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Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Practice (Social Practice)

Are you a social worker, counsellor, or community development practitioner who wants to transform your practice in ways that enhance social justice and reduce inequalities? This programme will develop your skills in social practice settings and improve your ability to work confidently with individuals, whānau, and communities.

120 (1.0 EFTS)
Start dates
February or July
Domestic students: Full-time for one year or part-time options available. Not open to international students.

Programme overview

Extend your knowledge and develop your skills in a specialist area of social practice. Advance your ability to work in complex environments and further your decision-making and research skills. Examine topics like social policy, human rights, and social justice, 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.
  • Taught by highly experienced lecturers with roles in community and national organisations.
  • Informed by the Kaupapa Māori philosophy, which places community engagement and understanding at the heart of teaching.
  • Flexibility: choose full- or part-time study to fit in with your professional practice.
  • Further your studies by progressing to the Master of Applied Practice (Social 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:

Geoff Bridgman
(09) 815 4321 ext. 7464

Admission requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

1. Achieved one of the below:

  • A recognised Bachelor’s degree in the same or similar discipline, with an average grade of B- or higher in all Level 7 courses
  • A professional qualification in a relevant discipline, recognised as being equivalent to the above
  • Demonstrate an ability to succeed in the programme by providing evidence of successful outcomes you’ve achieved in a work environment relevant to Social Practice

2. 8 credits at NCEA Level 2 in English (4 in reading, 4 in writing).
3. 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
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.
Negotiated Study (CISC8015) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) Enables a student to negotiate an applied project within the workplace.
Negotiated Study (Extended) (CISC8030) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS) Enables a student to negotiate an applied project within the workplace.





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.

Key Information for Students

Entry requirements

Minimum requirementsInfo Icon: A relevant degree with average grade requirements or a relevant professional qualification and proof of work relevant to the programme of study plus English language requirements. Special admission also accepted.

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


1 YearInfo Icon

Tuition Fees


Total Qualification

Student fees:  $7,220Info Icon $7,220Info Icon
Government tuition subsidy:  $9,935Info Icon $9,935Info Icon
Total: $17,155Info Icon $17,155Info 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.