Work for social justice with a BA (Social Policy)
At Massey you’ll get the skills you need for a meaningful career in social policy.
- Undergraduate, NZQF Level 7
- 3 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
- Available for international students studying in NZ or via distance learning
- Not all courses available in all modes any given year
If you are fascinated by how and why power, resources and opportunities are distributed within society, then Massey’s Bachelor of Arts (Social Policy) is for you.
Get understanding and insight
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’ll study law, politics and the roles of central and local Government in a democratic society. This will give you insights into the relationships between the state, judiciary, legal system, political parties and public in shaping legislation and developing policy.
Apply your skills
Learn to apply your critical social policy analysis skills to a number of decision-making scenarios to result in better social outcomes. This could take many forms including a policy, project plan, submission or even the strategic direction of an organisation.
Careers and further study
Your BA (Social Policy) will give you the knowledge and skills you need to start 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 (such as healthy housing, youth development, Māori wellbeing, health promotion, gender analysis of policy). That is not only from a Government-down position, but also from an individual-, community- and society-up perspective.
You’ll 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. That could include a policy, project plan, submission, or even the strategic direction of an organisation.
You could work in areas such as:
- project management
- charitable trusts
- social marketing
- journalism (critical analysis of social issues)
- teaching and lecturing
- policy analysis - public, private and third sector (NGOs, PPPs, not-for-profit, voluntary and charity organisations)
- youth development
- community development
- government agencies - local, regional and central.
- NGOs - trusts etc (housing, Māori land trusts, health service providers, disability advocacy and support, youth development).
All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.
There are no specific entry requirements for the Bachelor of Arts (Social Policy), outside of university admission regulations.
English language requirements
To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.
Prior learning, credit and exemptions
For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:
- review the Recognition of Prior Learning regulations
- contact us through the Enquire button on this page.
If you do not have the entry requirements
English language and foundation courses
If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and programmes that may help.
- English Language Proficiency
- Foundation Certificate in Academic English
- Foundation Certificate in Advanced Academic English
- Full Foundation - Certificate in Foundation Studies
If you need to do a course before you start your programme, there may be options for you in Summer School.
Courses and planning
- Core courses – 75 credits
- Major courses – 135 credits
- Electives from the Schedule – 30 credits
- Other electives – 120 credits
Ensure that overall, you have:
- Not more than 165 credits at 100 level
- At least 75 credits at 300 level
You could replace electives with a second BA major, or some electives with a minor from the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Business, or the Bachelor of Science.
Note: the Business Psychology major requires 195 credits of major courses.
Courses for this specialisation
|179202||Applied Research for Social Policy and Social Work||15|
|179230||The Wellbeing of Pacific Peoples in New Zealand||15|
|179330||Māori Development and the Social Services||15|
|279101||Social Policy: An Introduction||15|
|279201||Social Policy: Concepts and Theories||15|
|279203||Law, Government and Social Policy||15|
|279301||Government Policy, Planning and Administration||15|
|279302||Policy Research and Evaluation||15|
Planning your programme
If you study full time, in the first year you’ll take eight 15-credit courses, making a total of 120 credits.
If you wish to study over two semesters, you should aim for 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school if you wish. Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.
About this major
A Social Policy major consists of 135 credits (nine courses).
One of the strengths of the Social Policy major is its interdisciplinary nature. You are able to choose courses from a variety of subjects to suit your interests. The 100-level introductory course 279.101 Social Policy: An Introduction forms the foundation for the advanced theory and research courses at 200-level and 300-level. Social Policy offers a range of interesting and highly relevant courses, each taught by staff actively engaged in research.
Completing a minor is optional. Minors increase the breadth of your degree. They give you extra knowledge, attributes and capabilities.
A minor must be in a different subject from your major.
A Bachelor of Arts (Social Policy) with a minor
You may choose a minor from the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business or Bachelor of Science. If the minor is from another degree the regulations of that programme will apply.
A social policy minor (for students who are studying a different degree)
If you are not studying towards a BA (Social Policy) and wish to complete a minor in social policy see the BA regulations for requirements.
Fees and scholarships
Fees and finance
Fees, student loans and free fees scheme
Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.
There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.
Already know which courses you're going to choose?
If you already know which courses you are going to take, you can use our fees calculator to get an estimate of your fees.
Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme
You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.
The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.
Current and returning Massey students will find their National Student Number on their student homepage.
A good fit if you:
- want to know who makes decisions on many of the important issues, such as climate change, poverty and student loans
- want to contribute to the cause of social justice and better outcomes for people
- are interested in debates about rights, freedom, equality and justice.
Meet our students
Whilst I studied a range of topics from politics, economics, the environment, and issues of development and under development, I also discovered a whole lot about myself and just how some policies have shaped my life.” Donna Morgan
Key information for students
Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.
Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.
Applying and enrolling
Applying for the programme
Check you are ready
If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.
Choose your programme and click on Apply now
You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.
Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.
Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place
You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.
Enrolling in courses
You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.
When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:
- prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
- corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
- restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
- location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.
Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.
More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.
You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.
We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!
If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.
What are courses and credits?
What are courses and credits?
Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).
You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.
Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.
There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.
- See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
- Courses search
Understanding course numbers
The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.
The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:
- sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
- undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
- as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study
|Subject area||Level||Course ID number|
Electives are courses that are not compulsory. Certain guidelines are usually provided on courses you may take. Elective courses contribute to the programme, but not to your major or specialisation.
Workload and time management
Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.
For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.
In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.
Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.
Scholarships and awards
Scholarships related to this programme
There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.