Level 3 Psychology (L3PSY)


This course examines the scientific study of human thought, emotions, and actions. It attempts to explain why we behave in the way that we do and explores questions such as:

  • How do people make sense of the world around them?

  • Why do good people do bad things?

  • How does culture influence behaviour?

  • How does personality develop throughout the lifespan?

Psychology addresses big questions and interesting contexts, it encourages in-depth, informed, critical thinking, meaning that it can play an important role in developing the understandings, attitudes, and skills that enable students to become positive, well-informed citizens.

What will I learn?

    • The development of thought processes and theories of mind from Ancient Greece to today.

    • The biopsychosocial influences on thought processes and behaviour characteristic of depression.

    • Theories of memory, including strategies for memory improvement.

    • How personality and social skills are shaped by the world we grow up in.

    • That psychology still has so many groundbreaking discoveries to make about the human mind.

What should I have done already?

Students choosing this course will need to have gained a Merit endorsement in NCEA Level Two, have a strong scientific background and be very competent in reading, writing and statistical analysis. Performance in past English and Science external exams may also be used as an indicator of students’ suitability for this course. Preferential entry will be given to students who have taken Level Two Psychology. Students should also have an interest in the social sciences and be a keen observer of human behaviour. Individual students who may have taken L2 Psychology but do not meet the above requirements may make a case to study L3 Psychology – entry will then be at the discretion of the Head of Social Sciences.

Assessment outline


Assessment regulations

The internal achievement standards will be assessed after the appropriate topics have been taught. There will be no reassessment opportunity for these standards. You will only be given the opportunity to improve on your efforts if you get small things wrong that you can be fixed with no further teaching or learning occurring (resubmission) that will bring your grade from a Not Achieved to Achieved. Because there is no reassessment, if you do not submit the assessment on the due date you have failed the standards.

The externally assessed achievement standards will be formatively assessed using tests and exams during the year. The results from these assessments will count towards class placings and any derived grade applications if you are unable to sit final examinations.

It is vital that you read and understand the rules relating to NCEA in the section on NZQA Information.

Where does this course lead?

This is a university approved subject. Psychology provides training in a number of skills which can be applied to many career areas including health services, law, social work, teaching, politics, sales, marketing, management and human resources. It provides basic knowledge to ensure you will be an informed member of New Zealand society and a valued employee.

People who specifically study to be a psychologist are also employed in a wide range of workplaces, and many practise privately as independent consultants within their specialised area. These areas of specialisation within the field of psychology include, but are not limited to: clinical, counselling, community, educational, forensic, health and organisational, sports, and social.

Indicative costs

For all indicative course costs please see the Course Costs Page.