Bachelor of Communication Studies

Gain the up-to-date industry skills you need to become a Public Relations, Marketing or Leadership Communication specialist, and help to drive business success. You'll study at the only communications school in Australasia certified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

James Forster

Marketing, Public Relations
Working for the Chiefs Rugby franchise has been the perfect career start for James Forster, a social media marketing specialist who did his Bachelor of Communication Studies degree at Waikato University.

Courtney Stayte

Public Relations

The Bachelor of Communication Studies qualification is changing.

Thinking about enroling in the Bachelor of Communication Studies in 2018 and beyond? Check out the updated qualification details.

The Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS) degree blends the business and creative disciplines with an in-depth understanding of communication theory and practice.

Grasp this opportunity to make a difference with your voice and writing, and work in business, government or the not-for-profit sectors in New Zealand or overseas.

You will gain the up-to-date skills required to become a strategy-based communication, marketing or public relations specialist.

Develop the advanced communication skills to influence people's attitudes and behaviour, forge valuable relationships, and drive strategic change within organisations.

We also teach you about sustainable business practices and being socially responsible, to help you make a positive difference to society.

Our graduates go on to pursue exciting careers in a wide range of organisations. Watch videos of Public Relations graduates here.

Waikato has an international reputation

Waikato is the only university in New Zealand or Australasia - and one of only 37 universities worldwide - whose Public Relations programme is certified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), regarded as the industry gold standard in public relations education.

You'll be studying at Waikato Management School, which is ranked in the top 1% of the business schools worldwide, having achieved Triple Crown Accreditation from EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB,This is a globally recognised benchmark of excellence in teaching and research.

Major subjects

For this degree, you will major in one or two of the subjects below - you don't need to decide until second year.

If you decide to take a second major, this could be a management subject that complements your degree, such as Strategic Management or Electronic Business, or any other undergraduate subject offered at the University of Waikato, such as Writing Studies or Spanish.

 Career opportunities

  • Advertising executive
  • Marketing specialist
  • Brand/product category manager
  • Communications manager
  • Media relations adviser
  • Press secretary
  • Public relations officer
  • Digital marketing specialist
  • Events manager
  • Publications editor
  • Management trainer
  • Social media manager
  • Writer/editor
  • Publicist
  • Professional fundraiser
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Key information

Study Locations Hamilton
Faculty Waikato Management School
Years 3
Points 360
Start Dates Semester A (February) and Semester B (July)
Domestic Fees $6,335 per year
International Fees $25,865 per year
Tuition fees shown above are indicative only and may change. There are additional fees and charges related to enrolment please see the Table of Fees and Charges for more information. You will be sent an enrolment agreement which will confirm your fees.


These are all the subjects available for the Bachelor of Communication Studies

Animal Behaviour
Applied Computing
Biological Sciences
Computer Science
Creative Practices
Creative Technologies
Design Media
Earth Sciences
Education and Society
Environmental Planning
Environmental Sciences
Health Communication
Health, Sport and Human Performance
Human Development
Human Resource Management
Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management
International Languages and Cultures
Labour Studies
Leadership Communication
Management Education Abroad
Maori Media and Communication
Materials and Processing
Māori and Pacific Development
Māori Cultural Studies/Tikanga Māori
Māori Language/Te Reo Māori
Political Science
Population Studies
Public Policy
Public Relations
Screen and Media Studies
Social Policy
Strategic Management
Supply Chain Management
Theatre Studies
Tourism Management
Women's and Gender Studies
Writing Studies

Scholarships and prizes

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

Want to travel while studying?

Take an overseas study exchange for 1-2 semesters, and credit the points back to your Waikato degree!

Prepare yourself for a global career and broaden your horizons by going on a student exchange to one of our partner universities in Europe, Asia, USA, Canada or Mexico. Contact the University of Waikato Student Exchange team to find out more.

BCS students can apply for the Waikato Management School International Exchange Scholarships, offered twice a year and worth up to $2,500 each (depending on the study destination).

From second year, you may also be eligible to apply for the Discover SWUFE International Summer Camp Scholarships. These provide funding for two or more Waikato management students to visit Chengdu, China for two weeks of lectures, business trips and cultural activities.

Graduate or postgraduate study lets you develop advanced knowledge in an area of management that you are passionate about, giving you an edge in the job market.

The BCS(Hons) degree provides a year of postgraduate study in a specialist subject following your bachelor's degree. Learn more about our Honours programme.

Or you may wish to go straight into a professional or research-focused master's degree (120, 180 or 240 points).

Choose from the following options:

For more information, please talk to an adviser in the Management Student Centre (MSC).

Waikato Management School has a vibrant student culture that offers plenty of social and learning opportunities.
You can meet like-minded people through student clubs, such as:

As a Bachelor of Communication Studies student, you are also eligible to become a student member of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ), for a discounted fee.

We offer a student mentor programme for first-year management students to help you make the academic transition from high school to university.

For expert advice on writing essays and reports, contact our team of specialist teachers in the WMS Language and Learning Development Unit, located in the Management Student Centre (MSB1.50).

Check out the Waikato Management School Facebook page for the latest news and events.

Hands-on learning and industry experience

Our students learn by applying theories and concepts to real-world busines cases, engaging class discussions, group work, and a variety of practical experiences.

