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Take your social policy study to the next level
Discover how and why power, resources and opportunities are distributed within society.
- Postgraduate, NZQF Level 9
- 1.5 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
If you are fascinated by how and why power, resources and opportunities are distributed within society, then Massey’s MA Social Policy 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.
Careers and further study
Your MA (Social Policy) will give you the knowledge and competencies you need in a 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 from a government-down, or from an individual-, community- and society-up perspective. That may include issues like healthy housing, youth development, Māori wellbeing, health promotion and gender analysis of policy,
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:
- 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
- non government organisations (NGOs) - trusts etc (housing, Māori 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 2017 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.
All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.
To enter the Master of Arts (Social Policy) you will have been awarded or qualified for:
a Bachelor of Arts degree (or equivalent) with a major in the intended postgraduate subject, with at least a B grade average across the 200/300 level major courses
a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) with a subject in the intended postgraduate subject or a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts with an endorsement in the intended postgraduate subject, or an equivalent qualification,with at least a B+ grade average across the 700-level courses for entry to the Research Pathway or a B grade average across the 700-level courses for entry to the Coursework Pathway.
If you have a BA (Hons) or PGDipArts in the intended Master of Arts subject as outlined above, you may apply for credit towards Part One of the qualification in accordance with the limits specified in the Recognition of Prior Learning regulations.
You will need to provide verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University.
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.
Courses and planning
- Part One subject courses (may include compulsory courses) – 120 credits
- Part Two research report – 60 credits
- Part One subject courses (may include compulsory courses) – 60 or 90 credits
- Part Two thesis course(s) – 90 or 120 credits
- Completion of Part One and Two
- Completion of a subject
- Coursework pathway (including a 60-credit research report), or
- Research pathway (including a 90 or 120-credit thesis)
Advanced entry: Those who have already completed specified qualifications in advance of the minimum entry requirements may be able to complete this degree in 120 credits.
This is a parts-based qualification. This means there are regulations around your completion of Part One before progressing to Part Two, etc.
Courses for this specialisation
Part One: Coursework Pathway (120 credits) or Research Pathway (90 credits)
|179702||Advanced Research Methods||30|
|279701||Social Policy and Political Economy||30|
|279703||Social Policy Studies||30|
|132741||Long-Term Community Planning||30|
|179783||Māori Development and the Social Services||30|
Part Two: Coursework Pathway
|279873||Research Report Social Policy (60)||60|
Part Two: Research Pathway
|279881||Thesis 90 Credit Part 1||45|
|279882||Thesis 90 Credit Part 2||45|
Planning your programme
If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.
Not all courses are available in each semester.
The Master of Arts (Social Policy) is a parts-based qualification. That means you must complete the first part, before moving to the second.
Grades achieved in the first 60 credits will determine eligibility for progression to Part Two.
- For the coursework pathway a minimum B grade average is required.
- For the research pathway a minimum B+ grade average is required.
If you enrol in a thesis, you commence with Thesis (90 or 120 credits) Part 1, followed by Thesis (90 or 120 credits) Part 2 in the next enrolment period. Both parts combine to meet the thesis requirements with a single grade assigned to each part.
If the thesis cannot be submitted at the end of the initial Thesis (90 or 120 credits) Part 2 enrolment, you must re-enrol in Thesis (90 or 120 credits) Part 2 and pay fees each semester until submission is made.
Maximum time limits for completion
There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications. If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the programme if you wish to continue your studies.
Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit
Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with a class of Honours, Distinction or Merit.
- Look for information under ‘Student Progression’ in the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.
- Contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.
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
I chose Massey due to their extramural programme which allowed me to continue to work full time and progress my career while studying. The support from the staff was incredible, especially my supervisors who encouraged me to apply my experiences to my research and give it my all.” Megan Coffey
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|
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.