Overview of postgraduate study in Psychology

Message from Head of School

Kia ora koutou

Welcome to all of you interested in postgraduate study in the School of Psychology at Massey University - Te Kura Hinengaro Tangata.

Ours is a large School of around 50 academic and support staff, composed of people who are active researchers, highly committed to their chosen area of scholarship as well as to their role as teachers and mentors. Our interests encompass most of the contemporary fields of psychological inquiry including applied, professional psychology and more theoretical, areas of psychological knowledge.

Although we have unique interests we work collaboratively to create comprehensive and supportive learning environments for students. We value Massey University’s commitment to distance education and to meeting the needs of students from diverse backgrounds and circumstances. Our postgraduate papers are taught in block mode which consists of intensive periods of class contact as well as carefully prepared reference materials, study guides and online contact to support independent study. Furthermore, our School is located across three campuses, with papers offered in Wellington, Palmerston North and Auckland.

The size and diversity of our School creates an exciting variety of papers and programmes, at Postgraduate level. It can also make for quite a confusing array of opportunities for students, which is why careful attention to this prospectus is so important. In it you will find descriptions of postgraduate diplomas, masters and doctoral qualifications that are designed for advanced education within our discipline. You will also find information on four pathways with direct professional or practice orientations (Industrial / Organisational Psychology, Health Psychology, General Professional Practice and Clinical Psychology), and a postgraduate diploma in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for professional development. The School encourages a diversity of approaches to the discovery of new knowledge, with particular strengths in Critical Psychology and qualitative methodologies, as well as specialisations in experimental design and quantitative analytic methods.

In valuing diversity and providing a variety of programmes to meet your personal interests and goals, we also share and encourage serious scholarship, innovative and thoughtful research and a collegial culture within our discipline. We believe in the mutual benefit for all cultures of commitment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, as these have direct relevance to the application of psychological knowledge for everyone’s wellbeing in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We encourage the pursuit of psychological knowledge that is informed by indigenous and other culturally diverse perspectives unique to this country.

Most of all we want you to enjoy your study with us: postgraduate students are the future of our discipline and we hope you will find postgraduate study as inspiring and fascinating as it has been to all of us.

Nāku iti nei, nā

Mandy Morgan PhD

Introduction to postgraduate psychology

This prospectus describes the postgraduate programmes available in the School of Psychology. The University Calendar contains the official regulations governing programmes and can also be consulted and is available online at http://calendar.massey.ac.nz.

The Study@Massey web pages provide an official up to date list of programmes and papers with associated information on entry criteria, delivery and offerings. Programmes matching the interest area of Psychology can also be located by a relevant search.

Block mode teaching

The majority of postgraduate psychology papers are taught in BLOCK MODE. This means that you need to attend the University for an intensive four or five day contact course for each taught paper you are studying but can study from home for the rest of the semester. This enables you to continue to study whilst working or living some distance from the University.

For planning purposes, please refer to the timetable for Block mode on-campus courses, which is also linked from the right column of the Postgraduate Paper Offerings.


When you enrol in one of our postgraduate programmes in Psychology, it is very likely that you will complete papers in 'block mode'. Some students are familiar with this mode of teaching and learning. For those with less prior experience, certain aspects may appear puzzling. It is very helpful if you get more familiar with the advantages as well as the possible challenges of block mode.

Postgraduate teaching and research is recognised as one of the distinguishing features of university education. The School of Psychology offers a wide range of postgraduate programmes (as you see in the Postgraduate Prospectus for Psychology and the Postgraduate Handbook for Psychology). In the past 10 years or so, postgraduate programmes have expanded and diversified (across specific fields in Psychology, across campuses). The modes of teaching and learning have also diversified.

In the interests of our students, Massey introduced modes that enable 700-level students to pursue studies in Psychology from all locations in New Zealand.

Different modes of delivery may imply certain constraints. However, strong efforts are made to ensure equivalence in opportunities for genuine advanced learning, in pedagogical value, as well as teaching contact time, whichever mode of teaching a certain paper may use.

