New information following the change in COVID-19 alert levels.

Master of Arts (Social Policy)

Key facts

  • Available via Distance Learning
  • Not available for international students

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
Megan Coffey
Master of Arts (Social Policy)

“My Master of Arts (Social Policy) was a huge accomplishment for me both personally and professionally, giving me skills that I use every day…”

After completing my bachelor’s degree, I began working in Government in numerous advisory roles across social and economic agencies. On a day-to-day basis I was experiencing the impacts of social policy, and the complex factors that influence Government decision making. It was these real life experiences which fuelled my desire to undertake further studies.

I decided to complete my Master's in social policy and undertake in-depth analysis to broaden my perspective and identify the drivers that inform how social policy is enacted in New Zealand.

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.


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, Māori 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, 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 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.

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