Bachelor of Communication Studies - degree outline

What will your day look like?

The world of communication studies at AUT is exciting and varied. Watch this video to see what an average day looks like as a communications student. This degree will provide you with a challenging and fun student experience, and the best foundation to launch your career in media and communications.
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Print, broadcast and new media shape and reflect our perceptions and reactions to the world. From purchases to policy, all our decisions are based on the messages we receive. AUT’s communication studies graduates shape these messages. Our graduates pick up the best jobs in the best companies and media outlets, and they win awards, lots of awards.

The Bachelor of Communication Studies degree (BCS) equips you with the skills to decide the media’s look, sound, feel and flavour – as a journalist, broadcaster, producer, creative advertising professional, digital media specialist or PR professional. As well as a thorough understanding of the media, you develop a life-long sense of questioning and pushing your own boundaries.

Key features

Quick facts

Programme Code: AK3303
Level: 7
Points: 360
Duration: 3 years full-time
Venue: City Campus
Start date: 17 July 2017 and 26 February 2018

AUT encourages early application. There are limited places available. Late applications will be accepted if the programme is not full. Applicants will normally be selected on the basis of their level of academic achievement and may be required to attend a selection interview.

Entry requirements

  • University Entrance
  • Applicants for whom English or Maori is not their first language and who have not, within the previous two years, completed an appropriate school or tertiary qualification that was taught and assessed in English in a country where English is the main language, are required to show evidence  of their English language proficiency.
    IELTS Academic, completed within the last two years, is the preferred English language proficiency test for entry, with a minimum achievement of 6.5 overall with all bands at 6 or higher.
  • There are limited places; generally students with the highest level of academic achievement are selected
  • Preference will be given to students who have completed Year 13 with:
    • A rank score of 180 or higher, with at least 14 credits in each of two subjects from: Classical Studies, Drama, English, Geography, Health Education, History, History of Art, Media Studies, Social Studies, Te Reo Māori or Te Reo Rangatira 
  • CIE
    • A rank score of 150 or higher, including a minimum AS level grade of C in at least one of the subjects listed above, or equivalent
  • International Baccalaureate
    • A rank score of 28 including a minimum grade 5 in one of the subjects listed above, or equivalent.
      Other documentation may be requested.
  • Mature applicants and non-school leavers should submit:
    • Academic transcript (if applicable)
    • A letter of application stating why you are applying, your relevant experience and qualifications
Other documentation may be required.

Applicants who do not meet the preferred selection criteria above will be considered on a case-by-case basis where places are available.

Don't meet the entry requirements?

Consider starting with our Certificate in Communication Studies.

What we look for in an applicant

Entry to the Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS) is competitive. Approximately 300 places are available to first year students. We look for the ability to think creatively, laterally and independently. The degree demands motivation, energy and an inquiring mind.

Other qualities taken into account include:

  • Ability in written, spoken and/or visual communication areas.
  • Involvement in non-academic areas such as community groups, drama, or sporting activities.

It is desirable to have students who reflect the multicultural nature of New Zealand society. School leaver applicants should ideally be performing strongly in Year 13 humanities subjects.



When you study the BCS you prepare for your area of interest by specialising in one major area in Year 3. You can keep your options open by studying a major and a minor. Whatever you choose you’ll enjoy the benefits of small, focused classes and tutors with in-depth knowledge and a passion for their subject.

See the list of additional majors, minors and electives offered by the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies.

Year 1
You’ll be introduced to the media world and essential communication theories and practice. This year you take seven papers (including one paper worth 30 points). There are five core papers.

Year 2
You’ll be involved in more practical work in up to three communication disciplines, while continuing to study critical theory. This keeps your options open for your major and minor, which start this year. We recommend you choose two prerequisite papers each for three majors. Entry into some majors is competitive.

Year 3
Emphasis is put on the theory and practice of your major throughout this year. If you began a minor in Year 2, you will complete this alongside your major. An industry project may be offered as part of your Year 3 programme.

All Year 3 students must study Media Communication III plus the equivalent of 60 points in their major to reach the 90 points required to complete a major. The remaining 45 points may be used to complete a minor or to study additional elective papers of the student’s choice.

Entry to a Year 3 major may be restricted if applications exceed places available. Preference will be given to students who achieve good academic results and show aptitude in the relevant prerequisite papers in Year 2.


Double your career options - study communications and:

Read about conjoint programmes and double degrees


Last updated: 13-Dec-2017 3.45pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.