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 throughout your degree, you’ll also 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.

Talk to us about your study options

Thinking about studying at AUT? Book a time with us to discuss your study options.


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.

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.

Social Sciences courses

Level 5 courses

Complete the following courses:

Level 6 courses

Complete the following course:

And two of:

Level 7 courses

Complete three of:

Workplace experience

Workplace experience (Work Integrated Learning) is the final part of your degree and usually takes a full year. 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

Key features
  • Wide-ranging approaches to society and social change
  • A mix of knowledge from sociology, political studies and economics
  • Workplace experience in a community organisation or business
See yourself as
  • Someone who wants to make a difference
  • Part of a community
  • Sociable and a team player
  • Tolerant and empathetic

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

Website search