Psychology thesis topics and supervisors , Ngā Kaupapa ā-tuhinga roa me ngā kaiarataki

Find a thesis topic and supervisor in the School of Psychology.

This page lists staff who have current capacity for research supervision within the School of Psychology. Staff and their research interests are listed by campus.

Finding a supervisor and enrolling

We strongly advise you to find a supervisor for your research project or thesis early.

Please note:

  • your enrolment cannot be confirmed until you and your supervisor have signed the below agreement.
  • your StudyLink support from the government cannot be activated until your enrolment is confirmed.

Auckland campus supervisors

Stuart Carr

My focus in EPIC and I/O psychology is on the links between decent work conditions and sustainable livelihoods under the support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainable Livelihoods include humanitarian work psychology and eco-social protection under SDGs 8 and 13. If you feel that research has a role in meeting the SDGs, contact me for a chat before the end of 2023.

Visit EPIC to learn about projects GLOW, SAFE and SLATE

Stuart Carr's staff profile including research expertise

Shemana Cassim

I am happy to supervise students interested in psychological research of migrant communities. My areas of expertise include working with migrant communities of colour or ethnic migrants and Muslim migrant communities. I am primarily a qualitative researcher.

Shemana Cassim’s staff profile and research expertise

Richard Fletcher

I am primarily interested in quantitative research, although I am more and more encouraging a mixed methods approach. Areas of interest are psychometrics, sport psychology, and wellbeing in informal carers.

I am open to discussions around most subjects as a research methodologist.

Darrin Hodgetts

I am a societal and community psychologist with interests in the social determinants of health including urban poverty, homelessness, decent work, and food insecurity.
I am involved in a range of applied community and policy projects exploring issues such as urban poverty, social inclusion, and change.

Darrin Hodgetts' staff profile including research expertise

Veronica Hopner

I am happy to supervise students interested in the intersections of psychology with security studies, human security psychology and counter-terrorism. I am also interested in topics around sustainable livelihoods and occupational health psychology.

The topics I focus on are:

  • modern slavery
  • right-wing extremism and women
  • left-wing extremism
  • misinformation, disinformation and conspiracy theories
  • sustainable livelihoods
  • occupational health psychology

I am primarily a qualitative researcher.

Veronica Hopner's staff profile including research expertise

Julia Ioane

I am interested in supervising honours, master and doctoral students, primarily in the areas of:

  • Pasifika communities, particularly in the justice sector
  • child offending
  • youth and adult offending
  • diverse worldviews of psychology
  • trauma
  • intersectionality between psychology and law
  • child and youth mental health
  • psychological interventions and evaluations (in partnerships with agencies and government departments).

Heather Kempton

I do not have the capacity for additional postgraduate supervision in 2024.

I supervise research in the area of mindfulness, meditation and spirituality. I have both quantitative and qualitative interests in the topic.

I’m close to capacity in terms of supervision, but I may be able to supervise students who already have experience in mindfulness, Buddhist philosophy, or other spiritual topics. For example, I have previously supervised a student looking at Kundalini awakenings.

Heather Kempton's staff profile including research expertise

Michelle Lee

I'm able to take on students who are interested in topics related to industrial and organisational psychology from a macro perspective. My areas are organisational culture, organisational climate and leadership style, particularly in an Asian setting. I've conducted research on:

  • hierarchical culture
  • psychosocial safety climates
  • safety and team climates
  • transformational, transactional, ethical, toxic and paternalistic leadership, specifically the job demands-resources model and employee work outcomes.

My approach is mostly quantitative and multilevel, where we collect pockets of data from groups or organisations. I'm also interested in researching new norms of work during and after the pandemic, and identity and retirement transitions.

While most of my studies are in an Asian setting, I welcome cross-cultural studies on those topics, involving employees in New Zealand and overseas.

James Liu

My research is in social, cross-cultural, and political psychology. I do a lot of work in the area of social identity and intergroup relations, and am happy to supervise student research in this area.

