Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work – PGDipSW

Take your social work career to the next level with Massey’s Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work.

Type of qualification

Postgraduate diploma

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.

More about study levels

NZQF level 8

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

Find out more about NZQF levels

Time to complete

1 year full-time (120 credits)
Up to 4 years part-time
Part-time available

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 Diploma in Social Work – PGDipSW

Take your social work practice and your career to the next level. The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work meets an increasing professional demand for a post-qualifying pathway for professionally qualified and registered social workers.

Flexible professional development that fits your lifestyle

Massey is the only university in Aotearoa New Zealand that offers post-qualifying social work courses by distance. This means you can study wherever you like, to fit in with your other commitments.

Extend your social work knowledge and expertise

In this qualification, you’ll extend your knowledge of your chosen area of social work and apply this knowledge to your own contexts.

You’ll learn to read and appraise the latest social work research. You will master methodological and theoretical issues and research methods. You’ll also deepen your knowledge of cultural competence as it relates to research and practice principles with Māori and other diverse cultural groups.

Become a leader in your field

The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work will prepare you for leadership in specific areas of social work practice. This is through the dissemination of information in workplaces. It is also through clinical supervision and mentoring of students and beginning practitioners.

Further study

Study at postgraduate diploma level can lead to a Master of Social Work and then to a doctorate.

A PGDipSW is a good fit if you:

  • are a professionally qualified social worker
  • want to do further study, or
  • completed your Bachelor of Social Work through a non-university provider.

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

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

Specific requirements

To enter the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work you will:

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

You will provide copies of all official 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.

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 Distinction or Merit. 

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 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.

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 be 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 Diploma in Social Work

Thinking about progressing to the Master of Social Work?

The Master of Social Work requires you to have a B average from the four taught courses and at least a B grade in 179702 Advanced Research Methods.

Please see the Master of Social Work webpage for more information.

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

120 credits

  • Courses from the Schedule – 120 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.
Choose 120 credits from
Course code: 179702 Advanced Research Methods 30 credits

An examination of research methods, traditions and techniques used in social work, social policy and health research. The course is designed to assist in developing a research proposal for a thesis, or research project.

View full course details
Course code: 179730 Whakamana Tangata 30 credits

Whakamana Tangata supports students to extend their knowledge of Mana Whenua social work theories and practice. To clarify the position of this course, the following whakatauākī has been formulated: Whakatauākī: “Te mata o te tangata, Te mata o te taringa, Te mata o te arero, Rurukutia hei whakamana tangata Tīhei mauri ora”

View full course details
Course code: 179731 Tangata Moana Social Practice, Policy and Action 30 credits

An advanced study of social work and social policy drawing from Tangata Moana perspectives. Historical and contemporary issues, policies and initiatives impacting Tangata Moana are critically analysed. Relevant theories and ethnic specific Tangata Moana approaches are examined and applied to both micro and macro practice in the social and health services.

View full course details
Course code: 179732 Social Diversity and Professional Practice 30 credits

A critical review of social diversity in international and Aotearoa New Zealand contexts with a particular emphasis on the challenges of marginalisation, social exclusion, and othering. It analyses societal efforts through social policies and legal innovations to achieve social diversity and examines the implications for professional practice.

View full course details
Course code: 179740 Social Service Supervision: Theory and Practice 30 credits

A critical examination of the key components of social service supervision theory and practice leading to the development of a framework for supervisory practice.

View full course details
Course code: 179741 Human Service Organisations and Leadership 30 credits

An advanced study of leadership, management, and supervision as it applies to human service organisations. This includes critically examining the functions of management and supervision, leadership and management theory, and organisational development and change within human services.

View full course details
Course code: 179761 Advanced Study of Social Issues and Practice Theories 30 credits

An advanced study of the impact of contemporary social issues on social work practice and a critical evaluation of the practice theories applied.

View full course details
Course code: 179763 Transforming Practice 30 credits

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

View full course details
Course code: 179771 Whānau and Family-centred Practice 30 credits

An advanced study of Whānau and Family-centred social work practice.

View full course details
Course code: 179778 Mental Health, Addictions and Social Work 30 credits

An advanced study of the field of Mental Health and Addiction in social work. This course considers the social determinants, cultural context, assessment, intervention strategies, ethics and Te Tiriti o Waitangi responsibilities.

View full course details
Course code: 279703 Theorising Today’s Social Policy for the Future 30 credits

A critical examination of social policy and its current developments. Utilising conceptual tools and new theories of social policy including sustainability, decolonisation and crisis theory to analyse social policy.

View full course details

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.

Scholarship and award opportunities

Search our scholarships and awards

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

Enhance your career progression

You’ll already be employed as a social worker. The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work strengthens your professional development as an advanced practitioner and specialist in your field of practice.

“I needed to challenge myself further and continue my development as a social worker”
Lucy Terry

Youth and Family Harm Social Worker , New Zealand Police

Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work

Related study options