Programme Codeapply now 75x34



Mode of Study


Normal Duration
3 years (Part-time)


Credits Required for Award
MASW(MH):30; PgDSW(MH):21


Programme Leader
Dr Samuel LEUNG 


# This programme adopts multi-method approaches in teaching and learning such as online, classroom, skill laboratory, or blended learning.








The Specialism aims to develop students’ competence and resilience as reflective practitioners who work with people with mental health problems. Students will learn to proactively respond to the challenges and changes in mental health problems in our society, and in working with clients with mental illness within service fields in particular. Students will be helped to integrate theories and practice from medical, psychological and social work disciplines, so that they can generate practice wisdom and insights of mental health practice.



The emphasis of teaching and learning of this Specialism is on ‘Scholarship in Practice’ and development of reflective and competent practitioners who posses the following abilities:

  1. Contextual reflection:
    • The ability to recognize the unique features in the social, cultural, and political contexts in working with persons with mental problems. Students are encouraged to embrace a holistic and multidimensional perspective in perceiving, intervening and rehabilitating clients with mental problems;
  2. Relating theory to practice:
    • The ability to go beyond ‘espoused theories’ and systematically test, reflect and develop them in to practice wisdom & insights in working with clients with mental problems. They are also keen in interpreting, evaluating and analyzing mental health service, policies and intervention models;
  3. Recognizing the complexity and inter-connectedness of problems and issues:
    • The ability to relate one’s specialism to the context of professional practice and to the Hong Kong community as a whole, and to appreciate the ethnical and value considerations underlying their practice when working with clients with various degrees of mental health problems. Mental problems are not only perceived as personal impairments and diseases, but also as inter-connectedness with social and cultural events experienced by the individual;
  4. Evolving personalized views towards mental health practice:
    • The ability to continually reflect on one’s professional self and to evaluate related practice theories into personalized ideas and views that are congruent with one’s personal style of practice and with the evolving practice context. They are also keen to evaluate, develop, and enrich such personalized view to form better practice for clients with mental problems.



  1. Mixed-mode Study
    • This is a Specialism specially designed for practising social workers, teachers, nurses and other human professionals.
    • The Specialism is offered on a mixed-mode basis with the majority of subjects being taught in the evening.
  2. Flexible in Study Pattern
    • Students will be allowed the flexibility to choose their own individualised learning paths according to their pace and interests. The normal duration of study is 3 years with a maximum study period of 6 years. Having completed 21 credits (7 subjects), students may apply to graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work (Mental Health).
  3. Maximization of Choices in Subject Selection
    • The Specialism is rested in a programme with a configuration multiple subjects. The programme is the only one of its kind in post-graduate training in applied social sciences in Hong Kong. Allowing students from different specialisms to take subjects from the same pool of electives is extremely important in promoting students’ competence to learn and to practise in a multi-disciplinary context, which is one of the characteristic of all-rounded professionals.
  4. Holistic and Multi-dimensional Perspective
    • This specialism provides students with a holistic and multi-dimensional perspective in understanding and working with individuals who are confronting mental health and mental illness issues. It embraces a humanistic and deep understanding of clients with mental problems. It also equips students with current knowledge of international trends in mental health practice. This enables students not only to gain knowledge and practice competence from the prevalent clinical perspectives, but also to embrace a humanistic orientation to promote mental growth and mental health for individuals, families and communities.
  5. Relating Theory and Practice
    • During the course of study, students will be equipped with the knowledge to make integrative linkages between classroom learning and direct field practice. At the final phase of their study programme, each of the students will undertake a 3-credit integrative project. The aim of the project is to advance the students’ “Scholarship in Practice” through critical reflection on their current practice and the development of their personalized approach to professional practice.



Students are required to take 30 credits (5 required subjects, 1 required subject on Integrative Project and 4 elective subjects) to be eligible for the award of Master of Arts in Social Work (Mental Health). Students who have successfully completed 21 credits can apply early exit the Programme with Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work (Mental Health).

Tentative List of Subjects*

Required Subjects

  • Adolescent Mental Health
  • Mental Health and the Aged
  • Mental Health Practice
  • Occupational Mental Health
  • Psychopathology: Holistic and Humanistic Orientations
  • Integrative Project

Elective Subjects
(choose 4 subjects from the pool)

  • Advanced Seminars in Human Services
  • Assessment and Instructional Strategies for Children and Youth with Specific Learning Disabilities
  • Brief Therapy
  • Career Counselling: Theories and Practice
  • Cognitive Behavioural Intervention
  • Contemporary Issues in Social Policy
  • Counselling Assessment and Measurement
  • Delinquency and Family
  • Evolution in Family Therapy: Structural and Systemic Family Approaches
  • Guidance & Counselling for Students with Special Needs
  • Marriage, Separation, Divorce & Reconstituted Families
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Practice Research
  • Social Context and Ethics
  • Social Policy and Social Development in China
  • Supervision and Professional Development
  • Theories & Models of Counselling
  • Violence in Intimate Relationships
  • Workplace Counselling

* The subjects offered may be altered at the discretion of the Department.



  1. A Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, Social Sciences or related disciplines;
  2. Relevant work experience is desirable.



Human services professionals such as social workers, teachers and nurses are spontane- ously challenged by clients with various degrees of mental health problems. A master level training in mental health specialism surely enhances their practice competence in handling clients’ mental health problem which may result in better career prospect and development.



Prospective applicants can obtain the application material and submit online applications via Study@PolyU during the Application Period. 


Application Period 

http://www.polyu.edu.hk/study  > Taught Postgraduate > Select a Programme 


Submit an Application 




Please contact Ms Lilian LEUNG at 2766 5716 or e-mail to sspg@polyu.edu.hk for enquiry.