Tauranga is known for its beautiful beaches, nature, and of course, its harbour. But Aotearoa New Zealand’s fastest-growing city has more to offer than that. Tauranga's waterfront area, known as the Strand, is where you can find a number of cafés, restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and higher education opportunities.

With the construction of the Harbour bridge in 1988 bringing Tauranga and Mount Maunganui together, there is easy access between the pristine white sand of the Mount and the metropolitan hub that is Tauranga. For those who love the ocean, the Mount is well known for its surf beach, while for those who prefer calmer seas, the inner harbour side is sheltered.

For those who are living or plan to live in the surrounding areas of Tauranga, the Bay of Plenty Regional Bus Service and the Waikato Regional Bus Service provide free daily bus services for students coming from a wide range of towns across the region. You just need your Student I.D card and a Bee card that has been preloaded with a tertiary concession.

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Studying Psychology at the University of Waikato

The University of Waikato has two campuses in New Zealand and one in Zhejiang University City College in China. The main campus is located in Hamilton and in 2019, they opened the doors of the Tauranga Campus. Located in the centre of the CBD of Tauranga, it was built to enhance the range of qualifications accessible to students in the Bay of Plenty. The two big campuses remain connected through daily shuttles and bus routes.

The Tauranga Campus offers Psychology students three pathways to study Psychology as a major. That is through completing a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Social Sciences, or a Bachelor of Arts. In regards to which Bachelor's is the best, it is entirely dependent on what and how you want to study.

Mount Maunganui
Studying Psychology in Tauranga has the added bonus of a range of outdoor activities and stunning scenery | Unsplash - Ethan Dow

Studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology (BSc)

If getting your hands dirty (so to speak) and research is something that interests you, then a Bachelor of Science is worth considering. While you have your compulsory courses for Psychology, you also have the courses that you need to complete for your BSc.

In your first year, you have two 100-level psychology papers looking at Social Psychology, Health and Wellbeing and Brain, Behaviour and Cognition. You then get to choose three courses from the Science fundamentals list. This list ranges from the Concepts of Biology to the Foundations of Engineering. With 18 possible courses to choose from, you're spoilt for choice.

In your second year or 200-level, your psychology courses are already set as you study Cognitive Psychology and development, Behavioural Psychology and Perception and Understanding Psychological Research. For your BSc requirements, you have a compulsory paper in Science Numeracy, that gives you a lot of choices. Take your time to read through the list carefully so you can choose one that suits you.

With your final year or 300-level, you choose the direction you want to go in with your four PSYCH papers. Just read the fine print carefully as often the further along in your studies you go, the courses begin to have their own requirements. For example, in order to continue with graduate study, you need to complete PSYCH 307 Psychological Research Methods. By speaking to a student advisor at the beginning of your study, you can create a clear pathway.

As for the Science part, it is time to get your hands dirty(ish) with work-integrated learning. With four options on how you wish to proceed, it is time to put your knowledge into action. You will also be completing the Science and Mātauranga Māori course. Oh and don’t forget about your electives. These courses are your choice and do not necessarily have to be science related. Speak to a student advisor about different minors and second majors available to you.

Code
Study Computer Engineering and Psychology all in one place | Unsplash - Markus Spiske
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Studying a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Psychology (BSocSc)

If you are looking to focus on the problems of today, a Bachelor of Social Science may interest you. With a lot of connection to Psychology, this bachelor's programme focuses on the way people interact with contemporary issues. This interaction and the actions it provokes are of interest, as you figure out how our actions can be monitored and modified.

By completing a Bachelor of Social Sciences with a major in Psychology, you have a range of compulsory, elective, and semi-choice papers to choose from. By semi-choice, it means you do have a choice but there is a list for you to choose from.

Following a similar format as a Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology, you have two compulsory 100-level courses; Brain, Behaviour and Cognition and Social Psychology, Health and Wellbeing. You then have four courses that are connected to your bachelor's and two courses that are elective. Take your time to read carefully about what your options are as not all courses are available every year. The choices you make can have an impact later on.

As you start your 200-level, there is only one compulsory Psychology course: Understanding Psychological Research. You then need to choose two courses of any 200-level Psychology course from the approved list.

You will also need to check if your paper is available at Tauranga Campus and during what trimester. It sounds more complicated than it is. Simply click on the paper on the University of Waikato site and under Paper Information, it has all the information on a grid under the heading Trimesters and Locations. If you are feeling overwhelmed or want someone to double-check, arrange a time to see a student advisor.

For 300-level Psychology courses, as a BSocSc student, you get to choose all four of them. Of course, it has to come from the beloved approved list, suit your timetable, be in Tauranga, and certain courses may have additional requirements. But you have got this sorted. And if not then book an appointment with the wise student advisor. They help you with details such as knowing you need to complete PSYCH 307 Psychological Research Methods if you want to carry on Psychology into graduate levels.

Social Justice protest
The understanding of why we do things and what propels us to action is a reoccurring concept in Psychology | Unsplash - Munshots

Studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology (BA)

The history and creative activities of people have shaped our societies and they shape our future. If you are interested in how this all happens then a Bachelor of Arts may be the right choice for you. Psychology is often connected to a Bachelor of Arts due to the scope this degree allows. You get to choose the field of your degree. So much choice in itself can be a burden. A good way to find your pathway is to look at the end and work yourself backwards. What subjects relate to your end goal and what skills do you possess that would help you get there.

For example, you want to help people, and you have always had a knack for listening without judgement and can process complicated emotions within yourself and others. What about a clinical psychologist or a counsellor? Speaking to a careers advisor can really help by providing different possibilities. 

As for the Psychology courses, the format is exactly the same as the Bachelor of Social Sciences except for in 300 level. You can choose to take any Psychology 300 level course or the HMDEV 304 course on Perspectives on Counselling. Just remember to keep an eye for those requirements, like the other bachelors, you will need to take PSYCH 307 Psychological Research Methods if you want to carry on studying Psychology into graduate levels.

Postgraduate Study options for Studying Psychology

Three are a wide range of postgraduate studies in Psychology available at the University Of Waikato. Tauranga Campus does have a range of options available for students but depending on your chosen subjects, there will be more courses available at the Hamilton Campus. With the close distance and free connections between the two campuses, you can even study across the two. Read our guide for more information on studying Psychology in Hamilton.

Finding out what works for you

There is a range of support services dedicated to making the transition to University straightforward and accessible. The first step to getting help is to ask for it. Check out the student services on the University's website today. For help in terms of revision, Superprof has you covered with a range of qualified tutors available to support you for short or long durations.

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