The Department of Psychology was formed in 1920 as the Department of Logic and Psychology. The first head of the Department was Hugh Reyburn, trained as a philosopher at Glasgow University. By 1950 the Department was described as "one of the most prolific sources of postgraduates on campus." Today this statement still holds true for Psychology - most years we have the largest number of postgraduate students in the Faculty of Humanities at UCT.

In 1935 the Cape Town Child Guidance Clinic was established, with Reyburn as director. In 1952 Dr Vera Grover assumed the directorship of the Clinic, and in 1957 the Clinic was formally placed under the auspices of the Department. Today it is a teaching unit of the Department of Psychology, and acts as a centre for the professional training of clinical psychologists.