Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Please note: This page refers to the 2015 academic year unless otherwise specified.


Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Customer Services Administrator
Tel: 04 463 5745
Email: fhss-enquiries@vuw.ac.nz
Website: www.victoria.ac.nz/fhss


The Bachelor of Arts (BA) equips students with a number of important life skills. These include an ability to communicate clearly, to think critically and creatively, to solve problems across a wide range of domains, to manage their own learning, to have an understanding of the ethics of scholarship as well as to understand the key concepts within the disciplines studied.

What makes the Victoria Bachelor of Arts degree distinctive is its strong emphasis on the humanities, creative arts, languages and social sciences, its flexible structure and its broad range of opportunities for exploring a variety of disciplines.

The QS World Ranking placed Politics and International Relations and English Language and Literature in the top 50. Victoria was also ranked in the top 150 in the world in: Modern Languages, Philosophy, and Communications and Media Studies. In the recent Performance Based Research Fund evaluation, disciplines in humanities and social sciences dominated the results with seven out of the ten areas taught in the Faculty coming first in New Zealand. Victoria University has ranked 67 in the top 100 universities for arts and humanities in the 2013-2014 Times Higher Education World University rankings.

The humanities include subjects where we explore what it means to be human; for example, languages, History, English Literature, Media Studies, Film, Theatre and Music. Social sciences include subjects where we explore how humans interact with each other, such as Cultural Anthropology, Criminology and Sociology.

Choose subjects that are closely related–like Asian Studies and an Asian language–for a focused, specialised degree. Or major in one subject that suits your career ambitions, while keeping your passions alive with study in other areas.

A BA may lead to postgraduate study in a wide range of subject areas.

Career opportunities

BA graduates are employed in almost every part of the workforce, both in jobs relating to their specialty subject and by employers who value their analytical and communication skills. Policy analyst, historian, teacher, translator, diplomat, market researcher, publisher, public relations adviser, linguist, writer, librarian, criminologist, aid worker... a BA is suited to hundreds of careers.

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A BA at Victoria

Features of the BA:

  • three years of full-time study
  • 360 points in total
  • maximum of 180 points at 100 level
  • minimum of 180 points at 200/300 level, including at least 75 points at 300 level
  • no course numbered 300-399 may be counted towards more than one major or minor
  • at least 240 points must be in subjects from Part A of the BA schedule
  • the exception is if you choose a starred major from the table below (listed in Part B of the BA Statute). In this case, you only need to take 180 points in Part A subjects (but you must still take at least 360 points total)
  • must complete at least one listed BA major
  • may complete a second major taught by another faculty. You must confirm the requirements with your Student Adviser
  • you may choose up to two minors towards your BA.

Students may take up to two minors in a subject offered in the BA, BAS, BCom, BDI, BSc and BTM degrees (as long as they have not taken it as a major) or from additional minor subject areas listed in those degree statutes.

A minor requires at least 60 points from the relevant subject area at 200 level or above, of which at least 15 points must be at 300 level and not counted towards a major or another minor.

If you are considering a second major taught by another faculty or adding a minor to your BA, you must contact your Student Adviser for degree planning advice.

See the Calendar or the Course Finder for further details.

For entry requirements to the BA see the Admissions page.

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Students must meet the requirements of a major in at least one FHSS subject. Each subject has specific courses you need to take to meet the requirements of a major and involves in-depth study at 300 level.

If you are not sure which subject to choose as your major, you can include a number of different options in your first year, and make a more specific choice in your second year.

Many students combine a BA with another degree. Because a number of courses can be credited to both degrees, it is possible for able students to complete two three-year degrees in four to five years.

The Faculty also offers a conjoint Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching degree.

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BA subjects

Part A

Part A of the BA Schedule includes all the non-starred majors listed in the table below as well as the other BA subjects (not majors) below.

BA listed majors 
Art History Asian Studies
Chinese Classical Studies
Criminology Cultural Anthropology
Development Studies* Economics*
Education Education and Psychology*#
English Literature Film
French Geography*
German Greek
History International Relations
Italian Japanese
Latin Linguistics
Māori Resource Management Māori Studies
Mathematics* Media Studies
Modern Language Studies Music*
Pacific Studies Philosophy
Political Science Psychology*
Public Policy* Religious Studies
Samoan Studies/Fa'aSamoa Second Language Education
Sociology Spanish
Te Reo Māori Theatre

*Majors listed under the BA Statute, but taught by other faculties and units.

#Students cannot do a double major in Education and Psychology (EDPS) and Psychology (PSYC) or Education and Psychology (EDPS) and Education (EDUC).

Other BA subjects (not majors)
Creative Writing Deaf Studies
Museum and Heritage Studies Social Policy
Text Technologies Writing (Academic and Professional)

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How to find out more

Check out the Subjects entries for subject areas that interest you, or use our Request for Study Materials form.

