Learning about the human mind and behaviour from a scientific perspective develops valuable analytical and statistical skills and interpersonal awareness.

Psychology students use qualitative and quantitative research methods to study the relationships between brain function and behaviour as well as our environments and behaviour. They focus on many interesting questions around how people learn, remember, solve problems, interact or are affected by events or challenges. Students who study clinical qualifications learn techniques and skills to become practicing psychologists.

Roles and career pathways

Graduates with a general psychology degree may work in roles that involve understanding and engaging with others such as sales, marketing, recruitment or communication professionals, or helping others in disability support or youth engagement. In business and ICT sectors, they could be in software testing, user-centred design, coaching or training roles. An Honours or postgraduate qualification can be helpful for graduates wanting to work in policy and research. A PhD is usually required to work in specialist research or advisory roles in psychology. If your thesis is linked to an area of national interest this can help increase your employment prospects.

Psychology graduates with a clinical qualification, which includes a Postgraduate Diploma and a Master's qualification in Psychology then registration following two years' work experience, are able to work as clinical psychologists.

Specific postgraduate qualifications in Forensic Psychology, Educational Psychology, Neuroscience or Cross-cultural Psychology may help you gain an edge to work in these competitive areas. Adding another major or degree such as Marketing, Human Resources, Biology, Education, Criminology or Law can help focus a general Psychology degree and also broaden your employment options.

Where Psychology graduates work

Psychology graduates work across the private and public sectors in a range of roles. Graduates without a clinical qualification may work in areas that involve supporting, engaging and understanding others such as hospitals, non-profit associations, prisons, schools or in private practice.

Recent Psychology graduates work in organisations such as:

Build relevant skills and experience

Part-time work and volunteering during study all help to increase your job prospects when you graduate. Programmes such as Wellington Plus and Wellington International Leadership Programme (WILP) offer opportunities to gain diverse volunteer and leadership experience. Student wellness activities in The Bubble at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington offer good opportunities to gain real-life experience in areas such as wellbeing promotion and mental health peer support initiatives. Psychology students interested in justice, education or health and who volunteer in these areas can learn more about these industries and develop valuable connections. Students completing the Clinical Psychology qualification complete placements at the University's Clinical Psychology Centre where students see clients in one-to-one appointments. The WFHSS Internship course run by the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences helps develop leadership skills and practical workplace experience.

Make career connections

Making connections with individuals and groups during your degree can help you learn more about career opportunities. The New Zealand Psychological Society (NZPsS) offers free student membership to students studying Psychology at a postgraduate level which includes access to a range of resources and events. Networking associations such as the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, Wellington Young Professionals and the Victoria Students’ Psychology Association offer various events and opportunities for networking. The Alumni as Mentors programme for final-year students also helps enhance your connections and employability while studying.

Graduate career stories

Rayna Tuina Phillips in graduation cap and gown.

Rayna Tuina Tuunaifo Phillips

Rayna applies knowledge and skills gained from Criminology and Psychology studies to strengthen her practice, research, and tautua with Pasifika communities.

Darcey McNaught

The ability to demonstrate critical thinking and writing skills in a part-time role meant Darcey was able to pivot into a career path in risk services.