UKZN Psychology

UKZN Psychology, The Discipline of Psychology was formed in 1999 through the amalgamation of the Departments of Psychology and Educational Psychology and the Child and Family Centre.

There are 18 full-time and approximately 25 part-time members of the academic staff and four permanent administrative staff. Fifteen undergraduate courses are offered, for which we have more than 2000 registrations per annum. There are several postgraduate options, including a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology, Honours in Psychology and professional Masters courses in Clinical, Counseling, Educational and Research Psychology. At any one time we have more than 10 Doctoral and 60 Masters students registered in the school.
The Discipline of Psychology has a vigorous and varied research programme and a good publication and grants record. Several members of staff serve on international and national professional and scientific bodies.
The Discipline’s consultation and community development activities are partly conducted through Child and Family Centre. Community and consultation services are offered by the staff and postgraduate students under formal supervision.


Psychology has been taught at the University of Natal since its inception in Pietermaritzburg in 1910. At that time, Psychology, together with Ethics, Logic and Politics, was taught by the Department of Philosophy. A separate Department of Psychology was established in 1937 and in that year both Psychology and Industrial Psychology were offered as majors. Both theoretical and applied courses in Psychology were taught, with the main areas of application being education, industry, health and mental health.


The Discipline of Psychology endorses and practices the University’s express commitment to non-racism and non-sexism. We value the diversity of background and perspective among both our staff and students and endeavour to achieve equality of opportunity in all our activities. The School tries to nurture and develop staff and students through a number of mechanisms, including the promotion of staff-student collaboration at various levels. We strive for personal and communal development in the School through an atmosphere of mutual trust, communication and respect. We encourage excellence, at the local, national and international levels, in all academic outcomes, including teaching and training, research, community development and administration. On the 1st January 2004, the Universities of Natal and Durban-Westville merged to form the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the three former Departments and Schools of Psychology now form a single multi-campus School.

Career Info

What career opportunities exist for graduates in Psychology?

Psychology graduates have a wide range of career options open to them, and there is a broad range of settings within which psychological training can be applied. The research, interpersonal and environmental awareness, information-finding and other skills that Psychology teaches students, can be applied in a variety of occupations, many of which do not necessarily require further postgraduate studies. These include community development, market research, public and mental health, human resource management, pastoral and school counselling, programme administration, public relations, research, policy development and analysis, and training and consultation.

What other subjects make good combinations with psychology?

Since the basis for human behaviour is biological, psychology combines well with biology, biochemistry, zoology, nutrition and genetics. In addition, human action exists in a social context and here sociology, history, human geography and politics intersect with Psychology. Psychologists are also interested in language, creative thought and reason, and so psychology combines well with literature, language, philosophy, ethics, fine art and drama courses. People wishing to train as researchers may also find courses in mathematics, computers and statistics useful.

Can i take psychology even if i’m not registered for an arts or social science degree?

Psychology is unusual in that it can be taken as either a major or single courses, within any degree. Science students studying Zoology, for example, find that Psychology gives insights into animal behaviour, while Commerce and Law students find it deepens their understanding of human behaviour, including consumer and work behaviours. Psychology adds evidence to support the assumptions about human nature that Humanities students gain from subjects such as English, Philosophy and Drama Studies. Lastly as one of the key Social Sciences, Psychology forms a core part of the curriculum of most Social Science students. If you are unsure of your subject choices, make an appointment with a member of staff in the School of Psychology to discuss your future plans.