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Bachelor of Communication Studies

The BCS degree is changing in 2018. It now includes a Communication Consulting paper in second year; and a practical Business Experience paper in third year.

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.

BCS_Kaelyn Kingi

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:

Alice Clements - Director of communications at the University of Waikato

Stephen Knightly - Director of Pursuit PR Agency, Auckland

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 [email protected]

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
Points: 360
Study Locations:Hamilton
Start Dates: Trimester A (March) and Trimester B (July)
Fees (Domestic): $6,462 (approx) per year
See if you're eligible for fees-free study in your first year
Entry Requirements: Undergraduate International
Area of Study:
*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

Choose a major for the 2018

A major is a chosen subject or field of study to represent your principal interest and upon which a large share of your study efforts will be concentrated.

1st Major subjects for the BCS

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

2nd Major subjects

The BCS 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).

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

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 [email protected], 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

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.

  • 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
Email: [email protected]

Opening hours: 8.45am - 4.45pm Monday to Friday

Have a chat with one of our friendly advisers to help you plan your degree.

Phone: +64 7 8384610
Email: [email protected]

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