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Programme Codeapply now 75x34



Mode of Study



Normal Duration

1 years (Full-time) with Summer Term / 2 years (Part-time) with Summer Terms


Credits Required For Award



Programme Leader

Dr Kaxton Siu





Programme Aims

The MA in social Policy and Social Development Programme aims to prepare students to develop the necessary core professional and personal competence required to work in the field of social policy and to engage in professional practices in social development. This involves gaining critical knowledge and skills in analysing and appreciating local and global policy issues and the ability to formulate and assess policy options that ensure effective, appropriate and sustainable outcomes, uphold social justice and improve social well-being. To these ends, the programme is designed to bring together theory and practice that enables participants in the programme to meet challenges in social development ethically and imaginatively.


Special Features

Unlike most other postgraduate programmes in social policy, this MASPSD is designed for those who are either to embark on a career in Social Policy and Social Development or those who are already mid-career practitioners seeking to improve their knowledge about public and non-government sectors specialising in social policy and planning for social development. It is structured to offer rigorous, interdisciplinary and hands-on training across a number of academic, managerial and professional disciplines that prepare participants to transfer knowledge into action to bring about social development, especially through responsible policy analysis, formulation, impact assessment and evaluation.

The programme will provide students with a solid foundation in social policy analysis that can be adapted and applied in many fields of human service provision and practice in social development. Graduates are expected to gain the competence necessary to participate effectively in social policy processes, conduct needs assessments, evaluate policy impacts and develop appropriate and relevant policy options that respond responsibly to new challenges in social development.


Entrance Requirements

  1. A recognized Bachelor’s Degree;
  2. Preference will be given to applicants with a background in social sciences or work experiences relevant to social policy and social development.


Programme Structure

MA  : to be eligible for the award, students are required to take 30 credits (6 Required Subjects including the Integrative Project and 4 Elective Subjects).
PgD : Students who have successfully completed 21 credits (5 Required Subjects and 2 Elective Subjects) can exit that programme with a Postgraduate Diploma.
PgC : Students who have successfully completed 12 credits  (2 Required Subjects and 2 Elective Subjects) can exit the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate.


Professional Recognition

Graduates of this programme may apply for membership of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA).


Core Areas of Study

Required Subjects

  • Policy Research Method
  • Social Context and ethics
  • Social Policy Analysis and Social Accountability
  • Social Planning and the Policy Process
  • Theory and Practice of Social Development
  • Integrative Project


Elective Subjects

  • Assessing Globalization and Social Development
  • Contemporary Issues in Social Policy
  • Comparative Social Policy and Social Development
  • Digital Technologies and Social Development
  • Emerging Issues of Social Policy in Asia
  • Quantitative Methods for Policy Research and Evaluation
  • Social Impact Assessment
  • Social Policy and Social Development in China
  • Social Policy Evaluation
  • Organization Theories and Analysis


Prospective Career Pathways

There are four possible major career paths for graduates of this programme:

as Administrative or Executive Officers in various departments of the government responsible for planning and conducting policy research, public consultation, community engagement, policy analysis and policy option development; and as research and administrative officers or assistants assisting elected Councillors in Legislative or District Councils;

as policy, research and administrative personnel in the non-government sector, including those NGOs working for social development and advocating better social policy making;

as managers in private businesses and social enterprises responsible for developing, implementing and managing corporate social responsibility policies and programmes and activities;

as research associates, officers and assistants for academics and key research centres in tertiary education institutions locally and overseas in charge of or supervising policy research and evaluation.

Graduates can also work for local think tanks whose number and importance are expected to grow during the next few years as the Hong Kong government's plan to implement a public vote for the office of the Chief Executive is gathering pace. These positions and employment opportunities reflect a growing need for training and education in social policy and social development, particularly with a professional outlook and at a postgraduate level to meet the increasing demands for policy personnel with appropriate knowledge and competence.


Merit Award

Tang Kwong Leung Memorial Merit Award is to give recognition to the outstanding graduates from the MASPSD programme. The award is based on a holistic review of students’ academic performance. Two one-off prize of HK$5,000 are granted to the best two graduates in each academic year.


International Exchange Programme

Winter Institute

The Winter Institute is an exchange programme that provides an opportunity for postgraduate students to participate in a 2-week intensive workshop to be recognised as part of the assessment components in their future integrative project.

This programme is sponsored by the Collaborative Exchange Programme among The Department of Applied Social Sciences (APSS) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA) and The Department of Sociology, Peking University (PKU).

The aim of the programme is to provide students with an intensive introduction to how poverty and migration are viewed and responded in China and the United States via lectures, seminars discussion, and site visits. By interrogating and comparing these dynamics internationally, it provides the opportunity for regional comparison within China (Hong Kong, Guangdong and Yunnan), including a focus on rural-to-urban and west-to-east migration.

University of Calgary Social Work Summer Initiative


The 2-week Social Work Summer Initiative is designed for social policy & social development students to develop advanced knowledge and skills on Advanced Community Development Theory and Practice. The Summer Initiative emphasises theory and critical analysis to existing methods, as well as reflective practice to synthesise, test and disseminate new learning. During the training week, there is a one-day field trip for agency visits in Calgary area to broaden learning experience. The training components in the Initiative are recognised as part of the assessment components in integrative project.



Application period and submission of application
Applicants can obtain the application material and submit online application via Study@PolyU during Application Period.


Application Period  > Postgraduate Programmes > Select a Programme 


Submit an Application



Please contact Mr. Ken WAN at 2766 5784 or e-mail to Ms Angel SHING at for enquiry