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.

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This is part of the Bachelor of Arts.

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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.

International studies courses

If you're majoring in international studies, this is the main subject area you specialise in. It makes up one third of your degree and consists of eight international studies-related courses you study throughout your degree.

Complete the following courses

And choose from these courses

Complete two of:

And complete two of:

Workplace experience

Workplace experience is an important part of your degree, and the Work Integrated Learning course is the final part of your degree. This is a supervised work placement related to your major(s), for an organisation of your choice. It's a great way to get industry experience while still being able to get feedback from AUT lecturers, and for many of our students this workplace experience also leads to a job offer.

Recent placements included:

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

You could also take the Foundations in Research course if you’re considering continuing into postgraduate study.

Build your degree

Use our online tool to build your own degree and see what your three years of study could look like.

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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


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

International Studies Careers

Other majors in the Bachelor of Arts

*This major focuses on New Zealand Sign Language and developing the skills to become a Sign Language interpreter. It doesn’t include the option to include courses from different subjects.

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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