Five reasons why you should study psychology in New Zealand
If you are considering studying psychology, New Zealand is a great option, with a wide range of courses at education providers around the country.
New Zealand offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate psychology programmes. Most psychology degrees are university-based, such as the three-year bachelor’s degree offered by seven of our eight universities. University degree courses are research-led and generally academic rather than vocational.
You can also study psychology courses from introductory to degree level at Te Pūkenga, New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, which offers applied learning to give you a real-world focus. Furthermore, several schools in New Zealand offer psychology courses at NCEA level (the main national qualification for secondary school students in New Zealand).
Wherever you choose to study, and whatever course you decide to take, there are many good reasons to study psychology in New Zealand. Here are five of them:
1. Get a world-class education
The quality of psychology education in New Zealand is extremely high – the latest QS World University Rankings put the psychology courses offered by the University of Auckland, the University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington in the world’s top 100.
Brazilian student, Renan Lyra, chose to study in New Zealand at the University of Otago not only because it ranked highly but because “it had a specific focus on my research area and offered a scholarship to help fund my PhD.”
2. Enjoy an unbeatable lifestyle
Friendly people, a relaxed pace of life and an amazing outdoor environment make New Zealand a great place to be a student. Students have unlimited opportunities to hike, mountain bike, ski, swim and find other ways to enjoy the incredible natural landscape.
Renan started his studies in Brazil during COVID-19 and experienced some initial culture shock on arrival in New Zealand.
Culturally, it is very different from Brazil, but it is safe to go to the beach or walk around the city. It’s close to nature and there is a lot of beauty says Renan.
3. Learn in a supportive, hands-on teaching environment
PhD student Renan has found studying in New Zealand less hierarchical.
My supervisors are really supportive. They encourage me to work independently and come up with my own ideas. We work at the same level and many have become friends.
That same practical, hands-on approach is central to psychology education in New Zealand. Your teachers will encourage you to think independently, critically and creatively.
4. Work while you study
Students pursuing any full-time course, be it a Master’s in Psychology, Master’s in Clinical Psychology, or even a Bachelor of Science or Arts in Psychology, have the option to work for up to 20 hours per week. Most Master’s and PhD students are also allowed to work full-time.
Brazilian student Renan has taken advantage of this, working in hospitality and as a research assistant during his time in New Zealand. For more information about working while studying in New Zealand, check out the Immigration New Zealand website.
5. Fill the psychology skills gap
New Zealand currently has a high demand for psychologists partly due to the impact of COVID-19 but also due to the limited number of places in postgraduate study. Pursuing a master’s or a PhD in psychology in New Zealand will give you the opportunity to find work in New Zealand once you have finished your studies. Clinical Psychologist also appears on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list.
To become a psychologist in New Zealand you need a master’s or higher degree in psychology, 1,500 hours of closely supervised practice and to be registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board.
Renan believes it will be possible for him to stay in New Zealand where he will have more opportunities to work in his field.
Studying overseas in an English-speaking country for an internationally recognised qualification will definitely boost my CV.
About the contributors
Renan started his studies in Psychology in Brazil and is now continuing his PhD at Otago University on the Wellington campus. He loves exploring and traveling through New Zealand and particularly enjoys the beauty of the outdoors.