Master of Arts in Social Policy and Social Development

Sept 2022 Entry
Programme code: 54055

Duration & Credit Requirement

Duration & Credit Requirement

Stream Code

SDF (Full-time)
SDP (Part-time)

Mode of Study
Mixed Mode
Normal Duration

1 year (Full-time) with summer term
2 years (Part-time) with summer terms

Credits Required for Graduation


Fund Type
Initial Registration Credits

3 for local students
6 for non-local students

Tuition Fee

HK$160,500 per programme (HK$5,350 per credit) for local students
HK$196,500 per programme (HK$6,550 per credit) for non-local students

Programme Leader(s)

Dr Kaxton Yu-kwan Siu
PhD (Sociology), MPhil (Social Sciences), BSc (Mathematics)

  • This programme adopts multi-method approaches in teaching and learning such as online, classroom, skill laboratory, or blended learning.
  • ​Applications are considered on a rolling basis. Shortlisted candidates may be invited to attend an interview. Qualified candidates will be notified of their results via the eAdmission. Once all vacancies are filled, the remaining qualified applicants will be put on a waiting list. Early applications are strongly encouraged. 

Aims & Characteristics

Aims & Characteristics

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.



Unlike most other postgraduate programmes in social policy, this MASPSD is designed for those who are either thinking to embark on a career in Social Policy or 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 translate knowledge into action to bring about social development, especially through responsible policy analysis, formulation, impact assessment and evaluation.


The programme provides students with a solid foundation in social policy analysis that can be adapted and applied to 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.

Recognition & Prospects

Recognition & Prospects

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



Programme Structure

To be eligible for the award, students are required to take 30 credits (6 Required Subjects including the Integrative Project and 4 Elective Subjects).


Students who have successfully completed 21 credits (4 Required Subjects and 3 Elective Subjects) can exit the programme with a Postgraduate Diploma.


Core Areas of Study

Required Subjects

  • ​Policy Research Method
  • Social Context & Ethics
  • Social Policy Analysis & Social Accountability
  • Social Planning & the Policy Process
  • Theory & Practice of Social Development
  • Integrative Project


Elective Subjects

  • ​Assessing Globalisation & Social Development
  • Comparative Social Policy & Social Development
  • Contemporary Issues in Social Policy
  • Digital Technologies & Social Development
  • Emerging Issues of Social Policy in Asia
  • Gender, Social Policy & Social Development
  • Organisation Theories & Analysis
  • Social Impact Assessment
  • Social Policy & Social Development in China
  • Social Policy Evaluation
  • Special Seminars on Social Policy & Social Development
  • Quantitative Methods for Policy Research & Evaluation


Information on the subjects offered can be obtained at

Entrance Requirements

Entrance Requirements

  • ​A recognised Bachelor's degree;
  • Preference will be given to applicants with a background in social sciences and work experience relevant to social policy and social development.


If you are not a native speaker of English, and your Bachelor's degree or equivalent qualification is awarded by institutions where the medium of instruction is not English, you are expected to fulfil the University’s minimum English language requirement for admission purpose. Please refer to the "Admission Requirements" section for details.

Other Information

Other Information

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

Collaborative Study Programme

The PolyU - Washington University in St. Louis Collaborative Study Programme provides an opportunity for MASPSD graduates to complete a second Master's degree in 1 year full-time. Graduates of this programme who are admitted to the Master of Social Policy (MSP) programme at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and are granted a maximum transfer of 12 credits can complete the MSP programme in 1 year. 



For further information on admission matters, please contact:
Miss Katy Chan (tel: (852) 2766 5764 or email:

Student Message

Student Message

Enrolling in the MASPSD programme was one of the best decisions I have ever made. During my studies, I had many opportunities to acquire professional knowledge in analysing social policy and social development and eventually applying that knowledge in practice.


Throughout the programme, the lecturers were eager to provide guidance on various problems and issues related to social policy and social development, not only in Hong Kong but also worldwide. In lectures, we students benefitted from experienced professors specialising in various topics, and from community leaders and social services professionals sharing their expertise and practical insights. Outside the classroom, we were able to engage with consultancy firms, research centres, major NGOs and think tanks for policy research. Students had many opportunities to dissect the sources of various social issues and then construct policy proposals to address the core problems.


Beyond studies in Hong Kong, many exchange programmes were on offer, such as visiting Singapore’s public housing or a Summer Institute in collaboration with the University of Chicago, which allowed us to substantially broaden our horizons. As a graduate of the MASPSD programme, I urge you to join it: you will enjoy your studies as much as I did mine.

Sophia Tong

During my year as a postgraduate student in the MASPSD, I not only acquired knowledge and friendships, but also experienced personal growth.


I learned about the theories of social development and policy making, and also had opportunities to apply them. For example, the MASPSD offered us many venues through which we could examine the social world outside the classroom. We visited local communities in Hong Kong as well as taking study tours in Taiwan and Thailand to compare policy making in different places. In 2013, the department also organized the Summer Institute Programme in collaboration with the University of Chicago, to study the effects of globalisation on Hong Kong, Yunnan and America.


The professors in the department are highly dedicated teachers. We read extensively, and also learned research methods that helped us to analyse social issues. I have become close friends with some of my classmates, and have also come to know some of my professors better. I truly cherish these friendships. Furthermore, the MASPSD is a challenging programme that promotes personal growth. I was constantly pushed to transcend my limits and to realise my potential. My year in the MASPSD gave me an intellectual foundation that will help me succeed in my future postgraduate studies and my career. I am really glad that I made the decision to enrol in the MASPSD.

Lizzie Bi

Joining the MASPSD programme at PolyU is one of the best decisions I have ever made. After entering the programme, I was given opportunities to acquire professional knowledge in analysing social policy and social development, and eventually gained practical experience that broadened my horizons.


Throughout the programme we were given guidance on examining and discussing problems and issues in social policy and social development, not only in Hong Kong, but the world over. In lectures, we benefited from professors specialising in social policy and social development, and from community leaders and social services professionals sharing their expertise and practical insights. Outside the classroom, we were given opportunities to engage with research centres, major NGOs and think tanks involved in policy research so that we could further hone our skills in the formulation of social policy and in finding new possibilities and alternatives for social development. Moreover, the presence of international students fostered intercultural exchange and the development of a cross-cultural sensitivity and appreciation.


As a graduate of this programme, I can say that I truly enjoyed my studies and have no regrets about my decision to complete this course.

Caesar Lam

Additional Documents Required

Additional Documents Required

Employer's Recommendation


Transcript / Certificate

Academic transcripts and graduation certificates are required

Info Seminar

Info Seminar

No information is available at present.

Programme Leaflet

Programme Leaflet

Please click here to download.