International Studies Major - Bachelor of Arts

The International Studies major helps you develop the skills to contribute effectively in this changing global environment, and interact with people with different backgrounds and world views.

To contribute to the increasing globalisation of the world, countries need people who understand the impact of global trends and issues, and can interact effectively in a multicultural environment. Intercultural competence is a skill highly valued by employers around the world.

In this major you can include papers from social sciences, business, culture, education, applied linguistics or languages. It’s a great addition to another major, especially in science, technology, engineering and maths. In your second year you can study overseas for one semester in the US, Spain, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden, Korea or Taiwan.


This is part of the Bachelor of Arts.

Through the intercultural papers you'll develop transferable skills like cultural intelligence and resilience; skills that employers are looking for. You learn to evaluate the impact of globalisation, innovation and change on societies and individuals of processes, and analyse interactions in international or multicultural settings.

Core papers

All students in the Bachelor of Arts complete core papers that cover effective communication, critical thinking and other transferable skills you'll need for your future career. For a list of core papers refer to the Bachelor of Arts overview.

International Studies papers

CLSY502 Intercultural Competence
CLSY601 Intercultural Competence in a Global World
SOSC681 Borders, Boundaries and Globalisation
SOSC782 Globalisation, Innovation and Change

Plus one approved language paper

Chinese papers

Choose from the Chinese Studies Major

Cook Islands Māori paper

CAMO500 Introduction to Cook Islands Māori - Te Reo Ipukarea

Japanese papers

Choose from the Japanese Studies Major

Korean papers

KORE500 Korean Language and Culture 1
KORE501 Korean Language and Culture 2

Māori language papers

Choose from the Māori Development Major

New Zealand Sign Language papers

Choose from the New Zealand Sign Language & Deaf Studies Major

Samoan language paper

SAMO500 Introduction to Gagana Samoa I - Samoan Language

Spanish papers

SPAN501 Spanish 1A
SPAN502 Spanish 1B
SPAN601 Spanish 2A
SPAN602 Spanish 2B

Additional/elective papers

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

CHIN605 Contemporary Chinese Society Or CHIN606 Introduction to Chinese Culture
COMM651 WeSpeak: Pronunciation, Phonology and Effective Communication
CLSY503 Asian Popular Culture
CLSY601 Intercultural Competence in a Global World
CLSY602 Aotearoa New Zealand Culture and Society
CLSY701 East Asian Values and Beliefs
CONF780 Negotiation and Mediation
EDUC605 Learning, Diversity and Culture
EDUC606 Learning and Subjectivity in an Age of Social Media
EDUC710 Exploring the Horizens in Education
ENGL500 Contemporary Language Studies
ENGL501 Critical Media Studies
ENGL503 A Pacific Reader
ENGL601 Language and Communication
ENGL603 Language in Society
ENGL700 Global English
ENGL701 New Literatures
HIST690 Te Tiriti O Waitangi: The Treaty of Waitangi
JAPA605 Japanese Society and Culture
JAPA703 Japanese Religions and the Samurai
POLS680 States and Nations
POLS780 Asian and Pacific Issues
POLS781 International Relations
POLS782 Democratic Participation and Social Action
SOSC683 Societies, Cultures and Practices
SOSC780 Multicultural Communities
SOSC787 Diversity, Power and Discrimination

Workplace experience

Workplace experience (the Work Integrated Learning paper) is the final part of your degree and takes a full semester. This is a supervised work placement related to your major(s), for an organisation of your choice.

Recent placements included:

  • Red Cross
  • Office of Ethnic Communities
  • New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) – African Programme
  • The Palestinian Federation, Chile
  • ANZ Bank

Careers that involve interaction with people from other cultures, including:

  • Business
  • Diplomatic service*
  • Health
  • Justice system
  • Local authorities
  • Media
  • National and international human rights organisations
  • Police
  • Public relations
  • Service industries
  • Social work
  • Teaching
  • Translation and interpreting**

*With the relevant pathway
**With relevant translation and interpreting papers

Find out more about industry trends, job descriptions and what employers may be looking for.

International Studies Careers

Key features
  • Sought-after knowledge and skills in our increasingly multicultural world and globalised workplaces
  • Unique focus on intercultural and transnational competences
  • Only major of its kind in New Zealand
  • Pathways to match your career goals and include papers from different disciplines
  • Work placement in New Zealand or overseas
See yourself as
  • Curious about how people interact across cultures
  • Interested in the world around you and how you can make a difference
  • A bridge builder, cultural ambassador or cultural mediator
  • Flexible and adaptable to change and the unfamiliar
Sharelle Govignon-Sweet
Nicola Thomas
Mata Moeka’a

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