Bachelor of Communication

UC is proposing a new undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of Communication, starting in February 2019*

Intended to prepare graduates for work as journalists, public relations practitioners and communication advisors, the three-year Bachelor of Communication degree is a response to increased demand for communication graduates on the job market. In particular, the degree addresses employer demands for students who have both critical thinking and writing skills and applied media production and digital communication skills.

The degree has a strong focus on digital communication, analysing and working with data and using social media as a communication channel.

It also has a strong bicultural component. It is the only university degree with a specialisation in Māori Communication through the major, Tauwhitinga Māori: Māori Communication Strategy and Practice. Students in all four majors will develop their confidence in working in bicultural settings.

'This is a forward-looking degree, designed to equip students with the skills and adaptability that will make them effective in our rapidly changing social and employment environment. I am especially impressed by the unique way in which this degree recognizes that knowledge and awareness of Maori culture and heritage is essential for a career in Communication in New Zealand.'

Professor Jonathan le Cocq
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, College of Arts, University of Canterbury

Head of Department for Media and Communication Donald Matheson said the degree would also have a strong focus on community.

‘Communication is about people and has the power to build community,’ he said. ‘That’s reflected in the practical coursework, which will include student projects that help community groups and work for social change.’

Current training with our journalism students involves field work with the Civil Defence Emergency Management team to help with the communication response in a disaster scenario.

Being in the communication industry means using your voice not only for yourself but on behalf of others. The degree’s ethos involves teaching students to think critically, to understand the power and responsibilities of public communicators, be able to make smart data-driven decisions and to be ready to adopt in an industry that is changing rapidly.

‘The new Bachelor of Communication at the University of Canterbury takes into account the skills required in a rapidly changing and evolving communications workplace. The work programme focuses on core communications skills including writing and digital strategy, with the opportunity to take journalism papers. This new degree will enable students to immediately add value to any communications position they are in or seek to obtain.’

Erin Jamieson 
Partner, Convergence Communications & Marketing, Christchurch

The Bachelor of Communication requires a minimum total of 360 points. At least 225 points must be from courses above 100 level, with at least 90 points at 300-level.
All students study 165 points of compulsory core courses, including introductory communication courses and practical courses on media production and communicating with data, followed by applied courses in one of four majors and up to 105 points of elective courses from other undergraduate degrees in the university.

The degree draws from social science, humanities and business courses, around a core of both analytical and applied communication study, giving students a broad-based preparation. Students will take a range of compulsory core courses in Communication, Management, Marketing, Digital Humanities, Political Science and Māori for the first three semesters, plus electives in languages, social science, psychology, mathematics and many more. In their forth semester they will specialise in one of four majors:

  • Communication Strategy and Practice
  • Tauwhitinga Māori: Māori Communication Strategy and Practice
  • Political Communication
  • Journalism

The course structure of a Bachelor of Communication looks like: 

Bachelor of Communication

The job market in this field is strong. The Public Relations Institute of NZ reports 57 percent of its members are looking to recruit and the government’s job website describes the field’s prospects as ‘good’, with strength in marketing, employee communication, community relations and digital.
Career paths include the media industries, business, the government sector and iwi organisations. Job titles are likely to include: public relations, journalism, social media management, marketing, internal communication, corporate communication, government communication, stakeholder engagement, event management, crisis communication and content writing.

Meet some of our graduates who studied journalism and communication at UC and now work in the industry:

Tahlia Vogel

Tahlia Vogel - UC Graduate
BA in Media and Communication
Freelance Writer
As everything moves online, and we start to lose face-to-face contact, it’s important that businesses and clients can still feel connected to each other. To be a skilled communicator you have to ensure that what you’re putting online is sending the right messages to the right people, and it’s so easy to get that wrong.'

Emily Cooper

Emily Cooper - UC Graduate
Diploma in Journalism
News Reporter, 1News, TVNZ
I get to do something different every day, meet new and interesting people and tell their stories,’ she says. ‘I love taking an issue that’s important and telling it in a way that makes it easy for people sitting at home to understand.

Find out more

The degree requires no background in any specific subject at school and is open to all students with entry to university. Students who are interested to find out more about the Bachelor of Communication should come to the Christchurch Info evening on 6 June, 2018 and to UC Open Day on 12 July, 2018.

Contact

For more detailed info on the Bachelor of Communication, please contact:

Donald Matheson

Associate Professor
Head of Department
Elsie Locke Building (English) 610
Internal Phone: 95849

*The Bachelor of Communication will be offered in February 2019, subject to approval