Level 7

Study for a degree to become a qualified social worker

Do you want to make a real difference in your community? Become a social worker and learn the skills to support and empower people, their family and whanau, to enable positive change.

Programme highlights

­­Do you want to make a real difference in your community?

Become a social worker and learn the skills to support and empower people, their family and whanau, to enable positive change.

You will work with all kinds of people to help them overcome challenges and improve their individual and family wellbeing.

Our experienced lecturers will guide you in how to work with people from different nationalities including Māori, New Zealand/European, Pasifika and new immigrants. You will also work with people of all ages, abilities and diverse backgrounds.

This social work degree is a recognised programme by the Social Work Registration Board. In your fourth year of study, you will be eligible to register and work as a social worker in Aotearoa New Zealand.

To find out more about what practicum entails for both our learners and placement providers, click here.

If you are Māori or Pasifika, find out how you could be supported on your MIT journey with Te Ara Oranga.

Please note: Although the Government vaccine mandate for health and disability workers ended on 11:59pm 26 September 2022, some employers can still require workers to be vaccinated due to their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Placement is a compulsory component of MIT’s healthcare programmes. To go on placement in this sector, students will need to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination to MIT. Students that hold a medical exemption that prevents them from being vaccinated are permitted to work in the healthcare sector, but will have limited placement opportunities in that sector. Students that are not vaccinated, or that do not wish to share their vaccination status with MIT, may not be able to go on placement in the healthcare sector. If you hold a medical exemption, or if you are unable or unwilling to provide proof of vaccination to MIT, your placement opportunities will accordingly be limited and MIT cannot guarantee availability with placement providers.  If this applies to you, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your options.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

General admission requirements

Applicants must meet the following criteria for admission into the programme:

a) A New Zealand Police Check (using the NZ Police and Vetting Consent to Disclosure of Information form) that demonstrates applicant has no criminal record and thus meets the requirements to be registered with the SWRB and to work with at risk and vulnerable people as required by the Vulnerable Children Act (2014).

b) Be 18 years of age or over at the commencement of the programme; OR, applicants below the age of 18, will be considered for admission (by the Programme Committee) where the applicant is:

(i) employed, in a paid or voluntary capacity in a social service context and able to provide a current, written recommendation from their employer, or voluntary service provider demonstrating their suitability for the programme; or

(ii) Due to reach the minimum 18 age requirement within one month of the commencement date of the programme.

c) Complete all required admission administration documentation.

d) Provide two satisfactory references.

e) Demonstrate suitability to complete vocational social work degree level study at an interview.  The following interview criteria will apply:

(i) At the time of interview applicants will be required to undertake a comprehension and written exercise to help determine the level of academic support they would require prior to and during the programme, if they were offered a place.

(ii) Interviews may be conducted in person, by phone, Skype, or by electronic means as outlined in the Vulnerable Children Act (2014).

(iii) During the interview the panel will gather evidence of the applicant’s suitability to complete vocational social work degree level study based on criteria that include the following:

  1. The applicant provides appropriate and well considered reasons for making their application to study this social work programme that are deemed to be acceptable by the interview panel
  2. The applicant’s personal experience (including wellness) will enhance rather than inhibit their ability to complete the programme
  3. The applicant demonstrates readiness and understanding of the demands of vocational social work study at degree level study
  4. The applicant demonstrates openness and readiness to accept change
  5. The applicant demonstrates willingness and ability to align with social work ethics and values
  6. The applicant understands the support, both personal and academic, which may be required to undertake a vocational degree level programme and that this support may be provided in flexible learning mode.

f) Once the applicant has completed an interview, the final decision on whether a place is offered to an applicant is based on achievement demonstrated in:

(i) Evidence gathered during the interview of the applicant’s suitability to complete vocational social work degree level study

(ii) Evidence contained in the admission administration documentation

Academic admission requirements

Applicants must successfully meet one of the following criteria to gain admission into the programme:

(a) University Entrance (UE) OR at least 42 NCEA credits at level 3, including a minimum of 14 credits in each of two approved subjects, plus a minimum of 14 credits taken from no more than two additional domains or approved subjects; AND, a minimum of 8 credits at level 2 or higher in English or Te Reo Māori of which 4 credits must be in reading and 4 credits in writing. NOTE: Where standards count for either reading or writing, an individual applicant may not count credits in both places


(b) Have successfully completed NZC in Study and Career Preparation (Education & Social Sciences) Level 3 or equivalent


(c) The BASW Programme Committee may consider a candidate for entry onto the programme where the candidate has failed to meet the academic requirements listed above.  For such consideration to occur the candidate must have been through the interview and selection process demonstrating a level of maturity or life experience deemed to provide the applicant with reasonable prospects of success at degree level.  All such applications will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and on the applicants own merit.

English language entry requirements

International students must meet NZQA’s current English language entry requirements for degree level study AND the specified requirements for this degree where they exceed NZQA’s requirements.  Programme specific rules for this degree also require:

(a) Applicants to the programme who do not have English, Māori or New Zealand sign as their first language; OR who did not undertake their secondary schooling in English must be able to demonstrate they have achieved an IELTS score of 6.5 with no band score lower than 6.5; or TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) score of 85 or higher with a writing score of 22; or equivalent.  Students may enter the programme with an IELTS score of 6.5 in all bands but will be required to meet SWRB requirements when applying for registration on completion of the programme.

(b) Applicants who do not meet the IELTS, TOEFL or equivalent requirement are able to re-apply for future intakes to the programme once this English language requirement has been met.

