Master of Social Sciences

Studying for a Master of Social Sciences at Waikato challenges you to take your understanding of theoretical subject matter to an advanced level.

Hannah Cleland

Hannah Cleland’s role at the Department of Corrections has a high level of responsibility attached to it as she is involved in assessing the reoffending risk for offenders in the community as well as those eligible to be released on parole.

Jessica Keppel

Tourism Development
Taupo-born Jessica decided to embark on a Bachelor of Tourism at Waikato upon finishing High School. "I liked the variety that the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences offered in their degrees as well as the campus lifestyle."

Chuluun Munkhbat

Public Policy
Chuluun is passionate about New Zealand and Mongolia, and he manages to combine his love for both countries for a job – as New Zealand's Honorary Consul-General in Mongolia.

Megan Smith

Public Policy
Prior to coming to Waikato, Megan was running her own business as a Career Consultant. She was also President of the Career Development Association of New Zealand (CDANZ). It was the frequent policy focus of this role, along with a career spent in the public sector, that led her to want to study public policy.

Holly Snape

The strong subject offerings within the School of Social Sciences is what attracted Holly to study at Waikato. With a keen interest in sociology and anthropology, she completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences and then went on to do her Masters.

A Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc) builds on the Bachelors or Honours qualification you've already gained. When studying for your MSocSc, you'll focus on your preferred Social Science subject area and you'll immerse yourself in a high-level programme of study. You'll learn the latest research techniques and be updated on recent developments in knowledge relating to your chosen field.

You'll be preparing for a dissertation or thesis, so will be conducting a substantial amount of your own independent research. If you think you may want to complete a doctorate level qualification later on, completing a MSocSc prepares you for that next level of academic study.

As you grow your knowledge of your chosen subject area, you'll be refining your intellectual skills, particularly your ability to think critically, problem solve and analyse. This will enable you to prepare for leadership roles in fields related to your subject area.

Industry Connections

During your studies, you'll be supervised by well-connected Faculty members who have networks with people working in a wide range of sectors, from business to government.

These people, including representatives from local and central government and tribal authorities, provide input into the different subject areas. Members of community groups, business organisations and industrial and professional groups do the same – they provide valuable support and input. The subject area experts themselves provide consultancy services that the community in general needs, so there are broader links and connections made through this sharing of knowledge.

 Career opportunities

  • Clinical or Community Psychologist
  • Coastal Resource Officer
  • Communications Coordinator
  • Community Health Administrator
  • Counsellor
  • Demographer
  • Economist
  • Educator (Primary, Secondary or Tertiary Sector)
  • Environmental Planner
  • Hazards and Emergency Management Officer
  • Human Resources Advisor
  • Industrial Relations Advocate
  • Journalist
  • Policy Analyst
  • PR Consultant
  • Research Executive
  • Social Services Manager
  • Tourism Consultant
  • Union Organiser

Key information

Study Locations Hamilton
Faculty Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Years 1.5
Start Dates Semester A (February) and Semester B (July)
Domestic Fees $6,616-$7,926 per year
See if you're eligible for fees-free study in your first year
International Fees $27,830 - $31,495 per year
Tuition fees shown above are indicative only and may change. There are additional fees and charges related to enrolment please see the Table of Fees and Charges for more information. You will be sent an enrolment agreement which will confirm your fees.


These are all the subjects available for the Master of Social Sciences

Applied Linguistics
Biological Sciences
Computer Science
Development Studies
Earth Sciences
Education and Society
English as a Second Language
Health, Sport and Human Performance
Human Development
Human Resource Management
International Relations and Security Studies
Labour Studies
Management Systems
Materials and Processing
Māori Cultural Studies/Tikanga Māori
Political Science
Population Studies and Demography
Public Policy
Public Relations
Screen and Media Studies
Social Policy
Strategic Management
Supply Chain Management
Theatre Studies
Tourism Management
Women's and Gender Studies

Scholarships and prizes

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

Graduate study options

Following the successful completion of the BSocSc or BSocSc(Hons) you may apply for the Master of Social Sciences degree. The MSocSc is awarded with classes of honours.

To be admitted to the MSocSc, you must have completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences (or equivalent) or a Bachelor of Social Sciences with Honours (or equivalent) in the same subject and must have achieved a satisfactory grade average – normally a B+ average or better.

You will also need to have appropriate supervision arranged.

Admission criteria may vary so please consult the appropriate programme Graduate  Adviser for their specific criteria. Admission to the MSocSc requires the agreement of the Chair of School or Programme Convenor of the main subject or programme and agreement of the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences (or nominee).

MSocSc Degree Regulations


Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

Phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4080

Degree Structure

For students admitted directly from the BSocSc, the MSocSc involves three semesters of full-time study (18 months) or the equivalent in part-time study. It is made up of 180 points which can comprise either a 120-point thesis and 60 points from approved 500 level papers; or a 90-point thesis and 90 points from approved 500 level papers; or a 60-point thesis and 120 points from approved 500 level papers. In all cases you must also include a research foundations paper.

For students admitted from the BSocSc(Hons), the MSocSc involves two semesters of full-time study (12 months) or the equivalent in part-time study. It is made up of 120 points which can comprise either a 120-point thesis; or a 90-point thesis and 30 points from approved 500 level papers; or a 60-point thesis and 60 points from approved 500 level papers.

The undergraduate subject of Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management (IR&HRM) is an interdisciplinary major of related papers which at graduate level exists as a specialisation as part of Labour Studies or as a stream within Labour Studies. Similarly, Tourism Studies is a stream within Geography.

Students enrolled in the MSocSc may take up to 60 points from other subjects, subject to approval from the School. You should discuss your intended programme with the Graduate Adviser in each of the Faculties or Schools concerned.

MSocSc Degree Regulations