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Master of Applied Practice (Social Practice)

The Master of Applied Practice (Social Practice) 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

Develop your ability to work in cross-sector and 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.

This major is designed for qualified and registered professionals from various disciplines, including social work, counselling, community development, nursing, and teaching, who are currently working in the sector. 


  • 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.
  • Informed by the Kaupapa Māori philosophy, which places community engagement and understanding at the heart of research.
  • 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.

About our Applied Practice qualifications

At Unitec, we value your experience and are interested in helping you develop your practice and profession. If you are a practitioner who is interested in undertaking a work-based project and/or research, we're likely to have an Applied Practice postgraduate programme to suit you.

Please note: These programmes are designed for practitioners in work as we do not provide work placements. If you choose to study full-time, your study will likely relate to your current practice. You will have an opportunity to discuss this during your application interview.

Contact us

If you feel an Applied Practice programme could suit you and/or if you have further questions about this programme, please contact our Academic Leader for this programme:

Geoff Bridgman
(09) 815 4321 ext. 7464

Admission 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)
4. If English is not your first language, you will 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

Don’t meet the requirements? We also accept:

  • Provide sufficient evidence to be eligible for special admission.

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

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
Aotearoa-New Zealand Social Policy (CISC8005) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) Situates Aotearoa- New Zealand social policy in historical and current contexts and applies contemporary solutions to professional practice.
Contemporary Issues in Community Engagement (CISC8006) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) The develop the student to be able to critically compare and analyse contemporary theories and their practical applications in community engagement practice.
Human Rights and Social Justice (CISC8007) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) Enable the student to critically examine, analyse and discuss, social, cultural and legal concepts of social justice and human rights in Aotearoa-New Zealand and in a global context. To develop a students ability to critique a human-rights-based approach to professional practice in relation to social justice in New Zealand.
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.
Advanced Social Practice Theory (CISC8013) 15.0 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.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi & Social Practice in Aotearoa/ New Zealand (CISC8014) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course seeks to shed light on the relationship between Te Tiriti and social practice. Participants will engage with Kaupapa Maori and Tauiwi discourses to raise a critical discussion about partnership responsibilities.
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 - Enrolment (CISC9060ENR) 15.0 credits (0.125 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- Enrolment (CISC9090ENR) 15.0 credits (0.125 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) - Enrolment (CISC9120ENR) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) To develop a student’s ability to undertake a thesis or relevant output probably work-based, and will provide an opportunity for collaboration.





The 'Key Information for Students' below does not reflect any international student information.

Please take this information as a guideline only. For example, you will often see a difference between these tuition fees and our estimate above. This is because there are a number of variables, such as the specific courses chosen within a programme.

The national graduate outcomes information is for all tertiary New Zealand providers including Unitec. This information is provided by the New Zealand Government and is derived from a national database that links educational and income information.

The statistical results below are a summary for:

Key Information for Students

Entry requirements

Minimum requirementsInfo Icon: A relevant degree or Level 7 graduate diploma with proof of work plus English language requirements. Special admission is also accepted.

Detailed requirements: See the above "Admission requirements" section for more information about entry to this progrogramme.


2 YearsInfo Icon

Tuition Fees


Total Qualification

Student fees:  $5,494Info Icon $10,987Info Icon
Government tuition subsidy:  $7,614Info Icon $15,229Info Icon
Total: $13,108Info Icon $26,216Info Icon

Compulsory Student Services Fee
Student loan information available at StudyLink.

National graduate outcomes

(3 years after completion)
Median earnings N/AInfo Icon
Earnings range N/A - N/AInfo Icon
In employment N/AInfo Icon
In further study N/AInfo Icon
On a benefit N/AInfo Icon

Note:All KIS information is the most recent available relating to domestic students only. Click here for more information about the Key Information for Students.