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Postgraduate subject


Mātai Hinengaro

07 November 2023
Psychology studies at UC include the scientific study of behaviour, as well as registration as professional psychologists.




Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and associated biological, cognitive, and social processes in humans and other animals. It is a rapidly developing field touching on all aspects of human life.

Advances in neuro-imaging and molecular biology are rapidly enhancing our understanding of how the brain works, while increasingly complex theories are being developed to understand behavioural development of individuals and groups. Major advances are being made in understanding and treating psycho-pathologies such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and addictions.

Psychology students are trained to:

  • think independently and critically about psychological issues
  • become knowledgeable about the key methods, important findings, and major theories of psychology
  • learn how to distinguish genuine findings from implausible and suspect claims
  • understand modern scientific research in psychology.


What will my study involve?

  • UC offers a balanced and comprehensive set of courses, excellent opportunities to undertake work in experimental psychology, and has nationally and internationally recognised postgraduate applied programmes in Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Child and Family Psychology, and Clinical Psychology (leading to professional registration as a psychologist).
  • UC has more than 25 specialist academic staff offering a diverse range of research and teaching options. You can become involved in research projects and may make significant contributions to the discipline.
  • Te Kura Mahi a-Hirikapo | School of Psychology, Speech and Hearing provides modern computer-based laboratories; excellent digital recording and editing equipment; an extensive library of psychological tests; and laboratories for human performance, human-robot interaction, animal behaviour and neuroscience, perception and cognition, and social, developmental, and applied psychology.
  • UC has a Psychology Clinic where clinical students receive training, and has working relationships with Te Poari Hauora o Waitaha | Canterbury District Health Board, and Ara Poutama Aotearoa | Department of Corrections, offering opportunities for research and clinical internships.



UC offers the following postgraduate programmes in Psychology and related areas:


See the individual qualification pages for more information on degree requirements.

Graduate Diploma in Arts and Graduate Diploma in Science specialising in Psychology

To complete a GradDipArts or GradDipSc with a Psychology focus, students will need to complete at least 60 points in 100 to 300-level PSYC courses throughout their degree. In total 90 points must be at 300-level in the diploma from Psychology and/or other Arts or Science courses.

Bachelor of Arts with Honours and Bachelor of Science with Honours majoring in Psychology

The Psychology major in the BA(Hons) and BSc(Hons) includes:

Postgraduate Certificate in Arts and Postgraduate Certificate in Science majoring in Psychology

For the PGCertSc, you will need to complete at least 45 points in 4400-level PSYC courses for the major. In total 60 points must be completed for the PGCertSc from Psychology and/or other Science courses.

All 60 points in the PGCertArts will need to be 400-level PSYC courses for the major. With approval, you may substitute 30 points in your certificate with either PACE495 Professional and Community Engagement Internship or DIGI403 Digital Project with a Psychology focus.

Postgraduate Diploma in Arts and Postgraduate Diploma in Science majoring in Geography

In the PGDipSc, the 120 points in the diploma are chosen from 400-level PSYC courses. With approval, up to 60 points in the diploma may be chosen from other Science subjects, and one 300-level course may be substituted for a 400-level course with an equivalent points value.

All 120 points in the PGDipArts are chosen from 400-level PSYC courses. With approval, 30 points in the diploma may be substituted with either PACE495 Professional and Community Engagement Internship or DIGI403 Digital Project with a Psychology focus.

Master of Arts (Thesis) majoring in Psychology

In the MA(Thesis), you will need to complete the thesis course PSYC690 MA Thesis.

Master of Science majoring in Psychology

Part I of the MSc in Psychology is 120 points of 400-level PSYC courses, including PSYC460 Research Methods in Psychology.

You will need a B+ Grade Point Average to proceed to Part II of the degree.

Part II of the MSc requires PSYC695 MSc Thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology

In the PhD, you will complete a thesis of original research in the Psychology field (PSYC790 Psychology PhD).


Career opportunities

Psychologists have a unique mix of skills. As well as a basic knowledge about people, as individuals and in groups, they are required to have excellent writing and communication skills, the ability to analyse and understand quantitative data, and a critical and objective way of approaching problems.

Psychology graduates hold research and policy analyst positions in government departments and other large public sector organisations, as well as positions of responsibility in a variety of settings, including many private sector businesses. Many graduates are employed in public relations; teaching and training; district health boards; the New Zealand Defence Forces; Ara Poutama Aotearoa | Department of Corrections; and in social service agencies such as employment services, social welfare, counselling services, and health promotion.

Further specialist opportunities open up for those who have completed postgraduate training in Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Child and Family Psychology, and Clinical Psychology (leading to professional registration as a psychologist). Clinical psychologists work with individuals and their families where there are difficulties in adjustment and coping.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Psychology.

Related brochures

Postgraduate Prospectus 2024

Whakatairanga Tāura

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International Prospectus 2024/2025

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