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Frequently asked questions

COVID-19

  • Is it possible for students undertaking placements to include telephone consultations as direct client contact?

    APAC understands education providers may need to make changes to its programs. APAC is not able to provide parameters around this as the changes made would be reviewed on a case by case basis as every education provider meets the standards in the context of their institution and this may vary from provider to provider.

    The education provider must demonstrate that the processes and arrangements in place for placements and supervision are robust and do not have an impact on the program’s ability to meet the Standards. Please update APAC if you make any changes to an accredited program so an assessment of the impact on the program’s ongoing compliance with the Standards can be made. Upon receipt of any changes, APAC will be in contact if any further clarification is required.

  • Would APAC accept an increase in non-invigilated assessments in the current circumstances?

    The Accreditation Standards are designed to be flexible and output focused and while providers are reminded that their programs still have to comply with the Standards, they should make use of that flexibility if they need to do so.

    The Standards refer to multiple assessment tools, modes and techniques being employed but they don’t specify a split between assessment types or numbers/percentages of those assessment types. Each education provider is responsible for demonstrating that whatever approach is taken still meets the Standards.

  • In relation to Psychology Honours research project requirements, given the current circumstances, is there any flexibility in students being able to use existing datasets for their honours theses – particularly if the research topic is with participants who are at high risk?

    Given the thesis component of a program can only be assessed in the context of the program as a whole and with due consideration being given to all Standards, it is up to the education provider to demonstrate that the processes and the arrangements in place are robust and do not have an impact on the program’s ability to meet the Standards or an impact on the students within this program to successfully meet the Pre-Professional Competencies 2.1 to 2.5 upon completion of the program.

    It’s important to note that while data collection is no longer stipulated in the Standards, there has always been an expectation that fourth-year honours students are exposed to an opportunity to learn to collect data.

    As such, whilst it is no longer specified in the Standards, it is recommended that education providers ensure that their honours graduates are not disadvantaged should they wish to continue on to postgraduate studies that expect students to have the independence and knowledge base to have previously completed a research project.

    Once an education provider has decided on the changes they will be implementing, it would be greatly appreciated if you could inform APAC of the rationale behind making these changes and demonstrate they will have no impact on the program/s capacity to meet the Standards.

    Upon receipt of any changes, APAC will be in touch if any further clarification is required.

  • Can an existing accredited program offered on campus be delivered online in the short term and what would education providers need to provide APAC with in order to do so?

    APAC understands and recognises that education providers may need to review their practices for assuring the safety of staff and students and the quality of education and training during this time.

    We are unable to give you specific direction as every education providers situation is likely to be different and these changes will be reviewed on a case by case situation.

    We ask that education providers of accredited programs advise APAC of any proposed significant or material changes to their practices and proposed alternate mechanisms to ensure the quality of education, training and supervision, including the wellbeing of staff and students.

    APAC does not need providers to advise it of all minor changes, but of any change that is likely to fit the APAC definition of a material change, including a material change to the resources available to support delivery of the program, or to teaching settings.

    As such, it would be greatly appreciated if you could please let us know of any changes you will be making and advise us as to how these changes will ensure your programs continue to meet the Accreditation Standards.

  • Are there any potential accreditation issues in moving to a model of all subjects being graded as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory as opposed to students receiving a GPA associated grade, in particular, the progression of students in a program based on the reliance upon GPA and subject-specific electives which are considered as minimum requirements for entrance to higher levels of the degree (Level 2 and Level 3).

    The Accreditation Standards set minimum entry requirements to programs and these minimum requirements are only in reference to completing accredited programs as a whole and holding relevant registration as a provisional/general psychologist where applicable.

    The Accreditation Standards state that entry to a program generally requires successful achievement of the graduate competencies from the preceding levels and they do not stipulate minimum GPA for entry to programs.

