Doctor of Psychology (Health)

Course summary for international students

Award granted Doctor of Psychology (Health)
CampusOffered at Burwood (Melbourne)
Cloud (online)No
Length3 years full time
Next available intake

March (Trimester 1)

LevelHigher Degree Research
CRICOS course code040946G
IELTS Requirement

Overall IELTS score of 7.0, with no band less than 6.5. More information is available at

Deakin course code H953
Faculty contactsDeakin International
Tel +61 3 9627 4877
Online enquiry

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.

Fees and charges

Fee paying place - International (IFP)
A fee paying place is one for which the University does not receive any government funding. As such, students enrolled in these places are required to contribute the full cost of their course.

Fees for international students apply to persons living in Australia with Temporary Resident status, provided that there is no limitation on study and persons living abroad who are not Australian citizens and do not have Permanent Resident status in Australia.

Equivalent Full Time Student Load (EFTSL)
EFTSL is the standard annual full time load. Eight credit points is the standard full time load for one year of study.

* The 'indicative annual course fee' cited has been provided as a guide only. It has been calculated on the basis of a typical enrolment of a student undertaking the course in 2015, and reflects the cost involved in undertaking a full-time quota of units within the specified discipline.
The actual fees charged by Deakin University will depend upon the discipline from which each individual unit is chosen, and may vary from the indicative course fee cited, particularly if units are chosen from a number of disciplines. The cost of each unit offered in 2015 can be viewed from the Unit Search.
Please note that the fees per unit/credit point may increase annually due to rises in the cost of course delivery and service.
Deakin assumes no responsibility for persons relying on 'indicative course fees' to calculate the total future cost of their course.

Career opportunities

Health psychologists are specialists in health behaviour change, and investigate the links between psychological and social factors, and physical health in order to improve health and prevent illness. Health psychologists may work in two main areas – health promotion, which involves the prevention of illness and the promotion of health-related behaviour; and clinical health psychology which relates to the application of psychological principles to the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of illness.

As a health psychologist you may be involved in the promotion of positive health behaviours aimed at reducing risk factors associated with chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. You may work with other health professionals and provide advice regarding the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that contribute to ill health and how these can be altered, and design public health programs focused on behavioural change related to exercise, smoking, drug and alcohol consumption, and cancer prevention.

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

HPS937Health Placement and Case Analysis 1

HPS978Biological and Neuropsychological Perspectives on Disorder

Level 2

Trimester 1

HPS925Research Thesis B

HPS951Advanced Health Assessment

HPS938Health Placement and Case Analysis 2

Trimester 2

HPS926Research Thesis C

HPS940Health Placement and Case Analysis 3

HPS941Psychosocial Issues in Health

HPS939Unit description is currently unavailable

Level 3

Trimester 1

HPS927Research Thesis D

HPS946Health Placement and Case Analysis 4

HPS947Health 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.

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.

Entry requirements - general

The minimum qualification for admission as a candidate for a degree of doctor is a degree of bachelor with honours or a degree of master with a substantial research component, from a recognised tertiary institution, in a field relevant to the program which the applicant proposes to undertake and for which the University can provide the required supervisory expertise.

See entry pathways to research degrees for detailed information on demonstrating your research ability and eligibility criteria.  International students must also meet the English language requirements.

How to apply

Tracking your application
If you have already applied and wish to enquire about your application please refer to the relevant area through which you originally applied.

  • If you applied through a Deakin representative please contact your representative.
  • If you applied through a Deakin International office please contact