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BCS
Bachelor of Communication Studies

The world is full of stories that need to be told. Get the up-to-date industry skills you need to become a Public Relations, Marketing or Communications specialist. Learn how to communicate with purpose, connect with people, influence/shape people's beliefs and behaviour, and help organisations and their leaders build trust and credibility.

The Bachelor of Communication Studies is a three-year specialist degree that will give you expertise in strategic communication, combined with a general understanding of business.

Get the up-to-date industry skills you need to become a public relations or marketing specialist, and go on to an exciting career working in central or local government, private firms, PR/marketing agencies, or not-for-profit organisations.

This degree is an ideal choice if you enjoy talking to people, expressing ideas, being creative, and solving problems.

With the BCS degree, you’ll learn how to use the power of writing, speech and images to create engaging content that tells a powerful story about an organisation – through video, websites, social media, and so much more.

Gain the insights to design a communication campaign that can shape people’s beliefs and behaviour, address major social issues (eg. health, the environment), or attract new customers to buy a company's products and services.

Students majoring in Public Relations will develop the professional writing, interpersonal and leadership skills to work with both clients and journalists, and craft media releases that make news headlines. You'll know how to deliver effective communication strategies, build positive relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders, protect an organisation’s reputation from harm, and respond quickly to an emerging crisis.

Marketing majors will understand how to satisfy customers’ needs, build strong brands that stand out from the crowd, conduct market research, and design advertising that really works. You’ll also have the opportunity to build a commercial website and gain Google Analytics certification.

In first year, the core papers of the BCS will introduce you to the fundamentals of communication, marketing, business and management. In second year, the paper Communication Consulting will teach you how to conduct in-depth research such as surveys and interviews to clearly understand an organisation’s communication problems.

Then you’ll take more advanced papers focused on your specialist major subject/s, such as events management, crisis communication, professional speaking, media relations, digital marketing and branding, and much more.

Major subjects for this degree

Choose one of the following subjects as your 1st Major:

You can opt to take a second major or 1-2 minors in almost any undergraduate subject offered at the University of Waikato.

Practical industry experience

In the third year, all BCS students take a capstone paper on Communication Strategies. You’ll work in teams to deliver a communications/marketing strategy for a client organisation by applying all the theories and practices you’ve learnt in class.

You’ll also complete a work-integrated learning paper, which is a great opportunity to add practical PR or marketing experience to your CV by working on real projects for a host employer.

Why study communication at Waikato?

Waikato's BCS is the only communication degree in New Zealand – and one of only four outside the United States - that is certified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). This is your guarantee of a world-class learning experience, as the PRSA sets the gold standard for PR education.

Waikato is also ranked in the world's top 200 universities for Communication and Media Studies, and Business and Management Studies (QS World University Subject Rankings 2018).

You'll be studying at Waikato Management School,which is ranked in the top 1% of all business schools globally with its prestigious Triple Crown Accreditation from EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB.

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.

World-leading alumni

Our graduates are highly regarded by employers - their creative ideas can help companies to stand out in a crowded marketplace. You’ll be following in the footsteps of prestigious BCS alumni such as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Briar Thompson at Boston Consulting Group, and TVNZ journalist Lucas de Jong,


      Apply to enrol

      Key information

      Entry Requirements:

      University Entrance, or its equivalent, or on a case-by-case basis.

      Years: 3.0
      Points: 360
      Study Locations:Hamilton
      Start Dates: Semester A (February) and Semester B (July)
      Fees (Domestic): $6,591 (approx) per year
      See if you're eligible for fees-free study in your first year
      Fees (International): $28,525 per year
      Entry Requirements: Undergraduate International
      Faculty:
      *Tuition fees shown 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.

