Programme list > Master of Science > Psychology - Health Psychology

Master of Science (Psychology - Health Psychology)


The application of psychology to health issues

You will explore health promotion and health-related policies, as well as the meaning of ‘health’ "illness" and how to critically analyse treatment structures.

  • Level

  • Postgraduate, NZQF Level 9
  • Distance learning

  • Available
  • Duration

  • 2 years full-time. Available part-time.
  • International

  • Available for international students via distance learning

Health psychology is the application of psychological knowledge to understanding:

  • the experience of health and illness,
  • what is good health care, and
  • how to improve health promotion and health-related policies.

Massey’s MSc (Psychology - Health Psychology) addresses these goals with a broad view of health and wellbeing that integrates theory, research, and practice. Students develop strong understandings of the interactions between biological, psychological, social, economic, and cultural aspects of health and wellbeing and how these might be harnessed to improve health outcomes.

The MSc (Psychology - Health Psychology) is right for you if you plan to work in health, public health, or community settings. What you will learn in this programme has both research and practical applications, including those supporting Māori, Pasifika and the diverse communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.

You’ll gain knowledge and skills relevant to a wide range of professional activities in the health sector.

Careers and further study


With the Master of Science (Psychology - Health Psychology) you'll get the skills to apply your health psychology knowledge in:

  • public health agencies
  • community agencies
  • health-related research
  • policy analyst or adviser roles.

Explore your psychology options

If you want to be a registered psychologist, you can explore your qualification options in our psychology pathways tool.

Further study

If you are interested in pursuing research careers you are well qualified for entry into doctoral research in health psychology upon completion of this programme. 

If you are interested in becoming a registered psychologist you may apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychological Practice subject to taking specific psychological intervention and assessment courses and relevant work experience.

Entry requirements

University admission

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Programme admission


Master of Science 240 credits

To enter the Master of Science (Psychology - Health Psychology) 240 credit programme you will have been awarded or qualified for a: 

  • Bachelor of Science degree with a major in psychology, or close equivalent, with a minimum B average in the majoring 300 level courses, or
  • the Bachelor of Science with Honours or the Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Technology in psychology, having achieved a B grade average over the contributing courses.

Master of Science 120 credits (thesis only)

To enter the Master of Science (Psychology - Health Psychology) 120-credit Master of Science you will have been awarded or qualified for:

  • a Bachelor of Science (Honours) with an endorsement in psychology (minimum B average), or
  • a Postgraduate Diploma in Science with an endorsement in psychology (minimum B average).

Documents you will need to supply to support your application

  • verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University 
  • a short summary of your research interests (200 words or less). Required if you intend on a pathway which includes at least 90 credits of research.

English language requirements

To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

If you do not have the entry requirements

English language and foundation courses

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and programmes that may help.

Courses and planning

Credit summary

180 or 240 credits

From the Schedule to the Degree including:

  • Completion of Part One and Two
  • Compulsory courses
  • Completion of a subject

A specialisation (subject) is compulsory. Most subjects require 180 credits.

These subjects require 240 credits:

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Psychology
  • Psychology – Health Psychology

Other subjects may require 240 credits if you choose a 120 credit thesis

Advanced entry: Those who have already completed specified qualifications in advance of the minimum entry requirements may be able to complete this degree by undertaking a 120 credit thesis.

This is a parts-based qualification. This means there are regulations around your completion of Part One before progressing to Part Two, etc.

See ‘Courses for this programme’ below for schedules of courses.

