Bachelor of Arts – BA

With Massey's BA, you can study subjects that you enjoy while learning to be a creative, critical and independent thinker. You’ll get transferable skills that employers are looking for in a rapidly changing world.

Type of qualification

Bachelor's degree

Level of study

Undergraduate study

An undergraduate qualification is usually the first one you study.

More about study levels

NZQF level 7

Our courses follow the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) levels.

Find out more about NZQF levels

Time to complete

3 years full-time (360 credits)
Up to 8 years part-time
Part-time available

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students on campus in New Zealand, or studying online outside New Zealand

Study a Bachelor of Arts – BA

A Massey Bachelor of Arts is your passport to discovering, questioning and understanding the big issues and big ideas. Discover new ways of making sense of life in the 21st century. You’ll explore humanity’s richness and diversity, its conflicts and cataclysms, its triumphs of art and knowledge.

With 26 majors to choose among, there’s something for everyone. You can also select your major in your second year, so there’s plenty of time to make a choice.

What you – and employers – are looking for

  • Give you the transferable skills demanded by employers
  • Position you for any career path you choose
  • Be intellectually stimulating
  • Offer you a rich diversity of subjects
  • Complement your major(s) and/or minor(s)
  • Help you make sense of and engage with the wider world.

Discover a whole new world

You’ll be introduced to new ways of making sense of the world. Your assumptions and ideas will be challenged. Your ability to make informed choices, evaluate evidence and construct reasoned arguments will be strengthened. And you will use your intellect and imagination to generate imaginative solutions to complex local and global challenges.

Shape your BA to fit your lifestyle

If studying on campus is not an option for you, study via distance. Your study will fit with your lifestyle and your commitments. Whatever your circumstances, we’ve got you covered.

Further study

Once you have completed your BA you can move on to further study: join us for a postgraduate diploma, an honours year, a master’s degree or a PhD in your chosen subject.

A BA is a good fit if you:

  • are curious about people and the lives they lead
  • are interested in the big issues affecting life at the local and global levels
  • want to make a difference to the world.

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for this qualification, outside of university admission regulations.  

English language requirements

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

If you have already completed a bachelor degree

If you have already completed a bachelor degree you may replace 230111 Tū Kupu: Writing and Inquiry or 230112 Tū Arohae: Critical Thinking with courses of your choice. You will need to apply for replacement courses via a Special permission request in your portal and you will need to attach evidence of your completed degree with the request.

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the qualification or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Structure of the Bachelor of Arts

If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.

If you study part-time you will usually take at least three courses (45 credits) each year. This can be spread across Semester One, Semester Two and Summer School.

Core courses 230110, 230111 and 230112 must be completed within the first 120 credits, and 230210 within the first 240 credits of study towards the degree.

You need to pass five courses at 300-level for your BA. One of these (230310) is in the compulsory core and three are required for your major. If you are not taking a double major or a minor, you will need to take one 300-level elective course to meet this requirement.   

Not all courses are available in each semester.

Typical pattern for the Bachelor of Arts

Core courses These courses are a compulsory part of your qualification.

Major courses Choose from a selection of courses appropriate for your specialisation.

Minor courses You may choose to pursue study in a second subject area from the BA, BBus or BSc.

Elective courses Follow your interests. Your qualification may have selection guidelines for elective courses.

Year one
230110 Tūrangawaewae: Identity and Belonging
230111 Tū Kupu: Writing and Inquiry
230112 Tū Arohae: Critical Thinking
100-level major
100-level major
100-level minor
Year two
230210 Tū Rangaranga: Global Encounters
200-level major
200-level major
200-level major
Year three
230310 Tū Tira Mai: Practising Engagement
300-level major
300-level major
300-level major
300-level minor

Courses are each worth 15 credits

Courses and specialisations

Key terms

Each qualification has its own specific set of courses. Some universities call these papers. You enrol in courses after you get accepted into Massey.
Course code
Each course is numbered using 6 digits. The fourth number shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).
Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.
Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Credit summary

360 credits

  • Core courses – 75 credits
  • Major courses – 120 credits
  • Electives from the Schedule – 45 credits
  • Other electives – 120 credits

Ensure that overall, you have:

  • Not more than 165 credits at 100 level
  • At least 75 credits at 300 level
  • All majors require 120 credits except:
    • Business Psychology (195 credits)
    • Mathematics (135 credits)

You could replace electives with a second BA major, or some electives with a minor from the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Business, or the Bachelor of Science.

