Associate Professor Stephen McKenzie, the founding Head of Psychology, who is also the Head of Counselling at Torrens University, is excited about the unique features of our Bachelor of Psychological Science program. For Stephen, the skills students will gain in understanding human behaviour, supporting their own, their colleagues’ and their patients’ wellbeing, and building life resilience in changing times, make this course uniquely valuable. Learn more about our Bachelor of Psychological Science program by reading our interview below.
What makes this Psychological Science course stand out?
The Bachelor of Psychological Science is broad and it's also deep. We offer a wide range of innovative content, delivered in a way that will engage and motivate the students. The world is changing rapidly, so our students will learn broad professional Psychology skills to help others cope with this change and adjust to it themselves. The elective subject Environmental Resilience, for example, taps into important emerging areas of Psychology, as does the core subject Twenty First Century Psychology – Issues and Applications. Students are given real modern life scenarios such as how to find real meaning in an increasingly virtual world, and ways to best deal with them.
What makes this Psychological Science degree unique among other psychology degrees?
A point of difference from other Psychology degrees is our emphasis on wellbeing. Psychology is not only a profession that helps people who have mental illnesses– it can also help prevent people from developing mental-health and also general wellbeing problems. In general medicine, preventative health is regarded as extremely important. In this course, we show that it can be the same for mental health.
We also explore the concept that mental health is not a binary condition, where you either have a mental health issue or you don't. Instead, students will be shown how mental health is a continuum. Our emotions are diverse, and we all have good days and bad days. That is part of the richness of human experience.
Our students will be encouraged to question their and other people’s assumptions, and to develop skills that will maximize their opportunities professionally and personally in this brave new world.
What will students learn in the Psychological Sciences course?
We show students how a deep knowledge of Psychology can be useful in life in general as well as in an expanding range of professions. We do this by using innovative learning aids, including VR (virtual reality), to explore real-world scenarios.
Students could be presented with a situation they might find completely new and unexpected, but it’s based on actual cases. They work through the scenario by asking: Why is the person behaving that way? What psychological skills should I draw on to work with this person, whether they are a colleague, a client or a patient?
Knowledge in Psychological Sciences can teach students to create a mindful work environment
An ever-increasing range of jobs need skills that relate to workplace wellbeing. When our students graduate, they’ll be equipped to take on managerial and other roles in business or in many other workplaces including health related ones and apply so much of what they've learned in their Psychology degree to create positive workplace environments.
We offer subjects in Organisational Psychology that are aligned with Torrens University’s values of being industry focused and industry aligned. For example, one third-year subject is all about how people function within a system, including systems that involve online and virtual interactions.
A big part of the course is equipping students with real skills to use in a virtual world.
How the Psychological Science course was made with industry feedback
Our course advisory committee met with industry representatives to ensure that our subjects provide skills and knowledge that are relevant in the workforce today and ongoingly. The industry representatives acknowledged that we are committed to running a course that is fully professionally relevant. They agreed that our degree needs to build transferable skills, encourage a mindset that embraces change and lets students be truly resilient.
How has your research and writing influenced the course content?
In many ways, I have drawn on my own research and practices. In my book Reality Psychology I explore a paradigm that I developed to counter the excesses and distortions of the prevailing Positive Psychology paradigm, which can make people think they can and should be positive all the time. I describe my Reality Psychology paradigm as making friends with reality¬ – we don’t need to say everything's great when it isn’t. I hope students will develop the depth of knowledge to see and to live the great life possibilities that can come from really growing in response to adversity.
I've written books about mindfulness at work, at play and for life, which are about being aware of whatever is taking place in this moment and accepting it. Mindfulness is often treated as a relaxation technique and it's not. It is about coming to terms with reality, no matter what it is. If we can be aware of that and accept it, then we have a chance to improve our reality. These are some of the concepts and practices that students will discuss and study in the course.
What excites you about this bachelor’s degree?
It's a living, dynamic course, and it's challenging all the old assumptions about what Psychology is. For instance, in the third-year subject, 21st Century Psychology Issues and Applications, students study new ideas and practices in the field. Also, we encourage students to explore the diverse careers a Psychology degree can lead to. As well as potentially practicing as a psychologist, our graduates will have transferable skills they can use in a wide variety of workplaces and industries.
We’re offering flexible entry pathways to make the course accessible to a wide range of people, including many who are already in the workforce. I believe that this Psychology course is uniquely placed to equip students to go deeply into this field of knowledge, so they ask questions, adapt to new ways, and not just survive but thrive in any environment they live and work in, today and in the future.
Embark on a transformative journey in psychology with our Bachelor of Psychological Science program. Torrens University Australia to explore the vast world of psychology, develop invaluable skills, and take your first step towards a fulfilling career as a professional psychologist.