Graduate Diploma of Policy and Applied Social Research - 2016

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

This page is for past year, View 2017 course details.

Course summary

Course summary - 2016

Level: Postgraduate
Qualification: Graduate Diploma
Number of units: 8 units to complete

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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)

The course is intended to develop your capabilities in applied social research and policy development. It enables you to build conceptual understanding and practical skills across a range of areas, including qualitative and basic quantitative social research methods and research design, evaluation and reflective as well as critical social analysis of contemporary policy issues, social policy and the policy process.

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 either qualitative or quantitative methods to selected social research questions
  3. compare and critique different policy designs
  4. explain key aspects of social policy development processes
  5. explain and understand social research tools
  6. apply ethically and socially informed judgements to the use of social research
  7. communicate sociological concepts effectively to academic, policy and organisational audiences
  8. reflect on the role of social researchers in policy processes.

This course is beneficial for those employed or who want employment in community-based and non-government service organisations; policy agencies in government; trade unions; local government; marketing and social research; and private consultancy. Many current students already work in social research jobs for government, the private sector and community organisations.

This course is also beneficial for those wishing to embark on careers in social research, policy analysis and planning, social and community services, human services, public opinion, teaching in the field of social science or developing themselves as activists and advocates in fields concerned with social justice and social policy, and journalism.

Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from a recognised tertiary institution.

Students wishing to articulate from the Macquarie Graduate Certificate in Policy and Applied Social Research must have at least a GPA of 2.2 (out of 4). This equates to 3 pass grades and 1 Credit or better.

International students require an IELTS of 6.5.

To qualify for the award of Graduate Diploma in Policy and Applied Social Research students must complete eight units.

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 4 years for a Graduate Diploma.

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 Schedulesof 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 furtherinformation please contact Macquarie at


All students in the Graduate Diploma Policy and Applied Social Research must complete 8 compulsory units

Total number of units to complete: 8 units Required Elective Optional
Unit name Code Provider Availability
Developing Social Policy
SOCX810 Macquarie Sess 1 - -
Evaluation and the Policy Process
SOCX818 Macquarie - - Sess 3
Sociology of Institutions and Organisations
SOCX821 Macquarie - Sess 2 -
Doing Social Survey Research
SOCX830 Macquarie Sess 1 - -
Qualitative Methods
SOCX831 Macquarie - - Sess 3
Social Care and Human Services
SOCX863 Macquarie - Sess 2 -
Economy and Society
SOCX865 Macquarie - - Sess 3
Work and Employment
SOCX866 Macquarie - Sess 2 -

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

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

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.

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

Please contact Macquarie University for further assistance at