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Graduate Certificate of Policy and Applied Social Research


Faculty of Arts
Graduate Certificate of Policy and Applied Social Research (GradCertPASR)
Admission Requirement:
Australian level 7 bachelor's qualification or recognised equivalent with GPA of 4.50 (out of 7.00); or Australian level 7 bachelor's qualification or recognised equivalent in relevant field with GPA of 4.00 (out of 7.00)
English Language Proficiency:
IELTS of 6.5 overall with minimum 6.0 in each band, or equivalent
Study Mode:
Full-time, Part-time
Attendance Mode:
Candidature Length:
Full-time: 0.5 years
North Ryde — Session 1 (February)
North Ryde — Session 2 (July)
Volume of Learning:
Equivalent to 0.5 years
General requirements:
Minimum number of credit points at 800 level or above 16
Completion of other specific minimum requirements as set out below

In order to graduate students must ensure that they have satisfied all of the general requirements of the award.

Specific minimum requirements:

Credit points

800 level

Doing Social Survey Research (4)
Qualitative Methods (4)
Developing Social Policy (4)
Evaluation and the Policy Process (4)
8cp from
Developing Social Policy (4)
Evaluation and the Policy Process (4)
Activism and Policy Design (4)
Doing Social Survey Research (4)
Qualitative Methods (4)
Professional Internships in Social Research (4)
Social Care and Human Services (4)
Political Economy for Social Policy and Research (4)
Work and Employment (4)
Sociology of Institutions and Organisations (4)
Advanced Quantitative Methods (4)


Program Learning Outcomes and Additional Information
AQF Level Level 8 Graduate Certificate
CRICOS Code 084526G
Overview and Aims of the Program The program provides a selection of research and policy units designed for practitioners looking to update or gain specific new skills, and as an entry point into further postgraduate coursework study.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. explain key processes through which social policy is developed (K, C)
2. assess how to appropriately apply either qualitative or quantitative methods to selected social research questions (K, T, P)
3. explain key aspects of social policy development processes (T, P)
4. apply ethically and socially informed judgements to the use of social research (E, A)
5. communicate sociological concepts effectively to academic audiences (C)
6. reflect on the role of social researchers in policy processes (E, A).
Learning and Teaching Methods The degree assists students to develop a range of social research, analytic, evaluative and communications skills and to critically apply their knowledge to real world problems.

A unique feature of the degree is its applied focus. Students engage directly in social research, developing social research instruments, applying those instruments in the field and evaluating results.

Students will develop a range of communication skills. This includes traditional academic writing skills, presentation skills and report and policy based writing. This reflects a pedagogy grounded in praxis, where theoretical knowledge is informed by contemporary experience, and can then inform action in a specific social context of social research and policy.

Most units involve lecture and tutorial classes, or seminars, however there are also opportunities to take Professional and Community Engagement (PACE) units as part of the degree.
Assessment Assessments are based exclusively on the submission and presentation of individual and group coursework. The applied nature of the program involves a range of assessment modes, including individual written assignments, exams, group discussions, presentations, research design, report writing and policy analysis.

The coursework is designed to develop and assess your cognitive, research, interpersonal and critical capabilities. There is an emphasis on critical and creative thinking and independent research. Assessments also develop skills in professional and ethical judgement, as well as clear written and oral communication. A unique feature of the program is its focus on practical social research skills, and this is reflected in tasks to design and execute research as well as analysing, evaluating and reporting policy information.

All courses involve independent, research based learning and application of theoretical knowledge to policy issues.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability The Graduate Certificate is primarily aimed at practitioners looking to update or gain specific skills to advance their careers in policy, research and human service roles in the public, non-government and private research agencies. It is also an entry point for those seeking further coursework study.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Accreditation This is an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) accredited qualification.

2017 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148