie University

Honours in Psychology, Psychology, Macquarie University

Who Can Apply for Honours Courses?

Places are limited to Macquarie University candidates only. You must be enrolled in the Bachelor of Psychology Honours or one of the Bachelor of Psychology Honours double / combined degrees at the time of application into fourth year. To transfer into the Bachelor of Psychology Honours or Bachelor of Psychology combined / double degrees, see internal transfer information. Eligibility criteria apply for this transfer.

What are the entry requirements for the Honours forth year?

Honours entry is based on two SNG (Standardised Numeric Grade) criteria.  Students must achieve a weighted average SNG of 70 over all Psychology units and a weighted average SNG of 75 over all 300-level Psychology units.

The minimum requirements relate to the students' first year of enrolment at Macquarie University in a named accredited Psychology degree, including 18cp of PSY designated units at 300 level which must include PSY349 Design and Statistics III and PSY351 Research Methods in Psychology. For Degrees Commenced prior to 2007 ="table58171r1c1">

For Degrees Commenced prior to 2007

From 2007, 2008 & 2009

From 2010

From 2011

Overall GPA 2.5,
300-Level GPA 3.25

A weighted average SNG of 70 over all Psychology units (including STAT170);
AND a weighted average SNG of 70 over 300-level Psychology units

A weighted average SNG of 70 over all Psychology units (including STAT170);
AND a weighted average SNG of 70 over 300-level Psychology units

A weighted average SNG of 70 over all Psychology units (including STAT170);
AND a weighted average SNG of 75 over all 300-level Psychology units

Calculation of Mean Weighted SNG

Entry into the Psychology Honours year is based on a mean weighted sng (standardised numeric grade). Two criteria will apply:

1. A mean weighted sng of at least 70 calculated over all PSY prefixed units

2. A mean weighted sng of at least 75 calculated over all PSY prefixed units at 300 level

 To calculate the sngs above, the following formulaapplies:

Mean weighted sng = (Σ sng x cp)/Σcp

where sng is the Standardised Numeric Grade for each unit and cp is the credit points for a unit.

Example to perform the calculation:

Student A has the following transcript:

PSY2## 3cp sng=80

PSY3## 3cp sng=60

Mean weighted sng overall = [(80 x 3) + (60 x 3)]/3 + 3 = 420/6 = 70

Mean weighted sng at 300 level = [60 x 3]/3 = 180/3=60

Student B has the following transcript:

PSY2## 3cp sng=60

PSY3## 3cp sng=80

Mean weighted sng overall = [(60 x 3) + (80 x 3)]/3 + 3 = 420/6 = 70

Mean weighted sng at 300 level = [80x3]/3=80

Using our criteria Student A misses out and Student B is successful.

The Honours Program

This consists of 24 credit points made up of an Empirical Research Thesis (12 credit points, which accounts for 60% of the total mark) and four coursework units, two of which are compulsory.

Empirical Thesis - Allocation of Supervisors

The empirical thesis is completed under the supervision of a staff member.

In the application process, applicants are required to list three areas of interest for the empirical thesis. A range of interests is required in order to maximize the chances of working in an area of choice. The department endeavours to match as closely as possible, a student's interests with those of a member of staff. Academic staff are not able to commit to supervise an individual student. This is part of the allocation process.


  • the program can only be commenced at the beginning of first semester;
  • it is not available by external study. Students are required to attend classes;  
  • it requires one year of full-time study or (by special permission) two years of part-time study;
  • students enrolling full-time are advised not to take on extensive part-time work commitments as the Honours program makes far greater demands on time throughout the year than does the undergraduate program. A change in status from full-time to part-time candidature is unlikely to be approved after the first few months of the course.

How To Apply

All students enrolled in BPsych(Hons) or combinations are still required to complete the Application Form and the Research Form, where three different areas/topics of interest are required.


The following areas or topics have been nominated by the staff as potential areas of Honours projects. (Note that not all areas listed will have supervisors available in any one year.)