      Degree Planner

      Degree planner — Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS) - Single major overview

      Year 2

      200 Level
      Major

      200 Level
      Major

      200 Level
      Major

      200 Level
      Any Cultural Perspectives paper, eg. MNMGT202

      100 Level or above
      Elective

      200 Level
      Elective

      200 Level
      Elective

      Year 3

      300 Level
      Major

      300 Level
      Major

      300 Level
      Major

      300 Level
      Work-Integrated Learning paper

      200 Level
      Elective*

      200 Level
      Elective

      200 Level
      Elective

      • Major
      • Elective
      • Compulsory
      This information is provisional and subject to change.

      Required papers for BCS

      Open this section to read more

      BCS field papers:

      Ninth major paper:

      Students have the option to take a ninth major paper* instead of LCOMM300 Communication Strategies. However, as LCOMM300 is still compulsory, this would also mean taking LCOMM300 instead of an Elective* paper in Year 3.

      Work-integrated learning papers:

      Degree planner — Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS) - Double Major

      Year 2

      200 Level
      Major 1

      200 Level
      Major 1

      200 Level
      Major 1

      200 Level
      Any Cultural Perspectives paper, eg. MNMGT202

      200 Level
      Major 2

      200 Level
      Major 2

      200 Level
      Major 2

      Year 3

      300 Level
      Major 1

      300 Level
      Major 1

      300 Level
      Major 1

      300 Level
      Work-Integrated Learning paper

      300 Level
      Major 2

      300 Level
      Major 2

      300 Level
      Major 2

      • Major 1
      • Compulsory
      • Major 2
      This information is provisional and subject to change.

      Open this section to read more

      BCS field papers:

      Work-integrated learning papers:


      Choose a major

      You have the option to include one or two minors focused on almost any subject as part of your degree programme, instead of taking a 2nd Major or eight elective papers.

      A minor is four papers (60 points) in the same subject, including at least two papers above 100-level, plus any required papers for that minor.


      Career opportunities

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

      Jacinda Ardern Newly minted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern completed a Bachelor of Communication Studies at Waikato Management School in 2001.

      Read stories from other Bachelor of Communication Studies students


      Scholarships and prizes

      New to Waikato? The International Excellence Scholarship is worth up to $10,000.

      Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

      Find your scholarship


      The Bachelor of Communication Studies with Honours degree provides one year of postgraduate study (120 points) that follows on from the BCS degree.

      You are eligible to apply for the BCS(Hons) if you have been awarded the Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS) degree, or equivalent, and achieved a B grade average in the specialist subject that you intend to take for honours.

      To graduate from the BCS(Hons), you will need to:

      • Pass 120 points of papers at 500-level, including at least 60 points in one of the specialist subjects - Leadership Communication, Marketing or Public Relations - and at least 30 points in research.
      • Complete any specific required papers for your specialist subject.
      • Complete any Assurance of Learning requirements.

      The BCS(Hons) degree may be awarded with:

      • First Class Honours: equivalent to a GPA of 7 or higher
      • Second Class Honours (first division): equivalent to a GPA of 6
      • Second Class Honours (second division): equivalent to a GPA of 5
      • Third Class Honours: equivalent to a GPA of 2.

      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).


      Prepare yourself for a global business 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 tuition fees, and then credit the points back to your BCS degree.

      An overseas exchange will enhance your personal development, enable you to explore new places and cultures, and make your CV stand out to employers.

      We strongly encourage our students to 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).

      If you’re planning to go to Asia, you can apply for a Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia.


      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.


      Read the full Regulations for the Bachelor of Communication Studies in the University of Waikato Calendar.

      1) Degree requirements:

      To complete the Bachelor of Communication Studies, you need to pass at least 24 papers (360 points) in total, with at least 15 papers (225 points) above 100-level, and at least five papers (75 points) above 200-level.

      This includes:

      • no more than nine x 100-level papers (135 points)
      • ten x 200-level papers (150 points)
      • five x papers at 300-level (75 points)
      • all of the compulsory papers for the BCS, as well as the required papers for your major subject/s.
      • up to eight elective papers (120 points) can be taken from subjects listed outside the field of the degree
      • instead of taking elective papers, you may take a 2nd Major (120 points) or 1-2 Minor subjects (60-120 points)
      Conjoint degree requirements:

      If you are taking the Bachelor of Communication Studies as part of a conjoint degree programme, the minimum requirements are:

      • up to seven x 100-level (105 points)
      • five x 200-level papers (75 points)
      • at least five x 300-level (75 points)
      • at least 16 papers (240 points) are always taken in the field of the degree
      • A double major may not be taken as part of a conjoint degree programme.
      • Note: Only one cultural perspectives paper is required for a conjoint degree programme.