    As such, it would be the responsibility and at the discretion of, the education provider to determine whether the prospective student meets the entry requirements for the relevant program. For further information on entry pathways, please visit our entry requirements page.

  • Is returning an ungraded pass as a unit outcome permissible under APAC guidelines?

    Grading is entirely at the discretion of the education provider and in the case of every individual student, it is the provider’s responsibility to determine whether the students meet the relevant unit’s learning outcomes and graduate competencies.

  • What changes to an accredited program should we be making to address COVID-19?

    APAC is unable to prescribe how each education providers’ programs should meet the Accreditation Standards. APAC is looking for providers to articulate the ways in which its programs meet the Standards. Education providers are required to ensure that their students have acquired all the relevant graduate competencies to practice safely upon graduation.

    The outcomes focused 2019 Accreditation Standards and the graduate competencies enable providers to be innovative in delivering the intended learning outcomes and producing graduates who are proficient at the relevant graduate competency levels.

    Please continue to inform APAC of any material change made to an accredited program so an assessment of the impact on the program’s continued compliance to the Standards can be made.

  • Are education providers required to submit an update for the 2022 annual report?

    Pursuant to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009, APAC is required to monitor accredited programs of study. Annual reporting for 2022 will continue as scheduled and APAC requests that annual reports be submitted no later than 30 April 2022.

    As per the standard process, if APAC is undertaking a cycle assessment at the relevant education provider this year, there is no need to submit an annual report update. In every other case, all education providers are required to submit an annual report and the year a cycle assessment is undertaken is the only exemption to this.

  • Are education providers required to notify APAC of changes made to an accredited program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

    APAC asks that providers keep us updated on any impact COVID-19 may have on the delivery of accredited programs, including any material changes to the delivery of the accredited program.

  • Will scheduled site visits for cycle assessments for 2022 be postponed?

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to allow cycle assessments to progress this year, some elements of the site visit schedule for 2022 have been shifted to a virtual platform. APAC will continue to work closely with education providers in order to undertake reviews at this time. Please contact the office if you have any questions or concerns about a site visit scheduled for this year.

  • In the current circumstances, is APAC still undertaking accreditation work?

    Much of APAC’s accreditation work and assessments are undertaken remotely and that aspect of our work won’t change. The main impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is on our capacity to undertake site visits, which have been transitioned to a virtual platform at this time.

    We are working with education providers to explore ways in which elements of the site visit assessment can be undertaken remotely so that we can progress as much accreditation business as possible.

For education providers

  • What is the difference between APAC accreditation and Psychology Board of Australia approval?

    The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (National Law) requires a program to be both accredited by APAC and approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) to be considered as a qualification suitable for the purpose of registration as a psychologist in Australia.

    Accreditation refers to the review process of psychology programs for quality assurance and quality improvement against the Accreditation Standards. Approval refers to the process of assessment by the PsyBA of an APAC accredited program to determine if it meets the PsyBA’s requirements for the purpose of registration as a psychologist in Australia under the National Law.

  • Is there a review process if the education provider is not happy with the APAC accreditation determination?

    An education provider may request an internal review of an APAC accreditation determination of accreditation failed or accreditation withdrawn.

    For further information on the process, including how to lodge a request for review, please contact [email protected].

  • Do you recognise offshore psychology programs?

    The Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) does not recognise programs that are delivered entirely outside of Australia on its register of approved programs. This includes overseas-based programs that have been accredited by APAC. The PsyBA considers that approval of programs delivered entirely outside Australia is beyond the scope of its regulatory functions, which are generally limited to Australia.

    Students who have completed an APAC accredited undergraduate program overseas and wish to apply for entry to an Honours or higher degree program in Australia should make an application directly to their preferred higher education provider. The higher education provider is responsible for determining the admission requirements for their program.

    Students who have completed an APAC accredited program overseas and wish to apply for entry into the 4+2 or 5+1 internship program or register as a psychologist in Australia should make an application to the PsyBA.

