Brain Sciences and Mental Health

Explore the role of the brain and central nervous system in supporting psychological health and wellbeing.

In this major you'll combine specialised psychology courses with those from chemistry, biology, and health.

Mental health impacts every aspect of our lives, and plays a crucial role in our overall wellbeing. It helps us cope with stress, nurtures our social relationships, and allows us to contribute meaningfully to our community and realise our full potential. But our world is changing fast, and we have to constantly cope with shifting demands. When you study Brain Sciences and Mental Health, you’ll learn how the brain regulates our behaviour, our cognition, and our emotions—giving you the knowledge and skills to improve the mental health of both yourself and others.

Career options

If you’re interested in a career in the public health sector, this could be the major for you. Career options include roles as a laboratory or research assistant, mental health or disability support worker, clinical or health data manager, or a public and mental health policy analyst.

Learn more about the career pathways available when you graduate with a degree in Psychology.

Learn from experts

The Brain Sciences and Mental Health major is led by Professor Bart Ellenbroek, who has been researching and teaching on the neurobiology of mental health for over 30 years. His main focus is on how genetic and environmental factors shape the development of our brain, our body, and our behaviour.

“Since our brain is such a complex organ, it requires a collaborative effort from many different disciplines to decipher its secrets,” says Professor Ellenbroek.

This multidisciplinary approach is reflected in Brain Sciences and Mental Health major. You’ll take specialised courses from Psychology, Chemistry, Biology, and Health—giving you a comprehensive understanding of how brain science relates to mental health.

Some of the topics covered in this major include:

  • a basic understanding of the biology and chemistry of the brain
  • neuropsychology and cognitive psychology
  • the neurobiology of health and wellbeing
  • health and behavioural analysis.

Studying Psychology

Find out more about studying Psychology at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

Go to our Psychology page

Bachelor of Psychology

Find out more about our focused Psychology degree, Aotearoa's only Bachelor of Psychology.

Go to the BPsyc page

Postgraduate study

The Brain Sciences and Mental Health major gives you a solid foundation if you are interested in studying postgraduate Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience.