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Industrial Work and Organisational Psychology

Considering studying Industrial Work and Organisational Psychology? Read more about it here.

Industrial Work and Organisational Psychology (IWO) is concerned with the discovery and application of psychological principles to the workplace in order to maximise performance, productivity and wellbeing of workers and organisations. IWO psychologists are involved in the analysis and design of work and workplaces; recruitment, selection and development of employees; and appraisal and management of their performance. Employment is found in business, government agencies and academic settings.

IWO can be studied at postgraduate level over one, two or three years. Successful completion of the three-year programme provides eligibility to apply to the New Zealand Psychologists Board (NZPB) to be a Registered Psychologist.

Specialisation structure

This specialisation satisfies the regulations for a number of degrees and diplomas. Thus students can undertake one, two or three years of full time (or equivalent part-time) study in IWO, either adding to their Bachelors degree or to their existing postgraduate qualifications.

Qualification structure

Year 1

Postgraduate Diploma in Science or Arts (PGDipSci/PGDipArts) or Bachelor of Arts or Science with Honours (BAHons/BScHons).

All of these qualifications require students to enrol in courses that have a total value of 120 points. To specialise in IWO, students should include the following courses:

  • PSYCH 737: Work Analysis & Design
  • PSYCH 760: Workplace Assessment & Development
  • PSYCH 761: Organisational Psychology
  • PSYCH 762: Advanced Industrial, Work & Organisational Psychology.

The preferred path is via the Honours degree, for which a student must also complete a dissertation (PSYCH 788: A & B), thus gaining essential research skills and experience.

Year 2

Master of Science (MSc) or Master of Arts (MA) in Psychology.
To specialise in IWO Psychology at this level, a student must conduct research relevant to the theory and practice of IWO Psychology, as approved by the directors of the programme, and submit a thesis, worth 120 points, describing that research.

In addition to the core IWO Psychology teaching staff (Dr Helena Cooper Thomas), there are other staff in the School of Psychology who can supervise relevant research, as well as staff in other departments who may provide co-supervision (eg, Management and International Business, Computer Science, Sports and Exercise Science) with Psychology staff.

A master’s thesis in an appropriate area is a prerequisite for admission to Year 3, the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology. A master’s degree is also a prerequisite for eligibility to become a Registered Psychologist.

Year 3

Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology (PGDipAppPsych) is not available in 2016.


Individualised routes to the specialisation

Students who already have postgraduate qualifications but have not completed the required courses as listed above, or their equivalents as approved by the Head of School, may enrol in individual courses toward a Certificate of Proficiency to establish the theoretical and discipline knowledge essential to practice in IWO Psychology.

For example, a student with good Honours and Master’s degrees in Psychology, but in areas unrelated to IWO Psychology, would be required to complete a Certificate of Proficiency for at least three of the four courses listed under Year 1 above to be considered for enrolment in the PGDipAppPsych specialising in IWO. If they were then accepted for enrolment for this diploma, they would need to enrol in PSYCH 763 and the remaining two required courses as part of the PGDipAppPsych.

Similarly, a set of undergraduate courses in Psychology can be recommended for students who wish to enrol in the Year 1 courses who have a Bachelor’s degree but no major in Psychology. These courses are known as bridging courses, and a student enrolling in these courses will enrol in a Transitional Certificate.

Students interested in either the Certificate of Proficiency or the Transitional Certificate should approach academic staff teaching the IWO Psychology courses, and/or the school’s Postgraduate Advisor, for advice prior to applying formally.

Application and selection processes

Please refer to the School of Psychology Handbook for entry criteria for each year of study, noting that each year of study is a separate degree or diploma for which the student must apply. For Year 3, please contact Dr Helena Cooper Thomas. It is helpful when doing so to provide your academic record and information about relevant course content and any IWO related work experience.

Please note that entry to the PGDipAppPsych in Year 3 depends on both the quality of applicants and the availability of Registered Psychologists as supervisors for the practicum. Registered Psychologists may be either University academic staff or a member of staff at the practicum organisation.

Find the application forms for Industrial Work and Organisational Psychology on Application forms.

Selection criteria

Selection is dependent primarily upon grades attained, staff availability for supervision and the number of applicants in a given year. Other factors that are usually considered by staff include the similarity between his/her and the student’s research interests, how academically prepared a student is for that research, and resources available in the school or via the student for the proposed research.

It is important to note that the school applies further selection criteria including faculty and University criteria governing diploma and degree entry (eg, minimum GPA entry requirement).

Further information

Further information about IWO Psychology can be obtained from:

Dr Helena Cooper Thomas
Phone: +64 9 923 2833

General enquiries about postgraduate studies in Psychology and enrolment should be directed to  

Sheryl Robertson
Phone: +64 9 923 6852

Graduates of universities overseas and/or those without New Zealand citizenship or permanent resident status should also correspond with the International Office:

International Office
Phone: +64 9 923 7556