    For further information, please refer to the overseas qualifications page.

  • Do all placement supervisors have to be Board approved?

    Yes, please refer to the APAC evidence guide under criteria 1.7 and 1.8. Please also refer to Appendix 1 in the Accreditation Standards for further details of the Psychology Board of Australia’s supervision requirements.

  • What are the research requirements for programs at a particular level?

    Please refer to Appendix 1 in the evidence guide for details of research requirements. Please note, the research requirements align with the Australian Qualifications Framework.

  • Is the 10 year rule still part of the entry requirements?

    The 10 year rule was specified as an entry requirement in the 2010 Standards for programs at fourth year and above. It has been removed from the entry requirements in the 2019 Accreditation Standards. Entry requirements for programs at Levels 1, 2, 3 or 4 are listed in the introductory comments for each level within the Accreditation Standards.

    The Accreditation Standards are a minimum threshold and education providers may set additional requirements above and beyond those set out in the Standards.

  • What are the transition arrangements for the 2010 Standards to the 2019 Standards?

    The transition to the 2019 Accreditation Standards occurred officially at midnight on 31 December 2018, and the 2019 Standards came into effect 1 January 2019. The 2010 Accreditation Standards became historical as of this date.

    Any existing conditions on accreditation in place at the end of 2018 were transferred into the language of the 2019 Standards.

    The Australian Psychological Society’s (APS) college approval process ceased at the end of 2018, and APAC will no longer be joined by college assessors on site visits. APS college conditions in place at the end of 2018 were transferred into the language of the 2019 Accreditation Standards.

    Programs previously accredited under the 2010 Standards will maintain its accreditation status into 2019 and beyond, assuming no changes resulting from any required follow-up site visits, audits, etc. Higher education providers will not have to apply for accreditation under the 2019 Accreditation Standards until their scheduled cycle accreditation assessment or until they submit an application for a new program in an out of cycle assessment.

  • What constitutes a sound rationale for any variation as is referred to in the evidence guide at various points?

    The move to outcome focussed Accreditation Standards allows providers to focus on evidence that demonstrates that outcomes are achieved rather than relying solely on inputs that assume that outcomes can be achieved. This means that the lists of evidence provided are a guide to how the Standards and graduate competencies can be met and innovation is encouraged. Where variation is applied, education providers will need to consider each situation carefully with a view to ensuring the Standards and graduate competencies are met and, when next subject to assessment, demonstrate that any decisions taken fit within that context.

    Until APAC conducts a full assessment (whether that be, for example, as part of a cycle accreditation assessment, an out of cycle assessment for a new program, a monitoring site visit etc.), APAC is unable to advise or offer a determination on which rationales for variation may be appropriate as there will be a range of factors to consider as part of the wider picture. An assessment takes into account documentation submitted, information obtained from meetings with staff, students and supervisors, etc. In the first instance, therefore, the onus will be on providers to ensure that all aspects of accredited programs meet the requirements of the Accreditation Standards and graduate competencies.

For students

  • What is the difference between APAC accreditation and Psychology Board of Australia approval?

    The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (National Law) requires a program to be both accredited by APAC and approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) to be considered as a qualification suitable for the purpose of registration as a psychologist in Australia.

    Accreditation refers to the review process of psychology programs for quality assurance and quality improvement against the Accreditation Standards. Approval refers to the process of assessment by the PsyBA of an APAC accredited program to determine if it meets the PsyBA’s requirements for the purpose of registration as a psychologist in Australia under the National Law.

  • Am I eligible for the School Counsellor Sponsorship Program?

    APAC accredits psychology programs in Australia and provides advice on pathways to become a registered psychologist in Australia. It does not provide advice on becoming a school counsellor, nor does it accredit programs of study leading to registration as a school counsellor. As such, queries relating to school counselling is outside the remit of APAC.

