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Diverse psychology program has Coffs Harbour in mind


Jessica Nelson
19 December 2018

Anticipation for the expanded psychology program at Southern Cross University's Coffs Harbour campus isn't all in the mind. Strong enrolments, new degrees and state-of-the-art facilities and resources will all be unveiled in 2019.

Southern Cross will welcome more than 500 students to Coffs Harbour over the next three years, attracted by courses such as a new double degree in Sport Science and Psychological Science.

Furthermore, psychology will be a key player in the $12 million Allied Health building nearing completion on campus.

"It's an exciting time for the University as we continue to build on what we can offer our students, researchers and the broader community," said Southern Cross psychology lecturer, Dr Desiree Kozlowski.

"Our new program is especially significant for Coffs Harbour, where the richness of a culturally diverse community is reflected in our psychology enrolments, including a strong presence of Indigenous, mature age and “first in family” students.

"Our Honours program is also thriving, with around 75 per cent of enrolments coming from outside the region."

The psychology program was recently ranked by the Australian Good Universities Guide as the best in the country for teaching quality and student support. This was followed by the Times Higher Education subject rankings that placed Southern Cross in the top four per cent of universities worldwide for social science, business and economics, and education.

Yet another positive came via the 2018 International Student Barometer – the benchmark in gauging student experience – in which Southern Cross topped the nation for international student support.

Kaitlyn Attreed and Kevin Lee exemplify the success of the psychology program.

Honours student Kaitlyn aims to launch her career as a clinical psychologist in Coffs Harbour itself. Inspired towards psychology in Year 12, she has since thrived at the local campus.

"I had a friend who was going through a hard time and I seemed to have an affinity for listening and for not being judgmental," said Kaitlyn.

"I'm originally from Melbourne, but my aim was always Southern Cross University because of the excellence of the psychology program, the beautiful regional setting and the career opportunities after study.

"There's a need for clinical psychology services in the region and I'm particularly interested in working in Indigenous mental health. Lately I've been working in that field for Mission Australia."

Born in Malaysia and now based in Singapore, Kevin aspires to help at-risk individuals back in Malaysia as well as further afield, working as clinical psychologist with "a niche in mindfulness".

"I want a career that involves facilitating happiness and mental wellbeing in others. Studying at Southern Cross has only inspired me further," he said.

"As well as the best student support services, learning is genuine and holistic and the faculty members are amazing. I would recommend Southern Cross to aspiring psychologists."

Dr Kozlowski said the expanded psychology program acknowledged the range of career options in the field.

"While there is still a strong demand for clinical psychology, we are also seeing graduates moving into research, further education, even Big Data and robotics. Our graduates are working within the local community and they are working nationally and abroad," she said.

"Psychology is a degree highly regarded by employers and it is a field with applications across society, industry, education, health, science and more."

The Bachelor of Psychological Science at Southern Cross will also be extended to the Gold Coast campus for the first time in 2019.