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Postgraduate Diploma in Industrial and Organisational Psychology (PGDipI/O Psych)

Nau mai, haere mai, piki mai!  Kia ora, and welcome to the Postgraduate Diploma in Industrial and Organisational Psychology (PGDipI/O Psych) information pages.  Industrial and organisational psychology (I/O psychology) is also known as occupational psychology, organisational psychology or work psychology, and is the science of human behaviour related to work.  These information pages provide general information designed to help you decide if this programme is appropriate for you and your career goals.  More specific details will be provided to those who are selected for the programme. 

  • Check out the programme's formal planning page for a description of the programme, its entry requirements, documentation required and other basic information about the structure and courses involved.

Overview of the PGDipI/O Psych

The PGDipI/O Psych is a post-Masterate professional qualification which allows graduates to apply for registration as a Psychologist in Aotearoa New Zealand with the New Zealand Psychologists Board (the Board) under their Psychologist Scope of Practice.  Read about the Psychologist Scopes of Practice at the Board’s website.

The PGDipI/O Psych is different from most taught courses or research-based qualifications as it involves interns working in supervised full-time practical work in a role approved by the I/O Programme Coordinator, and where they engage in significant I/O-related activities for the equivalent of one full-time academic year.

The PGDipI/O Psych is administered from Massey University’s Albany campus in Auckland, but is available in distance mode so interns can live and work anywhere in the country.  However, interns need to travel to either the Albany or Wellington campus up to seven times a year for group supervision and the final examination.  Dates for these are provided early in the calendar year so that interns can make travel arrangements and schedule leave with their employing organisation.

Why study in the PGDipI/O Psych?

Completing the PGDipI/O Psych is a pathway to registration as a professional Psychologist.  Professional identity as an Industrial and Organisational (I/O) Psychologist makes you part of something bigger than your self and bigger than the job you hold.  As an I/O Psychologist, wherever you go you have a place amongst like-minded professionals and even if there are no other organisational psychologists in your organisation, you are connected to colleagues across Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally.  As a registered Psychologist, you are also part of a wider profession which may continue to support your development across your career.

If you are someone who:

  • is inherently curious about people and especially about what makes them tick at work
  • is interested in striving for a deeper understanding of people and work
  • enjoy making people’s work-lives more enjoyable and valuable
  • seeks to empower people to be the best version of themselves at work and get the best out of the people they work with

And, if you value the scientific basis psychology provides for achieving those, then this programme might be a good fit for you.

I/O psychologists value science and measurement in solving organisational issues, so are evidence-based practitioners.  This means they use research evidence to support their recommendations for organisational solutions.  In addition, I/O psychologist’s education and training is based on organisational theories and practice, which brings a keen understanding of organisational systems, policies and procedures which contribute to organisational issues and their resolution.  Being able to draw on the rich theoretical and evidence-base of psychology means the I/O psychologist has a solid foundation for grappling with even the wicked problems that confront people in the world of work and in our society.

Information for Applicants

Entry requirements

Applicants for the PGDipI/O Psych must:

  1. Have obtained 240 credits at postgraduate level in Psychology including a Master’s thesis of at least 90 credits on a topic related to Industrial/Organisational Psychology, or have a Doctoral degree in Industrial/Organisational Psychology.  This could mean, for example, a 240 credit Psychology Master’s degree (taught courses plus thesis) or a Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) plus a Master’s by thesis only (120 credits).  The postgraduate study must still total at least 240 credits, of which 210 must be in I/O Psychology.  Prior completion of 175.730 Professional Practice in Psychology – or an equivalent course on professional issues and ethics – is strongly recommended.
  2. Be employed (paid or unpaid) in an organisation where their activities require engaging in significant Industrial/Organisational issues for the duration of the internship.
  3. Meet the requirements set down by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 that the person is of good character and reputation and is a fit and proper person to be registered.  References will be required as part of the Massey University application process, and successful applicants will be Police vetted as part of the Board’s application process to ensure applicants meet this legislative requirement.
  4. Be willing, in addition to the professional supervision provided by Massey University staff, to have professional supervision provided by a Field Supervisor who is:
    1. A registered Psychologist practicing in the field of Industrial/Organisational psychology, and
    2. Approved by Massey University’s team of PGDipI/O Psych staff.  Massey University has a pool of approved Field Supervisors who can be matched with successful interns.