    Additionally, APAC has no involvement with the School Counsellor Sponsorship programs and all enquiries can be directed to the Department of Education and Training.

  • Do I automatically gain membership of the Australian Psychological Society if I complete an accredited program?

    As APAC is a separate organisation from the Australian Psychological Society (APS), you need to apply directly to the APS if you choose to seek membership of that professional association.

  • Why has APAC sent an Assessment Team to my education provider when my program of study is already accredited?

    There are a number of reasons why an APAC Assessment Team may be conducting a site visit at your education provider. It may be the case that your education provider is approaching the end of its current five-year accreditation cycle and is, therefore, due for a full re-accreditation assessment. Perhaps your education provider has made significant changes to its accredited programs or to other aspects of its structure or functioning which require examination by APAC to ensure that Accreditation Standards are still being met, or your education provider may have been randomly selected by APAC for an audit.

    Additionally, APAC may be in possession of credible information that the education provider’s programs of study may no longer comply with the Accreditation Standards and as a result has commenced an audit of the relevant programs of study.

  • How does a program of study become APAC accredited?

    The typical accreditation process includes:

    • an education provider must lodge a submission for accreditation to APAC in the year before it wishes the program of study (course, degree) to be assessed against the Accreditation Standards and approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA).
    • after receiving and making an initial assessment of the submission, APAC may decide a site visit is required. The purpose of a site visit is to verify the information provided in the submission and to allow for a report of the assessment to be prepared.
    • an accreditation assessment report is prepared based on the submission findings and if applicable, the site visit observations.
    • the report then follows a due process where it is considered by the APAC Accreditation Assessment Committee and subsequently, the APAC Board. Upon a final determination made by the APAC Board, correspondence is sent to the education provider and the PsyBA.
    • the PsyBA will then decide whether to approve or refuse each program of study as a program which falls within the pathway to register as a psychologist in Australia.
    • APAC accreditation is typically followed by a cyclical period of accreditation for five years. During the period of accreditation, under section 50 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009, APAC is also required to monitor programs that it accredits. All monitoring processes are outlined in APAC’s monitoring framework.
  • Why doesn’t my education provider appear on the APAC website?

    Education providers are listed on the APAC website under the states and territories in which they are based. Where an APAC accredited program of study operates outside Australia but is offered by an Australian education provider, it will appear as offshore against the relevant education provider.

    If an education provider does not appear anywhere on the website, it means the provider has no programs of study which are currently accredited by APAC.

  • How do I find programs that are accredited in off campus (distance, online or external) mode?

    APAC refers to programs that are delivered off campus as online programs. These may be known as distance, online, external, mixed mode or blended delivery. Please contact the education provider offering the program for further information.

  • What happens if the status of my program changes to accreditation revoked or accreditation refused before I graduate?

    Where a student completes a program of study which has an accreditation status of accreditation revoked (before the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (National Law) sometimes referred to as accreditation withdrawn), accreditation refused (before the National Law sometimes referred to as accreditation failed), or where the program of study has no accreditation status, then APAC’s view is that the student will not have completed an accredited program, regardless of the fact that the program may have held a grade of accreditation in the past, including at the time the student enrolled in it.

    In this event, it would be expected that education providers would make appropriate arrangements to ensure students are able to complete an accredited program. APAC is required under the National Law to notify the PsyBA of the revocation of accreditation, as under Section 51 of the National Law the PsyBA’s approval of the program is also cancelled.

  • If a program is accredited with conditions, how can I find out what the conditions are?

    APAC publishes reports on the accreditation reports page that summarise the key accreditation assessment findings following each assessment it conducts. However, to obtain the full details of the conditions of accreditation imposed on a program, you should contact the relevant education provider.

  • What does accreditation with conditions mean?

    Where APAC accredits a program of study, it can grant this accreditation with or without conditions (prior to the introduction of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (the National Law), the terms used were conditional accreditation and full accreditation).

