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Conservation Psychology: A Gap in Current Australian Undergraduate Psychology Education?

By Elissa Pearson

Category Journal Articles

Human actions have contributed to numerous environmental challenges, including climate change and a significant loss of the world’s biodiversity. As the scientific study of human thought and behaviour, psychology has much to offer in better understanding these issues, as well as fostering greater sustainability in human actions. Yet, despite this recognition, and increasing calls from leaders in psychology education to produce graduates capable of applying their disciplinary knowledge to such real-world issues to solve worldwide behaviourally-based problems; this may not be adequately addressed in current psychology training. The present study assessed the content of all APAC (Australian Psychology Accreditation Council) approved psychology programs within Australia to determine the proportion which offered a psychology-focused course (unit) specifically in conservation or sustainability. Based on the data advertised through each university website, it appears that only one of 39 programs currently offers such a course, with one other university implementing a conservation psychology course in 2013. Thus 95% of current APAC-accredited programs in Australia do not have a strong focus on training psychology graduates to contribute to addressing these important issues. The need for greater integration of conservation psychology content into undergraduate psychology education in Australia and beyond is discussed.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2013
Publication Title Sustainability
Volume 5
Issue 3
Pages 1266-1281
ISBN/ISSN 2071-1050
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/su5031266
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Australia
  4. Conservation
  5. open access
  6. Psychiatry and psychology
  7. Universities and Colleges
  8. Wild animals
  1. open access