University of Canterbury courses


Qualification options

There are a number of bachelor’s degrees on offer at the University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha:

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Commerce
  • Bachelor of Communication
  • Bachelor of Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Engineering with Honours
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of Forestry Science
  • Bachelor of Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Bachelor of Music
  • Bachelor of Product Design
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Social Work with Honours
  • Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology with Honours
  • Bachelor of Sport Coaching
  • Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Early Childhood)
  • Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary)
  • Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership
  • Conjoint Bachelor of Arts and Commerce
  • Conjoint Bachelor of Arts and Science
  • Conjoint Bachelor of Commerce and Science
  • Conjoint Bachelor of Product Design and Commerce
  • Conjoint Bachelor of Product Design and Science

It is also possible to combine and graduate with two bachelor’s degrees at the same time. Find out more about Double and Conjoint degrees.


A bachelor’s degree will allow you to study across a broad range of subjects. A subject is a particular area of study that the University offers courses in eg, English, Management, or Geology.

Browse Subjects to explore your study options so you can get an idea of everything that is on offer.

Major subjects

Studying towards a bachelor’s degree, you’ll develop a deep understanding of a particular study area from first to final year. This core subject area is called your ‘major’. With nearly 100 major subjects to choose from at undergraduate level, you can select a major that fits with your career aspirations and allows you to develop in-depth knowledge. 

For some degrees, such as a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Health Sciences, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Sport Coaching, you can also choose to do a double major and specialise in two subjects. This will not increase your workload or the length of your degree. Provided you meet the requirements for both majors at the end of the first year, you can decide whether you want to continue and take a double major, or whether you want to focus on one subject and take the other as a ‘minor’. 

Minor subjects

A ‘minor’ offers a similar focus for your degree as your ‘major’ subject, but requires less courses and is an addition to your core degree knowledge. Most students take a minor to complement their major subject or career aspirations, or as a different subject area that they are particularly interested in. Not all bachelor’s degrees at UC offer a minor.

Minor subjects offered within the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Sport Coaching, and Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership are shared across these degrees, allowing you to choose your minor from a wide variety of options.

Some bachelor’s degrees have specific course requirements for majors and minors; visit the University Regulations website or contact the relevant College for more details.


Courses are blocks of work that are usually taught over one semester. When you pass a course, you gain points (usually 15 or 30 points per course). Every course you pass adds points to the total required for your degree. First-year students usually only take 100-level courses, although there are some exceptions. Other universities sometimes refer to courses as ‘papers’.

Course codes

Each course has a code of four letters and three numbers. The letters show the subject and the numbers show the level. For example, MATH 101 is a Mathematics course at 100-level, and ENGL 201 is an English course at 200-level.


Along with taking courses that will go towards your major or minors, you can also take courses in other subjects you are interested in. These are often called electives.

Course prerequisites

You usually have to pass certain courses in a subject – called prerequisites – before you can continue on to 200-level courses in your second year.


Your bachelor’s degree usually takes three or four years of full-time study to complete. Typically, three year degrees require 360 points of study. Four year bachelor’s degrees, such as the Bachelor of Forestry Science, typically require 480 points of study.


The year is divided into three semesters — the first from March to July, the second from July to October, and the summer semester from November to February. A course usually takes one semester to complete.

Students may choose to study in the summer semester to complete their qualification in a shorter time frame, to take prerequisite courses to prepare for another course they wish to take during the other semesters, or to catch up on a failed course.

Further study

Successfully completing an undergraduate degree will allow you to continue on to a wide range of graduate and postgraduate qualifications such as:

  • Graduate certificates and diplomas
  • Honours degrees
  • Postgraduate certificates and diplomas
  • Master’s degrees