Department of Psychology Department of Psychology

Department of Psychology

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Department of Psychology

The University of Johannesburg strives to be an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future.  The UJ mission is to inspire its community to transform and serve humanity through innovation and the collaborative pursuit of knowledge. The UJ Psychology department draws inspiration from its location in the cosmopolitan city of Johannesburg.  UJ Psychology places emphasis on positive functioning, wellbeing and health promotion in the city.   The department offers training at the undergraduate and honours level, which extends into professional training the Masters clinical and counselling programmes and it includes a diverse programme in research Psychology. The department also hosts an active doctoral and postdoctoral programme.

The department is proud of its alumni boasting several high profile South Africans in business, academia and civil society. The curriculum is inclusive of established psychology theory as well as African centred and local epistemologies to provide a contextualised curriculum, while still being internationally relevant. The department has an increasing pan African and global footprint with collaborations in a number of countries.

Vision Statement

The Department of Psychology strives for excellence in teaching, research, professional training and community engagement, both nationally and internationally within its location in the Faculty of Humanities, the University of Johannesburg and the broader African urban context.

We aim to achieve this by: 

  • Offering students an outstanding education in the discipline and profession of psychology that prepares them to deal with challenges and opportunities at all levels of society as well as on the personal, interpersonal and psychological levels of existence; 
  • Facilitating the development of a management structure within the Department that is characterized by democracy, transparency, respect and accountability; 
  • Encouraging members of staff in their career development through the mobilization of resources, providing a supportive infrastructure to promote high-quality, peer-reviewed research and its publication, as well as supporting staff to attend relevant academic conferences and workshops;
  • Developing a culture of first-rate scholarship and learning for both staff and students and the establishment of excellent teaching practice and productive student-staff relationships; 
  • Positioning the Department as a member of a world class African University within a world class city that seeks to support staff and students to engage with local communities through research, teaching, skills development and various programme implementation activities; 
  • Positioning the Department as a non-discriminatory organization that attracts top quality staff and students; 
  • Undertaking to increase the national and international reputation of the Department and the University by collaborating with international academics and professionals in teaching and research;
  • Pursuing appropriate policies that promote the development of a Department that seeks to maintain a social, ethical and political responsibility towards the growth of the discipline of Psychology.

Current news and upcoming events 

dr linet n.jpg

Dr Linet Nyakundi, postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychology, recently presented at the 25th Biennial meeting of the International Society of Study of Behaviour Development (ISSBD) held at The Star, in conjunction with Griffith University in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.  Dr Nyakundi’s presentations were entitled “Resilience of preschool children within poor urban settings despite extreme risk exposure, and a call to re-imagine holistic protective processes that can enable them to thrive” and “The need for inviting younger children’s active voices in designing and utilising research tools that are culturally adaptive within sub-Saharan Africa despite theoretical and methodological dilemmas faced”.  Dr Nyakundi has recently initiated a research project with Orange Babies NGO in Orange Farm.  The project focuses on orphaned and vulnerable children and will eventually lead to workshops with the staff of the Early Childhood Centres included in the study, and publishing a pictorial children’s book on experiences of pre-schoolers from South Africa and Kenya.


Prof Brendon Barnes, Head of Psychology at UJ recently gave a lecture to students at the Zurich University of Applied Psychology about psychology in South Africa and UJ specifically.

As part of the lecture Prof Barnes linked the Swiss students with the UJ students via skype at the end of the lecture. The skype engagement was a huge success and students thoroughly enjoyed interacting with their UJ counterparts! Certainly a long stride in combining technology with blended learning!

The Department is proud to announce that Prof Zelda Knight has been appointed as a Visiting Professor at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna for 2018.  Internationalisation is a key objective for the Department, Faculty and University, appointments like these not only raise the stature of the department but has a positive influence on subject and university rankings

Dr Lizelle de Wee talks about the road to becoming a Psychologist