I currently supervise research in:

  • collective remembering and the making of political culture (how social representations of history influence national psychology and intergroup relations)
  • digital influence (the impact of mass media, especially the internet and social media, on psychological functioning and relationships)
  • global consciousness (how people can develop a prosocial orientation for others that goes beyond the limits of national and local identities)
  • action-oriented work in any of these areas or their intersection (for instance, developing social media that supports growth in global consciousness)
  • cross-cultural psychology (I have collected lots of big datasets, and am happy to supervise students who are interested in doing research work using this data, especially if they encompass one of the four areas above).

James Liu' staff profile and research expertise

Kathryn McGuigan

My research interests focus on critical health psychology, including:

  • health and space
  • understandings and use of medication
  • the social construction of food
  • gendered experiences of health and illness
  • disability
  • neurodivergence.

I am primarily interested in qualitative projects.

I do not have any more capacity for students for 2024.

Kathryn McQuigan's staff profile and research expertise

Pikihuia Pomare

I am not available for supervision in 2023.

Pikihuia Pomare's staff profile and research expertise

Matthew Shepherd

Kia ora. I am looking to supervise honours, master's and doctoral students in research around:

  • tamariki and rangatahi (child and adolescent) mental health
  • computerised therapies
  • the application of clinical psychology practice
  • child and adolescent therapies
  • family therapy.

Clifford Van Ommen

I would be interested in supervising students as part of the Our home/their property: The renter’s life project. This project aims to document and theorise the social practices and power relations that shape tenant-landlord relationships, including mapping their intergenerational consequences materially, socially, and psychologically.

I am happy to discuss supervising students who are familiar with qualitative methods and are interested in contributing to this project.

Dr Matt Williams and I are looking to supervise a doctorate level student, comfortable with quantitative methods, interested in exploring the relationship between renting and mental health.

Clifford Van Ommen's staff profile and research expertise

Matt Williams

My main research interests are:

  1. Misinformation and conspiracy theories. For example, what drives people to believe and spread misinformation? Why do people change their minds about conspiracy theories?
  2. Metapsychology and methodology. For example, how often do researchers make action recommendations not warranted by their findings? How can we better estimate the prevalence of rare beliefs and behaviours?

Most of my research is quantitative, and I am a strong supporter of open science practices (for example, preregistration, open data, open materials). I lead the Reproducible Psychology at Albany lab, where students can network in a supportive environment.

Whenever possible, I prefer to work with students who have successfully completed courses 175303, The Practice of Psychological Research and 175746, Psychological Research: Quantitative Data Analysis, or equivalent courses from other institutions.

Matt Williams' staff profile and research expertise.

Amanda M Young-Hauser

I will not be available to supervise in 2024.

Manawatū campus supervisors

Health and Ageing Research Team

Researchers in the Health and Ageing Research Team (HART) use quantitative or qualitative methodologies across a range of topics.

Find out more about HART

Quantitative analysis of existing survey data

If you choose to study one of these topics you should have good quantitative analysis skills, having completed 175.746 (Psychological Research: Quantitative Data Analysis) or equivalent. You will be expected to develop a theoretical basis for the research question and conduct sophisticated multivariate and/or longitudinal data analysis.

The HART team can provide access to a large sample of older Māori who have provided data on a range of aspects of general health and wellbeing, as well as an extensive set of Māori-specific identity, cultural-participation, marae roles, language, and whānau. The HART team are able to provide assistance in the development of research questions, analytical strategy, and writing supervision around these data.

Professor Fiona Alpass

Combining work and caregiving: the impact on health and wealth over time.

Older workers, including:

  • flexible work opportunities and job satisfaction
  • attitudes, motivations and workability
  • senior entrepreneurs.

Fiona Alpass's staff profile and research expertise

Dr Juliana Mansvelt

Research areas include:

  • geographical and place-based differences in relation to loneliness, quality of life and wellbeing
  • changes in leisure experiences (recreational activities, life engagement, voluntary work) after retirement.

