UP Psychology

UP Psychology

The Department of Psychology at the University of Pretoria has a long history, having been in existence for almost as long as the University itself.  We are proud to provide excellent training of psychologists and currently offer three professional programmes that lead to registration as a psychologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).  Overall, the department has a yearly intake of about 3 000 undergraduate students from first to third year, 70 honours students and 18 master’s students for the professional courses.

Delivering high quality research output and demonstrating scholarly excellence are central foci of the department. The professional programmes also emphasise the scientist-practitioner model and we strive to balance the development of psychotherapeutic skills with scholarly adeptness and scientific rigour.

We are aware of the South African multicultural context and the need to train psychologists to deliver services to all levels of society and in diverse communities. Therefore, we strive to be sensitive to the psychological needs and realities of individuals, groups and communities in all spheres of society.  The Department of Psychology also strives to collaborate across departments and universities to support multidisciplinary engagement in order to promote the broad  understanding of human behaviour, thought and emotion.

We are actively seeking out opportunities to collaborate on an international level and several staff members have established research and teaching agreements with universities abroad. Our international focus has recently been strengthened through the appointment of a number of international scholars as extra-ordinary professors.

We would like to welcome you to a vibrant and forward-looking Department of Psychology, firmly rooted in Africa, with a passion for delivering students who will have cutting-edge psychological knowledge and skills relevant to the South African context,  yet  who are also informed of international trends and best practices in the field of psychology.

Undergraduate Programme & Modules

Departmental enquiries can be emailed to psych.info@up.ac.za
There are no specific prerequisite school subjects before applying for the BA, but you need an AP-Score of 30 for the BA General programme. Please consult the links below for the different admission scores needed.
Students who want to major in Psychology at postgraduate level could start with any one of the following degrees (should they comply and get admitted into the programme):
–  BA General
–  BSc Human Physiology, Genetics and Psychology
–  BA Law or Bachelor in Social Work
–  Criminology (as an elective module)
–  BA Human Movement Science
Applicants should adhere to the admission requirements as stipulated by theUniversity of Pretoria and qualify for admission to the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.
Prerequisites for the Postgraduate Programmes
For information on our Honours and Masters programmes, please follow the links on the left.
To prevent plagiarism, all proposals have to be submitted to your supervisor and the committee, together with a TunItIn report.  For more information, please contact your supervisor.
Undergraduate Modules

If you are interested in making psychology your main focus of study, you can for instance register for a BA (own choice) with Psychology as major subject. Ensure that the degree programme you choose allows you to complete Psychology in all three undergraduate years of study.

The following modules are on offer in the different year levels and you can register for them at any point during your years of study, except if prerequisites prevent you from doing this. You can take one or all of the modules presented in each year level, or take only those modules prescribed by your training programme.

First-year Level
24 credits (12 credits each for SLK 110 & SLK 120) 
SLK 110 – Psychological Perspectives and Personology
This module is a general orientation to psychology. An introduction is given to various theoretical approaches in psychology and the development of psychology as a science is discussed. Selected themes from everyday life are explored and integrated with psychological principles. The module also focuses on major personality theories. An introduction is given to the various paradigmatic approaches in psychology.
SLK 120 – Biological and Cognitive Processes
This module introduces the student to a basic knowledge and understanding of the biological and cognitive basis of human behaviour. The module addresses the key concepts and terminology related to the biological and cognitive subsystems, the rules and principles guiding biological psychology, and identification of the interrelatedness of different biological systems and subsystems. Various cognitive processes are studied, including perception, memory, thinking, intelligence and creativity. Illustrations are given of various thinking processes, such as problem solving, critical, analytic and integrative thinking.
Second-year Level
40 credits (20 credits each for SLK 210 & SLK 220)
SLK 210 – Developmental Psychology
In this module human development from conception through adolescence and adulthood is discussed with reference to various psychological theories. Incorporated are the developmental changes related to cognitive, physical, emotional and social functioning of the individual and the context of work. Traditional and contemporary theories of human development and explaining and describing of these stages are studied in order to address the key issues related to development across the lifespan.
SLK 220 – Social Psychology
This module is a social-psychological perspective on interpersonal and group processes. Themes that are covered include communication, pro-social behaviour, social influence and persuasion, political transformation, violence and group behaviour.
Third-year Level
60 credits (30 credits each for SLK 310 & SLK 320)
SLK 310 – Psychopathology
This module deals with the identification of abnormal behaviour in children based on knowledge of normal childhood development. It offers an introduction to the study of various models pertaining to abnormal behaviour and the understanding and application of basic concepts in child psychopathology.  This module also provides an introduction to psychopathology and symptomatology of adult abnormal behaviour. Terminology, definitions of abnormal behaviour, problems in diagnosis, labelling and myths regarding abnormal behaviour are discussed. Neurosis as a specific mental disorder is studied critically from a multidimensional perspective, including intra-psychic, interpersonal and social-cultural explanations. 
SLK 320 – Community and Critical Psychology
This module deals with a community psychological perspective on human behaviour and psychological interventions. The module focuses on themes such as definitions of key concepts, principles and aims of community psychology and the role of the community psychologist. The application of these principles within the South African society, social change and psychological problems are investigated from a cross-cultural perspective.  This module also critically explores the contribution of various perspectives in psychology. The impact of earlier theoretical frameworks on contemporary perspectives and the implications of these ideas for practical initiatives focusing on mental health in communities are discussed. All modules on year levels 1-3 are presented full-time in both Afrikaans and English. At present, no telematic training is offered, although computer-based testing is possible for all modules.
Compulsory Research Modules
Should you wish to apply for the BSocSci Honours in Psychology programme you will need to take a research module up to your third year level.  UP students need to register for the RES 210 (2nd year) and RES 320 (3rd year) to be able to apply for the honours in psychology.
RES 210 – Social Research:  Introductory Methodology
The module introduces methods of inquiry in the social sciences and humanities.  The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the research process in order to equip them with the necessary compentence to:
  • identify social problems, formulate research questions and hypotheses
  • have a basic understanding of writing the literature review and research proposal
  • know and select relevantmethods of inquiry
  • be aware of the necessity of conducting ethically sound research; and
  • interpret and present data graphically
RES 320 – Social Research:  Methodological Thinking
The module addresses assumptions and processes underpinning methodological choices in the social sciences and humanities.  The purpose of this module is to equip students with the necessary competence to:
  • understand ontological and epistemological debates
  • identify different approaches to research in the social sciences and humanities
  • discuss basic statistical decision-making and analyses; and
  • describe elementary principles of qualitative data analysis