      2) Compulsory BCS field papers:

      You need to pass all of the compulsory field papers listed below:

      • ARTS105 Language in Context
      • LCOMM102 Communication in an Online Society
      • MRKTG101 Fundamentals of Successful Marketing
      • STMGT101 Introduction to Management
      • LCOMM203 Communication Consulting
      • Any UoW Cultural Perspectives paper, eg. MNMGT202 Intercultural Perspectives on Organisations
      • LCOMM300 Communication Strategies

      3) Elective BCS field papers:

      • Any Marketing paper
      • Any Public Relations paper
      • ACCTN101 Accounting for Management
      • DIGIB101 The World of Digital Business
      • ECONS101 Business Economics and the New Zealand Economy
      • FINAN101 Introduction to Finance
      • LCOMM101 Introduction to Leadership Communication
      • MGSYS101 Integrated Thinking – Digital Business and Supply Chain Management
      • PUBRL101 Introduction to Public Relations

      4) Work-integrated Learning paper

      You need to pass a Work-Integrated Learning papers at 300 Level (at least 15 points):

      • MNMGT395 Industry Experience
      • MNMGT396 Management Internship
      • MNMGT399 Report of an Investigation

      5) Single or double major requirements:

      • Single major requirements: To complete a single major in either Public Relations or Marketing for the BCS, students must pass nine papers (135 points) in that subject, including up to two 100-level papers (30 points), three 200-level papers (45 points), and at least four 300-level papers (60 points).
      • Minors and electives: If you are taking the Bachelor of Communication Studies with a single major, you have the option to take either 1-2 minor subjects (worth 60 points each), or up to eight elective papers (120 points). A minor can only be taken with a single major degree programme, not a double major. For a minor, you must pass four papers (60 points) in that subject, including at least two papers above 100-level, plus any required papers.
      • Second major requirements: You may opt to take a second major (double major) in almost any undergraduate major subject offered at the University of Waikato, instead of taking minors or elective papers. To complete a double major, students must pass eight papers (120 points) in each of the two subjects. This includes up to two 100-level papers (30 points), three 200-level papers (45 points) and at least three 300-level papers (45 points). A double major may not be taken as part of a conjoint degree programme.
      • Major papers: You must pass all of the required papers for your major subject/s, as shown in the online degree planners and the Catalogue of Papers. Note: At least one of the compulsory BCS compulsory field papers in Year 1 may also count towards your major subject/s, depending on your choice of major/s. A paper taken for a major may not also be counted towards another major or minor.
      • 9th Single Major paper: If you wish, you may swap your 9th single major paper for LCOMM300 Communication Strategies. This would give you an extra BCS field paper. For Marketing, the 9th major paper is either MRKTG305 or MRKTG306. For Public Relations, the 9th major paper is either DIGIB301LCOMM301LCOMM303 or PUBRL303.

      6) Employment Skills and Assurance of Learning:

      By the time you complete your degree, you also need to:

      • Demonstrate competency in writing skills
      • Demonstrate competency in employment skills (ie. you have passed the Employment Skills Module (ESM))
      • Completed any Assurance of Learning requirements, which are designed to measure how well learning outcomes are being met.

      Contacts

      Have a chat with one of our friendly advisers in the Management Student Centre (MSC) to help you plan your degree.

      Location: MSB.1.50, Waikato Management School, Hillcrest Road, Hamilton
      Phone: +64 838 4303
      Email: msc@waikato.ac.nz
      Website: www.management.ac.nz/msc

      Opening hours: 8.45am - 4.45pm Monday to Friday