PSYCH 320 : Culture and Psychology


2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

It is through culture that we make sense of ourselves and our world. Of key interest is how culture, ethnicity and context all play a major role in understanding human experience including behaviour, thoughts, and emotions. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking and analytic skills, and helping students think about their own values and norms from a cultural perspective.

Course Overview

This course focuses on culture, with an emphasis on Māori and Pacific cultures, as well as ethnicity and context. Of key interest is how these all play a major role in understanding human experience, including practices, thoughts, and emotions. Central to this is an exploration of how psychological knowledge is constructed and applied within Aotearoa New Zealand. The course aims to stimulate critical thinking and analytic skills, and to help students think about their own values and norms from a cultural perspective. There will be three taught modules.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 45 points at Stage II in Psychology and 15 points from STATS 100-125

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe how history, political systems, discourses and intergroup relations characterise and inform cultural realities. (Capability 2, 4 and 6)
  2. Describe various strategies for resistance and resilience to Eurocentric imposed assumptions, knowledge and governance systems. (Capability 3)
  3. Apply existing empirical research and theory to critically evaluate and explain interpersonal experiences of daily life. (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)
  4. Explore the application of psychological knowledge to a range of social issues and cultural contexts. (Capability 1 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Essay Outline 20% Individual Coursework
Essay 40% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Essay Outline
Final Exam

To obtain plussage (1) both assignments must be completed and handed in, (2) you must attend 6 of the 7 tutorials, and (3) obtain a passing grade for your coursework overall. Ineligibility for plussage means you must accept your in-course mark, however low, and your final grade will be based on the final exam marked out of 40% plus the coursework marked out of 60%. If you are eligible for plussage, your final mark will be based on either the final exam plus coursework, or entirely on the final exam if that gives you a better grade.


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

This course is supported by the Tuākana in Science Programme, which facilitates the success and wellbeing of our Māori and Pacific students. The foundation of the Tuākana Programme is the Tuākana-Teina principle an integral relationship in which older or more expert Tuākana (traditionally brother, sister or cousin) guides a younger or less expert Teina (traditionally younger sibling or cousin). This is a reciprocal relationship which fosters safe learning and teaching environments. Read more here:

Key Topics

  • Culture and solidarity: This module will focus on the role that culture, ethnicity and context play in understanding how people make meaning of their lives and the social worlds they live in. 
  • Culture and Pacific Issues in Psychology: The first part of this module will focus on prevailing theories and methods in psychological research in areas of cross-cultural psychology, ethnic identity, acculturation and quantitative research, in addition to critiques of these approaches.
  • Māori knowledge, gender, reproduction & sexuality: This module will focus on Māori knowledge, gender, reproduction & sexuality. 

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course. Following University workload guidelines, this represents approximately 150 hours of study across the semester. For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures each week and a 2-hour tutorial in some weeks. The balance of time will be spent reading and digesting course content, participating and working on assignments and exam preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

  • Attendance is required at scheduled activities, including tutorials, to receive credit for components of the course.
  • Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities, including tutorials, will not be available as recordings.
  • The course may include live online events.
  • Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
  • The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Core readings for this course will be supplied by contributing faculty via CANVAS prior to relevant sessions.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

We appreciate course feedback and incorporate suggestions into our course planning.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Assignments that are handed in after the due date and time will receive a late penalty unless you obtained an extension prior to the due date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 01/11/2022 09:36 a.m.