BSc (Hons) Psychology Degree, Sunway University, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

The study of human behaviour and the application of psychology is one of the fastest growing careers in the developing world today. It has applications in medicine, education, business, social policy and technology. As societies advance, intelligent lifestyles require greater control over emotional, behavioural and mental abilities. An undergraduate degree in Psychology is the first step towards personal and career advancement.

In offering this programme, Sunway University strives to produce graduates who have a thorough understanding of the principles of human behaviour and are able to apply these principles in dealing with real life issues and enhancing human potentials.

Sunway University is an elite Tier 5 member in the 2009 MQA Rating System for Malaysian Higher Education Institutions (SETARA’09) that measures quality of teaching and learning at the undergraduate level in universities and university colleges in Malaysia. It is another way of recognizing our excellent academics and graduates.

Programme Structure

Year 1

  • SPC 101 Introductory Psychology
  • SPC 102 Social Psychology
  • SPC 103 Developmental Psychology
  • SPC 104 Organisational Psychology
  • SPC 112 Motivation & Emotion
  • SPC 121 Introduction to Statistics
  • SPC 122 Research Methods
  • SPE 101 Pet Behavioural Studies
  • SPE 102 Community Mental Health
  • UCS 1000 Study Skills
  • UCS 1003 English for Psychology

Year 2

  • SPC 201 Psychology of Learning and Education
  • SPC 202 Personality Psychology
  • SPC 203 Theories of Counselling
  • SPC 204 Abnormal Psychology
  • SPC 205 Applied Developmental Psychology
  • SPC 211 Brain & Behaviour
  • SPC 222 Psychological Testing
  • SPC 231 Cognition & Perception
  • SPC 322 Cross-Cultural Psychology
  • UCS 2001 Communication Skills

Year 3

  • SPC 301 Advanced Topics in Psychology
  • SPC 311 Behavioural Management
  • SPC 312 Learning Disabilities
  • SPC 313 History of Psychology
  • SPC 321 Research Project
  • SPC 331 Internship
  • UCS 3001 Leadership


University Compulsory Subjects

The objective of this subject is to prepare students to be more organised and self reliant in their learning by developing a set of specific skills necessary for successful study. For example, listening and reading skills, effective note taking, efficient time management, independent research and maximise knowledge acquisition and critical thinking ability through collaborative learning (or learning through the exchange of ideas).

An important aspect of advancing professional education in the field of psychology is to be able to keep up-to-date with scientific publications. Many of these publications are in English. Hence, a strong foundation in English is necessary. This subject focuses on three aspects in the learning of English for psychological studies. The first aspect is to help students to improve their reading strategies for processing academic texts. Second, the subject develops the following areas of academic language use, namely, listening to lectures and making notes, writing essays and papers, and participating in small-group discussions.

The subject introduces the basic elements of oral communication, the various factors that determine effective communication and the application of communication skills in a variety of academic, business and social contexts. A variety of communication activities in presentation and discussion formats are incorporated to allow for understanding, practice and the mastering of basic concepts in communicating.

The focus is on the role of leadership in the context of corporate management and strategy. The theories of leadership, the characteristics and role of leadership, conflict management, change management and cross-cultural issues (e.g. the cultural values that affect perceptions of leadership and leadership styles) will be discussed.


This introductory subject covers methods, data, and theoretical interpretations in areas of learning, sensory psychology, and psycho-physiology. Developmental, social, personality and abnormal psychology are also included.

Social Psychology looks at how individuals are affected by their social environment. Topics include attitude, conformity, friendship formation and group dynamics. Tutorials include projects that require students to research social situations in greater depth.

This subject examines the different stages that humans go through in their development process. It also explores how some of these processes change during one’s life span. This unit examines aspects of human development such as memory, attention, intelligence, speech and language, social and moral values, and motor abilities. In addition to lectures, there are tutorials and small projects that require students to pay attention to various aspects of human development.

Topics include recruiting, selecting, appraising and training employees, motivation of work, work performance and its measurement, job satisfaction, occupational stress, leadership and group communication. It also includes a section on Occupational Health and Safety that considers the rights of the employee, safety and health programmes, effective communication and sexual harassment.

What keeps people motivated? This subject examines the various theories of motivation. The perspectives taken include: need theory, instrumentality theory, comparison theory, goal setting theory and reinforcement theory. In addition, the subject examines how emotions are formed and what affects them. In this context, the role of emotions in bringing about mental health disorders is similarly examined.

This subject examines the nature of statistical data, ordering and manipulation of data, measures of central tendency and dispersion and elementary probability. Concepts of statistical inference, estimation and hypothesis testing are explored as well. Special topics include means, frequency tables, standard deviations, t-tests, correlation, analysis of variance and non-parametric methods.

