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PSYC490 Dissertation

A supervised project involving original research and leading to the production of a dissertation.

With the guidance of a member of staff, students will design and conduct an empirical investigation to address a question about human or animal behaviour. This will involve the review of previous literature, the development of a research hypothesis, the design of an appropriate data collection procedure and the analysis of the results obtained. The dissertation is designed to develop research skills.

Paper title Dissertation
Paper code PSYC490
Subject Psychology
EFTS 0.5000
Points 60 points
Teaching period(s) Full Year (On campus)
1st Non standard period (10 July 2023 - 19 June 2024) (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,227.00
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Limited to
BA(Hons), BSc(Hons), PGDipArts, PGDipSci
Admission requires an average grade of at least B+ in 300-level PSYC papers and satisfactory performance in PSYC311.
Entry into Psychology 400-level normally requires a major in Psychology, a B+ average or higher in Psychology 300-level papers, and a pass in PSYC 311 Quantitative Methods. We highly recommend that students have completed PSYC 310. Students from other universities must show evidence of an equivalent level of competence.

Dr Damian Scarf (

Teaching staff

Co-ordinator: Dr Damian Scarf (in conjunction with Project Supervisor)

Paper Structure
The paper structure varies by supervisor.

Students are urged to discuss their project with a staff member as soon as possible, preferably at the end of the previous academic year. A Dissertation Manual is available from the Psychology 400 Administrative Assistant. The due date for the dissertation is stated in the Dissertation Manual.

PSYC 490 is 100% internally assessed, with the paper mark based on a written dissertation.
Teaching Arrangements

This is a full-year paper.

Textbooks are not required for this paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of a research area
  • Understand psychological methods and analysis
  • Communicate results through oral and written communication

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Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system

1st Non standard period (10 July 2023 - 19 June 2024)

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system