For new students: Victoria's Liaison Officers in the Student Recruitment, Admission and Orientation Office are happy to discuss your plans with you and help plan your degree(s).

For returning students: Contact the Faculty Student and Academic Services Office.

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Degree examples

Note: The timetable is subject to change and the courses shown in the examples below may not all be available in any given year.

See the examples listed below and in the BA section of the Guide to Undergraduate Study.

All PDF documents require Acrobat Reader.

Document File size File type
PDF Icon BA Section of Guide to Undergraduate Study 180 KB PDF

Example 1—BA Double Major Example (both BA listed majors)

BA with a double major in Classical Studies and History

Year 1
Course Points
CLAS 111 Myth and Mythology 20
HIST 117 Revolutions, Empires and Peoples 20
RELI 107 Religion, Law and Politics 20
CLAS 102 Greek Art: Myth and Culture 20
HIST 118 Making Europe Modern: Citizens, States and Nations 20
RELI 108 The World's Religions 20
Total points 120
Year 2
Course Points
CLAS 203 Greek and Roman Drama 20
CLAS 208 Greek Social History 20
HIST 245 Peoples of the Soviet Empire 20
CLAS 209 Bronze Age Aegean Art and Archaeology 20
HIST 249 New Zealand Political History 20
RELI 252 Political Islam 20
Total points 120
Year 3
Course Points
CLAS 302 Etruscan and Roman Art 20
HIST 323 Colonialism and Postcolonialism: Early Māori Text and Context in 19th Century Aotearoa New Zealand 20
RELI 226 Psychology of Religion 20
CLAS 307 Roman Social History 20
HIST 336 The Pacific Islands after 1945 20
HIST 334 World War One: Social and Cultural Perspectives on 1914-1918 20
Total points 120

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Example 2—BA Double Major Example (one BA listed major, one outside major)

BA majoring in Sociology with an outside major in Information Systems

Year 1
Course Points
SOSC 111 Sociology: Foundations and Concepts 20
INFO 101 Foundations of Information Systems 15
ANTH 101 Foundations of Society and Culture 20
SOSC 112 New Zealand: Sociological Perspectives 20
INFO 102 Business Application Programming 15
ANTH 102 Social and Cultural Diversity 20
Total points 110
Year 2
Course Points
SOSC 211 Interpreting Society 20
INFO 201 Introduction to Information Systems Management 15
INFO 241 Introduction to Database Management and Programming 15
SOSC 219 Ideology, Utopia, Power: Issues and Paradigms in Political Sociology 20
INFO 232 Business Systems Analysis 15
ANTH 204 Modern Anthropological Thought 20
SOSC 215 Reproducing Gendered Bodies 20
Total points 125
Year 3
Course Points
SOSC 305 Social Organisation 20
INFO 325 Telecommunications in Business 15
SACS 201 Methods in Social and Cultural Research 20
SOSC 318 Social Movements and the State 20
INFO 395 Case Studies in Information Systems 15
INFO 320 Project in Information Systems 15
INTP 113 Introduction to International Relations 20
Total points 125

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Example 3—Conjoint BA/BCom with a BA listed major and a minor and a BCom major in Marketing

BA major in English Literature and a minor in Spanish and a BCom major in Marketing (565 points)

Year 1
Course Points
SPAN 111 Introduction to the Spanish Language 20
ENGL 111 Past Masters 20
ACCY 111 Accounting 15
MGMT 101 Introduction to Management 15
SPAN 112 Elementary Spanish 20
FCOM 111 Government, Law and Business 15
INFO 101 Foundations of Information Systems 15
MARK 101 Principles of Marketing 15
Total points 135
Year 2
Course Points
SPAN 113 Introduction to Hispanic Studies 20
SPAN 215 Spanish Language 2A 20
ECON 130 Economic Principles and Issues 15
MARK 202 Buyer Behaviour 15
SPAN 216 Spanish Language 2B 20
ENGL 112 Cultural Encounters: The Literature of
Aotearoa New Zealand
MARK 201 Marketing Management 15
QUAN 102 Statistics for Business 15
Total points 140
Year 3
Course Points
SPAN 315 Spanish Language 3A 20
ENGL 209 The Novel 20
ENGL 234 New Zealand Literature 20
MARK 203 Market Research 15
ENGL 231 Modern Poetry 20
ENGL 330 Postcolonial Literature 20
ENGL 201 Sea Changes: A History of English Literature 20
MARK 302 International Marketing 15
Total points 150
Year 4
Course Points
ENGL 335 Contemporary Fiction 20
ENGL 308 Renaissance Literature 20
MARK 301 Marketing Communications 15
MGMT 202 Organisational Behaviour 15
ENGL 225 Classical Traditions in English Literature 20
ENGL 332 American Literature: Twentieth Century 20
MARK 303 Strategic Marketing Management 15
MARK 316 Social Marketing 15
Total points 140