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Master of Applied Practice (Social Practice)

Our Applied Practice suite is designed to help social workers, counsellors, and community development practitioners advance their skills in a variety of social practice situations. Further your ability to work with individuals, whānau, and communities, and transform your practice in ways that enhance social justice and reduce inequalities for communities.

180 (1.5 EFTS)
Start dates
February or July
Domestic students: Full-time for 18 months or part-time for two to six years. Not open to international students.

Programme overview

Please note: This programme does not lead directly to professional registration. It's designed primarily for qualified and registered professionals who are currently working in the sector in various disciplines, including social work, counselling, community development, and other allied fields.

Develop your ability to work cross-sector in complex environments within the cultural contexts of Aotearoa, and advance your decision-making, problem-solving, and research skills. Extend your knowledge in a specialist area of social practice and enhance your career prospects while adding value to your organisation, community, and beyond.


  • Advance your practice and contribute to your profession by completing work-relevant research and projects as part of your studies.
  • Courses include Contemporary Issues in Community Engagement, New Zealand Social Policy, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Social Practice in Aotearoa.
  • Ideal for those with practice-based skills who want to develop their management or workforce development competencies, or validate their practice skills and ideas through research.
  • Taught by highly experienced lecturers with roles in community and national organisations.
  • Graduates will likely find higher-level social practice roles or progress to further study.
  • Places community engagement and understanding at the heart of research, through Te Tiriti o Waitangi and indigenous approaches.
  • Flexibility: choose full- or part-time study to fit in with your professional practice.
  • Fast-track options into thesis work for students with undergraduate degrees that have a strong social practice component at an advanced level. 
  • Various scholarship options available.

Postgraduate option

You also have the option of starting with our Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (1 semester full-time, 1 year part-time). Once completed, you can then move into the Masters programme. 

Admission requirements

Academic requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

  1. A Bachelor's degree or Level 7 Graduate Diploma in the same or similar discipline;
  2. Demonstrate an ability to succeed in the programme by providing evidence of successful outcomes you've achieved in a work environment;
  3. A minimum of 8 credits at NCEA Level 2 in English (4 in reading, 4 in writing).

Please note: A phone or face-to-face interview may be required as part of the application process.

English requirements

If English is not your first language you will also need one or more of the following:

  • Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and New Zealand University entrance;
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency;
  • Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years.

If you don’t meet the English criteria above, we have a range of English Language programmes available, depending on your current level of ability.

If you don’t meet these requirements, you may still apply under special or discretionary entrance.

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses, please click on the course names below. Please note that our systems are updating with new course timetable information for 2022; please check back again soon.

Courses Credits Aim
Applied Practice in Context (CISC8000) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to critically examine and contextualise practice and develop a critical understanding of how indigenous knowledge and cultural responsiveness, society, ethics, environment and law inform practice.
Research and Community-Informed Practice (CISC8001) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To develop the student to be able to critically examine and evaluate a body of literature in relation to a practice/work-based issue to arrive at a relevant and informed research question(s) and to contextualise and understand the relevance of this question to practice and the wider community
Research Question (CISC8002) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) Enable a student to engage industry and community relevant to discipline and then begin to create feasible and well-defined research questions as well as determine the most appropriate research method or range of methods to address these research questions.
Courses Credits Aim
Review of Literature (CISC8012) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) To critically analyse literature on a selected topic or specialist area through the comparative critical reading of texts. Students will engage with existing theory and practice in a given field to enable them to position their study within a body of knowledge.
Courses Credits Aim
Research Project (CISC9045) 45 credits (0.375 EFTS) To enable students to undertake a consultation project that identifies knowledge gaps and significant challenges faced by communities, professional bodies and/or industry; and to identify future priorities through robust and authentic engagement with appropriate communities, professional bodies and/or industries.
Research Dissertation (CISC9060) 60.0 credits (0.5 EFTS) To develop a student’s ability to undertake a dissertation or relevant output probably work-based, and will provide an opportunity for collaboration.
Research Thesis (CISC9090) 90.0 credits (0.75 EFTS) To develop a student’s ability to undertake a thesis or relevant output probably work-based, and will provide an opportunity for collaboration.
Research Thesis (Extended) (CISC9120) 120.0 credits (1 EFTS) To develop a student’s ability to undertake a thesis or relevant output probably work-based, and will provide an opportunity for collaboration.