Students’ experience of the psychology fourth year in Australia


  • Frances H. Martin University of Newcastle
  • Jacquelyn Cranney
  • Kandice Varcin


In Australia, the fourth year program, usually an Honours year, in psychology incorporates training in scientific methodology in the form of a thesis and training in applied topics relevant to professional psychology in the form of coursework. Little research has been conducted investigating the fourth year experience in psychology, or indeed in any discipline in Australia. Current pressures on the fourth year model indicated a necessity to investigate the view of students on their fourth year experience. Two surveys were conducted over a two year period, in which the views of fourth year students were collected regarding their views of the fourth year experience and of their attainment of psychology graduate attributes. Fourth year students generally enjoyed the experience and perceived themselves to have attained the graduate attributes required. Overall fourth year students found the fourth year experience valuable but were more satisfied with their research experience than with their development of skills required in professional psychology or with their understanding of the application of psychology suggesting a desire for more skills training and application of psychological principles to be incorporated into fourth year psychology programs.