    Where a program has been granted accreditation with conditions, this means that a shortfall against a standard has been identified and a condition is imposed against the standard to remedy that shortfall. In such circumstances, the education provider will be given a specified period of time within which it must meet those conditions – all conditions must be met before accreditation without conditions can be granted.

    A student who successfully graduates from a program of study which holds accreditation (either with or without conditions) at the time of their graduation is considered to have completed an APAC accredited program of study.

  • Do I automatically become registered as a psychologist if I complete an accredited program?

    Upon completion of the required psychology program of study, graduates are required to gain provisional or general registration with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) in order to practice as a psychologist within their scope of practice in Australia.

    Please note, the PsyBA develop the registration standards, codes and guidelines for the psychology profession including the requirements for registration, as well as assess individual suitability for registration. For further information, please refer to the PsyBA website.

  • What education and training is required to become eligible for general registration as a psychologist in Australia?

    A student is required to complete APAC accredited programs if they wish to become a psychologist in Australia. It’s important for a student to complete the APAC accredited sequence (the required units) within an accredited program. For more information regarding the pathway to registration, please refer to the pathways to registration page.

    When completing programs, the student is required to complete APAC accredited programs and for the purposes of registration, these programs must also be approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) as a program of study which falls within the pathway the registration as a psychologist in Australia.

    The PsyBA is the National Board for the psychology profession that is established under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 and the requirements for registration as a psychologist are determined by the PsyBA. After successful completion of the chosen pathway, the student must apply to the PsyBA for registration as a psychologist.

    Supported by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, the PsyBA’s functions include registering psychologists and provisional psychologists, regulating the psychology profession, as well as assessing overseas trained practitioners who wish to practice in Australia and approving Accreditation Standards and accredited courses of study. For further information regarding registration requirements, please visit the PsyBA website.

  • Does APAC have an education provider ranking system?

    As an accreditation authority, APAC does not have a ranking system in place, nor does it give any advice regarding which program of study or education provider is best.

    If you require further information, including which education provider you should apply to or about the individual education provider’s admission processes, it is recommended that you contact education providers directly and comparing its programs of study and other relevant services to make an informed decision.

  • Why is there a difference of 6 months for three-year bridging programs that are estimated at 12-18 months? Do the 18 month programs offer more units?

    The Accreditation Standards are set to ensure bridging programs meet the requirements of an APAC accredited three-year sequence, including that education providers have robust processes in place to ensure students graduate acquiring the Level 1 Foundational Competencies.

    It is up to the education provider to decide how it structures its programs ensuring that robust processes are in place to meet the Accreditation Standards and students have the ability to acquire the Level 1 Foundational Competencies upon the completion of their studies. Please contact the education provider directly for more information.

  • What is refresher training and am I eligible for it?

    Neither the Accreditation Standards, nor the rules for accreditation stipulate any requirements relating to refresher training. As such, please contact the Psychology Board of Australia directly for further information regarding any refresher training.

  • How can I confirm if my program of study is APAC accredited?

    In the first instance, please visit the search for a program page to search for your program of study. If you are unable to locate your program of study within the list of accredited programs, there could be several reasons to consider:

    • if you completed your program several years ago, it might not be offered anymore and may have been removed from the APAC website. Where a program is no longer offered, it will remain on the website for a period of time after the program is completely discontinued. If your program is not listed and to ascertain whether a program was accredited at a specific point in time, please refer to the request for an academic transcript check page.
    • if the program is new, it may not have completed the accreditation assessment process yet. Programs are not listed on the APAC website until accreditation is granted. Please contact the education provider which offers the program directly to confirm where the program is in the accreditation assessment process.
    • if your program does not appear on the APAC website and you are sure whether it is discontinued or a newly proposed program, you should contact the education provider who offers the program for further information.
  • How do I get my overseas qualifications accredited by APAC?

