Undergraduate Studies - Psychology - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Undergraduate Studies

Attendance at Laboratory Courses

Laboratory classes are an integral component of psychology training. They provide an opportunity to obtain first hand experience of:

  • the phenomena described in texts and lectures
  • to observe behaviour in natural settings through visits, films, and videos
  • to engage in small group activities
  • Practical, computing, data analysis, and other research tools are also taught in laboratory classes.

Attendance at all laboratory classes scheduled for a course is obligatory unless specific instruction to the contrary is given.

Assessing Your Workload

Put simply it is not a good idea to "bite off more than you can chew".

You should make sure you don't apply to enrol in too many courses. For more information on this, please make sure you consult the University Enrolment Handbook.

Please also note that students wishing to enrol in courses totalling fore than 160 points (or 80 points for a single semester) must week advice and/or approval from the Dean of the relevant faculty at the time of enrolment.

Collection of Tests/Essays/Assignments

To comply with the Privacy Act, some course coordinators prefer the return of marked work to be distributed through the Psychology Administration Area located on Level 2 of the Psychology Lab Block (room 226). Students will be notified by the Course Coordinator, usually via email, when your work is available for collection. Please note that the hours of return for all work may vary so please check with the Administration office in advance.

Computing Facilities

We have over 100 Psychology Department computers connected to the University wide system spread over two laboratories. During term time the larger laboratories are heavily used between the hours of 9am to 5pm for scheduled teaching classes. Students must vacate the labs at least ten minutes prior to the commencement of a schedule lab class.

Outside teaching all facilities are available for extended hours in the evenings and over the weekends, for use only by enrolled psychology students and members of the Department.

Some conditions of use are that user:

  • must not to eat or drink in the computer laboratories
  • must not play computer games on the machines
  • must not leave books or other personal materials in the labs.
  • must not lock workstations for personal

Course Coordinators

Each individual course is administered by a course coordinator who are responsible for assignment to laboratory/tutorial streams. Students should approach individual staff about the content or for clarification of the grading or marking of work in their part of a course.

Course Outlines

Course outlines are normally handed out at the first lecture for each course. If you do not receive one, they are also available in your online learning tool LEARN. Course outlines would typically include:

  • set out the objectives and contents of courses
  • essential information on assessment and set work, including course completion requirements
  • the relative assessment contribution of each item of assessment
  • due dates for all set work
  • portions of the course to be included in each test and examination
  • dates and times of tests and examinations

Grading of Courses and Assessment

  • A+: Exceptional
  • A: Excellent
  • A-: Very High Standard
  • B+: Very Good
  • B: Good
  • B-: Average
  • C+: Satisfactory
  • C: Pass
  • D: Fail
  • E: Fail

Grades are intended to represent a stable quality from year to year, comparable across courses not only within the Department of Psychology but the University generally.

Marks on the otherhand, are likely to fluctuate with the kind of work (eg. multiple choice versus essay) and the purpose of the assessment (examination versus laboratory feedback).

Consequently there can be no hard and fast rule for converting the component marks into a course grade. You should always consider your achievement in relation to the class as a whole. All marks/grades are provisional until final determinations are made at examiners meetings following the final examinations.

Policy on Dishonest Practice

Plagiarism, collusion, copying and ghost writing are unacceptable and dishonest practices..

  • Plagiarism is the mispresentation of any material (text, data, figures or drawings, on any medium including computer files) from any other source without clear and adequate acknowledgement of the source.
  • Collusion is the presentation of work performed in conjunction with another person or persons, but submitted as if it has been completed only by the named author(s).
  • Copying is the use of material (in any medium, inclulding computer files) produced by another person(s) with or without their knowledge and approval.
  • Ghost Writing is the use of another person(s) (with or without payment) to prepare all or part of an item submitted for assessment.

Plagiarism: Misrepresentation of Other People's Work as your Own

Plagiarism is a serious matter. Whenever you use ideas from other people you must acknowledge them. If you use the actual words of others (a quotation) you should put the words in quotation marks and cite the page numbers. The Department reserves the right to require work to be submitted in electronic format so that it can be submitted to a plagiarism detection website.

Citations: In essays, projects, and other written work you should use the format for citations that is adopted by the Americal Psychological Association. Sources such as O'Shea, Moss & McKenzie (2002/2007) Writing for Psychology (4th/5th ed.) describe the conventions that are accepted in psychology.

A related matter concerns cross-referencing to your own work. Generally you should not present substantially the same piece of work more than once, either in the same or in different courses. If the topic and content for an assignment overlap significantly with those in another course, or with a research project you should consult the course lecturers/coordinator. Treat reference to your own work from another course as if it were someone else's work and cite it in the manner described above. The following site gives some useful information http://www.cite.auckland.ac.nz.

Quoting: Quoting is the direct reproduction of the exact words of some person other than the author of the document in which the quote occurs. Quotes are shown either by placing the quoted words in quote marks (" ") or by italics. Quotes are appropriate when they involve providing a definition, where it is some specific statement by another person that the author is commenting on, or where a brief quote may effectively illustrate or enliven an argument. In all cases, the source of the quote must be acknowledged by an appopriate citation and reference. Long quotes, even when legitimated by appropriate citations should be avoided. The purpose of essays and other assignments is for the academic staff to evaluate their student's wit and wisdom, not the wit and wisdom of other authors.

Psychology Liaison Librarian

Kerry Gilmour is the Psychology Liaison Librarian for Psychology she will help you make the best use of the resources available through the Central Library. Contact kerry.gilmour@canterbury.ac.nz or phone Ext 4986.

Psychology Staff-Student Liaison Committee

This committee exists to provide a forum for the general exchange of information between staff and students in the Department. The committee comprises elected staff and student representatives. For student representative contact details please refer to the relevant course in your online learning tool LEARN.

Academic Grievances

If you encounter any problems with a course and wish to discuss these with someone, then there are several means available to you:

  • initially approach the lecturer concerned if you feel able to
  • or approach the class representative and ask them to present the problem to the lecturer on your behalf.
  • or approach the course coordinator directly
  • If the problem is not resolved, then you can approach the Head of Department.

Other avenues for helping with problems are:

  • joint Academic Grievance Committee
  • Education Office, UCSA.