Psychology major: Bachelor of Health Science

Stacey Stuart
Student Profile – Stacey Stuart

As a child psychologist with the Ministry of Education, Stacey Stuart uses the skills gained at AUT in her work every day. Read more of Stacey’s story.

Psychology is a broad and exciting discipline encompassing a range of scientific and theoretical approaches to studying and understanding behaviour. If you study psychology you explore how people interact with the environment, and with others, and how personal, biological, social and environmental factors influence behaviour.

Through AUT's psychology degree, you will develop a broad understanding of psychological research and theory, and understand the ethical and legal issues in health practice and research. You will learn research skills, develop critical thinking skills, be able to conduct, report and present research, and learn to integrate and present information from diverse perspectives.

AUT psychology graduates are very competitive in the employment market because of their unique combination of sophisticated understanding of scientific research and analysis and key interpersonal and interviewing skills.

Bachelor of Health Science: degree outline

Want to enrol in a programme: Apply online


Below is a summary only. For a comprehensive overview of this psychology qualification, please refer to the Academic Calendar

Year 1 

You learn about human development across the lifespan, human body systems, health and environment and how to promote health. In Semester 2, you study a broad overview of psychology and its research, theory and application, and further develop your interpersonal skills.

Core papers
555101 Lifespan Development and Communication
555201 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
555301 Knowledge, Inquiry and Communication
555401 Health and Environment OR 555339 Māori Health, Development and Environment

Compulsory Psychology papers

565603 OR PSYC508 Introduction to Psychology A
565604 Introduction to Psychology B
565605 Introductory Research Methods

And one approved elective paper

Year 2 

This year focuses on core content in more depth. Depending on your specific pathway you will do some or all the psychology papers in abnormal psychology, brain and behaviour, cognitive psychology, personality, psychological assessment and social psychology.

Core Paper 
556301 Methods of Research and Enquiry

Compulsory Psychology papers
286108 Cognitive Psychology
566508 Social Psychology
566604 Psychological Assessment
566605 Personality OR PSYC680 Individuals and Identities
566420 Abnormal Psychology
566609 Brain and Behaviour

And one approved elective paper

Year 3 

You will learn to think ethically and critically in the context of professional psychology practice. You should choose psychology papers relevant to your future career prospects. You will develop advanced research skills and learn to apply these in the field of your choice: health psychology, biopsychology, experimental and applied behaviour analysis, approaches to psychological intervention, social psychology and positive psychology.

Core Paper
557221 Health Law and Policy

And 4 Psychology elective papers (see Programme Leader for details)

557224 Professional Practice and Ethics or approved elective,
and 2 other elective papers approved by the Programme Leader.


Minor options

Psychology students are encouraged to include a minor in their programme of study (see Academic Calendar for a full list of minors). Minors particularly suited to psychology include Analytics, Applied Mathematics, Business Management, Computer Science, Criminology, Health Promotion, Human Resource Management and Employment Relations, and Māori Development.

Te Ara Hauora Māori papers

Students who wish to seek careers with a Māori development perspective should select the following 4 papers as electives or as an alternative course of study.
555339 Māori Health, Development and Environment (instead of 555401 Health and Environment)
527872 Māori Health Promotion
567431 Applied Primary Māori Mental Health
567417 Utilising Supervision in Practice

We will support Te Ara Hauora Māori students form relationships with Māori health providers, industry stakeholders and communities, and AUT Māori staff and students.

Conjoint programme

A conjoint programme of study enables you to study two degrees at the same time and complete the two in less time than if you did them separately. You need to maintain a minimum grade average of B to continue in a conjoint programme. Graduates trained in the understanding of human psychology, as well as the skills of business and marketing, will be superbly equipped to pursue a range of careers, for example: advertising; employee efficiency; recruitment and training; management; and sales. You can study the Bachelor of Business & Bachelor of Health Science in Psychology conjoint degree

Double major

The Psychology major can also be completed as a double major with Health Promotion in the Bachelor of Health Science within a 3-year period.  This pathway allows you to complete a major in both psychology and health promotion (including 45 points at level 7 in each major).  Psychology and health promotion are complimentary disciplines that consider and utilise a broad range of approaches to address and prevent a range of health and social issues.

Career opportunities

Psychological knowledge can be applied to any government, health and social services role, such as immigration, policy analysis, housing, rehabilitation, probation, and community development. Psychological knowledge is also valued in customer service, human resources, and management development programmes. Psychology graduates also have key research, questionnaire design and analysis skills that are valued
in marketing, social research and policy analysis and development.

Registration as a professional psychologist involves further postgraduate study. AUT offers a pathway to registration as a counselling psychologist.

Graduates and students of health science

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Last updated: 20-Oct-2015 3.07pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.