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Study Social Work at Unitec in Auckland, New Zealand. Apply now at

Postgraduate Certificate in Applied 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.

60 (1.0 EFTS)
Start dates
February or July
1 semester full-time, or 1 year part-time

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. 

This programme provides a professional development opportunity for you to update and extend existing skills and knowledge in your current workplace. You’ll identify existing issues related to your sector, and learn research methods that can be applied in real-world settings through reflective practice and academic study.

You’ll be able to remain professionally current by critically engaging with research practice through Te Tiriti o Waitangi and indigenous approaches. These foci will ensure that you can confidently pursue culturally responsive applied research.

Upon completion, you’ll be able to add value to your organisation by employing advanced applied research skills, and the qualification will also enable you to demonstrate this ability to employers and other industry stakeholders.

  • Advance your practice and contribute to your profession by learning how to conduct work-relevant research and projects;
  • Ideal for those with practice-based skills who want to develop their personal and professional development competencies or learn how to validate their practice skills and ideas through research;
  • Engage in contextualised self-reflection;
  • Analyse relevant social policies and social discourses to create opportunity and empower individuals, groups and communities;
  • Improve communication across disciplines and cultures within changing environments;
  • Taught by highly experienced lecturers with roles in community and national organisations;
  • Flexibility: choose full- or part-time study to fit in with your professional practice.

Once you’ve successfully completed this programme you’ll receive the qualification of a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice  and If you’d like to continue studying, you can progress to the Master of Applied Practice (Social Practice). Progressing students can transfer their credits, so the Masters will only be an additional 1 year (full-time) or 2 years (part-time).

The key difference between this programme and the Masters is that this programme teaches you how to conduct applied research in your industry, whereas the Masters gives you the opportunity to actually conduct this research as part of your studies.


Admission requirements

What you will need to study this programme. 

Domestic students

Academic requirements

You must have completed at least one of the following:

  • A Bachelor's degree or Level 7 Graduate Diploma in the same or similar discipline;
  • Provide documentary evidence of outcomes in the social work, community development, or counselling work environment to demonstrate an ability to perform in the programme and commit to achieving its outcomes;
And meet one of the English entry requirements;

Non-Academic requirements

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

Don’t meet these Academic requirements?

For more information, download the programme regulations (PDF 449 KB)

Courses and timetables

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

Courses Credits Aim
Applying Research to Practice (CISC8000) 15.0 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.
Community Informed Applied Research (CISC8001) 15.0 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
Courses Credits Aim
Applied Research Proposal (CISC8002) 15.0 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.