Master of Applied Social Work

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Develop your passion for helping others into a rewarding career

If you are motivated to make a positive difference in people’s lives, a social work career may be for you.

What is it like?

Want to be a social worker?

If you want to be a social worker, then this is the programme for you.

The Master of Applied Social Work (MAppSW) will prepare you for practice and registration as a social worker in New Zealand and most other countries.

The course conforms to national and international guidelines by including two different supervised field experiences. This 240-credit master's programme is designed for students who have a bachelor's degree in a field other than social work but wish to change careers.

Add to social work knowledge

With a Massey MAppSW, you will be able to make cutting-edge contributions to your discipline. You’ll benefit from our research-informed, research-leading, forward-thinking and academically credible programmes. They’ll help you contribute to knowledge-building in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally.


MAppSW students should read and note the “fit and proper” requirements on the Social Workers Registration Board website. All MAppSW students will be vetted by the New Zealand Police prior to their field education placements. A police record may not be a barrier to field placement, but full disclosure of any convictions in New Zealand and/or overseas is essential. All students must have a current full driving licence valid in New Zealand by the start of their field placements.

A good fit if you:

  • Dream of helping people from all walks of life
  • Want to make a real difference to your world
  • Believe in social justice
  • Are intrigued by how systems and people work and how to manage relationships
  • Are determined to lead a meaningful life
Haley Clark
Master of Applied Social Work (MAppSW)

“We learned real skills that could be applied directly to the work we were engaged in…”

I initially studied toward a PhD in Criminology in Australia. I had an interest in sexual violence and families and hoped to work in the non-governmental organisations (NGO) sector on completing my degree.

When I moved from Melbourne to Invercargill, I was offered a job as a social worker with Family Works. It was through this position that I was encouraged to pursue further studies with the support of my employer and an NGO Study Award.

Although social work draws on interdisciplinary theories, and I already had a considerable knowledge base, I did not have a qualification in social work and had limited practical experience in casework. The MAppSW provided an avenue to fill this knowledge gap, alongside my on-the-job learning.

I really enjoyed my experience at Massey. The teaching staff is knowledgeable and helpful, the course interesting, and the students friendly. The course provided great scope to connect theory and practice. Being able to critically engage with politics, policies, theories and practice models was a most valuable part of the course.

It was a very supportive and friendly atmosphere both in person and online. The online resources and library system were accessible and comprehensive. The library support staff and academic learning support services were additional resources that helped me with my studies.

The programme was both challenging and rewarding. There was a practical focus and this meant that we learned real skills that could be applied directly to the work we were engaged in. The fieldwork placements were a great way to learn, network and get insight into different areas of practice.

In fact, after my second fieldwork placement at the local sexual violence support centre, I was really happy to be offered a position with them that brings together my expertise in the area of sexual violence and the practical experience that I gained as a family social worker while completing the MAppSW course.


What kind of jobs can you get in social work?

A social work degree means you can work in many different areas. You could be a field operator working in the community or you could be a professional advisor in a hospital or a district health board. You might choose to be a policy expert working with government. Or you could travel overseas to the jungles of Papua New Guinea to work within a village setting. The options are endless. And endlessly meaningful. Social workers make a difference in many areas around the world including:

  • Hospitals and primary health care
  • Mental health and addictions
  • Voluntary and community organisations and government organisations
  • Child protection
  • Youth justice
  • Housing
  • Offenders
  • Residential care
  • Management and supervision
  • Tertiary education
  • Community work and community development
  • Refugees and migrants
  • Schools.
Join the engine of the new New Zealand

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