Discussion and interaction between academics and students, and amongst students, remain a key aspect of postgraduate education promoting scholarship. Regardless of mode of delivery, all graduate papers observe the regular start date of semester, and the end date of semester.

When you study in block mode, you mostly work at a location you choose (e.g. your place of residence). Teaching is delivered in the form of so-called 'block courses'. A block
course is an event occurring on one of Massey's campuses, lasting several days. A block course has an announced programme with many different sessions and activities. However, all block courses include extended face-to-face sessions on a university campus, with academics providing tangible help for your learning, sometimes accompanied by tuition by tutors, instructors, possibly also invited presentations by experts.

Block course attendance is absolutely compulsory.

While the contact for a 'block mode' paper features larger blocks of time, the total amount of teaching time is what is usually associated with a classic internal mode paper.

Attendance at block teaching sessions is both preceded and followed by private study, which may include assessment components. Assessments may also occur during the block teaching sessions (this is not a feature of each paper).

Both before and after block courses, students have multiple opportunities to keep contact with lecturers. This may occur through electronic correspondence, telephone, tele-conferencing, facsimile, traditional letters, and other means. Contact is often achieved through announced 'virtual office hours', consultations, e-mail exchange, or some type of forum (e.g. Stream fora).

Learning in block mode, especially the attendance of 'back-to-back' block courses in consecutive weeks, requires advance planning. First, planning is necessary for simple logistics and to keep expenses manageable. You may wish to plan your travel to the block course venue, stay, accommodation, well in advance. Further, students are wise to plan all phases of their assignment work, recognising that participation in multiple block courses in a semester may imply less time for researching and writing assignments (i.e. during week-ends between block courses).

If you wish to cope with each of your papers successfully, time management through the semester is paramount.

Full-time or part-time study

Most programmes can be completed on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Bicultural focus

As part of Massey University’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi), the School of Psychology is developing a bicultural focus as an integral part of the programmes offered.

The Bicultural Committee and Māori staff play an important role in facilitating the development of this focus within the School. Turitea Campus has Te Rau Aroha, a postgraduate resource space for Māori students, with a study area, access to computers, and opportunities for whānaungātanga. At Albany, Te Puawaitanga is a support network for Māori students, which provides tutorial support for undergraduates, and is developing a research network for Māori postgraduate students.

We expect that all participants in our programmes (both staff and students) will recognise that Psychology has an ongoing responsibility, through teaching and research programmes, to promote genuine Māori participation in the discipline in a manner consistent with Māori aspirations and processes. We anticipate building our capacity for bicultural knowledge and practice through active involvement of all staff and students.

Entry requirements

  1. Students must hold an undergraduate degree with a major in PSYCHOLOGY. Students who already hold a university degree in another discipline can complete the equivalent of a major in psychology by completing the Graduate Diploma in Arts or Sciences (Psychology). Please refer to the School of Psychology Undergraduate Prospectus for details on this diploma.
    Please Note:
    You will not be accepted into the Postgraduate Psychology Programme without these qualifications. We do not make any exceptions to this requirement. For some specialised Postgraduate Diplomas the entry requirements may be different (refer to relevant section).
  2. Entry into the Postgraduate Programme is also based on prior academic performance. Normally, the successful applicant possesses a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 5.5 (a B to B+ average in their second and third year psychology papers).
  3. Entry into the PhD Programme normally requires a psychology degree with First Class or upper Second Class Honours standard. Generally, students accepted into this programme will be given provisional enrolment for the first year and are required to complete specified work. Intending PhD students should apply to the Massey University Doctoral Research Committee through the Head of School in Psychology.

    Students who want to apply for the Doctor of Clinical Psychology should apply to the School of Psychology as per the application procedures outlined in the Clinical Psychology Training Programme Section of this prospectus.


Information about Fees can be obtained from the University website:
Alternatively, for further information about fees and allowances contact:
0800 627739

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