Programme overview

Please note: This programme has been replaced by the new Bachelor of Social Practice.

Note: All level 5 courses for this programme are not being taught in 2015.

Develop the skills for a career in community development. The Bachelor of Social Practice (Community Development) helps you gain a critical awareness of social and cultural contexts, social justice, class, gender and other issues. Explore community and organisational change, community empowerment, social policy and legislation, sociological analysis, and narrative ideas in counselling and social practice. Further your knowledge of Pakeha, Maori and Pacific Island cultural practices, psychology, mental health and risk assessment.


  • The only programme of its kind in Australasia.
  • Industry recognition: the Bachelor of Social Practice (Community Development) is recognised by the Social Workers Registration Board for registration.
  • Relevant to a wide range of social, counselling, disability, mental health and education services.
  • Emphasis on the practical application of theory.
  • A critical focus on social justice.
  • Work placement in a community organisation.
  • Two years to decide if you want to specialise in community development or social work.

Admission requirements

To be eligible for admission, applicants must meet the general, or the discretionary, or the special admission requirements and they must also meet any programme-specific admission requirements. Applicants must also meet the English language requirements and may be interviewed.

Generic Admission Requirements

General Admission

Applicants must have:

  1. A minimum of 42 credits at NCEA Level 3 or higher on the National Qualifications Framework, with 14 credits at Level 3 or higher in each of two subjects from an approved subject list, with a further 14 credits at Level 3 or higher taken from no more than two additional domains on the National Qualifications Framework or approved subjects plus a minimum of 14 credits at Level 1 or higher in Mathematics or Pangarau on the National Qualifications Framework, plus a minimum of 8 credits at Level 2 or higher in English or Te Reo Maori; a minimum of 4 credits must be in Reading and a minimum of 4 credits must be in Writing; OR
  2. At least 3 ‘C’ passes in the New Zealand University Bursaries Examinations; OR
  3. Successful completion of the Unitec Certificate in Foundation Studies: Whitinga Level 3 with a relevant pathway, where appropriate;OR
  4. Certificate of University Preparation (Level 4); OR
  5. Certificate in Foundation Studies (Level 4); OR
  6. Equivalent

Special Admission

Applicants must have: 

  1. attained the age of 20 years on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the degree is to commence; AND 
  2. provided sufficient evidence of aptitude or appropriate work or other life experience that would indicate a potential successful outcome in the qualification. 

Discretionary Admission

In exceptional cases an applicant who does not meet the general admission requirements and who has not reached the age of 20 on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the degree is to commence may apply for discretionary admission.

In assessing whether to grant discretionary admission in exceptional cases, the primary focus will be on the applicant’s level of preparedness for study at the required level.

English Language Admission Requirements

General English Language Requirements

Applicants must have achieved a minimum standard of English as demonstrated by a minimum of 8 credits at NCEA Level 2 in English (4 in Reading, 4 in Writing).

English language requirements for international students

Applicants must have at least ONE of the following:

a) Gained NCEA level 3 and met New Zealand university entrance requirements;

b) Clear evidence that they satisfy one of the following criteria for existing English proficiency:

  1. Previous primary and secondary study in English as evidenced by completion of one of the following at schools using English as the language of instruction:
    • Completion of all primary education and at least three years of secondary education (that is, the equivalent of New Zealand Forms 3 to 7 or years 9 to 13), or
    • Completion of at least five years of secondary education (that is, the equivalent of New Zealand Forms 3 to 7 or years 9 to 13)
  2. Previous tertiary study in English: clear evidence of completion of a tertiary qualification of at least three years’ duration with English as the language of instruction in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States.
  3. Achievement of the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA)

c) Achieved, within the preceding two years, at least one of the English proficiency outcomes listed below:

  1. NZ Certificate in English Language (NZCEL) (Academic) (Level 4)
  2. An overall IELTS band score (Academic Format) of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5. The IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form.
  3. An overall TOEFL Paper-based test (pBT) score of 550 (essay 5 TWE) OR an overall TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) Score of 60 (writing 20)
  4. First Certificate in English (FCE) with a pass at Grade B OR Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) with a score of 52 or higher under the Cambridge International standard tests of English as a foreign language
  5. Pearson Test of English PToE (Academic) with a score of 50
  6. City & Guilds Internal English for Speakers of Other Languages (IESOL) B2 Communicator with a score of 66.

Programme Specific Admission Requirements

To be admitted to this programme, applicants must also meet the requirements set out in this schedule.

