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What will I learn?

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.

Political Science is often called the study of who gets what, where, how and why. It is the independent and informed study of our communities and how we make decisions collectively as governments, why we behave as we do as citizens, and how we make public policy choices for the future. Political scientists use a variety of theories, ideas, tools, and methods to: examine local, national, regional, and global processes, institutions, and relationships; to consider how we ought to live as political communities; and how we can create change.

Why study Political Science and International Relations at UC?

  • The Department of Political Science and International Relations at UC has attained national and international visibility for the strength of its teaching and academic research. Academic staff members are recognised internationally in fields as diverse as democracy, environmental politics and policy, humanitarian intervention, Chinese politics, East Asian politics, South East Asian politics, and international security and international relations.
  • Academic staff members foster an environment in which students are supported toward achieving their goals as citizens, young leaders and as scholars, and where networks of fellow graduates and employers are nurtured to help with career planning and mentoring.

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

Political Science and International Relations students gain a versatile set of skills that can be applied in a wide range of exciting careers both within politics (international, national and local political institutions eg, the UN, humanitarian inter-governmental organisations, parliaments, city councils) and in more diverse areas such as law, business, education and journalism.

Recent graduates have been employed in the Ministries of Defence, of Justice, and of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as the Treasury, Parliament, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Government Communications Security Bureau, Security Intelligence Service, and Red Cross.

Political Science and International Relations specialists fare well in roles that value a questioning mind, superb communication skills and a strong understanding of systems and social issues such as the news media, trade unions, teaching and the finance industry (eg, banking and investment).

Which department am I in?

College of Arts

Study options

Full Time (3 years)

Tuition fees
NZ$29,875.00 (US$ 21,357) per year
First 120 points

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Application deadline

Expected October 2021

More details

Start date

Expected February, July 2022


University of Canterbury

Warehouse, 20 Kirkwood Ave,



Upper Riccarton,

8041, New Zealand

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants must have completed New Zealand University Entrance through NCEA or any other equivalent overseas qualification. 3 A-levels with one A-level at Grade C or above. English language requirements: IELTS academic 6.0 overall (no section < 5.5); TOEFL (iBT) total minimum score of 80, with at least 19 in reading, writing and listening; English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at CCEL - EAP 2 grade C+; Pearsons (Academic) - Overall score of 50 (no section < 42).

For international students

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.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.

Pathways options

Offered by other partners

This university accepts pathways courses from

About University of Canterbury

University of Canterbury’s alumni include popular personalities such as Karl Popper, one of the greatest twentieth-century science philosophers.

  • Ranked among the world’s top 250
  • Among the top 1% cent of universities worldwide
  • 5-Star QS rating for its excellent research & teaching methods
  • Based in Christchurch - New Zealand’s most affordable city