Postgraduate Programmes

BSocSci Honours in Psychology
Professional Master’s Clinical, Counselling & Research Psychology
Academic MA & PhD

Honours Programme (Full-time)

Applications are OPEN and will CLOSE 30 September 2018 for the 2019 intake – NO late applications will be accepted and there is no Departmental Application Form for the Honours Programme
The BSocSci Honours in Psychology programme provides advanced academic and research training in Psychology, equipping students to proceed with the Master’s programmes in any of the structured (professional) or academic programmes, transfer their skills to a variety of work contexts and contribute to society.
In order to apply for the BSocSci Honours (Psychology), students should have a first degree in Psychology as a major or core component and above average marks (70% and above).  Academic achievement is the only criterion for selection to the Honours programme at the University of Pretoria.
Application Process
All prospective students need to apply to the University of Pretoria for admission via www.up.ac.za/apply and current UP students need to apply through their Student Centre’s via the Internal Application link.  There is no departmental application form to complete for this programme.
Duration of Study
The programme is presented full-time for one year. Classes will only be presented during day-time and class attendance is compulsory.  English will be the only medium of instruction.
Programme Content (Modules)
Students can apply for selection for professional or academic training at master’s level with any of the following honours modules:
SLK 751:  Theories and Paradigms in Psychology (compulsory)
In this module, five dominant paradigms in psychology – (neo) behaviouristic, (neuro) cognitivist, psycho-analytic, humanist and eco-systemic – and typical theories emanating from these paradigms, are discussed. The philosophical underpinnings of these paradigms and theories are explored, specifically with reference to modernism and postmodernism. Emphasis is then placed on the praxis of quantitative and qualitative theory-building against the background of the five dominant paradigms.
SLK 761:  Research Essay (compulsory)
The research essay for BSocSci Honours in Psychology constitutes an integrated assessment of all learning offered for this learning programme.  Students will be required to write a research essay on an approved topic in the specific context selected as an elective component.
SLK 764:  Research Methodology (compulsory)
The focus is on knowledge and skills necessary to understand the empirical research process as applied in psychology. The following aspects are included: theoretical and epistemological assumptions in psychological research, problem and hypothesis formulation, basics of measurement, control in research, threats to validity and research designs. The module also incorporates statistical methods applicable in research as well as skills necessary to analyse qualitative data. All of which is aimed at providing students with greater skills within the realm of research.
SLK 752:  Social Psychology
Selected themes are explored, including inter alia social cognition, attitudes, persuasive communication and social influence, etc., as well as the role of culture in human behaviour.  These themes are applied to problems in the contemporary South African scene.
SLK 753:  Community Psychology
The module focuses on the nature of community psychology, theoretical approaches, community settings, consultation, interventions and the design and management of effective programmes.  It includes the planning, coordination and facilitation of workshops, as well as a practical component based in the community.
SLK 755:  Psychological Assessment
This is a theoretical module that deals with the process of assessment of human behaviour within various contexts.  It does not include professional training to become a psychometrist.  It does include topics such as the multi-dimensional nature, purpose and characteristics of assessment; critical issues in psychological assessment within the South African context; the reasons for statutory control of psychological assessment and the ethics of assessment; the appropriate use of different kinds of psychometric and assessment methods and instruments; and the process of integration of assessment results and report writing.
SLK 756:  Psychopathology
The module deals with abnormal behaviour and symptomatology related to various mental disorders, including intra-psychic, interpersonal and socio-cultural dysfunctions and pathology.  The DSM IV classification system, as well as a multi-dimensional perspective, is discussed critically with regard to specific disorders.
SLK 760:  Neuropsychology
The module examines brain-behaviour relationships with the aim of understanding the components of complex psychological processes.  Various neuropsychological assessment techniques are also introduced.
SLK 762:  Cognitive Psychology
