Ōtautahi Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand’s second largest city, is located in the South Island. This city has a lot to offer students. For those who love the outdoors, mountains, beaches, rivers, and lakes, they are all a day trip away. For those who love the snow, there are 14 ski areas you can access close by, for those wanting to explore the natural beauty, there are over 700 parks for you to discover.
For those more interested in city life, Christchurch has been undergoing a rapid change in its structure with an emphasis on urban regeneration. There are a range of restaurants, bars, music venues, concerts, and outdoor events to keep you entertained. Despite over 35,000 tertiary students making Christchurch their home, rent is 30-33% cheaper than Wellington and Auckland if affordability is high up on your list.
There is a range of university campuses in Christchurch that are able to cater to a wide range of specialisations. For those interested in completing an undergraduate degree in Psychology, you will need to attend the University of Canterbury. For those who wish to do postgraduate or want to do a course in psychology but not necessarily major in it, Lincoln University and the University of Otago are great options.
If you are sure you want to study psychology but are not sure where you want to study it we have a range of guides that enable you to find the place that suits you best without having to compromise on your studies. The best thing to do is to create a list about what are the most important requirements. This will enable you to prioritise your objectives and help you to stay focused rather than be overwhelmed by all the choices available to you.
Studying Psychology at the Undergraduate level
University of Canterbury
The University of Canterbury (UC) was the first New Zealand University to receive a five-star rating from the QS World University Rankings and in the top 300 in the world in 2022. With around 18,000 students and over 150 student clubs and cultural groups, chances are high that you will find new friends here if you decide to make the move.
Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Psychology
The University of Canterbury offers three degrees that enable you to major in Psychology. The first is a Bachelor of Arts which focuses on communication skills, creative problem solving and critical thinking. The advantage of a BA is that it is highly flexible in regard to the choices available to you in regard to your majors and minors. With a BA you can double major and it is often combined with another major from the Arts and Humanities field but you can choose from other facilities as well.
In order to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts, you need to have completed two of the compulsory 100-level papers and meet your major requirements. For 100 and 200-level psychology courses, there are some that are compulsory as well as selecting other psychology courses of your choice. Within your studies, you will carry out practical lab work and explore a range of psychopathologies.
Bachelor of Science (BS) majoring in Psychology
This degree is about how we understand the natural world around us and how we can improve our understanding and interaction with it through observing, experimenting, modelling and using calculation. Like a BA, a Bachelor of Science follows the same major requirements in psychology as well as students needing to complete the SCIE101 Science, Society and Me course in their first year. If you wish to complete a minor, you have the flexibility of doing courses from other departments.
Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) majoring in Psychology
This pathway gives students a comprehensive overview of health and healthcare over a three-year duration. It covers a range of topics from mental health and wellbeing to environmental health. It is in itself a major as there are more compulsory courses, which differ in regards to the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science.
There is a noticeable difference as while you will study the same subject in 100 and 200-level psychology as the BA and the BS, a Bachelor of Health Science has two compulsory 300-level courses. This can sound very complicated but it is pretty straightforward once you see the degree outline.
Studying Psychology at Postgraduate Level
University Of Canterbury
The University of Canterbury has a range of Postgraduate studies available from Postgraduate diplomas and certificates to Masters and Doctorates. It is important to check the requirements for postgraduate study as soon as you start to consider it as an option. This is because there are often course requirements such as grade point averages and/or you have to have completed a certain course.
For example, to gain entrance into the Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology, one of the requirements is that you have completed the PSYC335 course. This can feel overwhelming especially if you are not sure about what direction you wish to continue with, so speak to the academic advisor who can help you come up with a plan and/or explore future options.
University of Otago
The University of Otago has five main campuses spread across Aotearoa New Zealand. In order to get an undergraduate degree in Psychology, the best place to do that is in Dunedin. If you wish to continue with postgraduate study then Christchurch is your place.
The University of Otago has a strong reputation and the courses they offer in the realm of medicine are highly regarded. With over 20,000 students attending full time, it has a large number of facilities to support the interests of its students. At the Christchurch campus, students can continue their studies in the Health Sciences through Postgraduate Certificates, Diplomas, and Masters's programmes. Make sure to double-check that you will meet the entrance requirements before you finish studying.
Lincoln University is located in the township of Lincoln, a thirty-minute drive from Christchurch. Lincoln has been a leading university in regard to land and primary industry-based education and research. While they do not offer psychology as a major, there are courses available for students to introduce themselves to the subject. This is a great choice for students who wish to study in areas such as business, agriculture, viticulture, horticulture and the environment while still being able to access psychology courses.
Where to get support during your studies
All three universities offer support to students in a variety of ways. If you are looking for financial support, check out the scholarships available, especially if you are a first-year student. For Maori and Pasifika students, there are dedicated spaces to support you through.
There is a range of groups, clubs, sports teams, and more that are supported by the university's student services. If accommodation is an issue or feeling unsure about sharing a flat, have a look at the student accommodation options available. If you are after a bit more sunshine, check out our guide on Tauranga.
As you make your way through your studies, staying on top of your coursework is very important. Superprof can help you find experienced tutors to support your learning, help with revision for tests or exams, and more. With a wide range of tutors, you can find one that suits your style of learning and needs at a click of a button.
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