Should I pursue Psychology or Psychiatry?

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What is Psychology?

Psychology refers to the study and exploration of the mind and behaviour. The Psychology discipline encompasses all aspects of the human experience, from brain processes to acts, from child developments to aged care. The American Psychological Association (APA) remarks “the understanding of behaviour” as the endeavour of Psychologists in every conceivable scenario including scientific research centres to mental healthcare services. 

A Psychologist is a qualified professional who supports people with appropriate coping strategies for their mental health. Psychologists work hard to understand their patients’ emotional and cognitive processes in order to aid them through various mental health difficulties. Psychologists often recognise emotional patterns, diagnose specific problems, refer patients, and decide the best treatment approaches.

Psychology is an important field in society consequent with the rise of the importance of mental health and well-being. The Psychology field offers new perspectives on human development through research and observation. It helps in answering questions relating to the human mind subsequently improving mental health standards for the community at large.

What is Psychiatry?

Psychiatry is a specialisation under the medical field centering on diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioural conditions or disorders. The Psychiatry field has been one of the most significant branches of medicine with ongoing developments especially with the advent of neuroscience.

A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor qualified to assess, diagnose, conduct medical tests, as well as form individualised treatment which include prescribing medicine, for mental, emotional, and behavioural conditions and disorders. Through performing medical or psychological tests combined with discussion on symptoms, medical and family history, Psychiatrists determine a diagnosis. Additionally, Psychiatrists refer to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) to diagnose these mental health conditions.

Psychiatry is a crucial field in society because Psychiatrists are the medical doctors responsible for helping patients with their debilitating psychological conditions. Psychiatrists help with providing treatments as well as reducing the stigma on mental illnesses. Although mental or behavioural disorders may not always be as obvious as physical ailments, such as a fractured bone, the reality is, mental and behavioural health issues should not be overlooked to properly heal patients.

Psychology vs Psychiatry

Both Psychology and Psychiatry are rewarding, respected, and vital professions that benefit the wider community in the long run. A simple way to distinguish Psychology and Psychiatry is that Psychiatrists are trained in both medicine and mental health, while Psychologists focus solely on mental health.

Psychology

Description

Psychiatry

Those pursuing Psychology have the chance to have careers including Clinical Psychologist, Counselling Psychologist, Education Mental Health Practitioner, Forensic Psychologist, Sport & Exercise Psychologist.

Career Options

Those pursuing Psychiatry have the chance to have careers including Addiction Psychiatrist, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Geriatric Psychiatrist, Emergency Psychiatrist, Organisational psychiatrist.

Psychology focuses on helping others improve their current situation. It investigates how and why the mind influences behaviour. 

Career Scope

Psychiatry specialises with treating and assessing a patient’s psychological behavioural patterns. Practitioners are trained to fulfil the needs of those who have underlying neurological imbalances.

Registered Psychologists have completed at least six years of academic training and supervised practice.

They may also have a Masters or Doctorate degree in Psychology. A Psychologist can use the title ‘Dr’ if they have a Doctorate (PhD), but they are not medical doctors.  

Education & Training

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have completed at least 11 years of training. They will need to pursue a medical degree then spend at least one or two years training as a general practitioner. Afterwards, they will train in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses.

Psychologists assist clients in dealing with issues ranging from temporary difficulties to serious and continuing emotional and behavioural disorders.

Patient Care

Psychiatrists diagnose their patients, propose appropriate treatment approaches such as medication and therapy, and have authority to admit their patients if necessary.

Can specialise in a variety of issues and have received training in several styles of therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). 

Specialisations

Can specialise in a variety of areas, including child and adolescent Psychiatry, sleep medicine, or addiction medicine.

General Entry Requirements to study Psychology in Australia

Academic Entry

Academic entry

Minimum Score

STPM

5

Matriculation

CGPA 3.50

A-Levels

5

UEC

1

IB Diploma

24

Australian Matriculation (ATAR)

70

Canadian Pre-University (CPU)

60

Note: Universities may have different requirements. To learn more, get in touch with us!

English Language Entry Requirements 

Entry Level

Minimum Score

IELTS

6.5

TOEFL

79

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

58

Note: Universities may have different English Language requirements. To learn more, get in touch with us!