This module addresses the intermediate, well-formed and systematic knowledge and understanding of cognitive processes in order to provide evidence-based solutions for topical issues related to cognitive psychology. The module involves, inter alia, the evaluation of current scholarly debates and discourses in cognitive psychology, analysis of contemporary contexts, and a critical evaluation of topical issues related to cognitive functioning.
South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA):
All international students need to have their qualifications evaluated by SAQA, before applying to the University of Pretoria for any of the programmes on postgraduate level.  Please go to www.saqa.org.za for more information.
Professional Master’s (Clinical, Counselling & Research Psychology
Applications are now OPEN and will CLOSE on 31 May 2018 for the 2019 intake. NO late applications will be accepted.
The Department offers three directed MA courses. Admittance to any one of these courses depends on a selection process. Further information can be obtained from www.up.ac.za/psychology (click on the relevant image below the HODs message).  An application can only be submitted for one of the three courses.
Prospective students need to complete both the UP application for admission at www.up.ac.za/apply and the Departmental Application Package, and current UP students need to complete the internal application on their Student Centre’s as well as the Departmental Application Package.
Requirements to apply to ONE of the three courses:
Minimum average of 65% (honours in psychology) and practical experience in the field of psychology
Information with regards to International (non-South-African) students:
International students are encouraged to apply for our academic MA or PhD. These degrees entail completing a dissertation or thesis on a topic approved by the department (more information below).  Unfortunately, due to difficulties with allowing international students to do community service and/or internships for the purpose of registering as psychologists in South Africa, we do not accept applications for the Clinical, Counselling or Research MA professional degrees.
Academic Master’s & PhD Programmes
Applications for the 2019 intake are now OPEN and will CLOSE on 30 September 2018
For the MA (Psychology) degree students are required to have an honours degree with a minimum of 60% average mark, or honours status (to be awarded based on the merit of individual applicants) before registration for this degree can proceed. The master’s degree is awarded upon successful completion of a full-length dissertation. The maximum period for completion of a masters degree is four years.
For the doctoral degree, DPhil or PhD (Psychology), students are required to have a recognised masters degree in Psychology with a minimum mark of 65% for the research component of the degree. The doctoral degree is awarded upon successful completion of a full-length thesis and oral defence of the thesis. The maximum period for completion of a doctoral degree is five years.
Application Process
All prospective students need to apply to the University of Pretoria for admission at www.up.ac.za/apply and current UP students need to apply through their Student Centre’s via the Internal Application link.  Thereafter the departmental application form, concept proposal, checklist etc. should be completed available at www.up.ac.za/psychology (click on the relevant image below the HOD’s message)
Refer to the link on the left “Ethics & Research: MA & PhDfor all the information related to these programmes.

Registration Categories for Psychologists

Department of Psychology (Faculty of Humanities, Main Campus):
Clinical psychologists assess, diagnose, and intervene in order to alleviate or contain relatively serious forms of psychological distress and psychopathology, or what is commonly referred to as “abnormal” behaviour.
Counselling psychologists assist relatively well-adjusted people in dealing with normal problems of life concerning all stages and aspects of a person’s existence in order to facilitate desirable psychological adjustment, growth, and maturity.
Research psychologists address any of the above professional categories, not to render services to the public in that field, but to apply research methods and techniques in order to contribute to the knowledge base of that particular field.
Department of Educational Psychology (Faculty of Education, Groenkloof Campus):
Educational psychologists assess, diagnose and intervene in order to facilitate the psychological adjustment and development of children and adolescents within the contexts of family, school, social or peer groups and communities.
Department of Human Resource Management (Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences):
Industrial psychologists apply the principles of psychology to issues related to the work situation of relatively well-adjusted adults in order to optimise individual, group and organisational well-being and effectiveness.
Health Professions Council of South Africa:
For more information and to look up additional categories please click here