Doctor of Psychology (Health)

Course summary for current students

Year2018 course information
Award granted Doctor of Psychology (Health)

4 years full time

CRICOS course code040946G
Deakin course codeH953

Offered to continuing students only

Course sub-headings

Course overview

The Doctor of Psychology (Health) provides you with the opportunity to obtain professional training in health psychology and develop the academic, practical and research skills required to register and practise as a health psychologist. After successfully completing this course you will be qualified for employment as a psychologist in any area of health psychology, including clinical health and health promotion.

Throughout the course, you will develop:

  1. specialist knowledge of health psychology as well as the general knowledge and skills required by psychological practitioners;
  2. advanced knowledge and practical experience in the areas of health promotion and preventative health strategies;
  3. knowledge and competence in the theory and practice of psychological assessment relevant to health psychology;
  4. knowledge and awareness of the ethical principles of psychological practice, and in particular in relation to health psychology; and
  5. advanced levels of competence in the design and conduct of research through completion of a major thesis.

The course is based on the scientist/professional model: before engaging in any clinical intervention, prevention or health promotion strategy it is essential to evaluate the present situation and set appropriate goals that can also be evaluated. The evaluation and definition of the presenting situation is followed by the formulation of the goals of the intervention or health promotion strategy, an assessment of the approach most appropriate to achieve these goals, implementation of the chosen strategies, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the chosen approach in achieving the stated goals. From this major thrust, students will be equipped with a range of different therapeutic interventions and health promotion strategies, with an emphasis on research findings that relate to the effectiveness of different interventions and strategies across different problems and areas of need.

The units in the program have been developed so that they provide the input to achieve the general aims of any health psychology program, that is, the development of skills in the areas of health promotion and prevention, together with relevant diagnostic, assessment, intervention and evaluation skills. In-depth coverage will be achieved in the third year units to provide an understanding of issues related to health promotion and preventative health strategies and extended placements will be undertaken in agencies specialising in these areas. Students will design, undertake and present a major thesis reporting the results of a piece of original research of appropriate quality on a relevant topic. As part of their thesis requirements, students also complete a professional portfolio which is examined externally and is based on cases from their placement.

Professional recognition

The course has been accredited by the Australian Psychological Accreditation Council (APAC) and meets the requirements for graduates to register as generalist psychologists with the Psychology Board of Australia, and for membership of the Australian Psychological Society (APS). Graduates will be eligible to apply for membership of the College of Health Psychologists and endorsement as a Health Psychologist following one year of work experience supervised by a health psychologist, together with completion of stipulated professional development requirements.

Note: This course is currently accredited as at the date of publishing. The eligibility of students for membership of the accrediting body is subject to meeting the requirements of the APS and College of Health Psychologists. Deakin University makes no representation that students will meet those requirements.

Placement program

Your placement program will be worked out jointly by you, the placement coordinator and the practitioners supervising the placements. The placements are designed to equip you with a range of professional skills and to develop an awareness of professional issues. You will have placements in a range of community, hospital and health promotion settings. Contracts will be drawn up that will clearly specify the skills to be mastered, your responsibilities and the responsibilities of the placement supervisor. Placement supervisors are registered and endorsed psychologists, eligible for membership of the College of Health Psychologists. Each placement requires completion of the full complement of days and failure of any one placement may result in exclusion from the course.

Course rules

The course consists of 24 credit points of work covering three interrelated strands: theory, research and practice.

Course structure

Level 1

Trimester 1

HPS914Studies in Psychopathology

HPS977Psychological Intervention 1

HPS976Issues in Professional Psychology

HPS979Psychological Assessment

Trimester 2

HPS907Advanced and Applied Research Methods

HPS924Research Thesis A

HPS937     Health Placement 1 and Case Analysis Seminar 1 - last offered 2015

HPS978Biological and Neuropsychological Perspectives on Disorder

Level 2

Trimester 1

HPS925Research Thesis B

HPS951    Advanced Health Assessment - last offered 2015

HPS938    Health Placement and Case Analysis 2 - last offered 2015

HPS939    Health Care Interventions - last offered 2014

Trimester 2

HPS926Research Thesis C

HPS940    Health Placement and Case Analysis 3 - last offered 2015

HPS941    Psychosocial Issues in Health - last offered 2015


Level 3

Trimester 1

HPS927Research Thesis D

HPS946Health Placement and Case Analysis 4

HPS947      Health Promotion Psychology

Trimester 2

HPS942Health Placement 5

HPS928Research Thesis E

Note: All coursework units have a hurdle requirement of 80% attendance. A pass grade in a unit requires satisfactory completion of each component assessed.