Susanne Röhr (Roehr)

I am looking forward to hearing from students who have an interest in quantitative or qualitative research in one of the following healthy ageing topics:

  • Social determinants of health (such as social environment, socioeconomic factors, natural and built environment) and healthy ageing, especially cognitive functioning.
  • Lifestyle and healthy ageing, especially cognitive functioning, modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia.
  • Social network, social isolation, loneliness, social engagement and health-related outcomes, especially brain and mental health and cognitive functioning.
  • Creativity, arts and healthy ageing.
  • Gender perspectives on healthy ageing.
  • Lifestyle behaviours and motivation for maintaining or improving brain health and wellbeing across the lifespan.
  • Climate change, attitudes towards environmental challenges and age-related brain health.
  • Ageing in place, risk of displacement and brain health.

Susanne Röhr's staff profile and research expertise

Dr Polly Yeung

Ageing and disability

  • Using the ICF-based Framework to develop a model of functional components and contextual factors.
  • The relationship between visual impairment, mobility, loneliness, social engagement and quality of life.

Dr Andy Towers

Drug and alcohol consumption

  • Factors predicting change in alcohol consumption in older New Zealanders.
  • The relationship between alcohol consumption, health, and healthcare utilisation in older New Zealanders.
  • Drug use in older adults (medication use, illicit drug use).
  • International comparisons of drinking patterns in older adults.

Brendan Stevenson

Unavailable for 2023.

Qualitative research topics

Students interested in these topics must have a sound background and interest in qualitative methodologies. They will be expected to develop a sophisticated methodological basis for their research question.

Dr Juliana Mansvelt

Ageing in place

  • The role of mundane commodities, objects, and commodity practices in shaping experiences and meanings of ageing in place (including through shifts in dwelling circumstance).
  • Experiences of dwelling in rural and other places.

Leisure and consumption

  • Contribution, productivity and pleasure in daily activities, including shopping.


  • The uptake and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) by older people.

Don Baken

I have research interests in the following areas:

  1. ME/CFS and Long Covid. I have a particular interest in the areas of caregivers and stigma, but I am interested in most topics in the area.
  2. Virtues. Such as forgiveness, humility and patience. I haven't started researching this area, but I am interested in virtues in the health setting.

I am the Research Coordinator for the Psychology Clinic on the Palmerston North Campus and supervise projects in Cancer, Diabetes, Renal, Cardiac and Respiratory disease. Topics we are particularly interested in at present are:

  • Renal donor experience of the assessment process
  • Patients with gastrointestinal disease (IBD and Crohn's) perspectives on screening for distress using the Distress Thermometer and Problem List

Don Baken’s staff profile and research expertise

Corinne Bareham-Waldock

Unavailable for new supervision in 2024.

Corinne Bareham-Waldock's staff profile and research expertise

Sharon Crooks

Unavailable for new supervision in 2024.

In 2025, I am available to supervise qualitative projects exploring the lived experience of neurodivergent people (ADHD/ASD predominately). Possible themes include attachment relationships, criticism, trauma, education, and well-being (spiritual, physical, psychological).

I am open to supervising specific neurodiversity topics/phenomena students are interested in, as well as neurotypical psychological well-being or topics about developmental psychology more broadly, including inclusion in education contexts.

Students seeking supervision for neurodiversity topics should have some experience rather than just ‘interest’ in self, family, close others, work, etc.

Sharon Crooks' staff profile and research expertise

Leigh Coombes

Unavailable for new supervision in 2023.

Rosie Gibson

I am available to consider supervision of quantitative or qualitative research projects in the fields of ageing, sleep health, and sleep and society.

Topics I am focusing on are:

  • experiences, practices and sociology of sleep and dreaming
  • discourses of sleep in the media
  • predictors, outcomes, and experiences of sleep disturbance across the lifespan
  • sleep among people with cognitive impairment or dementia
  • sleep of informal carers
  • non-pharmacological interventions for ageing well

Rosie Gibson's staff profile and research expertise

Stephen Hill

My current research interest is in distributed and collaborative cognition, with a particular focus on memory.

This work examines how people strategically use their environments and work with others when remembering, planning, and thinking. This work has potential application to areas such as ageing and cognition, occupational expertise, cognitive development and eyewitness memory, in addition to basic research in cognitive psychology.