Topics in Social Psychology and Personality

  • non-verbal communication
  • disgust
  • close relationships
  • emotions
  • evolutionary psychology
  • evolutionary psychology (mate choice)
  • repression, suppression and forgetting
  • self-control and regulation
  • social comparison processes
  • stigmatisation
  • hypnosis and personality
  • forgiveness
  • personality styles with limited empathy
  • processes of emotional regulation
  • attachment style
  • interpersonal rejection
  • aggressive behaviour
  • personality styles linked with aggression
  • schizotypal personality traits
  • personality and creativity
  • personality and culture
  • achievement and success

Topics in Psychological Health, Pathology and Change, including

  • anxiety, depression, sexual disorders and body image in both adults and young people
  • mood disorders
  • mechanisms of trauma/stress and anxiety disorders
  • social anxiety
  • obesity
  • delusion proneness
  • clinical psychology
  • coping with illness
  • influence of coping styles on health related behaviours
  • coping and problem solving
  • autism, Williams syndrome, Down syndrome
  • alcohol problems in university students
  • psychological correlates and outcomes of organic disease
  • psychometric studies
  • early maladaptive schemas
  • responses to genetic risk information
  • factors linked with genetic testing interest
  • factors associated with illness prevention
  • attitudes towards physical differences resulting from illness
  • the role of anticipated affect in health behaviours
  • successful ageing, midlife development, and the application of positive psychology constructs such as optimism, social support, self-compassion, hope and proactive coping to adult development and ageing

Topics in Cognitive Psychology, including

  • repetition blindness
  • attentional blink
  • comprehending briefly presented stimuli
  • attentional shifts
  • priming (repetition priming, semantic priming, masked priming)
  • reading and language in children and adults
  • effects of non-speech training
  • face processing in the brain
  • links between music and language
  • impairments of music and rhythm
  • emotional effects of music
  • reading and reading disorders
  • social cognition and theory of mind
  • the face as a signalling system
  • complex human cognition and decision making
  • cognitive foundations of religion
  • synesthesia
  • mindfulness
  • attention training
  • optimism
  • autobiographical memory and collective memory
  • hypnosis and cognitive illusions
  • bilingualism
  • subliminal perception
  • perception and action
  • human reasoning
  • decision making
  • word recognition and letter perception
  • the use of gesture by children and adults
  • concept learning by children and adults
  • psychology of language
  • neurolinguistics
  • attention and speed of processing
  • relationship between the attentional blink and developmental dyslexia
  • cognitive lateralisation
  • theory of mind
  • philosophy of cognitive science, perceptual and social cognition
  • perception of animacy, mindreading and modularity
  • art and its appreciation
  • delusions and hallucination

Topics in Organisational Psychology, including

  • training
  • Organisational and management trust and personality
  • Organisational culture
  • leadership
  • performance
  • workplace creativity, innovation and problem-solving
  • competency beliefs and early work experiences
  • decision support systems
  • communication
  • Incivility
  • Interpersonal Mistreatment in the Workplace
  • Adjustment to Change at Work
  • attitudes to older people at work
  • Psychological resilience in the workplace and resilience training
  • pro-social organisational dissent
  • Occupational stress and situational appraisal
  • Goal setting and action planning

Topics in Neuropsychology, including 

  • sports concussion
  • assessment of deception
  • divided attention and brain impairment
  • language impairments

Topics in the applications of Learning, including

  • self-control and regulation
  • driver distraction
  • risk taking and driving

Topics in Perception, including

  • Perception in general
  • Visual Perception
  • visual illusions and/or aftereffects
  • motion perception
  • 3-D vision
  • perceptual learning
  • olfaction
  • applied perception
  • human spatial memory
  • Perception of Body Size/Shape
  • Face Perception & Recognition
  • Orientation perception
  • Space perception
  • Spatial vision

Topics in Developmental Psychology, including

  • bullying and victimisation
  • gender development
  • moral development
  • child sexual abuse
  • child witnesses
  • disclosure processes
  • Psychological adjustment to pregnancy and early parenthood
  • child bearing intentions and fertility issues
  • parent-child relationships
  • Infant and child development and behaviour: Infancy to five years
  • the use of gesture by children and adults
  • concept learning by children and adults

Measurement Issues in Psychology, including

  • psychological assessment
  • intelligence

Topics in Psychobiology, including

  • eating and drinking
  • animal models of addiction
  • animal models of anxiety and memory disorders

The Selection Process

Decisions are made in the second week of December and students are allocated to supervisors thereafter. All successful applicants will be advised and are expected to attend a meeting to be briefed on the coming year - this meeting is normally held in the 2nd or 3rd week of December.

General Honours Enquiries: ask@mq.edu.au

Please use heading 'Psychology Honours 4th Year'

For Academic Advice

Ms Donna Keeley
(Undergraduate Services Administrator)
C3A Level 3
Telephone: (02) 9850 8113
email: donna.keeley@mq.edu.au  

(Contact Donna to arrange an appointment time.  Consultation times are:
Mon, Wed and Thurs: 11am-12pm
Tues:10am 11am

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