Psychology – Bachelor of Health Science

If you’re interested in improving people’s health and wellbeing, and want to make real changes in the community, the Bachelor of Health Science (Psychology) is a great career choice.

Where you can study

Distance and online

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Not open to international students

Specialise in Psychology for your Bachelor of Health Science at Massey

With a Massey Bachelor of Health Science (Psychology), you’ll explore people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour and how they are affected by social and cultural contexts.

Get the skills you need

The psychology major offers you the opportunity to analyse the contributions made by psychological research to health. You’ll learn to adopt an evidence-based approach to problem-solving and decision-making that relates to the connection between mental and physical health.

You’ll learn how the structure of the brain affects our behaviour. You’ll also learn how factors such as culture, gender, poverty and mental illness affect our health, thinking and behaviour.

A wide choice of psychology courses

At Massey, you can choose from a wide range of courses that reflect the diversity of psychology. You’ll learn about the natural, social and biological side as well as research methods and applications of psychology.

Your psychology major combines:

  • natural science, focusing on perception, cognition, learning and the biological bases of behaviour
  • social science, dealing with emotions, individual differences, behaviour and relationships and the wider social context.

We’re well-connected and relevant

Through our connections with a wide range of community and statutory organisations, Massey University produces unique and applied psychology research and training that is recognised nationally and internationally.

Further study

There’s an opportunity to take postgraduate study and qualify for work in clinical psychology, community psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology and organisational psychology. These include:

A Bachelor of Health Science in Psychology is a good fit if you:

  • enjoy communicating with a range of people and communities
  • are interested in people, thoughts, feelings and behaviour
  • want a career devoted to human welfare.

Planning information

If you study full-time, you’ll take eight 15-credit courses each year.

Make sure you choose 175102 Psychology as a Natural Science in your first year because it is the pre-requisite for some of your 200-level compulsory courses.

Make sure you choose 175203 Introduction to Psychological Research as your research course because it is a pre-requisite for your 300-level Psychology major courses.

Please note that some courses are available on campus, but the major itself (as a whole) is not.

About this major

Completing a major is compulsory. The psychology major in the Bachelor of Health Science consists of 120 credits.

Full-time study plan

This includes compulsory core courses, major courses, prerequisite courses and recommended electives

Year One

Semester One

  • 231106 Introduction to Public Health
  • 250100 Health Communication
  • 214101 Human Bioscience: Normal Body Function
  • 175102 Psychology as a Natural Science (prerequisite for Year Two course)

Semester Two

  • 214102 Applied Sciences for Health Professionals
  • 231107 Social Determinants of Health (recommended to be taken in Semester Two only)
  • 150112 Hauora tangata: Foundations of Māori Health
  • Elective
Year Two

Semester One

  • 250205 Principles and Practice of Human Epidemiology
  • 214201 Human Bioscience: Impaired Body Function
  • 150202 Mauri ora: Māori Wellbeing and Vitality
  • 175203 Introduction to Psychological Research (prerequisite for Year Three courses)

Semester Two

  • 175205 Brain and Behaviour
  • 175206 Memory and Cognition
  • 175210 Ngā Tirohanga Rua o Te Taha Hinengaro: Bicultural Perspectives in Psychology
  • Elective
Year Three

Semester One

Semester Two

  • 250303 Systems Thinking and Design for Health
  • 175302 Introduction to Clinical Psychology
  • 175306 Assessment of Individual Differences
  • Elective

In the final semester of your study, you have the option to gain practical experience by taking the elective course 250320 Work Integrated Learning in Health Sciences.

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

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 qualification 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 qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

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

Courses you can enrol in

Course planning key

Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Compulsory courses

Choose 120 credits from
Course code: 175201 Social Psychology 15 credits

A survey of contemporary experimental social psychology. Against this backdrop critical perspectives are introduced with particular emphasis on the practice of discursive psychology in the New Zealand context.

View full course details
Course code: 175205 Brain and Behaviour 15 credits

An introduction to basic biological processes underpinning behaviour and what happens when these processes are disrupted. Students will develop critical thinking and effective communication skills (both verbal and written) in relation to biological psychology.

Prerequisites: 175102

View full course details
Course code: 175206 Memory and Cognition 15 credits

The central goal of the course is to consider how knowledge is represented and processed in the brain. Students will be introduced to the mental processes involved in thinking and knowing, studied within a converging methods framework that includes evidence from experimental psychology, neuroscience, neuropsychology, and cognitive science.

Prerequisites: 175102

View full course details
Course code: 175210 Ngā Tirohanga Rua o te Taha Hinengaro: Bicultural Perspectives in Psychology 15 credits

This course engages with the concept of culture, and its relevance and importance in a bicultural country such as Aotearoa. The interplay between non-Western cultural perspectives and the dominant form of psychology situated within a predominantly Western scientific paradigm, is explored. Indigenous perspectives in general and Māori worldviews specifically, are examined within and juxtaposed to, the discipline of psychology.

Restrictions: 175312

View full course details
Course code: 175301 Community Psychology 15 credits

Community psychology focuses on people within the contexts of social settings and systems, that is, in ecological relationships with social and physical environments. Conceptual frameworks, the roles of research and practice, and specific intervention strategies developed and used by community psychologists will be among topics considered.

Prerequisites: 175203

View full course details
Course code: 175302 Introduction to Clinical Psychology 15 credits

This course provides an introduction to clinical psychology and mental distress, with an emphasis on current thinking and research in the field. The course examines: the core concepts in defining and classifying mental distress; some of the major psychological disorders across the lifespan; empirically supported approaches to explaining mental distress; and treatments aimed at supporting people towards recovery.

Prerequisites: 175203

View full course details
Course code: 175306 Assessment of Individual Differences 15 credits

Study of the basic concepts of psychological testing within the broad context of the assessment of individual and group differences. Examination of the rationale behind testing and its application to a wide range of assessment situations.

Prerequisites: 175203

View full course details
Course code: 175317 Health Psychology 15 credits

This course consists of an introduction to and critique of general theories and models that have been used to understand, describe, predict and change behaviours related to health and illness and health promotion. It has a strong focus on the application of health psychology in the New Zealand context.

Prerequisites: 175203

View full course details

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

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

Specific requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for this qualification, outside of university admission regulations. 

English language requirements

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

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Can't meet the entry requirements?

If you need to do a course before you start your qualification, there may be options for you in Summer School.

Fees and scholarships

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?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

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 can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Scholarship and award opportunities

Search our scholarships and awards

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

The psychology major in the Bachelor of Health Science will help you develop a career that focuses on psychological aspects of the health of individuals and their families, workplaces and communities.

You’ll get knowledge and skills relevant to a broad selection of applied psychology areas including clinical, health, education, community, industrial and organisational psychology. These diverse options mean you can study what you’re most passionate about, and carry that passion forward into your career.

The knowledge of human behaviour and interactions that you will gain from a Bachelor of Health Science (Psychology) will be useful in many careers including:

  • counselling
  • public health
  • youth support
  • policy
  • rehabilitation psychology
  • scientific research
  • special education.

If you want to be a registered psychologist, contact us via the Get Advice button.

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Psychology

Massey is ranked in the world's top 250 universities for psychology by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

Learn more

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