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  • Bachelor of Social Services (with Specialties in Career Practice, Counselling, Disability Support and Coordination or Mental Health Support)

Bachelor of Social Services (with Specialties in Career Practice, Counselling, Disability Support and Coordination or Mental Health Support) Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand



Course info


Want to be a counsellor or career practitioner, or work in social services, disability or mental health?

Study the Bachelor of Social Services and help people improve their quality of life. This applied degree gives you the choice of a range of social services careers, specialising in:

  • Counselling
  • Career Practice
  • Disability Support and Coordination
  • Mental Health Support.

Skills required

  • Objectivity, responsibility, positivity and approachability
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Patience and a calm manner
  • A genuine interest in helping people
  • Ability to be responsive to clients.

You will study

The Bachelor of Social Services degree is made up of 20 courses in career practice, counselling, mental health and disability studies for each major completed over three years of full-time study (or up to six years of part-time study). Each year of the degree is made up of courses worth 120 credits.

During year one, the required foundations across all major subject areas are laid down.

You will choose one area of specialisation from counselling, career practice, disability or mental health at the end of your first year. Your chosen area of specialisation is designed to build on the concepts and knowledge developed in the core courses during year one and to re-focus your learning into that area of specialisation. This enables you to develop a sound knowledge base before applying that knowledge in the workplace.

Your workload

A full-time programme consists of eight 15-credit papers per year; each paper equates to 150 hours of work. This is spread across 32 weeks which works out at an average of 37.5 hours per week.
Further study options:

Our Graduate Diploma in Social Services pathway enables you to gain a further specialty with one year's additional study. Increase your career prospects with postgraduate study at Waikato, Massey or Auckland universities.

Course options

Here are the different ways in which you can study Bachelor of Social Services (with Specialties in Career Practice, Counselling, Disability Support and Coordination or Mental Health Support).

Full Time (3 years)

Tuition fees

Tuition fee: NZ $24,650 (first year)


17 Feb


Otago Polytechnic

Dunedin Campus,

Forth Street,


North Dunedin,

9016, New Zealand

Entry requirement for international students

Students need to have achieved a secondary school qualification that is equivalent to New Zealand’s NCEA levels (National Certificate of Educational Achievement). Entry requirements vary from country to country.

You must demonstrate relevant life/work experience.

You must submit references and a health declaration.

You must declare any criminal convictions and give permission for a police check.

International students will be individually assessed to ensure they meet degree-level entry requirements.

If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate English language skills equivalent to an Overall Academic IELTS 6.5 with no individual band score lower than 6.5 (achieved in one test completed in the last two years), OR

TOEFL Paper-based test (pBT): Score of 550 (with an essay score of 5 TWE)

TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT): Score of 60 (with a writing score of 18)

Cambridge English Qualifications: B2 First, or B2 First for schools, or C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency with a score of 169. No less than 162 in each skill;

Pearson Test of English (Academic): PTE (Academic) score of 50 with no band score lower than 42

Language Certificate: C1 Expert IESOL (LRWS) with PASS and no less than Pass in each skill

Otago Polytechnic*

Find your nearest IELTS test centre and test dates

* Please check with your chosen school for the exact entry requirements for your programme.

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Want to study this course?

We can help you with your admission to Otago Polytechnic today.
Education counselor Indrani Sinha,
IDP Expert
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