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Master of Arts in Social Work (Mental Health)

Sept 2022 Entry
Programme code: 54047

Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
Department of Applied Social Sciences

Stream Code

MHF (Full-time)
MHP (Part-time)

Mode of Study Mixed Mode

Normal Duration

1.5 years (Full-time)
3 years (Part-time)

Credits Required for Graduation


Initial Registration Credits

3 for local students
6 for non-local students

Fund Type Self-Financed

Tuition Fee

HK$4,600 per credit for local students
HK$5,600 per credit for non-local students

Programme Leader(s)

Dr Leung Sze-ming, Samuel
PhD (PolyU), MASW (PolyU), BASW (PolyU)


  • ​This programme is offered within the Postgraduate Scheme in Applied Social Sciences.
  • This programme adopts multi-method approaches in teaching and learning such as online, classroom, skill laboratory, or blended learning.
  • This programme admits students in alternate years and will not invite applications for admission in 2022/23.

Aims & Characteristics

Programme Aims

This programme aims to develop students' competence and resilience as reflective practitioners who work with people with mental health problems. They learn to respond proactively to the challenges of and changes in mental health problems in our society and to those encountered in working with clients with mental illness within social service fields in particular. Students are encouraged to integrate theory and practice from the medical, psychological and social work disciplines, thus allowing them to generate practice-based wisdom and insights for mental health practice.



This programme is 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. On completion of 21 credits (7 subjects), students can apply to graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma.


This is one of the two specialisms under the Master of Arts in Social Work Programme. With a configuration of multiple subjects, the programme is the only one of its kind in postgraduate training in applied social sciences in Hong Kong. Allowing students from different specialisms to choose from the same pool of Elective Subjects is extremely important in promoting their competence to learn and practice in a multidisciplinary context, which is one of the characteristics of a well-rounded professional.


This programme provides students with a holistic and multidimensional perspective on 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 them not only to gain knowledge and practice competence from prevalent clinical perspectives, but also to embrace a humanistic orientation to promote mental growth and mental health for individuals, families and communities.


During the course of study, students will be equipped with the knowledge that is needed to make integrative links between classroom learning and direct field practice.

Recognition & Prospects

Human services professionals such as social workers, teachers and nurses are spontaneously 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.


Programme Structure

Students are required to take 30 credits (5 Required Subjects, 1 Required Subject on an 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 (5 Required Subjects and 2 Elective Subjects) can apply early exit the Programme with Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work (Mental Health).


Core Areas of Study

Required Subjects

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


Elective Subjects (choose 4)

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


Information on the subjects offered can be obtained at www.polyu.edu.hk/apss.

Entrance Requirements

  • ​A Bachelor's degree in social work, social sciences or related disciplines.


Relevant work experience is desirable.


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.


For enquiries about this programme, please contact:
Ms Lilian Leung (tel: (852) 2766 5716 or email: sspg@polyu.edu.hk).

Programme Leaflet

Please click here to download.