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Originally the study of the spirit or soul (psyche), Psychology is today a diverse discipline which embraces all aspects of human experience.

Career Opportunities

  • Behaviour Analyst
  • Clinical or Community Psychologist  
  • Community Programme Co-ordinator  
  • Human Resource Adviser  
  • Private Practitioner
  • Research Scientist  

Potential Employers

  • Community Agencies
  • Government Departments
  • Hospitals
  • Private Organisations or Businesses
  • Schools

As a behavioural science, Psychology examines the way behaviour is learned and can be changed. As a social science, Psychology focuses on individuals within the context of families, organisations and other groups, communities, cultures and societies. As a biological science, Psychology studies the senses (hearing, vision, touch) and how the brain and physiological systems relate to behaviour. As a cognitive science, Psychology studies perception, attention, memory, thinking and language understanding. The study of development, personality, learning and motivation are also part of Psychology at Waikato, as is animal behaviour and welfare.

Major areas of study in Psychology at Waikato include:

  • Animal Behaviour
  • Behaviour Analysis
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Community, Kaupapa Māori and Applied Social Psychology
  • Health and Mental Health Services
  • Psychology and Management specialisation
  • Organisational Psychology

The following specialisation is available:

Psychology and Management
Psychology and Management is an undergraduate specialised programme of study linking a Psychology major with key papers within Waikato Management School, preparing you to apply psychology in business as well as not-for-profit organisational settings.

School subjects required

There are no specific subjects you need to study at secondary school to study Psychology at Waikato, although mathematics, English or biology could be an advantage.

Planning Your Degree

Papers are worth 15 points.


  • PSYC102 – Social and Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC103 – General and Experimental Psychology

Highly recommended

  • ALED100 - Writing for University Purposes

For those without a background in mathematics, it is also highly recommended that you consider taking MATH168 Preparatory Mathematics.

Papers are worth 20 points unless specified.

Compulsory papers

  • PSYC208 – Psychological Research: Analysis, Design and Measurement
  • PSYC225 – Behavioural Psychology and Learning (10 points)
  • PSYC226 – The Psychology of Perception (10 points)
  • PSYC227 – Foundations of Behavioural Neuroscience (10 points)
  • PSYC230 – Cognitive Psychology (10 points)

Students are strongly advised to complete all six 10-point 200 level Psychology papers, particularly if you intend to continue to a professional career in Psychology.

Papers are worth 20 points unless specified.

Choose 60 points from Level 300 Psychology papers.

Listed below are some combinations of third-year papers for various areas in Psychology. You are encouraged to consult academic staff for further recommendations.

To continue to graduate study in Psychology (ie BSocSc(Hons), MSocSc, BSc(Hons), the Postgraduate Certificate/Diplomas or the Master of Applied Psychology) you must have passed PSYC307 - Research Methods, and meet any other criteria for entry to those specific programmes (refer to the Psychology Graduate Handbook). You are also advised to read the handbook for 300 Level prerequisites required for specific graduate papers.

Animal Behaviour

  • PSYC206 - Animal Behaviour: Principles and Applications
  • PSYC314 - Behaviour Analysis
  • PSYC390 - Directed Study*
Students should also take Biological Science papers, including:
  • BIOL333 - Advanced Animal Behaviour (and its prerequisites).

Students of the BSc or BSc(Tech) degrees may also take Animal Behaviour as a major subject.

Applied Cognitive Science

  • PSYC307 - Research Methods
  • PSYC340 - Applied Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC341 - Visual Neuroscience and its Applications
  • PSYC344 - Physiology of Human Performance and Development
  • PSYC390 - Directed Study*

Behaviour Analysis (including Applied Behaviour Analysis)

Which other psychology papers are relevant will depend on your area of interest.

Clinical Psychology

The following are the papers required for entry to the Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology.

The following papers are also highly recommended.

  • PSYC301 - Community, Culture and Diversity
  • PSYC314 - Behaviour Analysis
  • PSYC319 - Psychological Perspectives on Child Development

Applied Social and Community Psychology, and Organisational Psychology

If you are interested in these areas of Psychology you should consult the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences Handbook, or School of Psychology academic staff for recommendations.

*Note that Directed Study papers will not be counted towards the 120 points required for a major in Psychology.

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Contact the Faculty

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0800 438 254
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Complementary Subjects

If you are interested in Psychology, you might also be interested in:

Biological Sciences

Available Degrees

You can study Psychology-related subjects in the following degrees:


We also offer Diplomas and Certificates at undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels in some subjects. Contact us for more information.

Autumn 2015