I have a couple of ready-to-go projects available for research students, particularly at honours or master's level. Some of our work is lab-based on the Manawatū campus but there are opportunities to do studies in other ways if you are based elsewhere.

Christine Kenney

I specialise in qualitative research and supervise or co-supervise PhD and master's students primarily in the School of Psychology and the Joint Centre for Disaster Research.

Topics of interest include:

  • kaupapa Māori or Māori-centred research in disasters, sustainability and resilience
  • indigenous peoples and disasters
  • sociology of disasters
  • disasters and public health
  • gender and disasters
  • humanitarian concerns, human rights and disasters.

Christine Kenney's staff profile and research expertise

Ute Kreplin

Unavailable for new supervision in 2024.

Ute Kreplin's staff profile and research expertise

Nicole Lindsay

Unavailable for new supervision in 2024.

Nicole Lindsay's staff profile and research expertise

Mandy Morgan

Unavailable for new supervision in 2024.

Mandy Morgan's staff profile and research expertise

Tracy Morison

I do not have the capacity for additional postgraduate supervision in 2024.

My main research area is sexual and reproductive health, spanning the areas of feminist, critical and health psychology. I use qualitative research methods to investigate the socio-cultural context of sexual and reproductive relationships, practices and decisions. I'm especially interested in how people's different social identities (for example, gender, ethnicity/race, class, etc.) affect how they can have relationships, make decisions and act in ways related to sexuality and reproduction. The main goal of my work is to identify and address problems at the social and structural levels (rather than the individual or interpersonal) to support sexual and reproductive rights and justice.

Regarding methodology, my expertise is in qualitative methodologies.

  • Theories: feminist and other critical theories. For example, Sexual and Reproductive Justice theory, decolonial feminism, feminist post-structuralism, Foucauldian theory, and social constructionism.
  • Data generation: standard qualitative methods (for example, interviews, focus groups, media/texts), online data collection methods, for example, qualitative surveys, story completion, digital narratives, and online ethnography.
  • Data analysis: reflective thematic analysis, discourse analysis, critical discursive psychology, narrative discursive analysis

The types of topics I supervise include, but not are not limited to:

  • Reproductive decision-making: contraception and abortion, voluntary childlessness/childfree identities, male involvement in these areas
  • Sexual and reproductive health: including contraception, abortion, pregnancy, menstrual health and inequity (for example, period poverty)
  • Youth sexuality: 'teenage'/young pregnancy and parenthood, sexuality education, negotiating sex/consent, engagement with sexually explicit material/Pornography
  • Healthcare and healthcare interactions: Sexual and Reproductive Health services and person-centred care, health service delivery and policy for marginalised groups, especially LGBTQ/'rainbow' people
  • Heterosexuality: negotiating sex/consent, casual sex/'hookups'.

My work is focused on physical health (as detailed above). I am not able to supervise topics related to mental health issues, including eating disorders or sexology.

Tracy Morison's staff profile and research expertise

Kealagh Robinson

I am interested in supervising quantitative research on topics related to my research expertise in emotion, self-injury, metapsychology, and experimental and longitudinal survey methods. I would like to hear from potential honours, master and doctoral students interested in questions such as:

  • How do youth understand their friends’ self-injury?
  • How do people manage their emotions in frightening virtual reality environments?
  • Who are we missing from mental health research?
  • How can we improve people’s experiences of research participation?

Students will be expected to attend regular supervision (in-person or online), be familiar with basic quantitative analyses and programs (for example, jamovi) and contribute to a supportive and welcoming team culture. There may also be opportunities for students to take part in mental health-related research dissemination throughout the year.

Read some of my previous research

Anja Roemer

I am not available for new research supervision in 2024.

I am interested in understanding what drives behaviour and thinking at work and how we can use this knowledge to foster wellbeing. My research mostly applies theories, approaches and constructs from positive psychology, such as mindfulness and psychological capital, but is not limited to these. I am interested in supervising surveys as well as experimental studies. I am happy to discuss suitable topics with interested students.

Kirsty Ross

Unavailable for new supervision in 2024.

