Master of Arts (Social Policy)

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Take your social policy study to the next level

Prepare for a meaningful career with Massey’s MA in social policy.

Find out more about the Master of Arts parent structure

What is it like?

If you are fascinated by how and why power, resources and opportunities are distributed within society, then Massey’s MA Social Policy (MA(SocPol)) is for you.

You will gain an understanding of the political, economic, social and cultural factors that influence the development, implementation and evaluation of social policy in Aotearoa New Zealand.

You will study law, politics, and the roles of central and local government in a democratic society. This will lead to insights into the relationship between the state, political parties, the judiciary, the legal system, and the public in shaping legislation and developing policy.

A good fit if you:

  • Have an undergraduate major in social policy
  • Want to know who makes decisions on many of the important issues, such as climate change, poverty and student loans
  • Want to find out about how to influence those decisions
  • Want to contribute to the cause of social justice and better outcomes for people
  • Are interested in debates about rights, freedom, equality and justice
Terri-Louise Davidson
Bachelor of Arts (Social Policy)
Master of Arts (Social Policy)
Research and Communications Coordinator for a Maori Land Trust

“I always found Massey, and particularly the Social Policy team to be very supportive, encouraging, knowledgeable and available when needed…”

The social world, how it works, what influences it, how it evolves and the outcomes for different groups within a social context has always fascinated me. I have also always wanted to contribute, in some way, to the cause of social justice and better outcomes for people. I was, therefore, drawn to social policy as an area of study because it offered a robust theoretical and research-based foundation from which to actively contribute to social wellbeing outcomes in a tangible manner.

My academic career has stretched over a number of years with a combination of full-time and part-time study according to the other commitments in my life at any particular time. I have also typically undertaken my study extramurally but never found this to be a disadvantage. Rather, I feel very fortunate that the opportunity to study has not been hindered by where I live or by other aspects of my life.

Being able to balance study with life in general has its challenges but meeting those challenges head-on only adds another learning dimension to the study experience. Throughout the challenging times I always found Massey, and particularly the Social Policy team to be very supportive, encouraging, knowledgeable and available when needed.

The long-term rewards of completing and achieving an academic goal far outweigh the hard times. On both a personal and professional level I have gained so much from my academic journey and my thirst for knowledge continues to grow.


Your MA (SocPol) will give you the knowledge and competencies you need in your career as a policy analyst and researcher. You will learn a range of intellectual and practical skills that will stand you in good stead in the job market.

This qualification opens up a world of opportunity to be involved in influencing a broad number of social issue outcomes (e.g healthy housing, youth development, Maori wellbeing, health promotion, gender analysis of policy), not only from a Government-down position, but also from an individual-, community- and society-up perspective.

You will learn to apply your critical social policy analysis skills to a number of decision-making scenarios to result in better social outcomes. This decision-making can take many forms including a policy, a project plan, submission, or even the strategic direction of an organisation.

You could work in areas such as:

  • Research
  • Communications
  • Project management
  • Governance
  • Charitable trusts
  • Social marketing
  • Journalism (critical analysis of social issues)
  • Advocacy
  • Teaching and lecturing
  • Policy analysis - public, private and third sector (NGOs, PPPs, not-for-profit, voluntary and charity organisations)
  • Youth development
  • Community development
  • Politics
  • Government agencies - local, regional and central
  • NGOs - trusts etc (housing, Maori land trusts, health service providers, disability advocacy and support, youth development).

Elevate your career

Postgraduate education will give you the skills you need for a satisfying and rewarding career.

A 2016 Ministry of Education report, The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates, found that in New Zealand:

  • Young master’s graduates earn more than one and a half times more than the national median (five years after study)
  • Earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed
  • Five years after completion, the median earnings of young master’s graduates are 19% higher than for those with a bachelor’s degree.
Join the engine of the new New Zealand

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