Why Study Psychology in New Zealand?


What does an undergraduate degree involve?

Because of the relatively small number of high-quality Psychology Departments, we’re all pretty broad in what we cover as part of an undergraduate degree in Psychology. All departments provide an excellent grounding in the basics, with a small number of introductory courses that span the breadth of psychology, a slightly larger set of second year courses that consolidate the foundation in these key areas (like social, developmental, abnormal, cognitive, and biopsychology), and a larger set at third year in which you start to specialise. At Victoria University of Wellington, for example, you can study ‘Crime, Psychology and the Law’, or ‘Cross-Cultural Psychology’. At the same time, Otago offers ‘Comparative Cognition’, Canterbury includes ‘Health Psychology and Behaviour Change’, and Massey University offers ‘The Psychology of Women’. As a requirement for accreditation, Psychology Departments are typically required to ensure that students develop some level of cultural competence, and in New Zealand this means familiarity with Māori, so come learn about indigenous psychology. 

You can typically take psychology as a major subject towards a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree, depending on what your interests are. New Zealand degrees are a flexible alternative to North American-style liberal arts degrees (where you study a broad range of things) and United Kingdom-style specialist degrees (where you study pretty much only one thing throughout). As a general rule, you’ll need to spend about half your courses studying psychology over the course of your three-year degree, and that means you’ll also have the flexibility to fill out the other half with psychology (because you love it!) or with something else that interests you. Want to do a BA in Psychology and Criminology? Maybe a BSc in Psychology and Biology? Some universities allow students to take a second Major from outside of their degree home – for example, at Victoria University of Wellington, you could complete a Bachelor of Science with perforated majors in Psychology and Chinese. Increasingly, Universities are seeking to provide opportunities for students to do internships with organisations outside of the university as part of their study and preparation for the workforce, and this will only increase in years to come.    

International students can expect to pay NZ$25,000 to $30,000 per year of study towards a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

Postgraduate Psychology & Psychology Research in New Zealand