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University of Canterbury
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Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Cultural Studies

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.

In Cultural Studies, ‘culture' is understood very broadly, but with a strong emphasis on local everyday life. Cultural Studies does not follow traditional distinctions between ‘high' and ‘low' culture; for example, a Lorde music video becomes a significant cultural text alongside, say, a classical opera.

Cultural Studies analyses many popular cultural forms: film and television, comics and graphic novels, advertising, art, new media, music, fashion, sport and leisure to name just a few. These domains are shown to be extremely powerful political forces in shaping our societies and our identities.

The contemporary theories of culture view it as something dynamic, living and changeable. This leads to questions of how culture is produced, how we interpret culture, how culture can be preserved or destroyed, and how new commodity models, communications and information technology and globalisation affect our culture?

Why study Cultural Studies at UC?

The Cultural Studies programme at UC is the only such interdisciplinary programme in Aotearoa New Zealand. More than ten departments across the College of Arts teach into this subject, giving students exposure to different perspectives and theories and the opportunity to study a diverse range of contemporary cultural domains and texts. Our aim is not to simplify culture or try to unify it, but rather to embrace its complexity.

The programme specialises in four pathways of study:

  • gender and sexuality
  • Aotearoa New Zealand studies
  • popular and visual culture
  • human-animal studies.

Each pathway has a student advisor associated with it who can be contacted for more information. However students may choose not to specialise and opt for a more diverse programme of study.

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

You can construct a degree that is quite generalised (perhaps suited for a teaching career) or relatively specialised (eg, film and media; sexuality and gender; places, spaces and technologies; bicultural studies; cultural identity and politics; environmentalism and human-animal studies).

Cultural Studies leads to careers in fields where a wide analytic grasp of contemporary culture is required eg, the media industries, journalism, publishing, writing, website design, advertising, museology, public relations, teaching and education, advocacy, policy analysis, and arts management.

Because of the breadth and flexibility of a graduate's understanding of culture, they are also able to move among such fields easily.

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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