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University of Canterbury
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Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in English

This course is available


Level of Study

Bachelor's Degree


3 years

Next start date

Expected Jul 2023


University of Canterbury


The Bachelor of Arts is a flexible degree so you can specialise or study a wide variety of topics. Over the three years of your degree, you will gain the critical thinking, creative problem solving, and communication skills that employers want. Unique practical experiences such as internships are on offer too. The Bachelor of Arts requires a minimum total of 360 points. Each major has specific course requirements, but all consist of a minimum of 135 points in a single Arts subject. Of these, at least 60 points must be at 300-level and at least 45 points at 200-level.

Do you enjoy reading and writing? Novels, plays, short stories, poetry, and non-fiction help shape and reflect our individual identities and collective culture. Studying literature opens up worlds and times beyond our experience. It also helps us understand – and question – our own social, natural, and technological environments.

Students of English develop skills in research, interpretation, analysis, formulating an argument, and writing clearly and precisely. This skillset is useful for a huge range of occupations, such as journalism, law, communications, publications and creative writing.

Why study English at UC?

In addition to teaching the core areas of our discipline – the novel, theatre, 20th century literature – the Department of English offers courses in exciting new fields such as children's literature, human-animal studies, digital literary studies, and popular fiction (including science fiction, horror, and fantasy fiction). We also have a variety of courses that teach writing, both academic and creative, both fiction and non-fiction.

Double degrees

It is possible to combine an Arts degree with other degrees.

Further study

The College of Arts has a wide range of options for postgraduate and graduate study with excellent research facilities. Pathways include: Bachelor of Arts with Honours; Master of Arts; Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Career opportunities

A degree in English can take you to surprising places. The skills learned in studying English – the close reading and careful analysis of texts; the ability to write clearly, concisely, and creatively; and the skill to both make and critique arguments – are essential to success not only in education, but also in a wide range of work environments.

Among our graduates are a New Zealand ambassador, a former chief political reporter for TVNZ, a political commentator for a national newspaper, a couple of prize-winning novelists (including Eleanor Catton of Man Booker fame), a prize-winning film-maker, a museum curator, a cultural event organiser for Te Papa, an art gallery manager, a theatre director, a local television presenter, a number of publishers' editors, members of parliament, and policy advisers in the Treasury, the Education Ministry and the State Services Commission.

What these people learned in their English degree impressed employers looking for people who could read, write, speak and think clearly, effectively and creatively.

Entry criteria

Applicants must have completed New Zealand University Entrance through NCEA; or Cambridge International Examinations (CIE); or International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) or any other equivalent overseas qualification.

Applicants must also satisfy our English language entry requirements:

  • IELTS (Academic): Minimum overall score of 6.0, with no band score lower than 5.5.
  • TOEFL (IBT): Minimum overall score of 80, with a minimum score of 19 in Reading, Listening and Writing.
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English - Academic): Overall score of 50, and no communicative skills score below 42.

Undergraduate application deadline: Semester 1 (February start) by 31 October; Semester 2 (July start) by 30 April.

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