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Master of Social and Community Work (Applied) (MSCW(Applied))

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The Master of Social and Community Work (Applied) (MSCW(Applied)) programme is designed for students who already hold a bachelor's degree to attain a qualification that will allow them to become professional social workers. It is also suitable for mid-career social workers who are looking for a recognised professional qualification in social work.

The MSCW(Applied) covers key elements of social work practice: models of practice, family and children, community organisations and policy settings, kaupapa Māori and Indigenous approaches to practice, and research and evaluation skills. Students will also complete two fieldwork placements with social service agencies where they will have the opportunity to learn within a professional setting supervised by a registered social worker.

This programme is available both on-campus and via distance education. Applications close each year on 1 November.

Master of Social and Community Work (Applied) information video


Social and Community Work Programme


Regulations for the degree of Master of Social and Community Work (Applied) (MSCW(Applied))

  1. Admission to the Programme

    1. Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) on the advice of the Social Work Admissions Committee.
    2. Every applicant shall        
      1. be a graduate, having completed an undergraduate degree programme of at least 360 points in an area considered to be suitable as background for postgraduate study in Social Work;
      2. have achieved an average grade of at least B in the 300-level major-subject papers for the applicant's undergraduate degree programme;
      3. provide evidence, to the satisfaction of the Social Work Admissions Committee, that the applicant is a fit and proper person to be a social work student. This shall normally be evaluated through character references and assessment of evidence of practice experience in community or voluntary organisations and/or a period of professional social work/social services employment. Additionally, applicants must consent to checks in light of the Children's Act 2014, which shall include verification from the New Zealand Police and Department of Courts (and/or equivalent for international applicants) that the applicant has no undeclared criminal charges or convictions; and
      4. provide evidence of prior skills or formal training in: Māori language and culture, the Treaty of Waitangi, social issues in New Zealand society, social research methods, and human development. International applicants shall be assessed as to whether they require further study on issues in New Zealand society. For some applicants, experience and skills in these areas may have been gained through employment or other relevant experience.
    3. Note: For applicants who do not meet some of these criteria, the Social Work Admissions Committee can request completion of coursework (e.g. for Certificate of Proficiency at the University of Otago) prior to admission to the programme.
    4. In exceptional circumstances, an applicant who is not a graduate may be considered on the basis of alternative qualifications or appropriate training and experience in management, administration, or leadership in social service organisations. Applicants must provide proof of experience and performance equivalent to that acquired in completing an undergraduate degree. The applicant must also provide evidence of ability to undertake advanced-level academic study. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) may require such an applicant to pass one or more prescribed papers either before admission or concurrently with the programme.
  2. Structure of the Programme

    Every programme shall consist of papers worth a total of 240 points, as prescribed in the MSCW (Applied) Schedule.

  3. Duration of the Programme

    A candidate shall normally complete the requirements of the degree within two years of full-time study or five years of part-time study.

  4. Withdrawal from the Programme

    1. A student who withdraws from the programme and wishes to be readmitted at a later date shall be required to reapply for entry under the normal application process.
    2. A student who has been admitted to the programme, but does not complete any papers for three consecutive years shall be deemed to have withdrawn.
  5. Review and Exclusion from the Programme

    1. A student's place in the programme may be reviewed at any time if the student has        
      1. failed a fieldwork placement or the prerequisite SOWK 570;
      2. failed any of the other compulsory papers of the programme at a second attempt;
      3. not been placed in a fieldwork placement due to concerns relating to competency or suitability raised by at least three different fieldwork organisations;
      4. committed a criminal offence (whether or not a conviction has been entered);
      5. engaged in unethical conduct;
      6. significant and ongoing physical or mental health difficulties that may prevent them from being able to demonstrate competence in practice settings;
      7. failed to declare a matter covered by (iv) – (vi).
    2. The processes for a review shall be those contained in the Division of Humanities' 'Procedure for Reviewing a Student's Place in the Social Work Programme'. After the review process, a student may:        
      1. have mandated tasks to complete;
      2. be excluded from the programme for a period of time;
      3. be permanently excluded from the programme by the Divisional Board of the Division of Humanities on the recommendation of the Social and Community Work programme.
  6. Level of Award of the Degree

    The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit.

  7. Variations

    The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) may in exceptional circumstances approve a course of study which does not comply with these regulations.

This information must be read subject to the statement on our Copyright & Disclaimer page.

Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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