In addition, applicants should:

  1. Be able and willing to sustain high workloads, and
  2. Demonstrate strong performance at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in applied subjects relevant to Industrial/Organisational Psychology, and
  3. Be able to demonstrate that they have pursued knowledge and understanding of bicultural considerations, including their commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, as well as consideration of the cultural diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand in preparation for professional training.

NB: Selection to the PGDipI/O Psych is competitive and based on our capacity to provide a dedicated professional supervision process.  Therefore, meeting all entry criteria does not guarantee that applicants will be offered an interview or place in the PGDipI/O Psych.

Application process

The closing date for applications is 1st October.  No late applications can be accepted, so please make sure you prepare well in advance to avoid disappointment if you miss this deadline.  This will include preparing all of your supporting documentation, including references, in advance to allow you to complete the application process by the 1st October deadline.

You can start the application process here by clicking on the big orange ‘Apply Now’ button.  You will need to apply for full-time study starting in Semester 1.  The application documentation you require is detailed on the same planning page.

Selection process

Applications received by the due date of 1st October will be reviewed and shortlisted.  Shortlisted applicants will be contacted before the end of October to arrange an interview time in early-November.  The interview may be conducted in person at the Massey University Albany campus, online via Skype or Zoom, or by telephone, and you are welcome to have support whānau with you.  If you wish to bring support whānau with you, please advise the I/O Programme Coordinator so that we can make appropriate arrangements.

Following the interview, successful applicants will be advised of their offer of place in the PGDipI/O Psych via email by mid-November.  Successful applicants must then apply to the Board for registration as an intern psychologist in order to be able to commence their internship at the start of Semester 1 the following year.

1st October Application closing date.  Late applications will not be accepted
Mid-End October Emails sent to applicants: interview or non-acceptance
Early November Selection interviews – in person, online, or by telephone
Mid November Emails sent to interviewed applicants: offer of place or non-acceptance

Successful applicants can find out general information about the Board here, and specific information about how to register as an intern psychologist (including the application form) here.
NB: The final decision for registration is at the discretion of the Board and not Massey University.

Preparing for an interview

Preparing for any formal interview is primarily about clear thinking.  In this case, you need to be very clear about how your role uses an I/O psychology approach.  If, for example, your role is in HR, you will need to be clear about the scope available to deliver this role using an I/O psychology approach.  You will also need to be very clear about how your previous academic training and other work and life experience has prepared you for becoming a practicing I/O psychologist.  Of course it is always sensible to do some ‘homework’ about the practice of psychology in Aotearoa New Zealand (the Board’s website is a good place to start), about the field of I/O psychology (the Institute of Organisational Psychology’s website is a good place to start), and of course you should read the available Massey University information about the PGDipI/O Psych.

PGDipI/O Psych structure

Interns enrol for two courses:

175.821 Professional Issues in the Practice of Industrial/Organisational Psychology (60 credits)
This is the more academically focussed of the two courses and requires submitting professional reports on six key topics in the professional practice of I/O Psychology. Topics are tailored to each intern’s work context and career path, with four topics being compulsory (ethical issues, legal issues, cultural issues, and a business case), and two topics selected by the intern. Examples of self-selected professional report topics include leadership development, training and development, emotional intelligence, psychometric tests, performance appraisal, performance management, and the commercial viability of best practice.

175.822 Practicum in Industrial/Organisational Psychology (60 credits)
This course covers the programme requirements for supervised professional practice and the final examination. The PGDipI/O Psych requires completion of a minimum of 1,500 hours of supervised work in I/O practice and a minimum of 50 hours of professional supervision. Professional supervision is provided by Massey University staff and approved Field Supervisors who are registered I/O psychologists. Group professional supervision sessions are conducted at the Albany or Wellington campus of Massey University, and Field supervision is conducted either face-to-face in the city where the intern lives, or by phone, or online via Skype or Zoom.