Courses for this specialisation

Part One (120 credits)

Compulsory courses

30 credits
175738 Psychological Research: Principles of Design 15
175749 Health Psychology Practicum 15
At least 30 credits from
175739 Health Psychology: Understanding Health and Illness 15
175743 Health Psychology: The Social Context 15
175744 Health Psychology: Promoting Health 15

Subject courses

150714 Ta Te Māori Rangahau Korero: Māori Research Methodologies 30
175718 Postmodernism and Psychology 15
175719 Applied Criminal Psychology 15
175720 Advanced Psychology of Women 15
175721 Child and Family Therapy 15
175722 Principles of Clinical Neuropsychology 15
175725 Advanced Social Psychology 30
175729 Psychology and Culture 15
175730 Professional Practice in Psychology 15
175732 Psychological Well-being in Organisations 15
175733 Sustainable Livelihood 15
175734 Child Clinical Neuropsychology 15
175737 Occupational Psychology 15
175740 Occupational Health Psychology 15
175741 Psychological Assessment in Organisations 15
175746 Psychological Research: Quantitative Data Analysis 15
175747 The Psychology of Sport and Exercise 15
175748 The Psychology of Organisational Change 15
175750 Qualitative Methods in Psychology 15
175751 Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 15
175761 Theory and Practice of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy 15
175778 Principles of Social Therapy 15
175781 Clinical Psychopathology 15
175782 Clinical Psychology Assessment 15
175783 Clinical Psychology Interventions 15
231704 Māori Health 30
231705 Pacific Health 30
231706 Occupational Health 30
231707 Environmental Health 30
253750 Counselling Theory 30
253755 Culture and Counselling 30
279703 Social Policy Studies 30

Part Two

120 credits
175894 Thesis 120 Credit Part 1 60
175896 Thesis 120 Credit Part 2 60
175899 Thesis 120

Planning your programme

Planning overview

If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester. 

The Master of Science (Psychology - Health Psychology) is a parts-based qualification. That means you must complete the first part, before moving to the second. 

You must achieve a B grade average in Part One to progress to Part Two.

Professional pathway to registration

We recommend you take:

175.730 Professional Practice in Psychology (15 credits)

Other courses with psychological assessment and interventions will also be useful, such as:

175.782 Clinical Psychology Assessment (15 credits) or 256.754 Assessment in Educational Psychology

175.783 Clinical Psychology Interventions (15 credits)

Restricted Courses

The following courses have a restricted number of places available:

  • 175.719 Applied Criminal Psychology
  • 175.721 Child and Family Therapy
  • 175.722 Principles of Clinical Neuropsychology
  • 175.730 Professional Practice in Psychology
  • 175.734 Child Clinical Neuropsychology
  • 175.751 Neuropsychological Rehabilitation
  • 175.761 Theory and Practice of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • 175.781 Clinical Psychopathology
  • 175.782 Clinical Psychology Assessment
  • 175.783 Clinical Psychology Interventions

You are welcome to enrol in these courses however, selection for these courses will not be made until mid-January. Applicants who are initially unsuccessful in securing a place are welcome to apply to waitlist for possible vacancies via your student portal.

You will gain access to the student portal once you have applied and have been accepted to Massey.

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications.  If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the programme if you wish to continue your studies.

Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit

Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with a class of Honours, Distinction or Merit. 

Fees and scholarships

Fees and finance

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

If you already know which courses you are going to take, you can use our fees calculator to get an estimate of your fees.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students will find their National Student Number on their student homepage.

A good fit if you:

  • are interested in taking a psychological lens to understanding health issues
  • are a critical thinker who wants to improve and support health and wellbeing 
  • want to understand, generate, and apply health-related knowledge.

Key information for students

Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.


Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.

Postgraduate regulations

General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.

Regulations for this programme

Applying and enrolling

Applying for the programme

Check you are ready

If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.

Choose your programme and click on Apply now

You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.

Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.

Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place

You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.

Enrolling in courses

You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.

When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:

  • prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
  • corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
  • restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
  • location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.

Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.

More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.

You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.

We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!

If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.

What are courses and credits?

What are courses and credits?

Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).

You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.

Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.

There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.

  • See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
  • Courses search

Understanding course numbers

The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.

The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:

  • sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
  • undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
  • as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study.
1 6 2 . 3   0 1
Subject area   Level   Course ID number

Workload and time management

Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.

Estimate workload

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.

Find and apply for scholarships

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