The prerequisite to developing a thesis for students involves a thorough understanding of how experiments are developed. With this in mind, students are required to understand the construction of surveys and survey methodology, single case-study designs, matched subject designs and repeated measure designs. In addition, an understanding of the kinds of analysis employed in each experimental design is explored. This unit instructs students on how to write research reports in a systematic and standardised manner.

Almost all theories of psychology originated with observations and studies of the animal world. The aim of this module is to introduce the student to the world of domesticated pets. During the course, the student will be exposed to a wide variety of topics on animals that are aimed at improving their sensitivity and awareness to the animal world. Through this course, they gain a healthy respect for these animals that also have feelings. The course covers a variety of topics, ranging from perception and cognition, health, abnormal behaviours, animal assisted therapy and education, to human-animal relationships.

All professional psychologists will eventually contribute in some way towards educating the community on a wide range of mental health issues. This module introduces the student to a wide variety of general mental health issues. Many of the applications of these concepts are to family and working environment that the student may encounter in the future. Through a mixture of theoretical principles and public health information, this module intends to equip the student with a variety of positive mental health skills which they can eventually impart to the general audience.

Year 2

This subject introduces the theoretical basis of learning to students. It begins with the study of classical Behaviourist theory and moves towards Operant Conditioning. In the context of the environment, the Social Learning theory is introduced and followed by more recent models of learning such as the Information Processing Model and the Cognitive Learning Theory. This course will also examine methods of curriculum design, motivating students, controlling class behaviour and maintaining students’ attention.

This subject concerns the study of personality. It examines each of the major theories of personality. In addition, it looks at the factors that affect personality development. There is also emphasis on measurement and practical applications of personality to medical and industrial settings.

An overview of the various theories of counselling is provided in this subject. Theories covered include: Cognitive theories, Behavioural theories, Rational Emotive therapy, Psychoanalysis, Family therapy (System’s Theory), Client-Centred therapy, Gestalt therapy and Group therapy.

This subject studies the forms of abnormal behaviour, aetiology, development, interpretation and final manifestation. It is research based and provides students with an understanding of the current approaches to treatment. Topics covered include personality disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, mood disorder and DSM-IV. This unit also examines the importance of professional issues such as ethics and malpractice. The unit is essential for those intending to pursue Clinical Psychology at the graduate level.

This is a final year subject which introduces students to a range of applied issues in developmental psychology. It examines children in different settings (family, school, peer group and hospital) and discusses important influences on children’s lives (the media, law, health and drugs). In addition, it examines the plight and predicament of the elderly when their physical and mental abilities begin to deteriorate. The prescribed readings, lectures and practical work cover applied aspects of normal and typical development from birth to old age.

This subject focuses on the effects that biological and chemical processes have on behaviour. The topics covered include brain damage, sensory deprivation, psychopharmacology, attention deficit, visual system, memory, sleep, hormones and sex, and substance abuse. It also examines the chemical processes associated with motivation.

The purpose of this subject is to introduce students to psychological tests that are commonly used in applied settings: IQ tests, Adaptive tests, Language tests, Mathematics tests, Personality tests, tests of Affect and tests of Behaviour. It is also the intention of this unit to make sure that students clearly understand the meaning of concepts such as percentiles, standard deviations, means and clinical cut-off scores. Tutorials and practical work are designed to provide students with basic skills in interviewing, testing, systematic observation and report writing.

This subject is an introduction to Cognitive Psychology and Sensory Perception. Cognitive Psychology is concerned with how humans acquire, process and represent information. Lectures on cognition focus on theories, concepts, and empirical findings related to topics such as language and reading; contemporary models of memory; thinking and reasoning; and decision making. It also examines the structure and functions of the sensory systems such as vision, hearing and touch. The perception lectures address how sensory abilities are measured and their limitations. Attention is also paid to the use of measures of sensory capacity in understanding more complex problems such as reading disabilities.

Understanding how local culture interacts with and subsequently affects human behaviour is crucial when trying to solve behavioural and emotional problems. This course examines the way culture differs, and how humans perceive, think, feel, strive and relate to others. During the lectures, the social and inter-personal interactions, industrial practices and values between Malaysian and other cultures are examined through project work, research and lectures.

Year 3

This consists of a series of lectures on a wide range of topics that are topical to the field of psychology. These lectures examine the psychologist’s perspectives on the following areas: aviation, divorce, health, and ethics.

Many things within the environment shape a child’s behaviour. If behaviours are not brought under control, the result is Oppositional Defiant Disorder. This lecture series looks at the role that Operant Conditioning and Social Learning plays in shaping a child’s behaviour. It then focuses on how behavioural techniques may be used to control the child’s behaviour. These procedures include play, praise, rewards, ignoring, time out and logical consequences. In addition, it also looks at techniques that are used to shape the behaviour of an autistic child. The emphasis here is on techniques of Applied Behaviour Analysis.

Many things can result in a child having difficulties in assimilating and learning new information. This unit introduces the student to some of the most common causes of learning disabilities. Amongst the topics covered are visual-perceptual problems, attention deficits, memory deficits, fine and gross motor skill coordination deficits, sensory problems, family problems, teaching and learning styles.