175.822 addresses these requirements through submission of work and supervision logs, and the final examination which is an intensive one-day practical examination at the end of the calendar year, normally in the last week of November, at the Albany or Wellington campus.

In order to be approved to sit the final examination, interns must achieve a passing grade for each of the six professional reports in 175.821, and achieve satisfactory performance in all other aspects of 175.822.

Suitable internship roles

Suitable roles for the internship can be paid or unpaid roles that allow the intern to engage in significant I/O-related activities.  The field of I/O Psychology is very broad and may include, but is not limited to, career guidance and support in work, coaching of staff, recruitment and selection of staff, employee engagement, organisational change, team and leadership development, motivation, job satisfaction, health and safety in the workplace, and the overall health and wellbeing of employees.  Ideal roles for the internship are those which allow students to engage with as many of these activities as possible.  Consultant roles at I/O or Business consulting houses are obvious matches, as are generalist roles like HR Manager and HR Advisor.  However, Organisational Development roles and sometimes Operations roles may also be suitable.  Roles which are predominantly administrative in nature are not suitable roles because they do not allow for significant engagement in I/O-related activities, nor development of the core competencies required of registered psychologists.

Some past interns have held quite specialist roles, for example, training and development or recruitment.  In those cases, students are encouraged to discuss opportunities with their line manager to participate in project-based work in other parts of the organisation in order to engage in a broader range of I/O activities than their role would usually allow.  Such project-based work might involve, for example, participating in an organisational change project or a health and safety project during the internship year.  In some cases, interns do volunteer work in I/O psychology activities during their own time, for example, offering career coaching or strategic planning for a community-based organisation or NGO.

In all cases, we strongly recommend you discuss your role with the I/O Programme Coordinator before applying for the PGDipI/O Psych to get an indication of whether your current role is suitable.  If your current role is in a more specialist area of I/O psychology activities, the I/O Programme Coordinator can discuss with you (and your line manager if necessary) ways you might be able to expand your exposure to a wider range of activities for the duration of the internship.

Professional and Field supervision

The Board requires that interns complete the equivalent of one hour per week of professional supervision during the internship.  These professional supervision hours are provided by Massey University I/O psychology staff who are registered psychologists.  Professional supervision hours can only start being logged from the date that the Board registers you as an intern psychologist.

In addition to the professional supervision provided by the Massey University I/O psychology staff, interns will need to have a Field Supervisor in place for the duration of the internship.  This is especially necessary in cases where an intern is not overseen or line managed by a registered I/O psychologist in their employing organisation.

Field Supervisors must be approved by the Massey University I/O psychology staff who conduct checks into the Field Supervisor’s:

  • Qualifications and experience in the I/O practice community
  • Previous experience providing professional supervision to interns
  • Current status as a registered I/O psychologist
  • Current status as a holder of an Annual Practising Certificate

Field Supervisors are matched by the Massey University I/O psychology staff to each intern, and consideration is given first to the relevance of the Field Supervisor’s qualifications and experience providing professional supervision to an intern.  Consideration is also given to the physical location of the Field Supervisor in relation to the intern.  While it is ideal if both are located in the same city and therefore able to meet kanohi-ki-te-kanohi (face-to-face), where this is not feasible arrangements are made to facilitate online (e.g. Skype, Zoom, etc) or telephone supervision sessions.

Information for Employers

Overview of the PGDipI/O Psych

The PGDipI/O Psych is a professional qualification, which upon successful completion, allows graduates to apply for registration as a Psychologist with the New Zealand Psychologists Board (the Board).  Employers of past interns have noted that the intern has developed knowledge and skills during the internship which allows them to improve business processes and practices, improve some aspects of business compliance, and improved their people performance in the organisation.

The PGDipI/O Psych is a full-time course of study in which interns are required to complete a minimum of 1,500 hours of I/O significant work, and a minimum of 50 hours of professional supervision.  These are requirements of the Board, and Massey University is responsible for ensuring they are met.  As such, the intern requires support from the employing organisation (and line manager) to ensure these requirements are met in order to successfully complete the programme.