General Entry Requirements to study Psychiatry in Australia

Academic Entry

Academic entry

Minimum Score

STPM

CGPA 3.33

Matriculation

CGPA 3.33

A-Levels

13

UEC

1

IB Diploma

34

Australian Matriculation (ATAR)

90

Canadian Pre-University (CPU)

85

Note: Universities may have different requirements. To learn more, get in touch with us!

English Language Entry Requirements 

Entry Level

Minimum Score

IELTS

7.0

TOEFL

94

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

65

Note: Universities may have different English Language requirements. To learn more, get in touch with us!

How to become a Registered Psychologist in Australia

After completion of relevant examinations and programmes, such as SPM, O-Levels or Equivalent and pre-university, you can enrol in a Bachelor of Psychology for a provisional registration, which is necessary for continuing with a supervised practice. Alternatively, you can also work after completion of a Bachelor in Psychology, though not as a registered psychologist in Australia.

With a provisional registration, you can choose to either continue with a 5+1 pathway programme, where you complete a five-year accredited education sequence with a one-year internship, or a higher degree pathway, where you would continue with an accredited postgraduate degree after a four-year undergraduate degree in Psychology.Then, you can apply for the general registration, which allows psychologists to work in any area of specialised Psychology and earn the ‘Psychologist’ title. These pathways and options have been simplified. For more detailed and further information, reach out to us!

How to become a Psychiatrist

After completion of relevant examinations, such as SPM, O-Levels, or equivalent and a pre-university programme, you study medicine and enrol in a medical degree for up to 4-6 years. You should also note that some programmes may require additional entry requirements including admission tests and interviews. For further information, reach out to us!

After completing your medical degree, you need to do job training in a hospital for a year. Then, you can enrol and complete specialist training in psychiatry with Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP). The training with RANZCP takes a minimum of five years, requires rotations in different areas of practice including child and adolescent, addiction, adult, forensic, Indigenous, old age and consultation Psychiatry, with supervision by a senior psychiatrist. The qualification from RANZCP allows for independent practice as a psychiatrist in Australia.

Universities to Study Psychology in Australia

1. University of New South Wales (UNSW)

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney was established in 1949 with four campus locations and seven faculties offering a broad range of programmes aimed to contribute to the advancement of society through academic excellence, social justice, and global engagement.

The Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) programme offered by UNSW is professionally accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC).  The programme has the options of choosing from a range of specialised electives. Enrolled students will also experience a supervised research project and the chance to participate in the UNSW Psychology Society (PsychSoc).

Programme Offered

Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)

Duration

4 Years

Intake

February

Indicative Fees (2024)

AU$ 218,880

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

2. University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide is a member of the prestigious Group of 8 (Go8), established in 1874 with four campuses in Australia. The University of Adelaide holds five pillars of excellence built on the notion of knowledge, innovation and collaboration to pursue meaningful change.

The Bachelor of Psychology offered by the University of Adelaide is professionally accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC). The programme also offers students the opportunity to experience a paid internship with The Academy by Deloitte reinforcing the goals of preparing graduates for careers that require problem-solving, critical thinking, and understanding of human behaviour.

Programme Offered

Bachelor of Psychology (Advanced)(Honours)

Duration

4 Years

Intake

February

Indicative Fees (2024)

AU$ 186,000

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

3. Griffith University

Griffith University, founded in 1975, has five campus locations in Australia. Griffith University has its mission set on becoming a leading university of influence and impact in Australia and across the Asia–Pacific by implementing progressive values and maintaining commitment in supporting the diverse cohorts of students, no matter their backgrounds.

The Bachelor of Psychology permits students with a comprehensive foundation on aspects relating to Psychology where students develop skills necessary to help other people. The Bachelor of Psychology under Griffith University also grants a research project and professional practice placement. Also, the programme is accredited by  the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC).

Programme Offered

Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)

Duration

4 Years

Intake

March, July, November

Indicative Fees (2024)

AU$ 134,000

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

4. Curtin University

Curtin University has nine campuses in total with their international campuses accommodating four faculties and fifteen schools that offer a wide range of programmes. Curtin holds values such as integrity, respect, courage, excellence, and impact, boasting a rich diversity of cultures in its students and staff, and a commitment to international engagement.

The Bachelor of Psychology offered at Curtin University is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) where upon graduation, graduates are eligible to apply for an associate membership of the Australian Psychological Society. The programme will also include a research project in the final year of studies intended to promote skill development in program evaluation, psychological assessment and counselling.

