Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Teaching in the Department of Psychological Medicine

Our department teaches across most years of the medical undergraduate programme (MBChB years I to III, V, and VI), offers a range of Post Graduate courses.

We are also responsible for the academic programme for registrar training in psychiatry.

Undergraduate teaching


Overlapping Year I

  • Health Psychology 122

Years II and III

  • Professional and Clinical skills PCS1 and PCS2
  • Medical Humanities MBChB 311A

Year V and VI

  • Psychiatry 5th year
  • Trainee Intern Psychiatry


Learn about our undergraduate psychiatry teaching.

Core curriculum.

Psychiatry is the medical specialty that deals with the study and treatment of mental illnesses and of other disorders, both behavioural and physical, in which psychological factors are important as causes or clinical features.

Modern psychiatry has divided into a number of sub-specialities.

Child and Adolescent psychiatry concentrates on disorders in children and adolescents, Forensic psychiatry studies the interaction between psychiatry and the law, and Psycho-geriatrics examines the psychiatry of old age. Consultation-liaison psychiatry deals with the interaction between physical and mental disease in the broadest sense and includes psychosomatic medicine and psychological reactions to physical disorders Social and Community psychiatry is concerned with social determinants of mental illness and with the provision of a co-ordinated programme of mental health to a specified population.

Other sub-fields include the addictions, eating disorders and neuro-psychiatry.

The area of study of psychiatry thus includes a range of disorders that extends from those for which there are obvious brain abnormalities such as the various dementia’s through to deviations of personality development.



Health Psychology

Postgraduate programmes at the postgraduate diploma (PGDipSci), masters (MSc) and doctorate (PhD) levels are available in Health Psychology.

Postgraduate programmes in Health Psychology

Health psychology has become the most rapidly growing field of psychology over the past 15 years. The field is concerned with understanding human behaviour in the context of health and illness.

As such the field is a large one and covers such areas as: how individuals cope with illness and chronic disease; psychological influences on the development of disease states; understanding and improving adjustment in healthcare settings; patient - practitioner communication; adherence to treatment; determinants of health-related behaviours (diet, exercise etc), and understanding how individuals make sense of and react to health screening, symptoms, and illness.

The impetus for the development of health psychology has stemmed from the fact that many of these areas of research and practice have not been directly addressed by medicine.

The field has been bolstered by the usefulness of psychological models in explaining patient behaviour and developing effective interventions in areas that have been problematic in the health field.

There is increased recognition of the need for health services to pay more attention to the psychological aspects of medical problems and to improve healthcare interactions.

Increasingly, health professionals are dealing with chronic illness, ageing and the problems of living with disability. All these areas have major health psychology components.

Health Psychology in New Zealand

Recent structural changes in the administration of health services in New Zealand have also created a greater need for researchers sophisticated in the health field to evaluate the benefits and liabilities of particular health service programmes and outcomes.

At present, there is a lack of skilled researchers to conduct these evaluations at both the provider and purchaser levels. The continued push for cost containment and justification will also draw health providers into developing more effective and carefully assessed treatment programmes from primary to tertiary services.



There are excellent facilities and resources for teaching and research in health psychology at both the Health Science Campus and the Tamaki Campus of The University of Auckland.

The Health Science Campus has close proximity and contact with medical institutions throughout the region.

The campus also has ready access to clinical populations of special interest to health psychologists such as oncology services, cardiac services, neurology, obstetrics and gynaecology, specialist pain services, and other tertiary and specialty centres.

These important features are complemented by the existence at the Tamaki Campus of many other relevant health- and exercise-related journals and the proximity and links with health research groups and clinics in departments such as Sports and Exercise Science, UniSports Medicine and Training Centre, Speech Language Therapy and the School of Population Health.


Consultation skills

Courses are taught to undergraduate medical students focusing on a multidisciplinary approach to personal and professional development, with an increasing emphasis on the clinical context.

Topics include ethics, communication skills, personal development, health psychology and consideration of cultural issues. Teaching will be focused around clinical interactions and the development of professional skills.


Medical Humanities

The Medical Humanities aims to provide medical students with the opportunity to study medical issues from the point of view of a humanities discipline. To that end we offer students a choice of courses from a variety of different humanities specialities. Find more information on the MBChB 311A-Medical Humanities.


Infant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Infant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health certificate and diploma courses are offered to graduates in associated professions through the Department of Psychological Medicine.

Teaching programmes in Infant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health




For further information on undergraduate and postgraduate studies offered by the Department of Psychological Medicine, please contact us.