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What will I learn?

Programme Aims

The emphasis of this programme is on 'scholarship in practice' in both teaching and learning and on the development of reflective and competent practitioners who can work with individuals, couples and families. Students are encouraged to enhance their sensitivity to recognise the complexity and inter-connectedness of the problems and issues that confront people; to reflect upon and draw implications from examining the social, economic and political contexts that influence human service practitioners and their clients with individual, marital and family problems; to relate family-centred practice theories and systems therapy to their own practice; and to develop personalised professional styles.


This programme is designed for practising social workers and related human service professionals who are interested in working with individuals, couples and families. The programme is offered on a mixed-mode basis, with the majority of its subjects being taught on weekday evenings.

Students who enrol in the 30-credit programme can either take an additional 14 credits (6 credits of coursework and 8 credits of clinical training) and prepare themselves for application for Clinical Membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) or complete 21 credits and exit 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 take subjects from the same pool of Electives is important in promoting their competence to learn and practice in a multidisciplinary context, which is one of the characteristics of a well-rounded professional.

During the course of study, students are equipped with the knowledge that is necessary to make integrative links between classroom learning and practice in the field.

Recognition & Prospects

The Programme has been fully accredited by the Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association (HKPCA). Graduates who have completed the Practicum course will fulfil a total of 180 supervised practice hours as required by HKPCA to qualify as an HKPCA Certified Counsellor.

Programme graduates are eligible to apply for membership in the Hong Kong Marriage and Family Therapy Association (HKMFTA).

Programme graduates (43 credits) fulfil the coursework requirement and half of the supervised direct client contact hours requirement for Clinical Membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

Programme Structure

To be eligible for the award, students are required to take 30 credits of coursework (5 Required Subjects and 5 Elective Subjects). Students who have successfully completed 5 Required Taught Subjects and 2 Elective Subjects may exit the programme with a Postgraduate Diploma.

Students who wish to prepare for application for Clinical Membership in the AAMFT* should continue their study and take an additional 12 credits (3 in coursework and 9 in clinical training). Upon completion of their study, these students should have taken 5 Required Subjects, 6 Elective Subjects and 3 subjects in clinical training. Clinical training consists of 300 practicum hours and 500 hours of clinical internship. For each Clinical Internship period, students undergo 250 direct practice hours with 50 hours of group supervision.

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

Study options

Full Time (1.5 years)

Tuition fees
Taught subject: HK $6,550 per credit; Practicum: HK $13,500 per credit; Clinical Internship: HK $10,250 per credit
Application deadline

Expected April 2023

More details

Start date

September 2022


The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

ST305, 3/F, Ng Wing Hong Building,

Hung Hom,

Kowloon City, Hong Kong, Kowloon

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree from an institution that is recognized by PolyU. In addition, you must meet the entrance requirements that are specified by individual programmes. PolyU may accept equivalent qualifications. The decision is made on an individual basis. A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 80 for the Internet based test or 550 for the paper-based test; OR An overall Band Score of at least 6 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

For international students

  • ​A Bachelor's degree in social work, social sciences or nursing (with psychiatric nursing experience).
  • 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 following minimum English language requirement for admission purpose, unless otherwise specified by individual programmes concerned:

A Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 80 for the Internet-based test or 550 for the paper-based test; OR

An overall Band Score of at least 6 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

PolyU ranks 66th in the QS World University Rankings and 91st in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings internationally.

  • Recognised worldwide for its academic reputation
  • Enjoys impactful research practices in different fields
  • Boasts world-class facilities
  • Welcomes international students from over 30 countries

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