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 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.

Higher education

Students must have completed an Australian level 7 Bachelor degree or recognised equivalent in social sciences with a GPA of 4.00 out of 7.00 or overseas equivalent

English Proficiency Requirements

International students require an IELTS of 6.5 overall 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.

This program of study aims to develop students' skills in applied social research and the analysis of policy in social context. The core subjects, 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. Degree 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 subject codes have changed. All subjects previously studied under the old subject code will be recognized as equivalent.

Recommended Study Pattern

Required units:

SOCX810 Developing Social Policy (1)

SOCX811 North, South, East, West: Comparative Social Policy (1)

SOCX818 Evaluation and the Policy Process (1)

SOCX830 Doing Social Survey Research (1)

SOCX831 Qualitative Methods (1)

Required three of

SOCX821 Sociology of Institutions and Organisations (1)

SOCX863 Social Care and Human Services (1)

SOCX865 Political Economy for Social Policy and Research (1)

SOCX866 Work and Employment (1)

Required four of

GEOX802 Social Impact Assessment and Cross Cultural Negotiation (1)

GEOX809 Globalisation and Sustainable Development (1)

POIX825 Health Policy (1)

SOCX821 Sociology of Institutions and Organisations (1)

SOCX863 Social Care and Human Services (1)

SOCX865 Political Economy for Social Policy and Research (1)

SOCX866 Work and Employment (1)


Award Requirements

To qualify for the award of Master of Policy and Applied Social Research Students must successfully complete twelve subjects 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 Points

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

Choose your subjects


Please Note: Students who are having difficulty with completing their degree in 2018 due to units that are not available this year are requested to lodge an enquiry via https://ask.mq.edu.au/ entitled "OUA MPASR". Advice will be given by the department on a case by case basis in regards to replacement units.

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.

Please note that students 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.