Bachelor of Communication Studies

Get the up-to-date industry skills you need to become a Public Relations, Marketing or Communications specialist. This degree will teach you how to satisfy customer needs, influence people’s attitudes and behaviour, and drive strategic change within organisations.

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.

Thinking about enroling in the Bachelor of Communication Studies in 2017? Check out the current qualification information.

The BCS now includes a practical business experience paper in third year, and several new required papers have been introduced.

Our Bachelor of Communication Studies graduates are in demand with employers – they’re the ones who can help companies gain an edge in the crowded marketplace.

The BCS is a specialist three-year degree that will give you expertise in communication theory and practice, plus an understanding of business.

You'll gain the advanced skills required to become a strategy-based communication, marketing, or public relations specialist - working in either business, government or the not-for-profit sectors. It's an ideal choice if you enjoy talking to people and being creative.

Learn how to harness the power of communication – in all its written, spoken and visual forms – to develop creative marketing campaigns that can attract loyal new customers to buy a company's products.

Or you could design PR campaigns that encourage people to change their attitudes and behaviour towards specific issues, such as health screening, public transport, or the environment.

Our Bachelor of Communication Studies is the only one in New Zealand or Australasia that is certified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), in recognition of the outstanding experience we provide to students.

1st Major subjects

For this degree, choose one of the following subjects as your 1st major:

2nd Major/Minor subjects

For your elective papers, this degree gives you the freedom to take either a 2nd Major, or 1-2 Minors, or elective papers, in almost any undergraduate subject offered at the University of Waikato, such as Strategic Management or Writing Studies.

More about this degree

With the BCS you'll gain the skills to pitch news stories to journalists, write powerful speeches that resonate with audiences, and create content that tells a compelling story.

You'll also learn how to create positive relationships with key stakeholders, lead and motivate teams of people to deliver changes, translate communication strategies into action, and take steps to build or repair an organisation’s reputation.

In third year, you'll take advanced papers that build expertise in your major and minor subject/s, covering industry topics such as digital marketing, events management, media relations, health communication, and much more.

Have a chat to one of our advisers in the Management Student Centre to help you plan your programme of study.

Waikato has an international reputation

You'll be studying at Waikato Management School, which is ranked in the top 1% of business schools globally, having achieved Triple Crown Accreditation from EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB in 2005. This is a global benchmark of excellence in teaching and research.

Waikato is also ranked in the world's top 250 universities for Business & Management Studies by the prestigious QS World University Subject Rankings.

Career opportunities

  • Advertising account executive
  • Brand and campaign manager
  • Communications adviser
  • Community leader
  • Content/web editor
  • Digital marketing specialist
  • Events manager
  • Marketing/sales manager
  • Product category manager
  • Public relations adviser
  • Press secretary
  • Social media manager
  • Sponsorship/fundraising manager
  • Writer/editor

Key information

Study Locations Hamilton
Faculty Waikato Management School
Years 3
Points 360
Start Dates Semester A (February) and Semester B (July)
Domestic Fees $6,462 (approx) per year

Scholarships and prizes

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

Prepare yourself for a global career and broaden your horizons by going on an overseas student exchange to one of our partner universities in Europe, Asia, North America or Mexico. You can study overseas for 1-2 semesters, pay your usual Waikato fees, and then credit the points back to your BCS degree.

Management students can apply for the Waikato Management School International Exchange Scholarship, offered twice a year and worth up to $2,500.

You can also apply for the Discover SWUFE International Summer Camp Scholarship, which provides a fully-funded trip to China for two weeks of business lectures and cultural activities, hosted by the South-Western University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE).

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.

Choose from the following options:

For more information about the best study pathway for you, 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.

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.

If you don't meet the admission criteria, please email, as there may be other pathways you can take to study at the University of Waikato.


Management Student Centre

Location: MSB.1.50, Waikato Management School, Hillcrest Road, Hamilton
Phone: +64 838 4303 or 0800 654 303

Opening hours: 8.45am - 4.45pm Monday to Friday

Degree Structure

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
1st Major
1st Major
1st Major
1st Major
1st Major
1st Major
Communication in an Online Society
1st Major
1st Major
Fundamentals of Successful Marketing
Communication Consulting
1st or 2nd Major
Introduction to Management
Required paper
Communication Strategies
Introduction to Linguistic Communication
2nd Major or Minor or Elective
Business Experience
2nd Major or Minor or Elective
2nd Major or Minor or Elective
2nd Major or Minor or Elective
2nd Major or Minor or Elective
2nd Major or Minor or Elective
2nd Major or Minor or Elective
120 points 120 points 120 points
Compulsory Paper
Elective Paper

This degree planner is indicative only, and is subject to final approval. Some subjects may not be offered in 2018.