Social Policy

Be a force for change. Study Social Policy at Waikato and develop a critical understanding of how policy-making impacts on every person, regardless of their age, ethnicity or gender – then learn how to influence it.

Studying Social Policy involves examining the issues that affect people and society. It analyses the policies and practices of politicians, public servants, governments and non-governmental agencies, and how they impact on communities and wider society. It takes a broad and encompassing approach, because social policy impacts on all parts of everyday life – from health and education to families, transport and housing, plus the systems and institutions that support them.

Your Social Policy studies at Waikato will cover why and how societies respond to problems such as poverty and unemployment. You'll take part in popular and recurring social policy debates, and gain an in-depth understanding of why social problems arise. You'll investigate and evaluate different ways of responding to those problems.

At the end of your studies, you'll be equipped to seek employment opportunities within government agencies, non-government organisations, tertiary education institutions, voluntary and community agencies, and groups advocating for social equity and change.

 Career opportunities

  • Advocate
  • Case Manager
  • Community Worker
  • Policy Analyst
  • Researcher

100 level

Old Worlds - New WorldsARTSC11015.0 Points
Social Science Theory and ActionARTSC11115.0 Points
Economics and SocietyECONS10215.0 Points
Work, Employment and SocietyLABST10015.0 Points
New Zealand Politics and PolicyPOLSC10215.0 Points
Introduction to SociologySOCIO10115.0 Points
Introduction to Social PolicySOCPY10015.0 Points

200 level

Education and New Zealand SocietyEDSOC20015.0 Points
Employment Relations in New ZealandLABST20115.0 Points
Public Policy: International PerspectivesPOLCY21215.0 Points
Population StudiesPOPST20115.0 Points
Class, Race, GenderSOCIO20215.0 Points
Social Policy and Social IssuesSOCPY20015.0 Points
Social Policy, Families and ChildrenSOCPY20115.0 Points
Community DevelopmentSOCWK20515.0 Points

300 level

Prescriptions for the GradCert(SocPol) and GradDip(SocPol)

A Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma are available to graduates who have not included Social Policy at an advanced level in their first degree. Each programme of study for the Graduate Certificate must include SOCP206 and SOCP302. Each programme of study for the Graduate Diploma must include SOCP206, SOCP302, SOCP304 and 40 further points at 300 level in Social Policy.

For further details, contact the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Office.

Prescriptions for the PGCert(SocPol), PGDip(SocPol) and BSocSc(Hons) and MSocSc

To be eligible to be considered for enrolment in a BSocSc(Hons) in Social Policy, a student should normally have at least a B average in SOCP302 and two other 300 level papers. Students who do not meet this requirement should discuss their proposed programme of study with the Programme Convenor prior to confirming their enrolment.

To complete a BSocSc(Hons) in Social Policy, students must gain 120 points at 500 level, including at least 30 points in research (normally SOCP591), SOCP506, SOCP508, and SOCY502.

To be eligible to be considered for enrolment in the MSocSc in Social Policy, a student should have completed either:

a) a BSocSc with a major in Social Policy (or equivalent) and have gained at least a B+ average in either the best three of their 300 level Social Policy papers or all of their undergraduate Social Policy papers, or

b) a BSocSc(Hons) in Social Policy (or equivalent) and have gained at least a B+ average across all 500 level papers.

Completion requirements for the MSocSc in Social Policy vary according to admission criteria:

Students admitted under a) above must complete 180 points from approved 500 level papers, including SOCP506, SOCP508, SOCY502, one of SSRP503 or SSRP504 and either a 120 point thesis, a 90 point thesis or a 60 point dissertation.

Students admitted under b) above must complete a 120 point thesis, a 90 point thesis and a further 30 points from approved 500 level papers, or a 60 point dissertation and a further 60 points from approved 500 level papers.

To be considered for enrolment in a dissertation or thesis, all students must have completed at least 60 points from approved 500 level papers and have gained at least a B+ average to be admitted to SOCP592 or SOCP593 and at least an A- average to be admitted to SOCP594.

State Policies on Indigenous DevelopmentDEVS50430.0 Points
Research MethodsDSOE55730.0 Points
Ageing and SocietyHDCO50130.0 Points
Advanced Employment Relations 1: The Employment Relations FrameworkLBST53115.0 Points
Advanced Employment Relations 2: Current Policies and PracticesLBST53215.0 Points
Labour, Education and Training 1: Issues and PoliciesLBST54115.0 Points
Education Policy and SocietyPCSS50830.0 Points
The Policy Process and Policy AnalysisPOLS50130.0 Points
Environmental Politics and Public PolicyPOLS53730.0 Points
Critical DemographyPOPS50715.0 Points
Population Health and EquityPOPS50815.0 Points
Evaluation Research DesignPSYC51115.0 Points
Evaluation Research AnalysisPSYC51330.0 Points
Family Violence: Research and InterventionsPSYC51815.0 Points
Social Policy: Comparative ApproachesSOCP50615.0 Points
Techniques for Policy AnalysisSOCP50815.0 Points
Comparative Criminology: Issues and PolicySOCP50915.0 Points
Directed StudySOCP58915.0 Points
Directed StudySOCP59030.0 Points
DissertationSOCP59130.0 Points
DissertationSOCP59260.0 Points
Social Policy ThesisSOCP59390.0 Points
Social Policy ThesisSOCP594120.0 Points
Society, Economy and StateSOCY50215.0 Points
Criminology from a Sociological PerspectiveSOCY50315.0 Points
Globalisation and Social MovementsSOCY50515.0 Points
The Conduct of Social Science Research: Qualitative ResearchSSRP50315.0 Points
The Conduct of Social Science Research: Survey ResearchSSRP50415.0 Points
Gender, Policy and DevelopmentWGST50715.0 Points

Prescriptions for the PhD

The Doctor of Philosophy is a three year research-based degree in which students undertake a programme of approved and supervised research that leads to a thesis which critically investigates an approved topic of substance and significance, demonstrates expertise in the methods of research and scholarship, displays intellectual independence and makes a substantial original contribution to the subject area concerned, and is of publishable quality.

Social Policy PhD ThesisSOCP900120.0 Points

Social Policy is available as a major for the BSocSc. Social Policy may also be taken as a second major or as a minor within other undergraduate degrees, subject to academic approval of the Faculty or School of Studies in which the student is enrolled.

To complete a major in Social Policy, students must gain 120 points above 100 level in Social Policy, including SOCP206, SSRP202, SOCP302, SOCP304, and at least 20 further points above 200 level. It is recommended that students intending to major in Social Policy include SOCP102 and SOCY101 in the first year of their programme of study in order to meet prerequisites at 200 and 300 levels.

To complete a minor in Social Policy, students must include two of SOCP102, SOCP206 or SOCP302.

Note: Social Policy is available as a major for the BSocSc in Hamilton and Tauranga.  Tauranga-based students majoring in Social Policy may substitute SOCW305 for SOCP304

Please note: For all graduate subject requirements check the information provided in the papers section above.


Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:
Phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4138
General and Undergraduate Email Enquiries:
Graduate and Postgraduate Email Enquiries: