Journalism Major - Bachelor of Communication Studies

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Fiji placement enlightens aspiring climate change journalists

A two-week journalism stint in Fiji, dubbed “Bearing Witness”, has lent new perspectives on the effects of climate change on AUT journalism student Ami Dhabuwala and graduate TJ Aumua.

The project, sponsored by AUT’s Research and Innovation Office (RIO), gave the two aspiring journalists a chance to meet Pacific climate change experts, and experience first-hand themselves the impact of climate change on everyday lives in Daku, a small village in Fiji. 

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Today’s rapidly changing news media environment means we need journalists who know how to find, write and produce news using multimedia technologies, and who have a solid grounding in broad communication theory. Through the Journalism major in the Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS), you learn to write, illustrate and edit stories for professional news organisations, often beating the professionals to breaking stories for publications.

You gain experience in news reporting, different writing and production specialisations, bicultural reporting, cross-cultural reporting, news photography, media law and ethics. You learn on the job in our full-time newsroom, and will be encouraged to extend your skills with live reporting exercises. The core papers cover news gathering, news and feature writing, and court and local government reporting.

Elective papers include Radio Journalism, Television Journalism, Magazine Journalism, Photo Journalism, Editing and Design, Data Journalism, Māori & Pacific Media Industries, and Reporting the Pacific Region.

Key features

More information about the Bachelor of Communication Studies

Career opportunities 

  • News reporter for newspapers, magazines, television, radio or online media
  • Data journalist
  • Freelance journalist
  • Specialist writer
  • Production journalist
  • Web editor
  • Communications professional


Most papers last one semester and are worth 15 points. Students must complete 120 points each year (360 points for the entire degree). In each year students study core (compulsory) papers, and select other papers from a range of options.

Year 1
Students must successfully complete Principles of Journalism in Year 1 in order to progress to the Journalism prerequisite papers in Year 2.

Level 5:
145701 Interpersonal Communication (15 points)
145708 Media Communication I (15 points)
145717 Image and Sound (15 points)
145718 Media Production Workshop (30 points)
145727 Principles of Journalism (15 points)
PHIL580 Applied Media Ethics (15 points)

SELECT a further 15 points from optional papers listed below or any other paper in the Bachelor of Communication Studies.

Years 2 and 3
In your second and third year you have many opportunities to contribute to the real world of news. This includes filing stories for different news outlets, experience of daily news journalism in our specialist media centre under the guidance of a media professional, and a two-week internship in a newsroom anywhere around the country. Editors know our students produce publishable work and strongly support our programme.

Year 2 papers
Level 6:
146719 Intercultural Communication (15 points)
COMM601 Media Communication II (15 points)
JOUR600 Journalism I: Structure, Form and Content (15 points)
JOUR601 Journalism II: Context, Audience and Reach (15 points)

SELECT a further 60 points from optional papers listed below or any other paper in the Bachelor of Communication Studies. Students are recommended to take prerequisite papers from another major. If you wish to take a minor, 30 points of these papers at level 6 may be in your minor subject area.

Year 3 papers
Level 7:
147717 Media Communication III (15 points)

147830 Journalism Law and Ethics (15 points)

147831 Public Affairs Reporting (15 points)

JOUR700 Journalism III: Depth, Speciality and Data (15 points)
JOUR701 Journalism IV: Features, Profiles and Investigation (15 points)

SELECT a further 45 points from optional papers listed below or any other paper in the Bachelor of Communication Studies. If you wish to take a minor, 30 points of these papers at level 7 may be in your minor subject area.

Level 5:
145705 Principles of Writing (15 points)

145719 Introduction to Popular Culture (15 points)

145720 Performance Communication (15 points)

145724 Audio Production Techniques (15 points)

145726 Screen Narrative Production (15 points)

915404 Sound Production (15 points)

915405 Technology and Composition (15 points)

Level 6:
116232 Photography (15 points)
916100 Technology and Creative Expression (15 points)
ADVT602 Media Psychology, Strategy and Planning (15 points)
MARS603 Communications in Marketing, Advertising, Retailing, Sales (15 points)
TVSP600 Screen Production Practice (15 points)

Level 7:
147732 Editing and Design (15 points)
147734 Magazine Journalism (15 points)
147777 The Music Industries (15 points)
147786 Advanced Studio Production (15 points)
147788 Performance for Camera (15 points)
147789 Radio Journalism (15 points)
147790 Photo Journalism (15 points)
147791 Television Journalism (15 points)
147792 Advanced Copywriting (15 points)
147803 Writing for the Studio (15 points)
147804 Screen Production Management (15 points)
147805 Selected Topics in Advertising Creativity (15 points)
147806 Selected Topics in Creative Industries (15 points)
147807 Selected Topics in Journalism (15 points)
147808 Selected Topics in Digital Media (15 points)
147809 Selected Topics in Public Relations (15 points)
147810 Selected Topics in Radio (15 points)
147811 Selected Topics in Television and Screen Production (15 points)
147813 Radio and Society (15 points)
147816 Promotional Culture (15 points)
147817 Broadcast Interviews and Production (15 points)
147825 Reporting the Pacific Region (15 points)
147826 Maori and Pasifika Media Industry (15 points)
147827 Sponsorship and Promotion (15 points)
147829 Professional Communication Practice (15 points)
147832 Advanced Advertising Art Direction (15 points)
147836 Creative Marketplace (15 points)
147837 Creative Industries and Film (15 points)
ADVT702 Specialist Forms of Advertising (15 points)
COMM703 Media and Politics (15 points)
JOUR702 Mobile Journalism (15 points)
JOUR703 Data Journalism (15 points)
MARS705 Trends and Innovations (15 points)
PUBL700 Communication in a Business Environment (15 points)
TVSP702 Screenwriting: Drama (15 points)

TVSP703 Screenwriting: Non-Fiction (15 points)

Click here to view programme structure and paper outlines.

Additional course information can also be found here.

Enrolment in papers is subject to meeting all requirements and availability of papers.

Last updated: 20-Jul-2016 11.00am

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