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BA specialisations

22 November 2023

As well as being able to choose from over 30 subjects for a major or minor, we've added exciting new pathways called Specialisations that build a Bachelor of Arts from complementary courses with different subjects based on a theme. Learn about BA specialisations at UC Arts.

What are specialisations?
  • Specialisations are pathways of study through the BA consisting of courses based around a theme
  • Specialisations are larger than a typical BA major (more than half of your programme of study will be based on the theme of the specialisation)
  • Specialisations include courses from different disciplines, giving you experience of solving problems from different perspectives
  • You’ll be able to take a minor alongside a specialisation


The seven specialisations are:

The Creative Industries – music & audio, film & media, art, creative writing, and more – are a significant part of the economies of New Zealand and others across the globe. They reflect the human need to apply our imaginations, and are essential parts of our social and cultural worlds.

The focus of your degree is on understanding, developing and supporting contemporary creative production. You will become familiar with contemporary practice in at least two of the creative arts, through a mix of applied courses (e.g. creative writing or digital composition) and theoretical ones (e.g. contemporary cinema or art theory), along with courses focussing on general industry skills and knowledge in areas like management, marketing, and communication.

This specialisation can lead on to a range of careers as arts practitioners like writers, musicians, managers and administrators, media workers, and policy advisors.

The Cultural Heritage specialisation will give you insights into the key issues, policies and working practices in the field of Cultural Heritage, with an international scope but with a particular emphasis on Aotearoa New Zealand.

It covers topics that range from Te Reo Māori to contemporary art and indigenous film, and from the oral traditions of Ngāi Tahu to books, photographs, material culture, archaeological remains and the built environment. You will have the opportunity to draw on the wonderful local resources of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the Canterbury Museum, Tūranga, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, the Macmillan Brown Library and the Teece Museum, as well as many smaller institutions around the city and province.

This specialisation will assist students in working in a sector in New Zealand which requires a high degree of bicultural competence.

The Global Societies and Cultures specialisation is for students interested in global history, society, and culture.

Through this specialisation, you will learn language skills from one of our nine language options. You will also choose from a range of courses covering topics on people and society, places and cultures. You also have the option to participate in international exchanges through existing UC exchange schemes and experience life abroad.

Career pathways could include international education, international cultural and artistic organisations, in government and non-government organisations in New Zealand and abroad.

The International Affairs specialisation will produce globally-aware and internationally-oriented specialists with an interdisciplinary background seeking to develop career paths in foreign affairs, international relations and communications in government and non-government organisations in New Zealand and abroad.

Graduates of this specialisation will be able to communicate in a language other than English. Skills in a second language greatly increase students’ competitiveness in the global job market and serve as a gateway to students’ cultural literacy and cross-cultural awareness.

The specialisation strongly encourages students to participate in international exchanges through existing UC exchange schemes and experience life abroad.

In this multidisciplinary specialisation, you will study human language, human cognition and human behaviour. With psychology and linguistics at its core, this specialisation takes a data driven approach.

Through your courses you will learn how to analyse complex data, including natural language data and data from experimental methodologies, to understand some of the fundamental characteristics of how human language works, and how it is linked to wider psychological and societal phenomena. Language, identity and culture are strongly intertwined, and are significantly involved in the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

This specialisation will set you up to continue on in areas such as language research, linguistics or psychology, language teaching, working with young children, communication skills and training, language-related policy development, data analysis and data sciences, language and ageing, language revitalization, or development of language technologies.

Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) will give you indispensable tools for analysing the human world and thinking about the problems facing us in the 21st century. It teaches you what makes political institutions and economic systems tick, and explores the philosophical fundamentals of ethics and technology.

Over the three years of your study you will take courses across political science, economics and philosophy and explore the core issues in these three fields.

This specialisation will provide you with skills vital today for many different careers including working for non-profit organisations, central and local government, policy analysis and journalism.

A society is diverse in many different ways (for example, in terms of the ethnicities, genders, sexualities and religions of its citizens). This diversity is complex, and can be understood from many different perspectives.

In the Society, Diversity, and Change specialisation, by focusing on the issues that matter to you, you will examine diversity from the perspectives of different disciplines. You'll learn how societal diversity is understood and experienced by individuals, by communities, and by organisations. You'll also learn how we can improve equity outcomes by generating and leading social transformation. This specialisation will challenge your thinking about the world and the people who live in it.

Graduates will be prepared to work in a wide range of contexts, including the human services, non-profit and for-profit sectors, policy, and civil administration. In this specialisation you will equip yourself to enact change, and will learn how to improve tomorrow's societies by looking beyond existing preconceptions.

Bachelor of Arts Specialisations Flyer

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For more information about Specialisations

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