Master of Social Science, majoring in Asia-Pacific Governance and Development

Future Students Australian courses Master of Social Science, majoring in Asia-Pacific Governance and Development

Master of Social Science, majoring in Asia-Pacific Governance and Development

James Cook University's (JCU) 1.5 years full-time (or part-time equivalent) Master of Social Science majoring in Asia-Pacific Governance and Development equips you with the knowledge and practical skills required to develop your current career. And if you're ready to move ahead outside your current job, your JCU qualification will be recognised and valued when you apply for Australian or international government, corporate or not-for-profit organisations.

You'll learn about issues that are highly relevant to today's social and policy-development challenges, and be ready to make a difference in a community or research role.

Townsville, Cairns
Start dates
1.5 years full-time
Part time available
Study mode
On campus, Off campus

Career opportunities

Your JCU Master’s degree will equip you with important additional knowledge, skills and strategies that will enable you to advance your current career, or develop a new leadership role in an Australian or international local, state or federal government role or a not-for-profit or community agency. For example, you could apply for roles in the United Nations or the World Bank or for a host of not-for-profit agencies that make an important difference to communities in the Asia-Pacific region.

The sorts of positions your qualifications will fit you for include:

  • Public health services policy analysis and development in Australia or the Asia Pacific region
  • Research roles that involve analysis and critical evaluation of social systems, institutions, structures and practices
  • Advocacy for diverse social sciences-related programs - especially those in tropical environments.

Course highlights

You can participate in this Masters full-time at JCU's Cairns or Townsville campus, or continue to work and study part-time. Benefits of choosing this JCU Master’s program include:

  • Opportunities to focus deeply on social science issues pertinent to tropical Australian and Asia-Pacific societies and environments
  • Benefits of studying with JCU experts who will share their knowledge with you and help you achieve your career goals
  • Access to JCU's own research institute - The Cairns Institute - and to the Institute's national and internationally-recognised scholars. It brings together the expertise and intellectual resources of more than 20 academic disciplines, creating a uniquely robust and relevant research, consulting, training and teaching hub for Northern Australia, South and South-East Asia and the Pacific
  • The possibility of reducing your study time, if you are eligible to claim advanced standing for relevant studies you've completed in the 5 years prior to commencing this course.

Course overview

This JCU course equips you with advanced knowledge of social theory, practice and professional ethics in a single discipline or an interdisciplinary field of the social sciences. In addition to the opportunity to be supported by JCU's committed lecturers as you design and execute a substantial social science research-based project, core subjects and options available to you include:

  • Asia Pacific Development: Culture and Globalisation
  • Government and Politics in Developing Areas
  • Environmental Economics, Political Ecology, and Political Economy
  • Social Impact Assessment: Environmental Management
  • The History of Global Connections
  • International Relations and Foreign Policy
  • Community Development.

How to apply

Complete an online application through our Online Application Portal.


MSocSc – Asia-Pacific Governance and Development Major

Major code


Credit points

18 credit points

Major Structure


AN5006:03 Asia Pacific Development:Culture and Globalisation

PL5110:03 Shifting Geopolitical Environments in Emerging States


Select 9 credit points of specified level 5 subjects

EV5003:03 Environmental Economics

EV5601:03 Social Impact Assessment:Environmental Management

HI5001:03 The History of Global Connections

PL5153:03 Politics and Foreign Relations

WS5103:03 Community Development


Select 3 credit points of any level 5 subjects

Pathway into course

For prerequisites and pathways into this course visit the admission requirements section in the Handbook.


Master of Social Science

Course code


Course type

Masters Degree (AQF Level 9)


Tropical Environments and Societies

Award Requirements

Admission Requirements

Course pre-requisites

Completion of an AQF level 7 bachelor degree in a social science discipline, with an overall grade point average of 5.0 (i.e. credit average), within the previous five years; or

Completion of an AQF level 8 qualification in any discipline, within the previous five years; or

Other qualifications recognised by the Dean, College of Arts, Society and Education as equivalent to the above.

