AUT - Bachelor of Arts — International Studies


Bachelor of Arts — International Studies

In the current climate of globalisation, an understanding of the impact of global issues on your future will enable you to contribute effectively to the new global environment.

The importance of interacting and communicating effectively with people from other cultures in workplace and educational settings is being increasingly recognised. This is the first international studies major to include these aspects.

  • The International Studies major is the only programme of its kind in New Zealand
  • Provides you with opportunities to develop an understanding of the changing global environment
  • The major is unique because of the inclusion of two papers in intercultural competence — skills and knowledge that will enable you to succeed professionally and socially in multicultural settings
  • It is the only undergraduate programme in International Studies in New Zealand.

Content and structure

You will be introduced to the discipline through a number of compulsory papers in international studies, while language and intercultural competence papers provide you with the intercultural and transnational knowledge and competence to interact in an international context.

In addition, you will be able to develop your particular interests further through a choice of relevant papers in social sciences, business, culture, applied linguistics or languages.

Your learning at AUT takes you out of the traditional lecture room environment. In the second year, you can experience overseas study with the possibility of exchanges in Japan, China and Hong Kong, or a country in the Pacific or South America.

For example, the two Intercultural Competence papers have a very strong experiential learning approach to gain and apply intercultural knowledge and skills. This includes critical incidents, field trips, a lot of discussion and collaborative work.

Learning continues out of the classroom with the help of technology, including blogs and wikis, and the virtual learning environment Second Life in which students have the chance to explore virtual representations of other cultures and meet people from those cultures.

In your final year you will be able to apply your knowledge and skills in a work place setting when you take the core paper, a cooperative education practicum. In some cases this paper could be completed overseas.

What is intercultural competence?

Intercultural competence is the ability to establish and maintain relationships with people from other cultures — including different ethnicities, race, religions, physical or mental disabilities, or even a different discipline of study.

Even if you don't know the language or much about a culture, you have the knowledge, skills and attitude to be effectively deal with difference and the unfamiliar. You can then interact with others using the appropriate behaviour thereby avoiding miscommunication and misunderstandings.

Intercultural competence also means being more aware of your own culture, and your own values and beliefs that form your individual identity.

Upon successful completion of this programme, graduates will have the knowledge to:

  • Understand and critique the evolution and development of International Studies as a discipline
  • Apply their knowledge of historical developments in the Asian and Pacific regions to interpret and evaluate current and emerging trends and issues
  • Clarify the complexities of regional and global issues, events and socio-political practices by applying theories, models and frameworks from a range of disciplines
  • Evaluate the impact on societies and individuals of processes of globalisation, innovation and change
  • Interpret and analyse interactions in international or multicultural settings by applying theories, models and frameworks of intercultural and transnational competence, including knowledge of an additional language
  • Understand their own identity and culture, and employ multiple identities as required in new environments
  • Critically evaluate perspectives and practices in their own and other cultures, and be open to different cultural experiences, influences, opportunities and approaches.

The International Studies major can be taken as a single major, double major or minor in the BA, or as an additional major in other degrees.  Possible double or additional majors are the Bachelor of Hospitality Management, Social Sciences, CriminologyJapanese Studies or Chinese Studies.

BA Core papers
165108 iWrite
166109 iReflect
166110 iCommunicate
167100 iResearch


Plus a range of papers to develop a students' particular interests in business, international relations, social sciences, applied linguistics or languages. These papers include:

165105  Contemporary Language Studies
165106  Critical Media Studies
165107  A Pacific Reader
166552  Intercultural Competence in a Global World
166102  Language and Communication
166108  Language in Society
166545  Japanese Society and Culture
286101  States and Nations
286105  Cultures and Societies
356803  Business and Culture
916304  Te Tiriti O Waitangi: The Treaty of Waitangi
916307  Aotearoa New Zealand Culture and Society
167101  Global English
167102  New Literatures
287003  Multicultural Communities
287201  Asian and Pacific Issues
287203  International Relations
377406  Growth and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region
CLSY701 East Asian Values and Beliefs

Career opportunities

International Studies is an ideal major if you are interested in a career that involves interaction with people from other cultures either in New Zealand or overseas. This covers a wide range of occupations and includes:

  • Business
  • Diplomatic service
  • Service industries (hospitality, tourism, social work, local government)
  • Local authorities
  • Social work
  • Justice system
  • Health
  • Police
  • Teaching
  • Translating and interpreting
  • The media
  • Public relations
  • National and international human rights organisations
Organisations consulted in the creation of this programme:
  • Staff in the School of Languages and Cultures at Victoria University of Wellington
  • Department of Languages and Cultures
  • University of Otago
  • School of Asian Studies
  • University of Auckland
  • School of Language Studies, Massey University.
  • Asia:NZ
  • Auckland City Council's International Affairs Manager (now Auckland Council)
  • New Zealand Association of Language Teachers (NZALT)
  • Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Manager International Division
  • The NZ Police
  • Asian Health Support Services
  • Waitemata District Health Board
  • Auckland Ethnic Council
  • Professor Mike Byram, University of Durham
  • Indiana University
Last updated: 05-Mar-2014 3.40pm

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

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