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Master of Arts (Sociology)

Key facts

  • Available at Auckland
  • Available at Manawatū
  • Available via Distance Learning
  • Available for international students studying in NZ or via distance learning

Take your study of sociology to the next level

With Massey’s Master of Arts (Sociology) you can build on your undergraduate interests

Find out more about the Master of Arts parent structure.

What is it like?

Massey is ranked in the world’s top 250 universities for sociology by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranking.

Sociology is about understanding and describing our local society and its global setting. Sociologists are interested in almost all aspects of the social world and in your MA (Sociology) you’ll consider questions such as:

  • How is society structured?
  • How is society changing?
  • What divides or unites social groups?
  • What causes the inequalities we see in society?
  • How does power operate?

With a Massey MA (Sociology) you’ll ask challenging questions about how power structures function in the social world. You’ll study culture, ethnicity, class, inequality, gender, mass media, politics, environment, social change and individual and group interactions.

A good fit if you:

  • Have an undergraduate degree in sociology
  • Want to stand out in a crowded marketplace
  • Are keen to follow your intellectual curiosity and develop your research skills
  • Want to investigate a particular aspect of sociology for your research report or thesis
Peter Chrisp
MA (Sociology)
Chief Executive - New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE)

“Everything started with my Bachelor and Master of Arts at Massey University…”

As the Chief Executive for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) my role is to grow New Zealand companies internationally - bigger, better, faster - for the benefit of NZ. We work with people all over the world and participate in the growth of the New Zealand economy.

Aotearoa is full of courageous, inspiring and cause-driven people and one of the best things about my job is being able to work with these ambitious and aspirational leaders every day. Helping them to achieve their goals makes me feel like we are doing something that will really make a difference.

For me, everything started with my Bachelor and Master of Arts at Massey University. Upon graduating there was a part of me that felt like I should have done a professional degree and become a lawyer or an accountant, but in hindsight my BA/MA has been one of the most valuable parts of my journey. It gave me a solid foundation to build on throughout the rest of my life and my knowledge of sociology and epistemology has allowed me to understand the various social, political and cultural contexts that I have been in. However, over time it has also been necessary to continue to build new skills, so I have also added strategy, finance, operations, logistics, marketing and law to the mix. It has been a lifelong journey.

Recently I’ve spent a lot of time working at Silicon Valley. The business leaders there often talk about creating T-shaped people; a concept that describes someone with both specialist skills (the stalk of the T) as well as broader skills (the line at the top), for example having agility, the breadth to try new things, the ability to question paradigms and the nous to do things differently. It is this generalist/specialist combination that can add the most value.


Your Master of Arts (Sociology) will give you the knowledge and competencies you need to start your career as a policy analyst, researcher or community development organiser. You ‘ll learn a range of intellectual and practical skills that will stand you in good stead in the job market.

Loads of career options

This qualification opens up a world of opportunity to be involved in influencing a broad number of social issue outcomes such as healthy housing, youth development, Māori wellbeing, health promotion, or gender analysis of policy. You’ll approach this not only from the perspective of government and local-body policy, but also from the perspectives of local communities and community organisations.

You’ll learn to apply your critical sociology analysis skills to a number of decision-making scenarios, for better social outcomes. This could take many forms including policy development, project planning, legal submissions or strategic organisational management.

You could work in areas such as:

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

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