In general, psychology is all about studying human behaviour, mental processes and how they are affected and/or affect an individual or group’s physical state, mental state, and external environment.

NO. Psychology is NOT offered as an independent degree on an undergraduate level. Psychology can only be taken as a module (subject) as part of your enrolled degree.

The degree that you enroll for will depend on your specific interests. It is advisable to obtain Career Counselling from a registered Psychologist who will advise you on possible career paths and degrees.

There are NO subject requirements to study Psychology. However, matric subjects that could assist you in your studies in Psychology are Life Sciences and Mathematics. It is also important that you familiarise yourself with the subject requirements of the degree you wish to enrol for.


This will to a large extent, depend on the degree you enrol for. An AP score of 30 or more is generally required for mainstream programmes, and an AP score ranging between 25 and 29 is sufficient for the extended programmes.

The extended programme was created to assist students that struggle academically. These students are allowed to complete their undergraduate studies over four years instead of three years.

It takes A MINIMUM OF SEVEN (7) YEARS of studying before you can register as a psychologist. Your undergraduate studies generally take three years to complete, while an Honours degree in Psychology is one year full-time or two years part-time. An Applied Master’s in Psychology (to become a Clinical or Counselling psychologist) is another three (Clinical Psychology) or two (Counselling Psychology) years, respectively. Only after completing the mentioned degrees will you be able to register as a psychologist at the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

YES. There are NO selection processes involved on an undergraduate level, but when you apply for an Honours in Psychology, your application will be subject to selection. The selection is purely based on your academic performance in ALL your undergraduate Psychology modules, thus, first-, second- and third-year Psychology modules. No specific average is required, as the top 50 academic achievers are selected. In short: The higher your marks, the better your chances of being selected for the BPsych Honours programme. After completing the Honours degree, you can apply for the Applied Master’s Programme (Clinical or Counselling psychology), which is also subject to selection. This selection process is quite strict and depends on several factors: academic performance, emotional stability, maturity, and empathy. The selection process also involves various activities, including panel interviews.

Students are usually advised to select a second undergraduate major that they can utilise to obtain work while waiting to reapply for the Applied Master’s programme in Psychology. This second major will, however, depend on your own interests. Some students also choose to continue with research in Psychology.

Clinical and Counselling Psychology forms part of the Applied Master’s Programme at the Department of Psychology. Educational Psychology is NOT offered at the Department of Psychology and forms part of the Faculty of Education. The same applies to Industrial Psychology that is part of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

Clinical, Counselling, Neuro, Educational, Research and Industrial.

NO. Currently, there are no registration categories for these fields of Psychology in South Africa. However, you may specialise in these fields by completing a PhD that specifically focuses on these different fields of Psychology.

Clinical psychology is a specialist category within professional psychology that provides continuing and comprehensive mental and behavioural healthcare to individuals and groups across the lifespan. This includes assessing, diagnosing, evaluating, and treating psychological and mental health disorders that range from mild to severe and complex. Biological, social, and psychological elements all play a role in psychological assessment, diagnosis, and formulation. Clinical psychologists provide a variety of high-intensity psychological therapy that has been shown to be useful in treating mental health illnesses as well as psychological suffering caused by medical conditions.

Counselling Psychology
is a specialist category within professional psychology that promotes the personal, social, and educational functioning, career functioning, and wellbeing of individuals, couples, families, groups, organisations, and communities. Counselling psychologists assist people with normal developmental issues and prevent and alleviate psychological and mental health disorders ranging from mild to moderate severity. Psychological assessment, diagnosis, and formulation draw on a holistic appreciation of people’s lived experiences and sociocultural contexts. Counselling psychologists deliver a range of high-intensity psychological interventions that consider the therapeutic potential of positive relationships and people’s strengths and resources.

The role of Clinical and Counselling Pschologists can be viewed in the question above. However, the study of workplace behavior is known as industrial psychology. Industrial psychologists are constantly studying employee behavior and attitudes in every major industry, compiling the most recent results and recommendations, and making them available to businesses. These psychologists advise employers how to hire, train, and manage people more effectively, as well as how to get better feedback from them. Employee performance, morale, wellbeing, and safety are all improved by industrial psychologists, which helps the company's bottom line. Industrial Psychologists do not diagnose, counsel and treat patients who have psychological problems or disorders such as Clinical and Counselling Psychologists.

NO. Psychologists must hold a professional degree from an accredited institution and be registered with the HPCSA as a psychologist to practice.

The Department of Psychology of the University of the Free State does not have an accredited programme to train Registered Counsellors or Psychometrists. You can visit the HPCSA website to enquire which universities still provide such programmes.

NO. Information regarding bursaries is available from You can also visit the Administration Department of the UFS. Postgraduate students can obtain information from the Postgraduate School at the UFS.