To be admitted to this programme, all applicants must meet the following requirements in addition to the requirements set out in the Bachelor Generic Regulations:

  • Complete a self-declaration of criminal conviction(s) and any medical condition(s) that may prevent full participation in the programme and/or prevent registration with a regulatory authority (as applicable); and
  • Sign a consent form allowing a Request and Consent Vetting form. Any applicants with undeclared convictions identified will be referred to the Admissions Committee.
  • Be at least 20 years of age by the first day of the semester in which study is to commence; and
  • An applicant meeting English Language Requirements with IELTS or TOEFL certification must have an overall IELTS (Academic) band score of at least 6.5 with no band score lower than 6.5 or a TOEFL score of no less than 575 or equivalent; and
  • provide names of two independent persons who will provide confidential references for the applicant; and
  • provide a curriculum vitae and a personal statement by the applicant indicating their motives for applying for admission to the degree; and
  • provide evidence of computer literacy through the achievement of a level 3 computer course or equivalent.

Courses and timetables

The following courses are valid for 2015. The courses may be offered as part of the programme. Click on the course links below to see the course details and timetables.

Disabilities and Mental Health (CSTU6230) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)The course will provide students with an overview of the theoretical approaches around treatment, causation, rehabilitation and therapy, assessment processes, and values and societal issues with regard to disability, mental illness and substance abuse. Skills in establishing equitable relationships with people with a disability and in assessment of substance abuse and mental health issues will be developed.
Social Practice in Action (CSTU6912) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course will enable students to develop bi-cultural collaborative practice skills for diverse social practice environments and further integrate collaborative values, knowledges, skills and attitudes including risk assessment and safe practice.
Fieldwork Placement (CSTU6914) 45 credits (0.375 EFTS)To provide students with an opportunity to integrate their theoretical and skills learning within the constraints of an agency and to practice the day-to-day skills of social practice.
Social Policy, Treaty Relations and Law (CSTU6930) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course will enable students to explore the historical development, function, and formation of social policy in Aotearoa New Zealand and to examine legal frameworks and legal issues relevant to social practice with particular reference to Treaty of Waitangi relationships.
Child Protection Studies (CSTU6970) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)The aim of this Course is to equip students with a contextual understanding of the contemporary challenges and opportunities related to Child Protection in Aotearoa / New Zealand, with specific reference to policy parameters, organizational issues, theoretical influences, and the processes, skills, and knowledge required for safe and creative practice.
Community Development and Social Change (CSTU6990) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course provides students with a theoretical understanding of community development and social change. It explores theories of community development and models of social change and applies these in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand. The course builds on these theoretical perspectives to offer students a range of practical skills useful in community work.
Management and Organisational Change (CSTU7911) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course will provide an opportunity for students to become familiar with and understand the historical development of a variety of contemporary management theories, and practices that includes understanding of both organisational culture and change. Students will acquire leadership and management skills that are relevant to human service delivery within the various sectors of social practice.
Research Methods (CSTU7920) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course will allow students to pursue an area of interest and to develop, but not implement, a research project of relevance to social practice.
Just Practice (CSTU7951) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To provide students with an opportunity to develop critical awareness and skills in Social Practice that will enhance social justice and social change. It involves interaction with advanced practitioners from the field of Social Practice. Students have the opportunity to reflect on the experience of these practitioners and through collaboration develop strategies to develop their own models of Just Practice.
Community Development Practicum (CSTU7962) 45 credits (0.375 EFTS)This practicum provides an opportunity for students to engage in community work in a nominated community and develop a tested model of community development under the guidance of a community agency
Advanced Community Development Theory (CSTU7970) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course provides students with an advanced study of the theoretical basis of community development. Emphasis is placed on the critical exploration of the theoretical frameworks which form the basis for community development practice. The course focuses on theoretical explanations, an examination of models of facilitation, and an evaluation of the relationship between current issues in theory, research and practice.
Creative Social Practice (CSTU6910) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course explores creative ways of working in a range of social practice settings. It addresses possible ways of unleashing a creative potential in practitioners and explores ways of helping clients to access their own creativity.
Negotiated Study (CSTU6950) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To provide the opportunity for students who have been advised by the programme director that a suitable course does not already exist in the current available programme to study in an area relevant to the Bachelor of Social Practice.
Family Violence Studies (CSTU6960) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)The aim of this course will be to introduce students to a range of analyses of and advocacy skills for working with domestic and family violence, with an emphasis on the interaction between culture, gender and domestic violence and the Power and Control paradigm.
Introduction to Counselling Practice (CSTU7352) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)This course will enable students to develop an experiential and theoretical understanding of the philosophy and skills of collaborative practices. Students will develop practical skills and responses to a range of client issues. Bi-cultural and ethical issues are an essential component of this course. Studendents will experience a marae noho on the Unitec marae. The course will enable students to set up and negotiate an approprate placement to meet the requirements of the Counselling practicum course.
Research Practicum (CSTU7921) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To implement a research project of relevance to the social practice major selected.
Counselling in Action (CSTU7945) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop competence and confidence in collaborative counselling skills
Advanced Principles and Theories in Social Work (CSTU7960) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)The course provides an advanced critical study of the principles and the theoretical basis for social practice. Emphasis is placed on the knowledge base relevant to the practice of social work, namely conceptual explorations, research practice principles, models of intervention and current issues in theory and practice.