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A Quick Guide to Psychology Courses in New Zealand

Updated on 07 November, 2023

Neha Uppal

Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

The study of psychology is particularly important to understand human behavior. There are many different psychology courses available in New Zealand, which can be studied at undergraduate and graduate levels. Psychology courses in New Zealand are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. At the undergraduate level, students can study psychology as a major or minor with a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. At the graduate level, students can pursue a Master of Arts or Master of Science in Psychology. 

Psychology courses in New Zealand cover a wide range of topics, including cognition, neuroscience, psychopathology, developmental psychology, and social psychology. Graduates of psychology programs can work as research psychologists, clinical psychologists, and counseling psychologists. With the right training, psychology graduates can positively impact individuals’ lives, families, and communities. 

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Top Universities Offering Psychology Courses 

University of Otago: 

  • The University of Otago ranks 98 in QS subject rankings among psychology courses. Students can expect to learn about the human mind and behavior and how to conduct research in this field. 
  • The University of Otago offers a Bachelor of Arts with a major in psychology. The Bachelor of Arts with a major in psychology is a three-year degree. 
  • There is also a postgraduate diploma in psychology, which is a two-year degree. 
  • The postgraduate diploma in psychology is a professional qualification that allows you to work as a registered psychologist in New Zealand. 

University of Auckland: 

  • The University of Auckland strongly focuses on providing students with the knowledge necessary to succeed in the field of Psychology. 
  • They offer six psychology courses with both regular and part-time options. 
  • The university psychology course ranks 42 in the QS ranking, which states the quality of education offered.

Victoria University Wellington:  

  • Victoria University of Wellington is one of New Zealand’s leading universities, ranked 86 in the QS subject ranking in 2022. 
  • The university offers various undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including psychology. 
  • Victoria University’s psychology courses are highly respected and offer students an excellent opportunity to learn from some of the field’s top researchers. 

Psychology Courses in New Zealand Eligibility 

  • A few diverse types of Psychology courses are available at New Zealand universities. The most common type, of course, is the undergraduate degree, typically a three-year program. Other courses include the postgraduate degree, a two-year program, and the doctorate, a four-year program. 
  • To be eligible for an undergraduate degree in Psychology, students must have completed high school or equivalent. They must also complete a few prerequisite courses, such as English and Maths. If they have not completed these courses, students may be able to do so through a summer school program or distance learning. 
  • To be eligible for a postgraduate degree in Psychology, students must have completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology or a related field. They will also need to have a strong GPA and have taken some advanced courses in Psychology. 

Levels of Education (UG/PG/MPhil/Ph.D.)  

Psychology courses at New Zealand universities offer a wide range of levels of education, from undergraduate to postgraduate to doctorate level. Undergraduate courses typically last for three to four years, while postgraduate courses can last for two to three years. Doctoral psychology programs can take up to four years to complete. 

At the undergraduate level, students can expect to take courses covering the basics of psychology, such as its history, major theories, and methodological approaches. They will also take courses on specific topics within psychology, such as child development, psychopathology, and social psychology. In addition to coursework, students will also be required to complete practical placements to gain hands-on experience working with clients.  

At the postgraduate level, students can pursue either a master’s or a doctoral degree in psychology. Master’s programs typically last for two years, and students can choose to specialize in specific courses, such as clinical psychology or counseling psychology. Students in these programs will conduct original research and author a dissertation on their findings. 

Specializations for Psychology Courses 

There are many specializations for psychology courses at New Zealand universities. Some of the most popular include 

  • Clinical psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • Forensic psychology, and 
  • Educational psychology

Each of these specializations has different requirements, but all of them require a sturdy foundation in psychology. Here’s what they do. 