Psychologists and psychiatrists both provide treatment to individuals with emotional problems. Psychology is both a profession and an independent scientific discipline. Psychiatry is a specialisation within the field of medicine. Typically, a psychologist will have a Master’s or Doctorate degree, and a psychiatrist will have a medical degree. Psychologists help people control and change their behaviour as a primary method of treating problems. Their focus is on tailoring plans to help their clients develop skills and techniques to cope with difficulties and prevent ongoing issues. They often use a combination of therapies appropriate to the situation. Psychiatrists prescribe medication as a primary means of changing people’s behaviour. Psychiatrists are specialist medical doctors who have obtained additional qualifications to practice in the speciality of psychiatry. They specialise in the diagnosis and medical treatment of mental illness and can prescribe medication and use other therapies. Both psychologists and psychiatrists assume that complex emotional problems are likely to result from biological and psychological causes.

Forensic psychology
is the practice of psychology specifically within the legal system. Here, the teachings and principles of psychology are applied to the justice system to create a more robust and infallible justice delivery system. More specifically, forensic psychologists use their expert judgment and analysis to determine if a defendant is competent or mentally fit to stand trial or not. Forensic psychologists also try to determine whether the defendant was mentally stable or insane when they committed the crime or not. Forensic Psychologists also work at correctional centres and clinics to diagnose and treat offenders’ psychological and mental health disorders.

On the other hand, Criminology is the study of criminal behaviour at the micro and macro levels (i.e., individual and social levels). Using scientific methods and tools, criminologists study crime, the criminal’s behaviour, and the victims of the crime. The purpose of criminologists is to understand why crimes occur, the impact they have and leave behind and how to prevent those crimes from happening again in the future. Criminologists use statistics, empirical evidence, past research, and quantitative methods to study crime.

While most professions in psychology require some sort of postgraduate degree, a bachelor’s degree in psychology can provide useful training and chances in a variety of sectors. Psychology is a subject that educates you about the mind, behaviour, and motivation of humans. It also teaches you how to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. These skills can be tremendously useful in many fields of work, such as sales, marketing, and advertising.

Within the HPCSA categories, there is currently no specific category for child psychology. However, training in clinical, counselling and educational psychology focuses on children and adolescents. Should child psychology be your field of interest, you will be able to do so with your registration as a psychologist.

The UFS is also the only university in South Africa that offers an applied doctoral programme that specialises in child and adolescent psychology. Any person with five years of practical experience as a registered psychologist can apply for this doctoral degree.

An honour’s degree is a requirement for practical training (internship) to register as a registered counsellor or psychometrist. Please note that there is no practical programme as part of the University of the Free State honours in psychology degree. You can visit the HPCSA website to enquire which universities still provide such programmes. UFS students who wish to register as registered counsellors or psychometrists will need to apply to registered internships programmes at other training institutions. While an honour’s degree in psychology may not directly lead to practicing in the psychology profession, the skills obtained during this course serve you well in other careers or fields of work.


YES. Promotion in Psychology is only applicable at the first-year and second-year levels and only when the first-year and second-year modules are lectured face-to-face and when the assessments are conducted face-to-face. The promotion system does not apply when the teaching and assessments are done online. The promotion system also does not apply to exit-level modules such as third-year Psychology modules, whether these modules are lectured and assessed online or face-to-face. The promotion system also does not apply when Psychology modules are completed as part of the Higher Certificate, as these modules are then also exit-level modules. Please note that students can promote first-year and second-year Psychology modules when they have predicates of 70% and higher for these modules, and when they have participated in all of the scheduled assessments (all the semester tests) in the module, covering all the module content. However, such students may still participate in examinations if they wish to improve their final marks for these modules. However, please note that promotion module marks are not allowed to be condoned according to the General Rules. Thus, a student who achieves 69% as a promotion mark may not be condoned to 70% and may not be promoted based on the 69%.

During online teaching, the continuous assessment structure is followed in all undergraduate Psychology modules. Continuous assessment is used as an alternative to summative assessment. Continuous assessment is a series of assessments that occurs throughout the learning process and not only after the learning process. Students are thus examined continuously over a quarter, semester or year. It is cumulative, and the marks are calculated to produce a final result. There are no predicates and examinations for a module when the continuous assessment structure is used.


Students who already have an undergraduate qualification have the opportunity to complete additional modules as an Occasional Studies students. Occasional studies are only allowed if you have already obtained a tertiary degree. Occasional studies are for non-degree purposes, which means that you will not obtain a new qualification (degree certificate or attend graduation), but you will receive an academic record with all the additional modules you completed. If you are interested in completing undergraduate Psychology modules through Occasional studies, please send an email to Mrs Neliswa Emeni-Tientcheu at or Mrs Thompson at from the Faculty of the Humanities. They will send you the necessary application documents to complete. Please note that students must apply for Occasional Studies before the end of September each year.


Students can improve their marks in undergraduate Psychology modules through Occasional Studies. Occasional Studies are only allowed if you have already obtained a tertiary degree. Occasional studies are for non-degree purposes, which means that you will not obtain a new qualification (degree certificate or attend graduation). Your improved marks will appear on your academic record. If you are interested in completing undergraduate Psychology modules through Occasional studies, please send an email to Mrs Neliswa Emeni-Tientcheu at or Mrs Thompson at from the Faculty of the Humanities. They will send you the necessary application documents to complete. Please note that students must apply for Occasional studies before the end of September each year.



T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Neliswa Emeni-Tientcheu: +27 51 401 2536
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

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