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PSYC495 Master's Thesis Preparation

Preparation of a thesis proposal/preliminary thesis research. Normally taken by students in the papers year for a Master’s degree by papers and thesis.

A master's degree in Psychology prepares students for careers in research or policy. A postgraduate degree, such as a master's in Psychology, is also an essential step in becoming a registered psychologist, which would require additional professional training. PSYC 495 forms the foundation for the two-year master's programme by establishing basic skills in critically analysing the research literature and conducting psychological research. PSYC 495 also entails presenting a research design and writing a research proposal.

Paper title Master's Thesis Preparation
Paper code PSYC495
Subject Psychology
EFTS 0.3333
Points 40 points
Teaching period Full Year
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,071.03
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $11,032.23

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Limited to
Admission requires an average grade of at least B+ in 300-level PSYC papers and satisfactory performance in PSYC 311.
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.

PSYC 495 Coordinator for first semester 2019: Professor Elaine Reese (

PSYC 495 Coordinator for second semester 2019: Dr Richard Linscott (

Teaching staff

PSYC 495 Coordinator for first semester 2019:  Professor Elaine Reese

PSYC 495 Coordinator for second semester 2019:  Dr Richard Linscott


Paper Structure
The primary objective of this paper is to help students get started on their master's thesis, which students complete in the second year of the course. By the end of the first semester of the first year, students decide on a topic and a basic design for their research with the help of their supervisor. By the end of the second semester of the first year, students complete a comprehensive literature review for their topic and write a research proposal. There are two assessment components in this paper. Near the beginning of the second semester, students present their topic and preliminary research design to the rest of the students enrolled in PSYC 495 (20% of mark). At the end of the second semester, students submit a research proposal on their thesis project to their supervisor and to the PSYC 495 Co-ordinator. The supervisor and a second examiner mark students' proposals independently, and these marks are averaged to obtain the final assessment (80% of mark).
Teaching Arrangements
Individual meetings with research supervisor; two class meetings, one in each semester
Textbooks are not required for this paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
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
  • Demonstrate understanding of psychological methods and analysis
  • Apply psychological knowledge to larger issues
  • Communicate results in oral and written forms

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Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system