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.

Jacinda Ardern

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

Libby Baron

Public Relations
Libby Baron is loving the opportunities and lifestyle in Queenstown since she graduated from a BCS degree at Waikato, majoring in public relations.

Ellyse Bowen

Marketing, Public Relations
Ellyse Bowen started out as a marketing intern at the University of Waikato, and she jumped at the chance to work here full-time.

Zara Coleman

Management, Public Relations
Zara Coleman is a blogger at Mosh Social Media and a copywriter at Mabel Maguire, a boutique Auckland agency that specialises in content marketing, social media and public relations.

Holly Crowe

Marketing, Strategic Management
After gaining several years' invaluable marketing experience in New Zealand, Bachelor of Communication Studies graduate Holly Crowe has relocated to Canada on a two-year working visa.

Lucas de Jong

Public Relations
Lucas de Jong is a born story-teller. So it was only natural that he would wind up with a successful career as a broadcast journalist for BBC World News, telling some of the biggest stories on the planet to an audience of millions.

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.

Emily Gallagher

Marketing, Public Relations

Courtney Stayte

Public Relations
Regular business trips to Melbourne, holding the Melbourne Cup Trophy and sampling food created by top celebrity chefs are just a few perks of the job for Bachelor of Communication Studies graduate Courtney Stayte.

Briar Thompson

Public Relations, Spanish
Whangarei girl Briar Thompson was awarded a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford after completing her communications degree at Waikato - and now she's taking a bite out of the Big Apple in New York.

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.

 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
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Key information

Study Locations Hamilton
Faculty Waikato Management School
Years 3.0
Points 360
Start Dates Semester A (February) and Semester B (July)
Domestic Fees $6,462 (approx) per year
See if you're eligible for fees-free study in your first year
International Fees $27,165 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

1st Major subjects

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

2nd Major subjects

This degree offers the flexibility to take either a 2nd Major, or 1-2 Minors, or up to seven elective papers, in almost any undergraduate subject offered at the University of Waikato, such as Digital Business or Writing Studies.

A 2nd Major is equivalent to 7-8 papers in the same subject (105-120 points), while a Minor consists of four papers in the same subject (60 points).

Have a chat to one of our advisers in the Management Student Centre (MSC) to help you plan your programme of study. Phone 0800 654 303 or email

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).

The BCS(Hons) degree provides one year of postgraduate study that follows on from the BCS degree.

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

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 subject paper requirements listed for your specialist subject.
  • CSubmit a Portfolio of Achievement, containing at least three items of previously assessed work (across 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).

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.

  • To complete the requirements of a major for the Bachelor of Communication Studies, students must gain 135 points in that subject for a single major (nine papers), or 120 points in that subject for a double major (eight papers).
  • Your first major must be in either Public Relations or Marketing.
  • For a single major, these nine papers must include at least 105 points (seven papers) above 100-level, and at least 60 points (four papers) above 200-level. This includes the Business Experience paper (MNMGT495/496/499).
  • You must pass any required papers for your major subject/s, as outlined on the website and in the Waikato Management School Student Handbook. Please refer to the handbook for the year in which you enrolled in the degree.
  • For a minor subject, you must complete four papers (60 points) in that subject, including at least two papers (30 points) above 100 level.
  • For this degree, you need to complete the following required papers:
    • STMGT101 Introduction to Management
    • LCOMM102 Communication in an Online Society
    • MRKTG101 Fundamentals of Successful Marketing
    • SSART105 Language in Context
    • LCOMM203 Communication Consulting
    • MNMGT200 Cultural Perspectives and Sustainability for Management
    • LCOMM300 Communication Strategies
  • You also need to complete one Business Experience paper at 400 level (15 points) from any of the following:
    • MNMGT495
    • MNMGT496
    • MNMGT499
  • You  may take up to 120 points (eight papers) from subjects listed outside the field of the degree.


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

For advice on which papers you need to take for your Degrees, Major or Minor subjects, please contact the Management Student Centre (MSC), Email: or phone (07) 838 4303.