Kirsty Ross's staff profile and research expertise

Natasha Tassell-Matamua

Unavailable for new supervision in 2024.

Natasha Tassell-Matamua's staff profile and research expertise

Jo Taylor

I am a clinical psychologist. I usually supervise quantitative research of relevance to clinical psychology, although I co-supervise mixed-methods research at doctoral level.

I am particularly interested in research on recovery-oriented and service user-led teaching in clinical psychology training, and in supervising research that aligns with this.

Jo Taylor's staff profile and research expertise

Hukarere Valentine

Unavailable for new supervision in 2024.

Wellington campus supervisors

Julia Becker

I am interested in supervising student projects on issues around natural hazards and society. Subject areas may include:

  • perceptions of natural hazards
  • preparedness for emergencies
  • community resilience, response and recovery for events
  • natural hazard warnings.

Focuses may be cross-peril and include earthquakes, flooding, coastal issues, volcanoes and landslides.

Elliot Bell

I am interested in a range of issues, incorporating quantitative and qualitative methodologies, with a focus on clinical topics, particularly:

  • psychological interventions
  • treatment/rehabilitation outcome evaluations
  • clinical training
  • practitioner wellbeing
  • forensic mental health.

I have a ready-to-go project evaluating a novel university-delivered training program in Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing, with opportunities for honours, master's or clinical doctorate projects.

Elliot Bell's staff profile and research expertise

Simon Bennett

Unavailable for new supervision in 2023.

Eleanor Brittain

I am available for supervision in 2024 and happy to supervise qualitative projects related to my expertise. My research has centred on issues of significance to Māori, including:

  • Māori psychological experiences, healing and wellbeing
  • wairua and spirituality
  • racism in Aotearoa New Zealand.

I have practice in kaupapa Māori theory and research, as well as qualitative methodologies, namely narrative inquiry and discursive psychology. I am also a clinical psychologist, with an interest in lived experience and mental health recovery research.

Eleanor Brittain's staff profile and research expertise

Emma Hudson-Doyle

Unavailable for new supervision in 2023.

Dianne Gardner

Unavailable for new supervision in 2024.

Dianne Gardner's staff profile and research expertise

David Johnston

Unavailable for new supervision in 2023.

Raj Prasanna

I would like to hear from potential master's and PhD students who are interested in conducting research on:

  • disaster management information systems
  • application of internet of things (IoT) for disaster management
  • the use of big data and deep learning to enhance disaster management situation awareness and decision-making
  • designing human-computer interaction (HCI) for emergency response
  • situation awareness and cognitive requirements capturing techniques for emergencies.

Sarah Riley

I have a research opportunity for a Māori student who is interested in exploring wāhine Māori/takatāpui experiences of using menstruation (period/ovulation/fertility) tracking apps.

I have very limited availability for students who want to use qualitative methods to explore:

  • menstruation/period/fertility/ovulation tracking apps
  • digital resources to manage menopause
  • relationships between bodies, digital technologies and identities
  • drug and alcohol harm reduction in specific sites such as festivals.

Sarah Riley's staff profile and research expertise

Ilana Seager van Dyk

I am passionate about mentoring emerging scholars in our field using a junior colleague model. I am interested in supervising quantitative post-graduate research on topics related to my research expertise in Rainbow/LGBTQ+ mental health, affective science, child and adolescent psychology, parenting and families, and experimental and longitudinal methods.

Projects might include:

  • experimental studies investigating how individuals regulate their emotions in different contexts
  • survey-based studies examining the mental health needs of Rainbow/LGBTQ+ young people in a given community
  • parent-child dyadic interaction tasks investigating how emotions are regulated interpersonally
  • ecological momentary assessment studies that investigate Rainbow/LGBTQ+ people’s experiences of minority stress and their coping strategies over time
  • measurement development studies that create and validate new questionnaires for assessing constructs related to emotion regulation or minority stress in Rainbow/LGBTQ+ populations.

Find out more on my website or in my staff profile including my research expertise.

Ian de Terte

Unavailable for new supervision in 2024.

Ian de Terte's staff profile and research expertise.