Interns are expected to meet regularly with their line manager to discuss their progress in the PGDipI/O Psych and to consult about their professional development activities that align with both the goals of the organisation and the internship so that workload issues and requirements of the programme can be managed together.  Interns are provided with a ‘Summary of the Activities and Due Date’ document for the year, and this summary should form the basis of meeting discussions with their line manager in order to manage workload and to complete the activities for which line managers have direct involvement.

What direct involvement does the intern need from me as the employer/line manager?

There are three activities during the PGDipI/O Psych for which employers/line managers have direct involvement.  These are:

1. Site Visits (early March and early October)
Site visits are conducted twice a year at the work site of the intern.  These take approximately one hour and are an opportunity for the intern and their line manager to meet with Massey University I/O supervisors to discuss a range of issues to ensure the intern can meet the requirements of the internship as required by the Board.  Topics for discussion include the I/O activities the intern will be participating in during the internship, the intern’s work-related goals for the year, and how professional development and/or training activities might be supported by the organisation.  The site visits also allow the Massey University I/O supervisors to check that the work site meets the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, as required by Massey University regulations and policy for students in placements or internships.

2. Intern Supervision Reports (mid-July and mid-October)
Intern supervision reports are completed twice a year after the intern has completed approximately 600 hrs and 1,200 hrs of I/O-related work.  These monitor the intern’s progress in developing each of the core competencies (set out by the Board for all Psychologists).  The intern is required to reach the standard expected of a beginning practitioner by completion of the programme.  A standardised report template is completed by the intern, their line manager, and a Massey University supervisor.  Based on the core competencies for psychologists set out by the Board, these reports provide the intern with 360 degree feedback on which psychologist competencies are an area for development, or whether the intern is performing at or above the expected standard on each competency.  Ongoing professional development activities and/or goals for the intern can then be planned based on the feedback from these reports.

3. Letter of Satisfactory Work Performance (early November)
The Board needs confirmation from the employing organisation that the intern’s work during the year has been completed to a satisfactory standard.  As such, a letter from the line manager will be required for this purpose.  However, it is expected, as per best practice performance management in the workplace, that the line manager will have regular discussions with the intern during the year to identify performance strengths and areas that may need further development.

What other support does the intern need from me to successfully complete the PGDipI/O Psych?

The key element of support an employer/line manager provides is awareness and understanding of the activities the intern will be involved in during the PGDipI/O Psych.  As such, consideration of workload/study/life balance issues, especially surrounding the intern attending programme activities and due dates of assessments, is important to the intern successfully completing the PGDipI/O Psych.  In order to begin facilitating employer/line manager awareness and understanding, the main activities the intern is required to attend or complete are listed below.  As the employer/line manager you will not complete these activities yourself, rather, the intern you are supporting will be completing these activities:

  • Complete six professional reports about professional practice issues in I/O psychology, tailored to the intern’s workplace
  • Keep a work log of the minimum 1,500 hours of I/O significant work, which includes critical reflections of those activities
  • Attend (in person, and in some cases online or by telephone) and actively participate in professional supervision.  Group professional supervision is conducted in person up to seven times per year at the Massey University Albany or Wellington campus, and individual professional supervision is conducted (either face-to-face, online, or by telephone depending on where the employing organisation is located), with Massey staff and Field Supervisors.  The first group supervision session of the year will be a three-day wānanga (workshop), with the first of those three days being a marae wānanga.  The marae wānanga will include a pōwhiri for the interns.
  • Keep a supervision log of the professional supervision hours, which includes critical reflections of these sessions
  • Participate and report on two site visits during the year
  • Participate in and complete two intern supervision reports during the year to identify performance on the core competencies expected of I/O psychologists
  • Attend an examination at Massey University’s Albany or Wellington campus – scheduled for late November

Who do I contact at Massey University if I have any questions?

Although our expectation is that the intern and line manager maintain strong communications regarding the requirements and progress through the PGDipI/O Psych, line managers are welcome to contact the I/O Programme Coordinator if they have any questions.

PGDipI/OPsych Contacts

For general inquiries, in the first instance please contact the School Academic Administrator who can also assist with enquiries about application and enrolment processes.

Subsequently, enquiries about potential suitability of particular internships should be directed to the I/O Programme Coordinator.

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