Master of Policy and Applied Social Research - 2017

Please note: This course has recently undergone a major change. Please refer to Transition Arrangements for more information.

The 2018 course information for this course is now available. View 2018 course details.

Course summary

Course summary - 2017

Level: Postgraduate
Qualification: Masters Degree
Number of units: 12 units to complete

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Restrictions apply. See Eligibility.

This course has restricted enrolment. You must apply and be accepted before you can enrol in units.

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Operating Hours

Standard hours

Mon - Fri: 8am - late

Sat & Sun: 9am - 5pm

All times in Australian Eastern
Standard Time (AEST) or Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT)

Please note: All Macquarie units are now available in Semesters. Please refer to the Key Dates page for further information.

This program of study aims to develop students' skills in applied social research and the analysis of policy in social context. The core units, provided through the Department of Sociology at Macquarie University, focus on designing and conducting applied research, on the evaluation process, and on understanding and analysing policy in the fields of social policy and human services. Course options enable students to deepen their knowledge of important policy fields and to develop new areas of expertise. The degree ensures a high level of professional recognition with past graduates well placed in a wide range of senior positions including:

  • Policy roles in local, state and federal public sectors
  • Non-government agencies in policy and advocacy roles
  • Trade unions
  • Social research and marketing companies
  • Research positions within academic and other research bodies

In 2016 the Macquarie unit codes have changed. All units previously studied under the old unit code will be recognized as equivalent.

By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

  1. explain key processes through which social policy is developed
  2. assess how to appropriately apply methods to different social research questions
  3. compare and critique different policy designs
  4. evaluate policies using social research techniques
  5. design social research tools
  6. undertake quantitative and qualitative social research
  7. apply ethically and socially informed judgements to the use of social research
  8. assess social policy from an interdisciplinary perspective
  9. communicate policy information and social research to professional and academic audiences
  10. critique the role of social researchers in policy processes.

The Master of Policy and Applied Social Research equips students with skills and knowledge sought after in government and non-government agencies, and private research organisations, including consultancies. Students learn applied research skills and policy knowledge, and have opportunities to work on a project in a work setting. Students generally enter research, policy, advocacy and social service related roles.

Students must have completed an Australian level 7 Bachelor degree or recognised equivalent in social sciences with a GPA of 4.50 out of 7.00. International students require an IELTS score of 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each band.

To qualify for the award of Master of Policy and Applied Social Research Students must successfully complete twelve units of study.

Students who did not commence their program in the current year are required to follow the program structure provided to them at the time of admission.

A student who is taking an unduly long time to complete a program of study may be excluded from further enrolment. An unduly long period of time is considered to be effective enrolment longer than 7 years for this Masters degree.

On completion of admission you are bound by the University Terms and Conditions and must comply with present and future By-laws, Rules, Codes, and Policies, Procedures and Schedules of Macquarie University.

Exit award means an approved lesser award that a student may elect to qualify with provided the requirements of the exit award have been met. Some exit awards are exit qualifications only and are not offered for admission. (This means that the student must meet the requirements of the year they were admitted into the program and not the current years requirements). For further information please contact Macquarie at

Total number of units to complete: 5 units Required Elective Optional
Unit name Code Provider Availability
Developing Social Policy
SOCX810 MAQ - Sem2 -
Evaluation and the Policy Process
SOCX818 MAQ Sem1 - -
Doing Social Survey Research
SOCX830 MAQ - Sem2 -
Qualitative Methods
SOCX831 MAQ Sem1 - -
North, South, East, West: Comparative Social Policy
SOCX811 MAQ Sem1 - -
Complete 3 units from the following 4 units Required Elective Optional
Unit name Code Provider Availability
Sociology of Institutions and Organisations
SOCX821 MAQ Coming in 2019
Social Care and Human Services
SOCX863 MAQ Sem1 - -
Political Economy for Social Policy and Research
SOCX865 MAQ - Sem2 -
Work and Employment
SOCX866 MAQ - Sem2 -
Complete 4 units from the following 8 units Required Elective Optional
Unit name Code Provider Availability
Social Care and Human Services
SOCX863 MAQ Sem1 - -
Political Economy for Social Policy and Research
SOCX865 MAQ - Sem2 -
Work and Employment
SOCX866 MAQ - Sem2 -
Sociology of Institutions and Organisations
SOCX821 MAQ Coming in 2019
Activism and Policy Design
SOCX825 MAQ Coming in 2019
Social Impact Assessment and Cross-Cultural Negotiation
GEOX802 MAQ - Sem2 -
Globalisation and Sustainable Development
GEOX809 MAQ - Sem2 -
Health Policy
POIX825 MAQ - Sem2 -

Applicants should contact the course coordinator for information about Credit policies at Macquarie University.

Macquarie University recognises formal, informal and non-formal learning to support an individual's lifelong learning goals. An application for RPL will need the following support:

Evidence for formal learning

1. Official Academic transcript including all grades, on an institution letterhead. If your supporting documents are in a language other than English, this must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

2. Unit/Subject outlines 

You need to supply a copy of the unit outline to support your request for exemption of units at Macquarie University.

Evidence for informal and non-formal learning

Suitable portfolio items e.g. Certificates from accredited courses, results from other non-credited courses, certificates and statements from employer courses or professional bodies, employment history and position descriptions, employers verifying your knowledge, skill and experience, details of community activities involving significant responsibilities, on-the-job assessment record, performance management reports etc.

To apply please refer to section F on the course application form or contact us at for more information

Students who have completed courses or degrees in similar disciplines can apply for exemptions subject to providing the appropriate documentation.

To request for a prerequisite waiver, please refer to Macquarie's website at

2018-macquarie-postgraduate-application-form (PDF, 748 KB)

Please scan and email your application with required documents to

This course is restricted. Students are required to apply and be approved by Macquarie University before they can in enrol in units via OUA.

Applications for the Master of Policy and Applied Social Research are due the Friday two weeks prior to the close of enrolment date for the study term you are applying for.

You can pay fees in one of two main ways:

Eligible OUA students can access the government loan scheme known as FEE-HELP. You pay back the loan through your taxes once your income reaches a minimum threshold.

Who can access it?

  • Australian citizens who will undertake, in Australia, at least one unit of study contributing to their course
  • Permanent humanitarian visa holders who will be resident in Australia for the duration of their unit
  • Permanent visa holders who are undertaking bridging study for overseas-trained professionals, and will be resident in Australia for the duration of their study

Find out more about FEE-HELP

You can pay your fees upfront - in full at the beginning of a unit - using:
  • Credit card (Visa and MasterCard)
  • Cheque
  • Money order

You should make cheques and money orders payable to 'Open Universities Australia' and send them to:
Open Universities Australia
GPO Box 5387
Melbourne 3001

The Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate of Policy and Applied Social Research has undergone a major change in 2017.

The new course structure is for new students commencing in 2017 and current students may follow the old structure.

Please contact Macquarie University for further assistance at

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