Master of Social Sciences
(Social Service Management)

Director's Message

Management in social service sector is a structural guarantor for ensuring the provision of quality service to the public. The multifaceted aspects of management may include personnel, finance, information, premise, inventory and more recently 'knowledge' management and risk management. Social service management differs from business management in having the 'social' dimension in which social goals are to be emphasized, rather than profit-making. Nonetheless, new challenges in contemporary society, especially in the context of 'rolling back of the welfare state', in which neo-liberalism and marketization have been increasingly prevalent, have made social service management increasingly complex and challenging.

In the local Hong Kong context, the lump sum grant subvention system, the service contract system, the competitive bidding system, the inter-sectoral partnership and collaboration, have all posed both challenges and opportunities for social service development into exploring new directions, on top of improving existing service delivery systems.

The MSSM program provides a wide array of courses that enable students to have exposures to such pertinent issues and challenges, to prepare and equip them for taking up managerial positions in social service agencies.

Dr. Frances Law
Associate Professor


The social service sector demands the managerial staff to embody a host of management knowledge in various areas including human resources, finance, fund raising, marketing, organizational management, strategic management, social policy and administration, research and evaluation, information technology in service delivery, etc. This programme prepares the social service managers to meet the challenges faced by human service organizations today and in the future.

Salient features

The social service sector demands managerial staff to take responsibility for particular tasks. These include launching fund raising campaign, promoting community relations and the application of information and communication technology etc. The programme’s curriculum has been enriched for meeting these professional demands since 2005. Apart from the following popular elective courses, students are offered plenty of choices in selecting elective courses in various disciplines.

  1. Fund raising and proposal development Securing funds for social services have become more and more competitive. Reducing reliance on any single source of income, NGOs have attempted to diversify sources of funding. Raising funds and writing proposals have been regular activities of NGOs. This course covers topics such as the concepts of philanthropy, the understanding of giving behaviour (including annual giving and capital giving), cost-effectiveness of various fund raising activities, use of volunteers, building prospect relationships, stewardship (accountability and reporting), ethical issues of fund raising, making a business case for new initiatives, obtaining grant, and project support, etc.

  2. Marketing social welfare programmes and promoting community relations As social welfare organizations increasingly adopt the business model of practice, they have to significantly promote their relationship and communication with their “customers” or service users through marketing their “products” and to improve community relations. This course provides students with some basic techniques in marketing and community relations with special emphasis on the social service sector.

  3. Information and communication technology for human service organizations Information and communication technology is becoming an indispensable machinery in any organization. This course examines the utilization of information technology and computers in social service agencies. Major areas of study include (1) a review of the trends in the use of computerized information in human service agencies; (2) an exploration of software frequently used in the human services; and (3) the ethics of using information technology and computers in the human services.

  4. Economics for social welfare This course aims at helping students examine the use of concepts and theories from the economics discipline in analyzing social policies. As working knowledge of economic concepts and theories is essential for most professional roles in social administration, this course seeks both to convey the framework and concepts with which economists approach issues and to increase the likelihood that students will incorporate these in their own thinking about policy. Topics discussed will include the relationship between economic growth and social development, the role of the public sector in human services, the financing of social services, and the economic effects of social spending. Current topics such as the economics of aging will also be examined.

Learning Outcomes

After the completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  • Critical intellectual enquiry and acquiring up-to-date knowledge and research skills in management of social service organizations
  • Application of social service management knowledge and research skills to practice or theoretical exploration, demonstrating originality and creativity
  • Tackling novel situations and ill-defined problems in management of social service organizations
  • Collaboration and communication of social service management knowledge to specialists in social services and the general public
  • Awareness of and adherence to personal and social service professional ethics
  • Enhancement of leadership and advocacy skills in social services and social policy