As an undergraduate student in the Department of Psychology, you may have the opportunity to do a semester overseas as part of the University's Student Exchange Programme.
If you plan on taking Psychology papers while you are away and would like these to count towards your Otago Psychology degree, there is specific information that you need to know. Please read the important information given here carefully.
Please note: This information only applies to current University of Otago Psychology students who wish to go overseas. If you are an overseas student wanting to come to University of Otago on exchange, please refer to the University's Student Exchange Programme.
Where can I study?
Not all the University's exchange partners offer Psychology papers that can be credited towards an Otago degree.
Currently we have approved partner universities in Australia, Canada, USA, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, The Netherlands, and Denmark.
Please note, some partners are only suitable for students taking PSYC300 papers (this is true for most European partners).
If you want to attend an exchange partner that is not approved for Psychology, this is still possible – but the papers you take will not count towards your Psychology major or minor. Some students take only interest papers on exchange, whereas others complete papers towards a second major or degree.
When is the best time to apply for exchange?
The earliest you will be able to go on exchange is in your third semester at Otago.
In general, we recommend that students majoring in Psychology go on exchange when they are in their third year (or when they are taking 300-level papers, if in a double degree) as it is easiest to find appropriate 300-level Psychology papers overseas.
However, to fulfil the requirements for your Psychology major, you must complete at least two PSYC300 papers at Otago. This means you cannot spend your entire third year on exchange if you are a single degree student.
If you are hoping to apply for postgraduate studies in Psychology you need to complete PSYC 311 or an approved equivalent. Please note you may not be able to fulfil this requirement overseas. You also cannot fulfil it with a different Otago paper. If you want to go on exchange and plan to apply for postgraduate Psychology, it is best to plan ahead. Please contact the Psychology Exchange Adviser to discuss your options.
If you want to go on exchange during your second year, please be aware that most of our partner universities are NOT suitable for PSYC200 students, and some are only suitable for students wishing to spend their entire second year on exchange at the same institution.
What happens if I am accepted into the Exchange Programme?
Congratulations! Now that you are accepted to study at one of the Universities approved by Psychology, there are a few things you need to take care of.
Read ALL your information (acceptance letters, Learning Agreement etc.) very carefully and follow through on the instructions given to you in preparation for your overseas study.
You need to get approval from the Department for papers that you will take while if you wish the overseas papers to count towards your Otago Psychology degree.
How do I get approval from the Department of Psychology?
Aim to complete these steps at least 3 weeks before your Learning Agreement needs to be signed.
Step 1: Email the Psychology Exchange Adviser and indicate
- which university you will be attending overseas
- how many semesters you will be studying overseas (S1, S2 or full year)
- what year of Psychology you will be studying while away (200-level or 300-level)
- whether you are majoring or minoring in Psychology
- which Psychology papers you have already completed / will complete at Otago before heading overseas
Step 2: Put together information to give to the Psychology Exchange Adviser
This should include:
- a wish list of papers that you would like to study overseas and any available information about those papers, e.g., a description of the paper content and assessment (do not send links only; copy full paper descriptions into your email message)
- information regarding the standard course load at the overseas university (i.e., how many credit points do their full-time student need to take in one semester?)
- a copy of your student record
- This information should be provided to the Psychology Exchange Adviser well in advance of any meeting with the Adviser
Request approval for more papers than you plan to take. For example, if you need to take two PSYC300 papers on exchange, you should prepare a list of 4-5 potential papers. You may not be able to enrol in your preferred papers due to enrolment limits, timetable clashes or other restrictions. This is especially important for partners in USA and Canada.
Step 3: Make an appointment with the Psychology Exchange Adviser to
- discuss your overseas paper selection
- arrange for approval and signing of your Learning Agreement
Can I take any papers I want?
Papers must be approved if you want them to count towards your Psychology major or minor. We try to strike a balance between papers that resemble Otago Psychology papers and papers that are not on offer at Otago. This is what you will discuss with your Psychology Exchange Adviser.
I am a Psychology major, but I don't plan on taking any Psychology papers when I am away. Do I still need to see the Psychology Exchange Adviser?
Yes. You need to have your overseas study approved by the Psychology Exchange Adviser. When you complete Step 1 above, let the adviser know that you are not taking any Psychology papers while on exchange.
Can I go on exchange during honours/Master’s/PhD/clinical programme?
It is not possible to go on exchange during Psychology honours, or during the coursework components of the Master’s or clinical psychology programmes.
There are no formal exchange programmes for research Master’s or PhD students. However, some students may have the opportunity to travel overseas as part of their Otago research degree. For example, you may be able to spend time as a visiting research student at an overseas university or attend an international conference. These opportunities are arranged on an individual basis and should be discussed with your research supervisor. Please do not contact the exchange adviser about postgraduate exchange opportunities.
If you wish to pursue your full postgraduate degree at an overseas institution, you should contact that institution directly with any enquiries.