Small group of adults and children standing in a forest clearing
Areas of interest

Study social work , Ākona te mahi tauwhiro hapori

Study social work at Massey to help people overcome challenges and enhance the wellbeing of individuals and whānau. Contribute to social change, social justice, and equality.

Need help or know what you want to study?

A long history

It's in our blood. Massey has been growing skilled social workers through our qualifications for nearly 50 years since 1976.

Join the crowd

Social workers are in demand, and our graduates make up the largest number of qualified social workers in New Zealand.

Spoilt for choice

Explore your area of interest. Massey has a wide range of health qualifications, with many courses to choose from.

Striving to be Tiriti-led

We work to uphold the principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi – and to empower all New Zealanders, especially Māori.


Change the world for good. From addiction support to child protection, aged care to mental health services, social work offers a rewarding, life-long career.

Learn from world-class lecturers and researchers with expertise in areas such as social work practice, decolonisation, Pacific models of practice, or rural social work. Delve into the latest theories and practice. Explore how best to engage with people you'll work with.

Gain practical experience during placements (similar to internships) at district health boards, local high schools, Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children, or non-profit organisations. Graduate work-ready and eligible to register as a social worker.

Social work is a good fit if you:

  • enjoy school subjects such as social studies, psychology or social sciences
  • want to contribute to human rights and social justice
  • want to help people overcome challenges and enhance wellbeing.

Social work courses may cover:

  • addiction and mental health
  • ethics and codes of conduct
  • human development
  • Māori health, drawing together four dimensions of wellbeing – taha tinana (physical health), taha wairua (spiritual health), taha whānau (family health) and taha hinengaro (mental health)
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi) in New Zealand society.

Māori health models

How to study social work

Discover what we offer if you’re interested in social work – whether you’re coming to university for the first time, changing direction or returning to advance your study or career.

Undergraduate study

An undergraduate qualification is generally the first thing you’ll study at university.

Bachelor's degrees

Degrees are the standard qualifications you do at university – the most common is called a bachelor’s. Degrees give you enough time to explore your interests, and also focus on specific subjects.

Relevant undergraduate subjects to major or specialise in

When you apply to study at Massey, for some undergraduate qualifications you can choose what subject you’d like to specialise in. You can usually change your mind after you get to university, depending on the courses you enrol in.

Postgraduate study

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equivalent experience – you’ll be ready to take on postgraduate study.

Master's degrees

A master's degree normally builds on a main subject of study from your undergraduate degree.

Postgraduate diplomas

Postgraduate diplomas are postgraduate-level qualifications that are longer than a postgraduate certificate. If you’re successful, you might be able to use the credits towards the longer master’s degree.

PhD and other doctoral degrees

Doctoral degrees, including PhDs, are the highest degrees we award. They’re very demanding and their entry criteria reflect this.

Relevant research areas at Massey

Discover research expertise, projects and initiatives relating to social work at Massey.

Social work research

Social work events

Student group having conversation in a public lounge
Oct 11
Date: Wednesday 11 October 2023
Time: 7pm – 7:45pm
Location: Online event

Use your undergraduate degree and become a registered social worker.

What our students say

“Completing a Master of Social Work has taught me how to do research. It has enabled me to explore what I am passionate about: Whānau Ora, whānau-centred practice, kaupapa Māori practice and going beyond crisis intervention by focussing on the moemoeā (dreams and aspirations) of whānau. ”
James Martin Cherrington

Ko Ngapuhi te Iwi, Ko Ngati Hine te hapu. Māori, Niuean, Samoan, Irish and English.

He Puna Hauora, Kaiwhakaaraara (person doing awakening) / Whanau Ora Navigator

Master of Social Work, First Class Honours.

“Massey provided an environment that enabled me to realise my potential and thrive academically. My studies prepared me very well to become a social worker who is highly adaptable, with critical thinking skills that have provided me with opportunities to offer more in any work setting.”
Tsitsi Mary Kavumbura

Master of Applied Social Work

Social Work Regional Resource Centre of Oceania

The centre is for social work educators, social service practitioners, researchers, policy makers, government bodies, NGOs and Pacific regional organisations who wish find out about or connect with Pacific social work. The centre is run by a collaboration of five schools of social work across the Pacific, including Massey's School of Social Work.

International Association of Schools of Social Work

Jobs in social work

Social work careers can range from aged care to child protection, addiction support to mental health services. Then there are diversity-specific services such as Chinese, rainbow, Samoan, or spirituality-based services. Some of our graduates become researchers, or work in local or national government.

Job prospects are good in New Zealand and overseas, with demand for qualified and empathetic social workers.

Social work careers include:

  • case managers, who organise care plans
  • community workers
  • policy analysts or advisers, who work for government or businesses
  • service designers
  • social workers.

Annual salary ranges for jobs

Becoming a social worker

Our Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Applied Social Work are recognised by New Zealand's Social Work Registration Board, so graduates are eligible to register as social workers.

Social Workers Registration Board on education

As part of our bachelor's degree, social work students do 120 days of work-integrated learning in areas such as:

  • mental health social work
  • women's health social work
  • youth social work.

Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand: Guide for students

Salary ranges disclaimer

Indicative pay rates are:

Which social work qualification?

Examples of where our qualifications may take you.

Table showing jobs and what you could study to enter them.
Jobs Examples of what you could study
Addiction support adviser Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health and Addiction)
Social worker Bachelor of Social Work
Master of Applied Social Work if you have a degree in a related subject, or a degree and substantial practical experience

Accreditations and rankings

New Zealand Social Workers Registration Board

Our professional qualifications are accredited by the Social Workers Registration Board. Students who complete the Bachelor of Social Work or Master of Applied Social Work can immediately apply for provisional registration as a registered social worker.

Learn more

Get an information guide

Download our guide to find out more about studying social work at Massey.

Search courses or qualifications