  • In first year you'll compete against other teams to come up with the best idea for an innovative new product. You'll conduct market research and plan a full marketing strategy around design, promotion, price and distribution. You'll then showcase your product for judging in a ‘trade show’ environment.
  • You'll learn how to write media releases, work with journalists, create corporate brochures and broadcast news, deliver speeches, and use digital technologies to create websites and advertisements.
  • Public Relations students will create and deliver a PR campaign on behalf of a real client in their third year.
  • You'll have the opportunity to do a workplace internship or gain industry experience with a relevant business or organisation in New Zealand, or conduct applied research.
  • Students who achieve a B+ grade average can apply for the prestigious MCOM387 Communication Internship.

Gain the skills to succeed at university

For help with writing essays and reports, APA referencing and giving oral presentations, you can access a team of specialist teachers in the WMS Language and Learning Development Unit, located in the Management Student Centre (MSB1.50).

We also have a student mentoring programme to provide extra help to first-year management students. This aims to ease the academic and social transition from high school to university, by connecting you with other students who've been in your shoes before. Mentors can provide guidance on everything from study strategies and papers to social activities.

You're eligible to apply for the Bachelor of Communication Studies if you have University Entrance, or its equivalent. All other applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

For more details visit see the admissions criteria and University Admissions Statute.

International students are required to have 13 years of school study and meet the English language requirements.

  • If you don't have a strong background in literacy, you may be directed to take MCOM104 Written Communication for Management to help prepare you before attempting MCOM133 Introduction to Corporate Communication.
  • Some first-year papers may have specific entry requirements, so please check the catalogue of papers carefully.
  • If you don't meet the prerequisites listed here, please contact as there may be other pathways you can take to study in this field. The catalogue of papers can be found at


Management Student Centre (MSC)

Phone: +64 838 4303 or 0800 654 303
Opening hours: 8.45am - 4.45pm Monday to Friday
Location: MSB.1.50, Hillcrest Road, University of Waikato, Hamilton

Degree Structure

*Required choice paper. Choose one from:

  • STMG191 Introduction to Management
  • MNGT100 Management & Sustainability

BCS programme requirements

Degree requirements:

To graduate from the BCS, you'll need to complete all the requirements for your programme:

  • Pass all the compulsory papers for your degree and your major subject/s.
  • Pass at least 360 points, including at least 240 points above 100-level, and 80 points above 200-level.
  • Include 40 points above 100-level in a different subject/s from your first major.
  • Pass a Writing Competency Module in your first semester. If you don't pass, you'll be directed to take the paper MCOM104 Written Communication for Management instead.
  • Pass a Computer Competency Module in your first year.
  • Take an Employment Skills Module.

Major subject requirements:

For your first major, you can choose either Leadership Communication, Marketing or Public Relations. For each of these subjects, you'll need to:

  • Pass 120 points above 100-level, including at least 60 points above 200-level.
  • Complete any specific paper requirements for your subject major/s.
  • Note: If you choose two majors from the subjects offered by Waikato Management School, you may count the compulsory paper MCOM200 towards your second major.

Other choices:

  • Generic 2nd major: You can choose to take a second major from any other undergraduate subject offered at the University of Waikato. If it's not a Waikato Management School subject, you'll need to follow the regulations stated by the other faculty. You'll also need to take a 200-level major paper instead of a year one elective paper; or take an extra paper for your BCS degree. For specific paper requirements, please refer to the relevant subject page.
  • Specialisation: You can choose to take a 'Specialisation' (60 points) instead of a second major. For the BCS degree, choose from Events Management, Health Communication, a language (Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Te Reo Maori) or Management Education Abroad.
  • Elective papers: Students who decide to take elective papers instead of a second major may take a maximum of 80 points from outside the field of the degree.

Learning goals:

We expect the following outcomes for graduates of the Bachelor of Communication Studies:

  • Commercial context: A broad understanding of the business environment and organisational context in which management decisions are made.
  • Connectedness: Able to think and act globally and locally.
  • Citizenship: Developed awareness and holistic understanding of their role as responsible citizens within their organisations and society more generally.
  • Critical thinking: Able to engage with real-world problems in a theoretically informed, rigorous and questioning manner.
  • Communication: Excellent oral, aural, written and electronic communication skills.
  • Collaboration: Interpersonal skills required to participate effectively within and between organisations.
  • Overall: A thorough understanding of communication theory and practice. In addition to this general communication expertise, graduates will possess specialist knowledge in selected major subject areas of communication.

Assurance of Learning:

Assessments for the BCS have been designed to measure how well learning outcomes are being met.  Your Assurance of Learning assessments are embedded as part of your compulsory papers.

Conjoint degrees:

This degree can be taken with another degree of your choice. Conjoint degrees are taken simultaneously, and allow you to complete two degrees in a shorter period of time than would normally be possible.

  • You'll need to complete all the special requirements for both degrees; enrol in at least one paper for each degree each year, and count each paper towards only one degree.
  • See the regulations for conjoint degrees for full details.

For full details of degree and major requirements, see the Waikato Management School Student Handbook and the University regulations.

Degree Planners

View all undergraduate degree planners and further information about our degree structures.