Personal details

Associate Professor Nigar Khawaja
Associate Professor
Faculty of Health,
School - Psychology and Counselling
IHBI Membership
Institute of Health Biomedical Innovation (IHBI),
IHBI Health Projects,
IHBI Psych and Counc - HDHS
Discipline *
+61 7 3138 4540
+61 7 3138 0486
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Identifiers and profiles

PhD (University of Queensland), MSc Clinical Psychology (University of Punjab), AdvDip Clinical Psychology (University of Punjab), BA (University of Punjab)


Clinical, transcultural and cross-cultural psychology, Scale development and validation, Culturally sensitive interventions, Cultural competency

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Professional Memberships of National & International Organisations Elected member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) Elected member of APS College of Clinical Psychology Registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)  Elected member of the Academy of Intercultural Relations

Teaching & Learning I am a Clinical Psychologist. I have coordinated 18 and lectured in 12 undergraduate and postgraduate subjects. Most of my curent teaching is in the Master and Doctorate of Clinical Psychology and Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology programs. My teaching scholarship is evident by novel  training strategies and innovations leading to successful and competent psychologists. I have develoepd three new units and three educational DVDs. I have expertise in psychological assessment, cultural competency and various therapuetic modalities.

Research interests

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Transcultural Psychology (migrants & refugees)

Specific interests include

  • Culturally sensitive assessment
  • Culturally sensitive intervention
  • Cultural competency of professionals
  • Test development and validation
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression

As a Clinical Psychologist my resreach is aligned with National Reserach Priorities and QUT’s and IHBI’s mission to enhance the mental health of the community members. I regularly address gaps in the literature by examining the anxiety and depression in the mainstream population. I have extended my reserach to culturally and linguistically diverse migrants, refugees and international students. I focus on mental health promotion, integration and social inclusivity of migrants, refugees and international students through acculturation, resilince and skill building interventions. My other salient contribution to the discipline is the development and validation of 14 questionnaires. I validated for the first time 9 popular clinical scales with the Australian population, so that they can be used effectively in the Australian clinical and research settings. I demonstrate innovation and creativity by developing 5 original questionnaires. I developed the first and the only questionnaires to measure university students’ depression, multicultural competencies and acculturation and resilience. These scales are used nationally and internationally. They student’ depression scale has been translated in different languages and is used in various counselling centres around the world.

This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Nigar Khawaja.


Teaching highlights

Course Coordinator Master & Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (2015 to date)

Research Coordinator Master & Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (2008 to date)

Unit Coordinator and Lecturer for

  • PYN027 Clinical Psychological Assessment (Masters / Doctorate of Clinical Psychology)
  • HLN712- Units 1 to 4 (Master in Clinical Psychology – Thesis units)
  • PY52 Units 1-8 (Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology – Thesis units)

Previously Unit Coordinator / Lecturer for

  • PYN030 Ethics and Professional Practice (Masters / Doctorate  of Clinical Psychology)
  • PYN603 Ethics and Professional Practice (Masters Educational and Developmental Psychology)
  • PYB311 Psychological Assessment (Bachelors of Psychology)
  • PYB360 Interventions for Addictive Behaviors (Bachelors of Psychology).
  • PYN601 Counseling & Consultation (Masters of Educational & Developmental Psychology)
  • PYn460  Advanced Interventions for Addictive Behaviors (Master in Clinical Psychology)

Specialist Lecturer for

  • PYB 402 Counselling Psychology (Honors).
  • PYB309 Individual Differences and Assessment (Bachelors in Psychology)
  • PYN035 Supervised Practicum (Master / Doctorate of Clinical Psychology)


This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Nigar Khawaja.