Programme Offered

Bachelor of Psychology

Duration

4 Years

Intake

February, July

Indicative Fees (2024)

AU$ 153,506

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

5. Murdoch University

Murdoch University, founded in 1973, has six campuses globally and six colleges offering a myriad of courses having features such as flexible study option, personalised education, industrial placements together with a conducive learning environment equipped with world-class facilities.

The Psychology programmes offered by Murdoch University is a graduate’s first step into becoming a registered psychologist because it is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC). Though, graduates might need to participate in an additional year of study to be able to apply for a provisional registration. Otherwise, there are employment options. For more information, do reach out to us.

Programme Offered

Duration

Intake

Indicative Fees (2024)

Bachelor of Science (Psychology)

3 Years

February, July

AU$ 105,480

Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)

3 Years

February, July

AU$ 105,480

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

Universities to Study Psychiatry in Australia

1. University of New South Wales (UNSW)

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney was established in 1949 with four campus locations and seven faculties offering a broad range of programmes aimed to contribute to the advancement of society through academic excellence, social justice, and global engagement.

The Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine programme is a combined undergraduate and postgraduate degree where graduates will have two degrees – the Bachelor of Medical Studies (BMed) and the Doctor of Medicine (MD). The programme implements practical training and scenario-based learning in a world-leading health, education, and research environment.

Programme Offered

Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine

Duration

6 Years

Intake

February

Indicative Fees (2024)

AU$ 524,160

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

2. University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide is a member of the prestigious Group of 8 (Go8), established in 1874 with four campuses in Australia. The University of Adelaide holds five pillars of excellence built on the notion of knowledge, innovation and collaboration to pursue meaningful change.

The Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) by the University of Adelaide consists of core elements of medical practice including scientific basis of medicine, clinical practice, and medical professional and personal development. The programme emphasises on professionalism, communication and clinical reasoning, as well as the practise of evidence-based and preventative medicine.

Programme Offered

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery

Duration

6 Years

Intake

February

Indicative Fees (2024)

AU$ 537,000

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

3. Monash University

Monash University is ranked top 50 globally with international campuses situated in Italy, Malaysia, India, and China, together with the Australian counterpart owning six campuses. Monash University holds the title of the largest university in Australia, offering flexible study options, broader education, and global network opportunities.

The five-year Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine (MD) by Monash University has a structure where the first two years are spent on campus and the latter three years are hospital and community based learning. The course unravels through themes of personal and professional development, population, society, health and Illness, scientific basis of clinical practice, and clinical skills.

Programme Offered

The Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine (MD)

Duration

5 Years

Intake

February

Indicative Fees (2024)

AU$ 461,000

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

4. University of Tasmania (UTAS)

The University of Tasmania (UTAS) is Australia’s fourth oldest university, with two campuses in Hobart and Launceston, providing a stimulating academic environment and vibrant campus life while maintaining a distinctive Tasmanian identity. The University of Tasmania offers a broad access to a diverse range of degrees, student exchanges and learning experiences to shape future global leaders.

The Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine by UTAS is designed in a way where year 1 until 3 is meant for theoretical and foundation knowledge in medical science and clinical skills, with brief clinical placements around the state. The latter years are based in workplace learning with a series of clinical placements, including some electives. Students have the opportunity to learn in a variety of locations in Tasmania. 

Programme Offered

Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine

Duration

5 Years

Intake

February

Indicative Fees (2024)

AU$ 401,917

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

5. James Cook University (JCU)

James Cook University (JCU) is the second oldest education institution located in Queensland and is simultaneously Australia’s leading university in the tropics. JCU has seven campuses in two countries, six in Australia and one in Singapore. JCU believes in empowering students to realise their potential through exploring, discovering, growing through meaningful research and teaching.

In the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery course by JCU, students will learn patient management and clinical pathology techniques. Graduates will develop into a patient-centred, socially conscious medical professional with a thorough understanding of remote and rural healthcare. Also, the programme aims to consolidate theoretical study with hands-on clinical placements from the first year of studies.

Programme Offered

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery

Duration

6 Years

Intake

February

Indicative Fees (2024)

AU$ 401,760

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

For more information regarding the university, programmes offered, entry requirements and fees, contact Excel Education

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About The Author

hannah

Hannah Hir

Hannah appreciates various art forms, especially Asian literature, film and music. Most of her favorite Malaysian kuihs are green-coloured.

 

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