    If you have gained an overseas academic qualification in psychology and you are seeking to register to practise as a psychologist or continue further studies in an APAC accredited program in Australia, the appropriate course of action is dependent on the advice you are seeking

    For more information, please refer to the overseas qualifications page.

  • How do I get my Australian qualifications accredited by APAC?

    APAC only accredits programs of study as a whole upon receipt of an application from an education provider who offers them. APAC does not accredit the qualifications of individuals, nor does it accept individual student applications. To find out if your program of study is APAC accredited, please refer to the search for a program page.

    To determine whether your program is approved by the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) for the purposes of registration as a psychologist, please consult the PsyBA website.

  • What is accreditation?

    Accreditation refers to the review process of psychology programs for quality assurance and quality improvement against the Accreditation Standards. Only programs which are granted APAC accreditation may be considered for approval by the Psychology Board of Australia for the purposes of registration as a psychologist in Australia.

  • I believe there has been a breach of the Accreditation Standards. How do I notify APAC of my concerns?

    If, after reading the Accreditation Standards, you believe that a breach of the Accreditation Standards has occurred, please notify APAC outlining how each relevant Standard is being breached, detailing what evidence you are able to provide to support the claim and your contact details.

    Please note, APAC is unable to investigate anonymous notifications, however will respect a request for confidentiality (within the limits of legal discoverability) if confidentiality is requested at the time of the notification.

  • I need advice regarding registration as a psychologist. Who can I speak to?

    The Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) is responsible for developing and endorsing the Registration Standards for psychologists in Australia, and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency manages the processing of applications to the PsyBA for registration as a psychologist. As such, please contact the PsyBA directly for information and advice regarding registration requirements.

  • Does APAC accredit individual units of study?

    APAC accredits programs as a whole and while APAC does not accredit individual units, it is important to note that the accredited sequence (the required units) must be completed to satisfy the requirements of the APAC accredited program. APAC recommends contacting the education provider directly for advice to ensure that you have met all requirements.

  • Which is the best program of study or education provider?

    As an accreditation authority, APAC is unable to provide any recommendations regarding programs of study or education providers. APAC’s role is to assure the compliance against the Accreditation Standards of each accredited program, however we do not rank programs or education providers. It’s recommended that you contact your prospective education provider for further information regarding its programs to make an informed decision.

  • Who can I contact for career advice?

    APAC’s remit extends only to the accreditation of programs of study offered by Australian Higher Education Providers at specific campuses. As such, students should contact the Australian Psychological Society for more information and advice regarding employment and careers.

  • Does APAC recommend a particular program or provider?

    As an accreditation authority, APAC does not have a ranking system in place, nor does it give any advice regarding which program of study or education provider is best.

    If you require further information, including which education provider you should apply to or about the individual education provider’s admission processes, it is recommended that you contact education providers directly and comparing its programs of study and other relevant services to make an informed decision.

    Alternatively, more information about a career in psychology can also be found on the Australian Psychological Society’s website.

  • Can APAC advise which education provider is the best to study with online?

    As an accreditation authority, APAC is unable to give any advice regarding which online program of study or education provider is best to study with.

    If you require further information, including which education provider you should apply to or about the individual education provider’s admission processes, it is recommended that you contact education providers directly and comparing its programs of study and other relevant services to make an informed decision.

    All programs listed have been assessed and accredited on the pathway towards registration as a psychologist.

  • Does APAC see an online degree as more or less favourable to an on campus degree?

    The delivery mode does not have any impact as long as the program is accredited.

  • Are online programs also APAC accredited?

    All programs listed on this website are APAC accredited, whether they are online and/or on campus.

    The search for a program page contains all of the current APAC accredited programs of study, including programs that may be offered via an off-campus mode (either partially or fully). The programs offered via an online mode are indicated in the search results.

    Some online programs are offered fully online or in mixed mode and as such, APAC recommends you contact the education provider directly to enquire if there are any on campus requirements.