Psychology – Graduate Diploma in Arts

The Graduate Diploma in Arts (Psychology) will give you the equivalent of an undergraduate major in psychology without completing a second bachelor’s degree.

Where you can study

Auckland campus
Distance and online
Manawatū campus (Palmerston North)

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students on campus in New Zealand, or studying on-line out
Note: Not all courses are available on all campuses.

Specialise in Psychology for your Graduate Diploma in Arts at Massey

A Massey Graduate Diploma in Arts (Psychology) is a bridging tool for graduates in other subjects to get the equivalent of a major in psychology.

Get a broad understanding of psychology

You’ll explore the thoughts, feelings and actions of individuals and groups in a social and cultural context. Psychology will help you make sense of the human impact on the world. You’ll learn about the natural, social and biological sides of psychology. You’ll also gain skills in research methods and applications of psychology.

You’ll ask questions such as:

  • how do people perceive, learn, think, develop, behave and relate to each other?
  • how does the structure of the brain affect behaviour?
  • what makes people different from each other?
  • how does being in groups affect people’s behaviours; how do social groups affect what we do?
  • how do factors like culture, gender, poverty and mental illness affect the way we think and behave?

A graduate diploma in psychology will equip you with valuable transferable skills. This includes research, analysis, communication, problem-solving and interpersonal skills.

Internationally recognised and market-leading in New Zealand

Massey graduates more researchers and clinical psychologists than any other university in New Zealand. We’re connected to a wide range of community and statutory organisations. We produce unique and applied psychology research and training that’s recognised nationally and internationally. This expertise enhances the reputation of your degree and ensures your knowledge is relevant to today’s society.

Further study

Once you have completed your Graduate Diploma in Arts (Psychology) you can then apply for postgraduate studies in psychology if you wish.

A Graduate Diploma in Arts in Psychology is a good fit if you:

  • are interested in the psychology of why people do the things they do
  • want a career where you can make a difference 
  • want to understand what is going on in the wider world. 

Planning information

Full-time study comprises eight 15-credit courses for a total of 120 credits in one year. We recommend you aim for 60 credits per semester.

175203 Introduction to Psychological Research is the prerequisite for all 300-level Psychology courses (except 175304) and must be taken at your first opportunity.

When you are granted entry to the programme, you are not required to pass 175102 which is the 100-level prerequisite course for 175203. You may need to apply for 175203 using the Special Request function in Course Enrolment in your student portal.

Semester One start

If you commence full-time study in Semester One you must enrol in 175203 and you can include one or two 300-level Psychology courses.You will need to add any 300-level courses using the Special request function in Course enrolment if you have not passed 175203.

Semester Two start

Depending on the availability of courses, it may be difficult to commence the programme in Semester Two. 

If there are available courses for you to commence full-time study in Semester Two, you may take two 300-level Psychology courses in your commencing semester but you must take 175203 in Semester One of the following year. You will need to add any 300-level courses using the Special request function in Course enrolment if you have not passed 175203.

Progression to postgraduate study

If you plan to progress onto postgraduate study in psychology it is recommended that you take all eight courses in psychology, including your electives.

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 programme or specialisation you enrolled in may be 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 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 course

Course code: 175203 Introduction to Psychological Research 15 credits

An introduction to methods commonly used in psychological research with particular emphasis on measurement, study designs, data analysis, and communicating research results.

Prerequisites: 175102

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Subject courses

Choose no more than 15 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.

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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

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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

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

This course examines Māori worldviews within the context of psychology in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Māori psychological theories provide valuable insights into an understanding of well being, spirituality, and familial relationships. Students are given guidance on how to competently implement this knowledge to encourage biculturalism in psychological practice, teaching, and research.

Restrictions: 175312

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Choose at least 60 credits from
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

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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, and empirically supported approaches to explaining mental illness, and treatments aimed at supporting people towards recovery.

Prerequisites: 175203

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Course code: 175303 The Practice of Psychological Research 15 credits

Study of the practice of psychological research. Students undertake a range of exercises and class projects to develop practical research skills.

Prerequisites: 175203

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Course code: 175304 The Psychology of Security 15 credits

An exploration of how psychology can be utilised to improve our understanding of, and responses to, the various security challenges posed by the contemporary environment.

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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

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Course code: 175309 Forensic Psychology 15 credits

The focus of this course is to study the issues and controversies in contemporary relationships between psychology and law. The diversity of the field of forensic practice is reflected in the topics covered, and the themes of violence and justice are used to represent the multidisciplinary influences at the nexus of psychology and law within mental health and legal systems.

Prerequisites: 175203

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Course code: 175311 Psychology of Women 15 credits

A theory and research-based examination of the Psychology of Women as a sub-discipline with particular focus on how research in the field challenges gender biases and social assumptions. The history of the field is illustrated by classic and contemporary examples of research methodologies suitable for critical studies of sexuality, mothering and gender-based violence.

Prerequisites: 175203

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Course code: 175313 Gender and Violence 15 credits

A critical, research-based examination of the forms and prevalence of gendered violence, and an examination of selected legislation and intervention practices advocated for reducing and eliminating gendered violence in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Prerequisites: 175203

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Course code: 175314 Advanced Indigenous Psychologies 15 credits

The course provides advanced content of indigenous psychologies, including their specific application in the theory, research and practice of psychology across multiple domains (e.g., health, education, social, policy, etc) in Aotearoa New Zealand specifically, and more generally in other cultural contexts across the globe.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level psychology course

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Course code: 175316 Evolution, Culture and Mind 15 credits

An evolutionary approach to viewing humans as a species socialized into meaning-making, focusing on biological, cultural, and evolutionary bases of human behaviour, and on applying different approaches to culture to understand the self, and the functioning of societies and culture.

Prerequisites: 175203

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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

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Course code: 175318 Experimental Psychology 15 credits

An examination of cognitive, neuropsychological and electrophysiological techniques of experimental psychology through a hands-on approach.

Prerequisites: 175203

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Course code: 175343 Personnel Psychology and Career Development 15 credits

Study of applied aspects of individual differences in organisations. Issues such as selection and training, performance evaluation, occupational health and vocational and career development will be studied.

Prerequisites: 175203

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Course code: 175345 Organisational Psychology 15 credits

An introduction to key concepts within organisational psychology, concentrating on the interplay between theoretical issues and practical concerns. Students will be enabled to critically evaluate the implications which different psychological perspectives have for understanding organisational problems.

Prerequisites: 175203

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Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

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

Specific requirements

To enter the Graduate Diploma in Arts (Psychology) you will have been awarded or qualified for a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

You will need to provide verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University.

English language requirements

To study this programme 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 programme, 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.

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

A Graduate Diploma in Arts (Psychology) can provide 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 are most passionate about and carry that passion forward into your career.

The knowledge of human behaviour and interactions that you’ll gain from psychology will be useful in many careers including:

  • human services
  • communication
  • social services
  • business
  • counselling
  • human resources
  • public health
  • youth support
  • policy
  • rehabilitation
  • scientific research
  • special education.

International students

New Zealand is a great place to study. Massey University’s reputation is supported by our international rankings, accreditations and associations. We are rated five star plus by the QS World University Rankings.

Massey University has small class sizes, and our lecturers and staff are friendly and approachable.

As an international student, there are entry requirements that will apply to you. We recommend that you apply at least three months before your anticipated start date so your application can be processed in time. There are additional steps you will need to take. These include obtaining a visa and travel bookings if your study is to be in New Zealand.

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Psychology

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

Learn more

Related study options