As an apparent independent science, psychology was established in the late nineteenth century. However, despite this relatively recent beginning, psychology is grounded in fundamental questions that dominate Western philosophical thought and the development of Western knowledge.

This programme examines the philosophical and historical development of knowledge within psychology and how these critical issues impact on the current beliefs concerning the objective nature of psychology as a discipline, together with its limitations. It also compares and contrasts the development of Western-based and Eastern-based knowledge, and their relevance for modern psychology. Topics will include philosophy of the mind, metaphysics and philosophy of science as they relate to the development of the various paradigms within psychology and across both Eastern and Western perspectives. Students will learn about most of the current approaches to the persistent questions and problems in psychology, including how and why they are developed. Through a series of intensive readings, class discussions / tutorials and assignments, students will get the opportunity to sharpen their critical thinking skills and learn how to construct sound arguments.

All students enrolled in this subject will be required to undertake a small-scale research project that involves designing a study, writing an introduction, data collection and analysis, discussion and compilation of a reference list. The standards to which this report is written should abide with that of the American Psychological Association.

Students are required to carry out a period of supervised practical work that applies the skills learnt throughout the psychology course. Practicals may involve clinical, community, child or human resource work.


Psychology at Sunway University is both an applied and research-oriented degree that encompasses both physiological and social science subjects.

To meet the standards required by the community of practising psychologists, a variety of facilities are made available to students. These include computing facilities equipped with statistical software, psychological experiments and simulations. In addition to this, basic interviewing techniques, child development assessments and small group work are carried out within a fully equipped complex of observation rooms. Science-based psychology subjects are taught within a specialised psychology laboratory. Students also have access to a variety of species of pets for observation of animal behaviour.

Students are trained to work with online electronic psychology databases that offer full downloadable psychological journal articles. Finally, ongoing interactions between the Department of Psychology and the Sunway Group enable students to practise and learn within a lively and realistic environment.

Career Opportunities

Upon successful completion of an undergraduate degree in psychology, graduates will have the basic skills required for jobs involving human behaviour in a variety of fields. Some of these fields include:

  • Teaching children with Special Needs
  • Child Development
  • Mental Health Aid in a Psychiatric Clinic
  • Special Needs Resource
  • Market Research
  • Advertising
  • Journalism and Media
  • Public Relations
  • Statistical Research Executives
  • Human Resource
  • Developing Educational Books

This course is a prerequisite for those planning to pursue psychology at the postgraduate level. Students may decide to pursue Master or Doctoral degrees in clinical, educational, organisational, developmental, sports or neurological psychology.

Entry Requirements

Psychology is a programme that requires serious study and focused attention as it covers a wide variety of advanced subjects on human behaviour.

The academic entry requirements for full offers are shown below:

  • STPM – Average B- (CGPA 2.67 Minimum 2 principals or best 2 subjects)
  • A-Level – BC / CDD (Minimum 14 points)
  • Australian Matriculation – ATAR 65
  • Canadian Matriculation – 70%
  • MUFY – 240
  • Sunway Foundation in Arts – 65%
  • UEC – Maximum 22 points (5 subjects, excluding Chinese & non-academic subjects)
  • International Baccalaureate – 26, based on 6 subjects

Conditional offers may also be awarded on a case-by-case basis to students who narrowly miss the full entry requirements.

Science Requirements

The BSc (Hons) Psychology requires prospective students to provide evidence of competency in Science and Mathematics subjects. These minimum requirements are:

  • SPM / O-Level / Pre-university: Credit in General Mathematics and Physics or Chemistry or Biology or General Science
  • Independent Chinese Schools: B in Science & Mathematics (Junior Middle 3 Exams)

English Language Requirements

  • TOEFL – 550 (paper-based, 213 computer-based, 80 Internet-based)
  • IELTS – 6.0
  • MUET – Band 5
  • SPM – A1/A2 or A+/A/A-
  • UEC English – B3
  • O-Level English (1119) – B3
  • Sunway Intensive English Programme – Pass Level 4 with 65% minimum.

Other English requirements will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

English Language Assistance
Sunway University welcomes students who want to work hard and try their best to become professional psychologists. For students who have met all the academic entry requirements but may still have some difficulties with English, additional classes and remedial help in the English language can be arranged through Sunway University’s English Language Department.

Other Qualifications
Those who possess other international qualifications and are looking to transfer credits (i.e. diploma or degree) will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

March & August

3 years

Academic Year Structure
Each academic year is made up of 2 long semesters (14 weeks) and 1 short semester (7 weeks). During the year, there will be several mid-semester and end-of-semester breaks.

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Sunway University Contact Details

Sunway University
No. 5, Jalan Universiti,
Bandar Sunway,
46150 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia.

Phone: +6(03)7491 8622
Fax: +6(03)5635 8630