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 courses 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 courses 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.

Apart from the courses below you also need to complete courses from your second major, your chosen minor(s) or electives.

Core courses

All Bachelor of Arts students need to complete core courses that help you develop transferable skills and support your work in all other courses in the degree.

Academic Communication

Choose one of:

Culture and Society

Complete one course from each of the following clusters. Each cluster aligns with one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

International Studies courses

Complete the following courses

Elective courses

Choose three of:

And one of:

And one approved language course

Chinese courses

Choose from the Chinese Studies Major

Japanese courses

Choose from the Japanese Studies Major

Korean courses

Māori language courses

Choose from the Māori Development Major

New Zealand Sign Language courses

Choose from the New Zealand Sign Language & Deaf Studies Major

Samoan language course

Spanish courses

Workplace experience

Workplace experience (the Work Integrated Learning course) 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 courses

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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 courses 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

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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