Minimum English language proficiency requirements

Applicants of non-English speaking backgrounds must meet the English language proficiency requirements of Band 1 Schedule II of the JCU Admissions Policy.

Special admission requirements

Offers will be made for a specified major based on the applicant’s academic and professional experience. Admitted students wishing to transfer to another major must seek approval from the relevant Major Coordinator.

Academic Requirements for Course Completion

Credit points

36 credit points as per course structure

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of the Master of Social Science, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate and reflect critically on advanced and integrated knowledge of social theory, practice and professional ethics in a single discipline or interdisciplinary field of the social sciences

  • Demonstrate knowledge of research principles and methods in a single discipline or interdisciplinary fields of the social sciences

  • Analyse critically and evaluate social systems, institutions, structures and/or practices

  • Generate, analyse, synthesise and evaluate complex perspectives, arguments and sources of qualitative and/or quantitative data pertinent to complex social, political, historical, economic, environmental and/or cultural issues, particularly those related to quality of life in the tropics worldwide

  • Interpret and justify to a specialist and non-specialist audience theoretical propositions, methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions through advanced literacy and, where appropriate, numeracy skills

  • Design and execute a substantial social science research-based project with a high level of autonomy and accountability

  • Apply social theory to research, demonstrating advanced understanding of the relationship between theory and practice, including recent developments, in a single discipline or interdisciplinary fields of the social sciences

  • Respectfully and responsibly apply expert knowledge of diversity and difference among people, especially vulnerable and Indigenous peoples, in scholarship and/or professional practice

  • Adapt and apply knowledge and skills to identify complex problems and pose creative solutions to social and/or environmental challenges facing peoples and societies in diverse tropical contexts worldwide.

Course Structure


SS5103:06 Post-Graduate Research Methods for the Social Sciences

SS5012:12 Social Science Coursework Masters Thesis


Select a major from the Table A


Type of major



Credit points in major

18 credit points


Majors may be available for mid-year entry.  Approval will need to be sought from the course coordinator.




Asia-Pacific Governance and Development




Environment and Heritage




Indigenous Studies




Major includes external components - not available to International students requiring a Student Visa









Not all majors are available externally


Expected time to complete

18 months full-time or equivalent part-time

Maximum time to complete

5 years

Maximum leave of absence

1 year


Course progression requisites


Course includes mandatory professional placement(s)


Special assessment requirements


Professional accreditation requirements


Maximum allowed Pass Conceded (PC) grade


Supplementary exam for final subject

A student who has failed the final subject towards the award and who gained 40% or more of the marks for that subject may be granted a supplementary examination in that subject. However if that subject is required for accreditation, then the criteria specified by that accreditation will apply.

Advanced Standing


Students may apply for advanced standing for previous tertiary study in accordance with the Advanced Standing and Articulation policy associated procedures

Maximum allowed

18 credit points

Up to 12 credit points of advanced standing will be granted for an AQF Level 8 Bachelor Honours Degree or Graduate Diploma in a cognate* discipline for SS5103:06 and up to 6 credit points for optional subjects from the major

* Anthropology, Archaeology, Criminology, Economics, Environmental Studies, Geography, History, Human Services, Indigenous Studies, Political science, Sociology.


Advanced standing will be granted only for studies completed in the 5 years prior to the commencement of this course


Advanced standing gained for any subject shall be cancelled 10 years after the date of the examination upon which the advanced standing is based if, by then, the student has not completed this course

Other restrictions

Not applicable

Award Details

Award title


Approved abbreviation


Inclusion of majors on testamur

The major studied shall appear on the testamur

Exit with lesser award

Students who exit the course prior to completion, and have completed the relevant number of credit points of appropriate subjects, may be eligible for the award of Graduate Diploma of Social Science

Course articulation

Not applicable

This website is intended as general guide. Prospective students should contact the university to confirm admission requirements and the availability of courses. James Cook University reserves the right to alter any course or admission requirement without prior notice.