Arts Scholars

Connect with a passionate community of changemakers and co-create your learning experience.

The Arts Scholars programme brings students together from across the Faculty of Arts. It combines interdisciplinary, for-credit, study with social activities and community building to enrich Arts students’ university experience.  As an Arts Scholars whānau we work and learn together, building connections that will last far beyond your time studying here at University of Auckland.

In this programme students grapple with social, economic, and cultural questions through group discussions, rousing debates, and personal reflection. You will also develop important communication skills, hone your ability to work in a team, solve problems and increase your resourcefulness through small seminar-style classes and experiential learning.

If you are someone who is passionate about learning, eager to think creatively and intellectually curious then you’re an Arts Scholar. Come join us!

Places are still available in the 2023 Arts Scholars cohort. We will make offers in late January and again in mid-February (if places are still available). To be considered for the late January round of offers, please apply by 20 January; for the mid-February round, we need your application by 10 February. You can find details about how to apply and the link to the application form below.

Programme benefits

  • Become part of a tight-knit, passionate and engaged whānau of academic staff and students.
  • Receive individual support and guidance, including an academic mentor, throughout your degree.
  • Build on your existing cultural strengths and utilize your whānau/ainga and community networks.
  • Attend seminars and workshops that expand your academic, personal and professional horizons.
  • Boost your employability by enhancing your skills in leadership, collaboration, communication and research.
  • Understand how to engage communities in what you do both across and outside of the University.

Programme structure

Arts Scholars courses can be taken as a three course, 45-point module within the  BA or BA conjoint, in addition to the BA majors. Each of the three courses runs full-year across both Semesters One and Two, split as 7.5 points in each semester.

We will work with you to structure the rest of your BA enrolments to suit your study goals. Students in a conjoint degree will normally take a single major in their Arts component, and can pair a second module alongside Arts Scholars.

Some students choose to do either or both of the Stage I and II Arts Scholars courses but not complete the entire module. These students can count the individual courses as electives in their BA or BA conjoint degree.



Introduces students to research in the real world through weekly 90-minute discussion seminars, each featuring invited presenters from areas of discipline-based expertise addressing a common topic. Students will build their own expertise with Arts disciplines by considering the central topic in a range of possible contexts through class discussion, group work, and individual reflection.

In 2023 the course focusses on the theme of food. Previous years' classes have examined the themes of laughter, food, anxiety and war.

*Students who apply for admission to Arts Scholars in their second year of study may seek a concession to replace ARTSCHOL 100 with an alternative approved Arts course.


This course engages students with the range of research being done in the Arts from a variety of cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. In the first half of the course staff from across the Faculty of Arts present seminars about their current research, methodologies and career trajectories. The second half of the course focusses on developing students’ own research skills.


This is the capstone course in the Arts Scholars programme. Students will attend a small number of seminars, but their primary work will be self-directed and may involve significant independent and/or group-based learning under academic supervision. This might include a research project, research apprenticeship, or creative work.

Social events and workshops

Social events and workshops complete the Arts Scholars experience, supporting whanaungatanga and helping you to extend your personal and professional development. They also aim to give you an extra edge when it comes to leadership and presentation skills and do not require any additional coursework. These workshops can also be included on your CV.

Social events are varied  and range from after-hours study sessions and movie nights to Arts vs Science quiz nights, field trips and special lectures. These are optional, but a great way to spend some time out of the classroom with your Arts Scholars whānau.

How to apply

You will be asked to submit

  • an Arts Scholars application form
  • a short essay
  • a reference from a teacher, community leader, or other person
  • your academic achievements (ie secondary school results or results from previous tertiary study)

Scholars will be selected after consideration of all four elements of their application.

Arts Scholars application form

The Arts Scholars application form asks you a number of questions to allow the Selection Committee the chance to get to know you better.

Essay: Please submit a 500-word essay on one of the following:

  • "Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are." Describe a concept, topic, or idea that you find so captivating it makes you lose all track of time. What makes it so appealing to you? Who do you turn to or where do you go to learn more?
  • How would Kupe have seized power in Rome? What choices would Churchill make in the Hunger Games? Mash up a historical, literary, or pop cultural figure with a different conflict or challenge, and tell us their story.
  • Pick a challenge, setback, or failure that a character faced in a story (myth, book, song, film, comic book, etc). What do you think about their actions and choices?

In answering the application and essay questions, you should be serious where it’s called for, but also comfortable taking a risk or being playful if it suits you. Your essay will be considered for its content and your engagement with the question, not your choice of question.


We require a reference from either a teacher (Year 12 or Year 13), community leader (e.g. sports coach, club or religious leader), or someone you feel can speak to your character. This may include members of your whānau/ainga. In selecting your referee, you should consider who might best be able to represent your personal qualities.

The reference form should be posted or emailed to us in pdf format by your referee, and must be post-marked or sent before the application due date. 

Make sure that you have applied for admission to a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Arts conjoint before you apply for the Arts Scholars programme. We can’t offer you a place in Arts Scholars unless you have applied for admission to the BA or one of the BA conjoint degrees.

Closing dates and decision timeline

  • Applications for 2023 Arts Scholars will open in August 2022.  
  • We make ‘early’ offers in September.
  • We continue to take applications in October and November and make a second round of ‘on-time’ offers in December.
  • Both the ‘early’ and ‘on-time’ offers to school leavers are conditional on their school results. These are confirmed in January after NCEA and CIE results are released.
  • If there are still places available in the programme we will continue to take applications until the end of January and make some late offers in early February 2023.


If you have questions about the Arts Scholars programme, you can contact Dr Deborah Montgomerie at