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

Postgraduate Certificate in 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.

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

Programme overview

Please note: The Social Practice pathway in this programme is not yet open for applications. However, you can apply for the generic postgraduate certificate in the meantime, which currently teaches social practice content and is transferable to the pathway; contact our Enrolment Manager Tasneem Rajkotwala for more information.

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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 coduct 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 in order 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.

If you’d like to continue studying, you can progress onto 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, wheareas the Masters gives you the opportunity to actually conduct this research as part of your studies.

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. 

Admission requirements

Academic requirements:

For this programme, you will need the following:

  • A Bachelor's degree or Level 7 Graduate Diploma in the same or similar discipline;
  • To demonstrate an ability to succeed in the programme by providing evidence of successful outcomes you've achieved in a work environment;
  • 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 admission.

Courses and timetables

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

Moving to Te Pūkenga

Vocational education in Aotearoa (New Zealand) is changing to better meet the needs of learners like you.

As part of this transformational change, in 2023 Unitec will become fully part of Te Pūkenga, a national network delivering skills training in a wide range of locations throughout Aotearoa.

This means that while you are enrolling with Unitec now, from Semester 1, 2023 you will become a Te Pūkenga learner.

Te Pūkenga has the success and wellbeing of learners at its heart, and a review of all programmes is currently underway to help support this, including this programme. The aim is to make qualifications more portable, consistent and closely aligned with the needs of industry, and more in tune with where the world is headed.

The information contained here is correct at the time of publishing, but as the programme review is ongoing, the courses outlined may be liable to change over time.

Rest assured that we will notify you of any material changes to delivery that might impact what you study, where you study or the ways you learn.