Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Psychology (Health) Mid-Year Entry

The Doctor of Philosophy / Master of Psychology (Health) combined program provides exceptional students with an opportunity to complete both a PhD and a Master of Psychology (Health) over four years of concurrent course work and research.

The PhD is the University's flagship research award and is the standard pre-requisite for a career in research or academia, whilst the Master of Psychology (Health) will provide graduates with the tertiary-level education required to be eligible for registration as a Psychologist and eligibility for membership of the Australian Psychological Society's (APS) College of Health Psychologists.

As one of the most highly research-intensive and respected universities in Australia and a member of the prestigious Group of Eight, The University of Adelaide is a wise choice for your research and studies. The University is committed to providing unique opportunities for graduates and researchers who are recognised as worldwide leaders for their vision and capacity to address global research and professional challenges.

All research students at the University have the opportunity to broaden their research experience by choosing from amongst the extensive range of Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST) programs on offer.

Please note that this program is not available to international students

  • Careers

    Career Readiness

    Graduates of the Doctor of Philosophy / Master of Psychology (Health) program will be well-equipped to enter a range of professions.

    Achievement of a PhD is a demonstration of a graduate’s ability to conceptualise and implement an independent program of research, manage a project, organise resources, work with other people and communicate effectively both orally and in writing at a high level. Accordingly, many career opportunities are available to PhD graduates. The traditional pathways are to research and academic careers, however, increasingly, graduates progress into other professional areas, including management.

    In addition, as qualified Health Psychologists, graduates will be equipped to understand the relationships between psychological factors and health and illness. Health Psychologists practice in two main areas: health promotion and clinical health.

    Health promotion

    • Development and provision of programs that assist with the prevention of illnesses such as heart attacks, stroke, cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, smoking-related-illness and dietary-related problems.
    • Linking up with other health professionals to understand what behaviours might be contributing to illness and how they might be changed e.g. understanding why some people overeat or eat a high-fat diet.
    • Identifying how behaviour is linked with the development of disease and injury.
    • Designing public health education programs in areas such as exercise and alcohol, cigarette and drug consumption e.g. 'SunSmart', 'Life. Be in it'.
    • Determining the distribution of disease and the health needs of communities within Australia.
    • Working with community members to improve their health.

    Clinical health

    • Developing therapy and education programs to help people cope with health issues such as weight management, cancer and heart health.
    • Using psychological treatment for problems that often accompany ill health and injury, such as anxiety, depression, pain, addiction, sleep and eating problems.
    • Understanding how psychological factors such as stress, depression and anxiety might be contributing to illness.
    • Helping people with the self-management of chronic illness.
    • Understanding how people cope with diagnosis and medical treatment of acute health problems and how they obtain medical care.
    • Understanding how people cope with terminal illness, including the impact of grief, bereavement, death and dying.
    • Identifying how the relationship between health professionals, such as doctors, nurses and psychologists, and their patients can influence how well they recover from illness and injury.
    • Helping people cope with trauma, disability and rehabilitation

    The University of Adelaide Careers Service prepares, inspires and empowers students to achieve successful career transitions and connect with industry.

    Graduate Attributes

    The objective of this program is to produce graduates with specific attributes as outlined in University of Adelaide Graduate Attributes.
    1. Deep discipline knowledge
    2. Critical thinking and problem solving
    3. Teamwork and communication skills
    4. Career and leadership readiness
    5. Intercultural and ethical competency
    6. Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Professional Accreditation

    This program provides graduates with the tertiary-level education required to be eligible for registration with the Psychology Board of Australia and after a period of supervised registrar practice, membership of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) College of Health Psychologists and endorsement by the PBA as a health psychologist.

    Potential careers

    Research Manager, Health Psychologist

  • Degree Structure

    The Doctor of Philosophy / Master of Psychology (Health) comprises an independent, supervised research project that is mutually agreed upon by the student, their supervisors and Head of School, together with compulsory courses to the value of 30 units, including three eighteen week periods (of 5 half-days per week or equivalent) of placement in different institutions or organisations offering psychological services approved by the Head of the School of Psychology. Coursework and placement details are as stipulated in the academic program rules for the degree.

    The research project requires the development and implementation of a rigorous research plan, based on a comprehensive understanding of the relevant literature and the need for answers to questions posed in that literature or as a result of a new theory.

    As you progress through the research component of your degree, you will complete a number of key milestones which will assist both you and the University to assess your progress and ensure that you are on track to complete in a timely manner.

    Award of the degree requires completion of all coursework and placements to the satisfaction of your School prior to the submission of a research thesis for examination.

    Your thesis will be examined by no fewer than two external expert examiners of international standing. Acceptable thesis formats include a conventional written narrative, publications, combination of both a major creative work plus exegesis. In all cases, examiners assess the thesis on a number of key criteria including its capacity to make a significant and original contribution to knowledge in the chosen field of research.

    Students who satisfactorily complete all program requirements to the satisfaction of the University will be awarded the combined degree of Doctor of Philosophy / Master of Psychology (Health). 

    Admission Requirements

    A successful application to a Doctor of Philosophy / Master of Psychology (Health) program involves a number of considerations:

    Academic background and Experience

    Selection for this program is highly competitive; an applicant must demonstrate that they have sufficient background and experience in independent supervised research and Psychology to successfully complete both a PhD and a Master of Psychology (Health) as detailed in the academic program rules.

    In general terms, entry is available to graduates with a First Class Honours degree in Psychology, or a program recognised by the University of Adelaide as an equivalent award and is subject to referee reports and a structured interview conducted by a panel.

    English Language Proficiency Requirement

    As English is the language of instruction at the University of Adelaide, all applicants must provide evidence of their proficiency before an offer of a place is made.

    Availability of supervision and resourcing

    In addition to the academic requirements, the Head of School must certify that your proposed research project is acceptable to the School and that there are sufficient supervisory and other resources and facilities available to enable your candidature to be completed successfully. Accordingly, discussing your research interests with your prospective supervisors/School is essential prior to submitting your PhD application.

    Fees for Domestic Students

    Eligible domestic students (including Australian citizens or permanent residents and New Zealand citizens) are covered by the Research Training Program (RTP) and are exempt from the payment of tuition fees. An RTP place is available for a maximum of 4 years of full time equivalent study for an eligible Doctorate student.

    Application process

    Students seeking entry to the combined program must apply through SATAC (as per the process for students seeking admission to the Master of Psychology (Health) only: and concurrently apply to the Adelaide Graduate Centre:
    Students will only be accepted into the combined program if they are made an offer to the Master of Psychology (Health) program first.


    The University of Adelaide offers a wide range of scholarships to assist domestic students with the cost of their studies. For information on the opportunities available, closing dates and how to apply go to:  

    Academic Program Rules

    The Calendar is a comprehensive handbook of the University's academic program rules.


    Coursework will be assessed by assignments and exams, placements are assessed from reports by the placement supervisor, and the PhD thesis will be examined externally by no fewer than two examiners of international standing in their field of research.
  • Related Degrees

  • Further Information

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.

Last updated: Monday, 21 Jun 2021