After completing my post graduate training in Clinical Psychology, from the University of the Punjab (Pakistan), I arrived in Australia to do my PhD at the University of Queensland. Subsequently, I had the first-hand experience of being an international student. A few years after completing my studies I migrated to Australia and developed an understanding of the challenges of a migrant. Being culturally diverse, multilingual and familiar with non-Western cultures, I started to offer professional services as a cultural and multilingual consultant and a clinician, along with my other academic roles. As an active member of the Australian Psychological Society, I revitalised the psychology and cultures interest group. I have been on the executive committee of this interest group for six years and the national chair for four years. I advocate the needs of the culturally and linguistically diverse clients and the psychologists who offer psychological services to this population. As a part of this interest group, I pioneered and established an ongoing peer review support and professional development program for mental health professionals. I am very keen to promote cultural competency among mental and allied health professionals in Australia. I have extended my clinical research to transcultural issues. Over the last decade, I have research the acculturation challenges and psychosocial issues of international students, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Being a clinician, I value effective assessment and intervention strategies. I have developed 5 new measures and validated 9 existing measures. I have also contributed to the development of new culturally appropriate and sensitive treatment programs for international students, migrants and refugees. Some of my multidisciplinary recent research projects include exploring the: Employment and educational aspirations of refugee adults Predictors of psychosocial, acculturative and academic success of refugee youth in schools Acculturative stress, integration and resilience of refugees (adults and youth) Protective factors promoting wellbeing in refugee youth Cultural competency: working with Asylum seekers  Cultural competency: working with Indigenous clients

This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Nigar Khawaja.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.


Awards and recognition

Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
Recipient of the QUT Vice Chancellor Performance Award in December 2016. The award recognized my leadership and excellence in teaching, research and engagement.
Advisor/Consultant for Industry
Reference year
On invitation by the Australian Cultures & Psychology Interest group and Institute I conducted 6 full day workshops on the "assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse clients" at Brisbane (twice), Sydney (twice), Adelaide and Melbourne to enhance the professional development of the registered psychologists
Membership of a Statutory Committee
Reference year
Since 2016, I have been the elected member of the APS Test and Testing Expert Group. My portfolio is "testing of CALD Clients". I am currently preparing guidelines for psychologists on ho use psychological tests with minors from culturally and linguistically diverse background.
Keynote Speaker/Expert Panel Member/Invited Speaker for a Conference
Reference year
I was invited as a key note speaker by the South Australia Australian Psychological society branch to deliver a speech on the "acculturation issues of migrants and refugees" as a part of the mental health week in November 2015. The event was attended by Governor of South Australia, senior government officials , policy developer, health and allied health professional and general members of the society.
Advisor/Consultant for Industry
Reference year
Psychological Board (now AHPRA: I offer advice and services to the board on the skills and competency of the registered psychologists who are being investigated for negligence and incompetency and other ethical dilemmas Qld Transcultural Mental Health Centre: As a multilingual psychologist, I have been asked by QTMHC to offer psychological services to clients from diverse cultures.
Committee Role/Editor or Chair of an Academic Conference
Reference year
On invitation I am currently serving as a mmeber of the conference scientific commitee.
Editorial Role for an Academic Journal
Reference year
2004 to date: I have been the Associate Editor of Pakistan Journal of Psychology. 2008 to date: I have been the Asociate Editor of the Journal of Muslim Mental Health.
Membership of Learned Societies
Reference year
Elected member of Australian Psychological Society (APS) (23960) Elected member of APS College of Clinical Psychology Registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) (reg. no. PSY0001398113). Elected member of the Academy of Intercultural Relations

Research projects

Grants and projects (Category 1: Australian Competitive Grants only)

Refugees Employment Aspirations and Inter-Generational Communication about Future Occupational Pathways
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year
Refugees; Sociology of Migration; Intergenerational Communication; Intercultural Communication


Current supervisions

  • Examining the influence of war-related trauma on refugees' social adjustment: Developing a multi-dimensional intervention
    PhD, Mentoring Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Kate Murray, Dr Zahra Izadikhah Najafabadi
  • An Exploration of Psycho-Social and Cultural Factors of Well-Being in the Indonesian Context
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Associate Professor Trish Obst
  • Understanding and treating obesity related eating behaviours in Pakistani University Students
    PhD, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Esben Strodl

Completed supervisions (Doctorate)