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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.

Our Bachelor of Communication Studies graduates are in demand with employers - their creative ideas can help companies to stand out in a crowded marketplace, or persuade people to change their views and behaviour on social issues.

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

You'll gain the skills required to become a strategy-based marketing or public relations specialist - working in either business, government or the not-for-profit sectors. This degree is an ideal choice if you enjoy talking to people, expressing ideas, being creative, and solving problems.

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 adjust their beliefs and behaviour on specific social 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), which sets the global standards for the PR industry, 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:

See below for a list of other subjects that you can take as either a 2nd Major (8 papers), Minor (4 papers) or elective papers.

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.

Our graduates go on to pursue exciting careers in a wide range of organisations, watch videos of them below:

Waikato has an international reputation

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.

In the prestigious QS World University Subject Rankings 2017, Waikato is ranked in the world's top 250 universities for Business & Management Studies.

Apply to enrol

Key information

Years: 3.0
Points: 360
Study Locations: Hamilton
Start Dates: Semester A (February) and Semester B (July)
Fees (Domestic): $6,462 (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
*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.

Choose a major

Or undertake a minor in any other subject within the University.

Career opportunities

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

Degree Planner

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

Year 2

200 Level

200 Level

200 Level

200 Level or above
Any Cultural Perspectives paper, eg. MNMGT302

Any level

200 Level

200 Level

Year 3

300 Level

300 Level

300 Level


200 Level

200 Level

200 Level

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

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

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.

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 BCS(Hons) 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, which are designed to measure how well learning outcomes are being met
  • Submit a Portfolio of Achievement, containing at least three items of previously assessed work (drawn from at least two papers) that you believe best represents your achievement of learning goals for the qualification. If you have completed a dissertation then different chapters or sections of work can be submitted as separate items of assessment.

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 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).

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.

1) To complete the Bachelor of Communication Studies degree with a single or double major, you need to pass at least 24 papers (360 points) in total. This includes:

  • no more than nine 100-level papers (135 points)
  • up to ten 200-level papers (150 points)
  • at least five papers at 300-level or 400-level (75 points)
  • all the compulsory field papers for the BCS, as well as the required papers for your major subject/s.
  • up to eight elective papers (120 points) 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)

2) You also need to pass all 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. MNMGT200 Intercultural Perspectives on Organisations
  • LCOMM300 Communication Strategies

3) You also need to complete a business experience or applied research paper in Year 3, from the following options:

  • MNMGT495 Industry Experience 4
  • MNMGT496 Management Internship
  • MNMGT499 Report of an Investigation

4) You also need to:

  • take an Employment Skills Module (ESM)
  • demonstrate writing competency
  • complete any Assurance of Learning requirements, which are designed to measure how well learning outcomes are being met.

Major subjects

To complete the requirements of a major, students must pass nine papers (135 points) in that subject for a single major, or pass eight papers (120 points) in each subject for a double major.

  • For a single major, these nine papers must include up to two 100-level papers (30 points), up to three 200-level papers (45 points), and at least four papers (60 points) at 300-level or 400-level.
    If you wish, you may swap the 9th major paper for LCOMM300 Communication Strategies. This would give you an extra elective paper.
  • For a double major, these eight papers must include up to two 100-level papers (30 points), up to three papers (45 points) at 200-level, and at least three papers (45 points) at 300-level or 400-level.
  • Pass all of the required papers for your major subject/s.
  • Note: At least one of the compulsory field papers in Year 1 (LCOMM102, MRKTG101, STMGT101) may also count towards your major subject/s, depending on your choice of major/s.
  • A 2nd Major can be any undergraduate major subject offered at the University of Waikato.

Minor subjects

A minor can be any undergraduate subject in any faculty. This includes the following management subjects:

  • Agribusiness
  • Leadership Communication
  • Supply Chain Management

For a minor, you must pass four papers (60 points) in that subject. This includes any required papers and at least two papers (30 points) above 100-level.


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