Warning! This degree has changed. Read the transition arrangements.

Warning! This is a restricted degree. Subject enrolment is only available to students admitted into this degree.

Degree structure

Degree details

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 degree is beneficial for those employed or who seek 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 degree 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.

Higher education

Applicants must hold an Australian level 7 Bachelor's degree qualification or recognised equivalent with a GPA of 4.0 (out of 7.0) or overseas equivalent.

English Proficiency Requirements

International students require IELTS of 6.5, with minimum 6.0 in each band, or equivalent

Applicants should contact the degree 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. Subject/Subject outlines 

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

Evidence for informal and non-formal learning

Suitable portfolio items e.g. Certificates from accredited degrees, results from other non-credited degrees, certificates and statements from employer degrees 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 degree application form or contact us at https://students.mq.edu.au/admin/other-resources/student-admin-services for more information

Students who have completed degrees 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 https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/non_award

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

The degree 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.

Award Requirements

To qualify for the award of Graduate Certificate in Policy and Applied Social Research students must complete four subjects.

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 Graduate Certificates.

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.

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.

Choose your subjects


Students in the Graduate Certificate Policy and Applied Social Research must complete 4 compulsory units.

This degree is restricted. Students are required to apply and be approved by Macquarie University before they can enrol in subjects through OUA.

Applications for the Graduate Certificate 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.

Please note that tudents who have an Academic Standing of Suspension or Exclusion under Macquarie University's Academic Progression Policy will not be permitted to register in Macquarie University degrees offered through OUA. Students with an Academic Standing of Suspension or Exclusion who have enrolled in units through OUA will be withdrawn.

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 https://students.mq.edu.au/admin/other-resources/student-admin-services.