Personal details

Professor Nigar Khawaja
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 Fellow 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

AHPRA Accredited Clinical Supervisor

Member of QUT’s Child Adversity Research Group

Member of APS Test and Testing National Group

Member of Refugee Health Neurodevelopmental Intervention and Cognitive Assessment National Group


Teaching & Learning I am a Clinical Psychologist. I have coordinated 18 and lectured in 19 undergraduate and postgraduate subjects. Most of my current teaching is in the Master and of Clinical Psychology programs. My teaching scholarship is evident by novel  training strategies and innovations leading to  competent psychologists. I have developed three new units and three educational DVDs and numerous digital resources. I have expertise in psychological assessment, cultural competency and various therapeutic modalities.

Research interests

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Transcultural Psychology
  • Cross-cultural Psychology

Specific interests include

  • Culturally sensitive assessment
  • Culturally sensitive intervention
  • Cultural competency of professionals
  • Test development and validation
  • Students well being and success

As a Clinical Psychologist my research is aligned with international and national research priorities and QUT’s and mission to enhance the mental health of vulnerable individuals and communities. During the last decade I have focused on culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD [migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and international students] populations. Through my research I promote mental health promotion, integration, and social inclusivity of CALD populations. My strength-based interventions facilitate acculturation and resilience of diverse populations.  My other salient contribution to the discipline is the development and validation of 19 questionnaires, 9 of which are for CALD adults and adolescents. These scales address gaps in the literature and are used nationally and internationally in clinical and research settings. My innovative and applied research has impacted national and international policies and clinical practice.


This information has been contributed by Professor Nigar Khawaja.


Teaching highlights

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

Research Coordinator Master & Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (2008 to 2019)

Unit Coordinator and Lecturer for

  • PYN027 Clinical Psychological Assessment (Masters of Clinical Psychology)

Previously Unit Coordinator / Lecturer for

  • HLN712- Units 1 to 4 (Master in Clinical Psychology – Thesis units)
  • PY52 Units 1-8 (Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology – Thesis units)
  • PYN030 Ethics and Professional Practice (Masters  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).
  • PYB 309 Individual Differences and Assessment (Bachelors in Psychology)
  • PYN 035 Supervised Practicum (Master of Clinical Psychology)
  • PYN 028 Clinical Psychopathology (Master of Clinical Psychology)


This information has been contributed by Professor Nigar Khawaja.


I am a trained and registered multilingual Clinical Psychologist. I coordinate and teach into the Master of Clinical Psychology degree at QUT. I have embedded mental health and cultural diversity in my teaching, research, and professional engagement. I am enthusiastic about preparing culturally competent clinical psychologists. I have an extensive experience of conducting cultural competency trainings at national and international level. I am chair of 2 and member of 7 important committees. I am recognised as a Senior Fellow by HEA for my high-quality teaching and mentoring of other academics and researchers.

My research leadership is in the areas of clinical, transcultural, and cross-cultural psychology.  I conduct multi/interdisciplinary research at the national and international level. I focus on the mental health and well-being of culturally and linguistically (CALD) populations in Australia and overseas. In Australia, these people are international students, migrants, refugees, or asylum seekers. CALD populations from refugee and asylum seeker background have often encountered severe adversities and traumas due to war, loss, and grief.  Further,  CALD  may encounter language and cultural barriers and have to adapt to a country very different from their origin homeland. These pre and post migration stressors can have an impact on their mental health, and if not correctly identified and managed, these people can be alienated, marginalised and at-risk.

My research has focused on developing valid and appropriate psychological measures to detect these at-risk CALD individuals. I have developed and validated 19 scales (9 focus on CALD adults, adolescents, and parents). Further, I have used my research to develop and trial culturally sensitive and appropriate strength-based psychological interventions for this population. My research has direct impact on the national and international clinical practice and health and educational policies for culturally and linguistically diverse population nationally and internationally.

I am a fellow of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), a member of APS College of Clinical Psychology and International Academic of Intercultural Research. I have been a national chair of the APS Culture and Psychology Interest group (2008-2015) and since 2016 I am a member of the APS Tests and Testing Expert Committee. I am a member of Refugee Health Neurodevelopmental Intervention and Cognitive Assessment National Committee (2017-current). I am a recipient of ARC Linkage, Education Queensland, and Brisbane Catholic Education grants. I have supervised more than 70 students for PhD, Professional doctorate, MPhil, Course-work Masters and Honours degrees. I offer consultation to a range of government and non-government organisations.


This information has been contributed by 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
I have been a recipient of QUT prestigious awards: VC's Performance award recognised my leadership and excellence in teaching, research and engagement (2016). VC's Performance award recognised my leadership in the Clinical Psychology Program and Professional Services (2009).Pioneer Compassionate award recognising my teaching and learning scholarship (2003).
Advisor/Consultant for Industry
Reference year
Cultural Competency Training: On invitation by Cultures & Psychology Interest group and Australian Psychological Society's Institute I conducted 6 full day workshops in different Australian cities on the "assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse clients". I offer advice and consultancy to government and non-government organisations on cultural diversity. As an expert in the psychological assessment, I assist Psychology Board, (AHPRA) in determining the competencies of psychologist.
Membership of a Statutory Committee
Reference year
Elected member of the Australian Psychological Society's (APS)Test and Testing Expert Group (2-16-current). My portfolio is "testing of CALD Clients". I have prepared guidelines for psychologists on how to use psychological tests with minors from ethnic minorities. The guideline is available to the 25,000 members of APS. Member of Child Adversity Research Program and Menzies National research group.
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. I am a regular reviewer of Q1 high impact journals, which focus on clinical, transcultural and cross cultural research. Some examples are : Transcultural Psychiatry, International Perspectives in psychology, International Migration and Review, Cross Cultural Psychology, International Journal of Intercultural relations. Journal of Affective Disorders, Clinical Psychologist, Australian psychologist and the Journal of Australian Psychology.

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
  • Understanding and treating obesity related eating behaviours in Pakistani University Students
    PhD, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Associate Professor Esben Strodl

Completed supervisions (Doctorate)