About Psychology and Qualifications in Psychology

What is Psychology?

From the SPS:
"Psychology is one of the fastest growing university subjects around the world, and it is becoming more and more available as a service in the community. There is an increasing number of psychologists in Singapore. The general public and organisations want to be more fully informed about who psychologists are and also their professional skills. Psychologists specialise in a number of different areas within the field and identify themselves by many different names.

Statement on qualifications in Psychology
‘Psychology is both an academic discipline and a profession. Both as a discipline and in its professional practice it is based in scientific research. Individual psychologists are specialists either in a branch of academic study or in a professional application of the subject or both. Such a specialisation is acquired by appropriate postgraduate qualifications in psychology, following a first degree in which psychology is the sole or major subject. Professionally qualified psychologists are those who have obtained a postgraduate qualification in a specialised field in psychology from a recognised academic institution. Such training courses include a supervised practical training in a variety of settings. Academic qualifications are not a sufficient basis for recognition as a professional psychologist’ "

So what does it mean? Who can become a psychologist?
What the above is saying is that there are many types of psychologists (for a better list, see here). But to become a psychologist, you need to have "appropriate postgraduate qualifications" in your "specialised field in psychology" from "a recognised academic institution". But what quantifies for the appropriate postgraduate qualification (a Masters, PhD or just merely an honours)? and who gives recognition to the academic institution? In my opinion and according to the Singapore Register of Psychologists and the Psychology Board of Australia (document), to be a REGISTERED (yes I am stressing the word REGISTERED) psychologist, you need to have (1) at least a Masters degree from (2) an accredited institution with (3) at least 1000 hours of supervision. All 3 of them.

Okay. Now for the part of the accreditation of the programs, SPS does not accredit any programs. For the accreditation of programs, please see the accreditation guidelines and institutions as written by the APS, APA, and the BPS. They are the only 3 psychological societies that accredited programs. 

Most accredited Australian Masters programs in psychology are of 2 years. If you see a program or someone that tells you that the Masters is finished in a year, CHECK AGAIN!! They may not be accredited. (Extra Note: Some BPS accredited Masters programs are done in 1 year)


  1. Hi there!

    It's nice to have another perspective on the qualifications on Psychology.

    You mentioned that there are 3 psychological societies that accredit programs - APS, APA, and the BPS. Can I just check what about the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)? If I am not wrong, CPA does accredit programmes too. http://www.cpa.ca/education/accreditation/
    The reason for asking is because I am intending to pursue my Masters in Canada.

    Correct me if I am wrong, I understand that most organisations placed more emphasis on APA, APS and BPS? I am afraid that though my Masters is accredited by CPA, but it won't be recognized in Singapore.

    You can reply me at i_am_icefairy@hotmail.com

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks much!

    Jamie Ho

  2. HI Jamie,

    Thanks for the link to the CPA accreditation office. I would like to apologise about my lack of knowledge about the CPA.

    To answer your question (and for the knowledge of others too), i think it depends on the requirement of the organisation and the country the organisation is in. Usually the accreditation of the program is only done by the association of the country which the program is based in. E.g. CPA does for Canadian programs. However I believe cross-country accreditation could be done if you require (and pay) for it. E.g. APS accreditating your course in Canada and saying whether you can be a qualified psychologist in Australia.

    I have emailed you too.


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