Social Sciences Major - Bachelor of Arts

Understanding how society works at an individual, family, community and government level is important if you want to participate in or influence the way decisions are made that impact on our society.

In this major you develop a sound understanding of the interplay between social forces, economics, and politics. This focus provides a strong platform to explore power dynamics, influences on decision making, demographic and behavioural trends, and the challenges caused by economic, political and social disadvantage.

Along with the depth of understanding you’ll gain, you’ll develop critical analysis and problem-solving skills, which are crucial for the public service, social sector and community organisations; all areas where many of our graduates start their successful careers.


This is part of the Bachelor of Arts.


Learn to explain and analyse the characteristics of human society, social change, and human development and behaviour. You analyse cultural diversity and economic systems, and examine concepts of ethnocentrism and the impact of colonisation

You also demonstrate skills in data retrieval, analysis (including a range of statistical techniques) and presentation in relation to sociological, economic, political and psychological research.

Core papers

All students in the Bachelor of Arts complete core papers. In this major, you study:
COMM570 Academic Communication
CLSY504 Knowledge and Inquiry
CLSY500 Culture and Society
COMM604 Communicating

Social Sciences papers

Papers you could take over your three years of study include:
ECON680 NZ Economy: Issues and Policies
PHIL680 Ethics and Society
POLS682 Public Policy
POLS781 International Relations
POLS782 Democratic Participation and Social Action
PSYC580 Introduction to Psychology A
SOSC582 Social Thinking
SOSC583 Social Institutions
SOSC681 Borders and Boundaries
SOSC682 Methods of Social Research
SOSC780 Multicultural Communities
SOSC782 Globalisation, Innovation and Change
SOSC787 Diversity, Power and Discrimination

Workplace experience

Workplace experience (Work Integrated Learning) 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:

  • ASB Bank
  • CCS Disability Action
  • Goodman Fielder
  • Love to Live
  • NZ Council of Trade Unions
  • Community work
  • Local government
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Policy analysis
  • Research
  • Further study in social work and foreign affairs

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

Social Sciences Careers

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