Course planning key

Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Schedule A: Core courses

Course code: 230110 Tūrangawaewae: Identity & Belonging in Aotearoa NZ 15 credits

This course examines formations of identity and belonging in relation to concepts of place and turangawaewae (‘standing place’). The multiple factors shaping identity formation, citizenship and public engagement will be explored, and students will develop awareness of and reflect on diverse perspectives regarding identity and citizenship, and apply this understanding to analyse issues in contemporary New Zealand society.

View full course details
Course code: 230111 Tū Kupu: Writing and Inquiry 15 credits

This course introduces students to cultures of writing and inquiry in the Humanities and Social Sciences. It is designed to help students write effectively at undergraduate level by practising a variety of writing tasks, including analytical, persuasive, and research-based writing and argumentation. Students will learn practices of writing, research, peer-review and revision that have application in the university and broader contexts.

Restrictions: 230100, 119155, 119177, 237130, 247155, 250100, 247177

View full course details
Course code: 230112 Tū Arohae: Critical Thinking 15 credits

This course develops students’ foundational analytical and critical thinking skills. It is designed to provide students in any discipline with the ability to describe, evaluate, and generate reasoning / arguments effectively, appropriately, and sympathetically, alongside an understanding of the hidden complexities inherent in this approach and its limits when employed as a form of persuasion.

Restrictions: 134103

View full course details
Course code: 230210 Tū Rangaranga: Global Encounters 15 credits

The course explores our connections, impacts, and roles in the world, and our rights and responsibilities as global citizens. It examines what citizenship means in 21st century Aotearoa/NZ, given its history, cultural diversity, and place in the global arena. The course introduces the notion of global citizenship, and explores the relationship between individual and collective action in addressing global problems.

Prerequisites: 230110

View full course details
Course code: 230310 Tū Tira Mai: Practising Engagement 15 credits

The questions of and possibilities for agency and action form the core of this course, through an enquiry-based exploration of the capacities of the humanities and social sciences for action, intervention and contribution in professional and community contexts. The course also covers the development and application of research skills, problem-solving skills, and ethical awareness in addressing practical issues.

Prerequisites: 230210

View full course details

Schedule B: Specialisations


Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Completing a major is compulsory. All majors requires 120 credits except Business Psychology which requires 195 credits and Mathematics which requires 135 credits. 


Completing a minor is optional.  Minors increase the breadth of your degree and give you extra knowledge, attributes and capabilities. A minor must be in a different subject from your major. 

You may choose a minor from the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business or Bachelor of Science. If the minor is from another degree the regulations of that qualification will apply.

Bachelor of Arts minors

All BA majors are available as minors (except Business Psychology). The following are also available as minor-only topics. See the BA regulations for requirements.

Development Studies

Examine the processes that are transforming people's lives throughout the world.

Emergency Management

Get useful career skills in disaster prevention and management that can be applied in a range of fields.


Gain knowledge of French language and culture in an ever-growing multilingual global economy.

Indigenous Psychologies

Indigenous psychologies is a movement, perspective and approach that examines how the worldviews specific to particular communities influence the thoughts and behaviours of group members.

Planning Studies

Contribute to the design of better communities and sustainable use of resources.

132221 Planning Studies is not offered in 2024. An approved alternative course is 132212 Professional Practice I. You can add this course using the Special permission request in your portal.

