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How you can get a taste of Psychology while still at school

There are a number of ways you can learn about Psychology while still in school:

Hands-On at Otago

Hands-on at Otago is a one-week long summer camp organised by the University of Otago. It is held in January for students entering Years 11, 12, and 13. Around 400 students from around the country stay in one of our residential colleges and learn about a range of subject areas.


Find out more about Hands-On at Otago

You will choose a main research project to study every morning, based in one department at the University. In the afternoons, there are “snacks” available for some of the other sciences that you may be interested in. Psychology is available as both a project and a snack. Here is the description of our project:

Title: The Science of Human Behaviour

Description: You will be both experimenter and participant as we introduce you to intriguing aspects of human behaviour. What specialities do different parts of the brain have? Why does prejudice occur? How do we measure personality? You will explore issues like these while learning about how scientific research is conducted in psychology and how to design your own experiments. You will also tour the department and meet scientists and clinicians working in different areas of psychology.

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Science Academy

Science Academy is an exciting new programme aimed at Year 13 students with a passion for science and the potential, and commitment to excel in their final year NCEA and/or scholarship science exams. It is aimed for students from rural, provincial, or low decile schools throughout New Zealand. Students attend both a January camp and a July camp, held at the University of Otago. Throughout the year, students are also enrolled in “virtual academy.”

Find out more about the Science Academy

Psychology offers a short two-hour elective project as part of the Science Academy programme. Here is the description of our elective:


In this elective, you will have the opportunity to act as both the experimenter and a participant in psychology experiments. We will look at ways that human behaviour is influenced by different factors, and how our perceptions of the world can change depending how our brains are wired.

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International Science Festival

photo from international science festival

photo from international science festivalEvery two years, Dunedin hosts the International Science Festival. As part of the festival the University of Otago runs a two day interactive Science Expo on campus. This is open to everyone and has free entry. The Expo involves about 30 different displays and events involving many different science topics.

Find out more about the International Science Festival

Psychology has been involved in past Expos, with interactive activities and interesting posters at our expo stand that have proved to be very popular for children and adults alike. Stay tuned for the next Science Festival!

Tertiary Open Days

For more information, see the Tertiary Open Days website and the Tertiary Open Days information on the Department of Psychology Prospective Students page:

Contacts and Other Resources

Celia Lie image

Dr Celia Lie
Tel 64 3 479 3765

Dr Lie, a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Psychology, is involved in the co-ordination of the Hands on Science, Science Academy, and International Science Festival projects.

Please contact her if you have any questions regarding these.

Our department is full of very exciting research conducted by world-class researchers

You can find out more about the diverse range of research interests and projects carried out by our staff and students below:

You can investigate the different aspects of Psychology further by checking out the following sites:

For Teachers

Dr Celia Lie is also interested in local school visits to promote psychology directly to students and to help with science projects, as part of the University's focus on outreach to schools. Please contact her to arrange a visit if your students are interested in hearing more about psychology.

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