For the people who want to stand out and fit in

For the people who want to stand out and fit in

The social sciences provide ways of addressing the ‘wicked problems’ that confront the modern world.

The motto of the University of Waikato is Ko Te Tangata (“For the People”) and this viewpoint is central to teaching and research in the School of Social Sciences. We are an intellectually diverse community of scholars and our curriculum covers subjects that will enable you to think critically about how individuals and groups in society relate to each other.

Why study with us?

Get extra support with our broad range of scholarships

Learn from award winning professors.

Study at our campus in Tauranga

Explore a wide range of programmes

Our students can work alongside top-rated teachers and internationally respected scholars, across eight majors in the School of Social Sciences: Anthropology, Environmental Planning, Geography, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Social Policy and Sociology. These majors can be taken towards a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Social Sciences. The School of Social Sciences also offers two professional four year degrees: The Bachelor of Environmental Planning and the Bachelor of Social Work.

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Environmental Planning
Bachelor of Social Sciences

Advocate for social justice

A degree in social work allows you to develop skills to understand complex social processes and human behaviour, and work with a wide range of individuals and community groups. The Bachelor of Social Work covers critical social work theory, and draws on knowledge from a wide range of disciplines such as psychology, sociology, te ao Māori, human development, social policy, and involves work integrated learning in a range of social service agencies under the supervision of qualified social workers in the third and fourth year of study.

Bachelor of Social Work

Make a change in your community

Social workers are qualified registered professionals who advocate for structural change through seeking to address inequality and improve social wellbeing. They have a strong sense of social justice and are committed to human rights at an individual, societal, policy and legislative level. University of Waikato Social Work graduates are sought after and are successful in gaining employment in a wide range of fields of practice such as - health, community development, iwi social services, alcohol and addictions, child protection, youth work, policy development, mental health, family work.


Researchers focussed on tackling the difficult environmental decisions

A team of University of Waikato researchers, led by Professor Iain White, have received $625,000 in funding from the National Science Challenge on Resilience to Nature's Challenges, to tackle New Zealand’s difficult decisions around natural hazards and climate change.

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Research looks into ‘belonging’ for disabled people

Understanding why and where disabled people feel they belong is the focus of a joint research report launched last night between the University of Waikato, the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) and advocacy and disability rights organisation Imagine Better.

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Corruption Perceptions Index ‘biased’ and ‘flawed’

A University of Waikato researcher has called Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, released this week, a biased survey based on flawed methodology that reinforces global stereotypes.

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Sociology student creating meaningful experiences for disabled youth

Emma Dalton found the perfect part-time job to work around her studies at the University of Waikato. The role of programme coordinator for the Bay of Plenty branch of Recreate NZ, a provider of social and recreational services to the disability community, was also a good fit for the sociology student’s goal to make a difference in the lives of others.

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The Mount beach in Tauranga on a sunny day

Start your studies in either Hamilton or Tauranga

At the University of Waikato you have the option to begin your studies at the award-winning Tauranga Campus. Study the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Social Sciences degrees in either Hamilton or Tauranga. You can complete your whole Bachelor of Social Work degree while living by the beach.