Disability and Rehabilitation Studies

Get a broad general knowledge of the purpose, practice and philosophy of rehabilitation.

Theatre Studies

This exciting applied theatre and performing arts course combines theatre for social change with real-world communication techniques.

  • Chinese
  • Classical Studies
  • Creative Writing
  • Defence Studies
  • Development Studies
  • Disability and Rehabilitation Studies
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Educational Psychology
  • Emergency Management
  • English
  • Environmental Studies
  • French
  • Geography
  • History
  • Indigenous Psychologies
  • Japanese
  • Linguistics
  • Māori Knowledge
  • Mathematics
  • Media Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Planning Studies
  • Politics and International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Security Studies
  • Social Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Statistics
  • Te Reo Māori
  • Theatre Studies

Schedule C: Other subjects and courses

Emergency Management

Course code: 130301 Incident Command Systems 15 credits

This course introduces the systems used to manage emergencies, including the New Zealand Coordinated Incident Management System and other international variations. Consideration will be given to operational management concepts and tactics for effective incident response.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level course or Graduate Status

View full course details

English for Speakers of Other Languages

Course code: 192101 English for Academic Purposes for Speakers of Other Languages 15 credits

An introduction to vocabulary development, critical and analytical reading, seminar presentation, and listening and note-taking for academic purposes. This course is designed for students for whom English is a second or other language, and who are enrolled in degree/diploma programmes. It is most suitable for students who are new to an English-speaking academic environment.

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Course code: 192102 Academic Writing in English for Speakers of Other Languages 15 credits

A course of study in academic English writing for international students and permanent residents for whom English is the second or other language.

View full course details

Humanities and Social Sciences

Course code: 150103 Nau mai e noho: Engaging with Māori 15 credits

This course will equip students with a range of skills to engage with Māori communities including common expressions in te reo, an understanding of key traditional concepts, customary practices (tikanga), the importance of the Treaty of Waitangi and the nature and structure of Māori social and political organisations.

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Course code: 230102 Pacific Peoples in New Zealand 15 credits

An introduction to the distinctive cultures of Pacific Peoples in New Zealand. Students will develop an understanding of core values, traditions, cultural protocols, social processes and world views that are characteristic of Pacific cultures in the New Zealand context.

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Defence and Security Studies

Course code: 294382 Advanced Biosecurity 15 credits

This course provides an advanced exploration of biosecurity from a social science perspective and exposes students to a range of contemporary biosecurity issues and their management.

View full course details


Course code: 230191 Special Topic Humanities & Social Sciences 15 credits

A course of study, which may include a project or lectures and assignments; details of content to be specified for each student.

View full course details

Fees and scholarships

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

The nature of work is rapidly changing, and our research with employers tells us that the BA is highly relevant to today’s business environment. Transferable skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and communication, which are at the core of the BA, will enable you to thrive in today’s job market.

Studying a BA at Massey will ensure you develop these skills and make you ready for the jobs of the future.

Our research tells us that our BA graduates work right across the public and private sectors. We have graduates working in:

  • IT and other tech sectors
  • education and training
  • health care and social assistance
  • public administration and government services
  • information, media and telecommunications
  • financial and insurance services
  • arts, design and recreation
  • defence.

Employers say:

“The BA prepares people for the future and the future labour market.”
“A BA provides graduates who have the skills in information analysis, writing and thinking that are vital to business in the modern age.”
“A BA teaches broad thinking and research abilities. It leads to articulate workers who are able to think for themselves.”
“Knowledge is moving and changing so quickly, and we need people who are critical thinkers and multi-taskers. I see these attributes more readily in a BA graduate as opposed to a more specialist degree.”

What our students say

“What I took away from the te reo course component was a stronger foundation of tikanga (protocols and custom), cultural identity and personal value as a Māori.”
Talisa Kupenga

Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Mate

BA Te Reo Māori (minor)