Postgraduate Certificate in Social Work – PGCertSW

The Postgraduate Certificate in Social Work provides newly qualified social workers with specialist knowledge and skills in professional areas of social work practice.

Type of qualification

Postgraduate certificate

Level of study

Postgraduate study

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equal experience – you can study at the postgraduate level. Doctoral qualifications require additional entry requirements.

NZQF level 8

Our courses follow the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) levels.

Find out more about NZQF levels

Time to complete

1 year(s) full-time (60 credits)

Where you can study

Distance and online

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Not open to international students

Study a Postgraduate Certificate in Social Work – PGCertSW

Most students undertaking postgraduate study in social work are in full-time practice and study part-time.

Massey is the only university in New Zealand that offers post-qualifying social work courses by distance, so you can study wherever you like, to fit in with your other commitments. This certificate is taught online and some courses have contact workshops.

You will:

  • extend your knowledge in your chosen area of social work practice
  • develop skills that allow the pursuit of scholarly interest in your chosen fields of social work practice
  • master theoretical issues and research methods
  • critically read and analyse bodies of knowledge
  • apply knowledge to your own contexts
  • develop cultural competence in working with Māori and other diverse cultural groups.

You’ll learn from highly experienced academics and professional social workers.

There is always plenty of help at hand. Along with contact with your lecturers, learning consultants in the Centre for Teaching and Learning are available to support your study and academic writing skills. Each library has a subject librarian who supports you on campus or at a distance.

A PGCertSW is a good fit if you:

  • are a newly qualified or provisionally registered social worker
  • successfully completed a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • are new to social work practice in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

To enter the Postgraduate Certificate in Social Work programme you will:

  • have been awarded a Bachelor of Social Work or Bachelor of Social Work with Honours or equivalent.

You will provide verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University.

English language requirements

To study this qualification 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:

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete some undergraduate and all postgraduate qualifications. If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the qualification if you wish to continue your studies.

More information

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, and Postgraduate Certificates.

Returning students

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 qualification 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 qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Structure of the Postgraduate Certificate in Social Work

This qualification is not available for full-time study. It will take a minimum of 1 year to complete it.

Courses and specialisations

Key terms

Each qualification has its own specific set of courses. Some universities call these papers. You enrol in courses after you get accepted into Massey.
Course code
Each course is numbered using 6 digits. The fourth number shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).
Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.
Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Credit summary

60 credits

  • Courses from the Schedule – 60 credits

Course planning key

Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.
Course code: 179702 Advanced Research Methods 30 credits

An examination of research methods, traditions and techniques used in social and health research. The course is designed to assist the planning of Master and Doctoral theses.

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Course code: 179736 Substance Misuse and Addictions 30 credits

An advanced study of current treatment and intervention models in the substance misuse and addictions area.

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Course code: 179740 Social Service Supervision: Theory and Practice 30 credits

An examination of the functions and practice and selected theories and models of professional social service supervision.

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Course code: 179741 Social Service Management 30 credits

An examination of current management theory and its application to the management, administrative systems and professional practice in social service agencies.

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Course code: 179742 Learning in Social Service Supervision 30 credits

An advanced study of learning in social service supervision including identity development in both the supervisor and the person supervised.

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Course code: 179743 Clinical Supervision 30 credits

An advanced study of selected theoretical models and clinical supervision skills in professional practice.

Prerequisites: 179740

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Course code: 179761 Current Issues and Theories in Social Service Practice 30 credits

An examination of contemporary practice in the context of current trends in social service delivery. Selected fields of practice are analysed with a view to understanding the theoretical underpinnings of practice. Issues relevant to service delivery are identified, and alternative approaches to practice are explored.

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Course code: 179763 Clinical Practice 30 credits

An advanced study of theoretical models, research evidence and clinical skills in professional social work practice.

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Course code: 179771 Child Welfare 30 credits

An examination of current social work practice in the area of child welfare. While there is a particular emphasis placed upon child welfare services, programmes and practices in Aotearoa/New Zealand, students are also encouraged to examine international literature and practice.

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Course code: 179773 Disability Studies 30 credits

An examination of the experience of disability, the delivery of disability support services, and the disability industry in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Major theoretical and current policy debates in the area of disability both here and overseas are examined.

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Course code: 179777 Disability, Consumer Rights and Advocacy 30 credits

A critical examination of the disability rights movement from historical, social and political perspectives. Particular attention will be paid to models of service provision and to consumers as self advocates, parents as mediators and advocates for their children.

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Course code: 179778 Mental Health and Social Work 30 credits

An advanced study of the field of mental health from a social work perspective. It considers conceptual and contextual issues, intervention strategies and current debates.

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Course code: 179783 Māori Development and the Social Services 30 credits

Themes in contemporary Māori development (kaupapa Māori) with particular reference to the aspirations of Māori people. Emphasis will be placed on the implications of such themes for the social services as well as for the development of appropriate social policies.

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Course code: 279703 Social Policy Studies 30 credits

A critical review of social policy in New Zealand with particular emphasis on policy processes, institutional frameworks, social policy delivery systems, outcomes.

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Fees and scholarships

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?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

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 can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

You’ll already be employed as a social worker. The Postgraduate Certificate in Social Work will aid your professional development as a specialist in professional areas of social work practice.

What our students say

“It is ... essential that more Māori and Pacific social workers consider postgraduate study as an option for career development to enhance knowledge, broaden their career path and increase job opportunities.”
Hannah Mooney

Ngāti Raukawa ki te tonga, Te Āti awa, Te Atihaunui a Pāpārangi, Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Pākehā

Lecturer, School of Social Work, Massey University

Postgraduate Certificate in Social Work

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