Special & discretionary admission

Any ākonga who is 20 years of age or older and has not reached the general admission requirements for their intended programme is eligible for Special Admission. Te Pūkenga works with the ākonga to ensure they are prepared for their intended programme. Any ākonga who is not yet 20 years of age and has not reached the general admission requirements for their intended programme may be eligible for Discretionary Admission. In assessing whether to grant Discretionary Admission, the delegated authority focuses on the applicant’s level of preparedness for their intended programme.


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Give yourself credit with Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Did you know you can use the knowledge and experience you already have to your advantage?

Your previous work experience and on-the-job skills, volunteering, professional development, and other providers’ qualifications can be recognised as prior learning, matched against credits in our courses, and put towards your qualification – potentially saving you money and possibly helping you to complete your qualification faster Learn more.

Programme structure

Programme structure

You will need to complete the below 18 courses (480 credits):

Year one - Ko Wai Au? (The self)

Tangata tūturu - the self (20 credits)

To develop student understanding of the concept of culture, its influence on self and factors impacting one’s behaviours, attitude and relationship with others.

Te ira tangata – human growth and development (20 credits)

To enable students to understand tangata whenua and tauiwi worldviews of human development and their relevance to social work.

Te whai mahara ki te ako - academic and practical skills (20 credits)

To enable students to demonstrate academic methods and skills required to successfully study at degree level.

Te Ao Māori (Tuatahi) – Māori worldviews (20 credits)

To develop student knowledge and understanding of Te Ao Māori to aid in the development of a personal cross-cultural framework for social work practice.

Nga mea whakaritenga te tahi ki te tahi - self and engagement with others (20 credits)

To enable students to position themselves in relation to difference and diversity and apply the use of culturally appropriate communication, when working in collaboration with others.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi – The Treaty of Waitangi (20 credits)

To enable students to understand Te Tiriti o Waitangi and its significance to their development into a cross-cultural social work practitioner.

Year two - Te Hapori Whānui (The community)

Te hapori whānau (Tuatahi) – social work theory and skills (one) (20 credits)

To enable students to think critically and apply social work practice theories as they relate to the self and others.

Te mātauranga hinengaro – mental health and wellbeing (20 credits)

To enable students to understand the importance of diverse psychologies and wellbeing of self and others.

Kaupapa hapori me te ture – social policy and legislation (20 credits)

To enable students to develop understanding of social policy and legislation relevant to social work practice within Aotearoa New Zealand.

Te hapori whānau whānui (Tuarua) – social work theory and skills community practice (two) (20 credits)

To enable students to evaluate and apply social work practice theories and models to the wider community.

Rereketanga o nga mahi I waenganui te iwi - working with diverse communities (20 credits)

To enable students to apply social work theory and skills to work respectfully and inclusively with diversity and difference in practice.

Tuhituhia nga āhuatanga rereke - writing for different contexts (20 credits)

To enable students to demonstrate and apply writing skills in different social work contexts.

Year three - Te Ngaio (The professional)

Mana whakahaere I nga mahi whakatika - speciality fields of practice (30 credits)

To increase students’ knowledge of speciality fields of practice in social work.

Te ariā me ngā pūkenga – social work theory and skills (three) (30 credits)

To enable students to think critically and apply theoretical frameworks and skillsets in social work practice.

Nga mahi tikanga pumau - social work assessments (10 credits)

To enable students to understand different types of assessment in social work practice.

Te mahi pūkenga (Tuatahi) – social work placement (one) (50 credits)

To enable students to integrate and apply social work theory whilst developing beginning social work skills, within a social service organisation.

Year four - Te Mātanga (The practitioner)

Te mahere rangahau – active research (60 credits)

To enable students to develop and implement a research project aiming to improve professional social work practice.

Te mahi whakaharatau (Tuarua) – social work placement (two) (60 credits)

To engage, integrate and critique the role of a social worker within diverse organisation.

Do you want to study a single course, without enrolling into the full programme?

Courses within some of our programmes may be offered as an individual Certificate of Proficiency (COP). Programme entry requirements and course fees apply. For more information, please speak to our friendly Ask Me! team.

Careers and pathways

Career opportunities

Social work in community, statutory agencies and schools. For potential salaries visit careers.govt.nz.

Free study for the first year of your Level 3 or above qualification may be available under the government’s fees-free study scheme. Visit feesfree.govt.nz for eligibility criteria and more information. Students must be eligible to study as a domestic student. All free study is subject to funding confirmation. Proof of residency status required. Entry criteria, and some costs, may also apply. Eligibility for student allowances or student loans may vary. Contact StudyLink for more information.

Information is correct as at 25 March 2024. Programme fees are based on a full-time student and may vary depending on your final selection of courses that make up your programme. To provide you with an indication of costs, the approximate fees quoted in this publication are based on the indicative 2024 fee structure. The indicative programme fees for 2024 do not include the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF). The CSSF is an additional levy to your 2024 programme or course fees. Further information about the CSSF can be found here www.manukau.ac.nz/cssf. Programmes stated as eligible for free study in 2024 are based on the 2023 fee structure and subject to funding confirmation for 2024. All fees are in New Zealand Dollars. You will be advised of the current fees at the time of enrolment. All courses and programmes will proceed subject to numbers and academic approval. Manukau Institute of Technology is part of Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. Te Pūkenga is accredited under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020. International students must study in class and will not be able to enrol for online study options.