  • Clinical psychologists deal with individuals to diagnose and treat mental disorders. They need to be able to diagnose mental disorders.
  • Counseling psychologists help people deal with personal issues and problems. They need to be able to listen to people and understand their problems.
  • Forensic psychologists apply psychological principles to criminal cases. They need to be able to understand the criminal mind. 
  • Educational psychologists work with students and educators to improve learning and teaching. They need to be able to understand how people learn.

Scope of Psychology Courses  

The study of psychology covers many topics, from the workings of the human mind to the treatment of mental disorders. Students of psychology in New Zealand can expect to gain a deep understanding of the subject, and the skills necessary to pursue a career in the field. The scope of psychology courses offered in New Zealand is quite comprehensive, covering everything from the history and theory of the discipline to the latest research on human behavior. 

Students will learn about the different approaches to studying the mind, as well as the methods used to gather data and test hypotheses. In addition, they will be exposed to the major schools of thought in psychology, such as behaviorism, cognitive science, and psychoanalysis. With such a broad range of topics to cover, psychology courses in New Zealand are typically divided into two main categories: theoretical and applied. 

  • Theoretical courses focus on the development of psychological knowledge, while 
  • Applied courses focus on the practical applications of this knowledge. 

Students can choose to specialize in one or both areas, depending on their career aspirations. 

Students of psychology in New Zealand will develop important skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication. These skills are essential for success in any field, but they are especially valuable in the field of psychology, where they can be used to help others understand and cope with the complexities of the human mind. 

Cost of Attendance for Psychology Courses 

The fees for Psychology Courses in New Zealand can vary depending on the institution and the specific program. However, some general trends can be observed. In general, tuition for psychology courses in New Zealand is affordable when compared to other developed countries. This is due, in part, to the government subsidizing education. Additionally, many institutions offer a variety of financial aid options to help students offset the cost of attendance. Generally, fees for Psychology Courses in New Zealand range from 10,000 NZD to 30,000 NZD per annum, depending on the type of programs and the universities chosen. 

When considering the cost of attendance, it is important to consider the cost of living. New Zealand is an expensive country to live in. However, there are ways to offset living costs by living in shared accommodation or working part-time. Overall, the cost of attendance for psychology courses in New Zealand is reasonable. With careful budgeting, it is possible to make studying in New Zealand affordable. 


Job Prospects  

The job prospects for those with a psychology degree from New Zealand are quite good. The New Zealand government has put a strong emphasis on mental health in recent years, and as a result, there is a growing demand for psychological services. Graduates of psychology programs from New Zealand universities can take advantage of these opportunities. There are many different career paths open to psychology graduates. Many go on to work in private practice, providing counseling and therapy services to individuals, couples, and families. Others find work in the public sector, working in hospitals, clinics, and community mental health centers. Other popular options include

  • Clinician 
  • HR Specialist
  • Mental Health Practitioner 
  • Psychologist
  • Researcher
  • Staff Recruiter

Expected Remuneration Salary  

In New Zealand, the average salary for someone with a psychology degree is NZD 63,000. However, salaries will vary depending on the specific field of psychology chosen, as well as the level of experience. For example, clinical psychologists tend to earn more than industrial psychologists. Salaries also tend to increase with experience, so those who have worked in the field for many years can expect to earn more than those who are just starting. 

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What will I study as part of a psychology degree in New Zealand?

The specific content of your psychology degree will vary depending on the institution you study at and the program you choose. However, common study topics include child development, social psychology, psychopathology, and research methods.

What are the career prospects for graduates of psychology programs in New Zealand?

As a graduate of a psychology program in New Zealand, you will be eligible to work as a registered psychologist in several settings, including healthcare, education, business, and government. There is a growing demand for psychologists in New Zealand, and graduates are often able to find work easily. 

Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

Neha Uppal is a passionate content creator and editor. She carries 7.5+ years of experience working with leading edutech companies where she worked as a Faculty, Community Manager, and Content Marketeer. At upGrad, she is helping out people keep informed about the scopes and opportunities of studying abroad via informational articles/blogs.

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