Arts Scholars

The Arts Scholars programme is an opportunity for passionate and creative students to take their Bachelor of Arts (BA) or BA conjoint to the next level, improve their career skills, and challenge themselves intellectually.

Arts Scholars join a group of students who genuinely love to learn, and are taught and mentored by leading researchers from the Faculty of Arts and beyond.

Together, you will grapple with the social, economic, and cultural impact of a range of issues beyond your majors through group discussions, rousing debates, and personal reflection. This will prepare you not only for a variety of workplaces and careers, but help you challenge preconceptions, expand your horizons, and engage with a diversity of issues and people.

You will learn, make friends, and push yourself to the next level.

On top of the extra academic challenge, Arts Scholars also offers you individual support, one-on-one academic mentoring from our top academics, activities throughout the year, and the opportunity to become a student mentor yourself. We emphasise skills that are applicable across research and the workplace, and nurture strong leaders and engaged citizens in our Aotearoa New Zealand and wider, global context.

If you are someone who has ever thought that what you are passionate about is pretty amazing, wanted to open doors to new spaces and bring something back to your current ones, sought to make an impact on your communities, or wondered about the intersections between arts, business, and the sciences, then you’re an Arts Scholar.

Programme benefits

  • Be a part of a tight-knit, passionate and engaged community of students and academic staff.
  • 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.
  • Become a student mentor in your second and third years, and get involved in other student leadership roles.
  • Undertake a research or internship project in your third year.
  • 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.
  • If you're applying for accommodation in our Halls of Residence, you'll get a guaranteed place in O’Rorke Hall in your first year of study if you apply by our September deadline (this includes students who live in Auckland).

Programme structure

Arts Scholars combines an innovative multi-disciplinary curriculum with a programme of workshops and social events. Our programme aims to develop your abilities in communication and teamwork, problem-solving, and resourcefulness through small seminar-style classes and experiential learning. Topics come from across the Arts, and get you involved in areas outside of what you may be studying for your majors. As an Arts Scholars whānau we will work together and learn together, building friendships and connections that will last far beyond your study here at University.

Arts Scholars is taken as a 45-point module under your BA or BA conjoint, in addition to your BA majors. Each of the three courses run full-year across both Semesters 1 and 2, split as 7.5 points 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.



Introduces students to research in the real world through a sequence of 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.


The 'Great Works' course engages students with great works from a variety of cultural and disciplinary backgrounds, including from Māori, Pacific, non-western, and underrepresented writers. Staff from across the Faculty of Arts present seminars on key works in their fields. These may be standard texts that any expert in the field might teach or expect to be known, but they may also be lesser known works that seminar givers have a particular interest in that they wish to share.


This is the final project of 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, group internship, research apprenticeship, or work placement with an iwi or other dynamic community or corporate group.  

Social events and workshops

Social events and workshops are part of the Arts Scholars programme, and do not require any additional coursework. Workshops are built around professional development and aim to give you an extra edge when it comes to leadership and presentation skills. These workshops can also be included on your CV. Social events are varied, and range from after-hours study sessions to 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

Places in the programme are limited, and you will be assessed on four criteria: your Arts Scholars application, an essay, a reference from a teacher or community leader, and your academic achievements. Successful applicants will be chosen based on a full consideration of all four aspects of the application.

Arts Scholars application

The Arts Scholars application asks you a number of questions
about yourself that allow the Selection Committee the chance to get to know you better. You are encouraged to have a look at the questions and draft your responses before submitting your application.


You will submit a 500-word essay on your choice of one of the following questions:

  • “What’s in a name?” Names tell a story. Tell us about yours and its origin, be it your first, middle, last, or nickname.
  • We are considering adding a new component to our application process. If you were asked to prepare a dinner for the Arts Scholars Selection Committee, what would you prepare and why?
  • You have been appointed to a special government position which asks you to tackle one significant social problem in New Zealand and gives you 12 months (and a generous budget) to do something about it. Which specific problem would you address and what would be the main points of your strategy?

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 particular choice of question.


You are asked to submit a reference from either a teacher (Year 12 or Year 13), or community leader (e.g. sports coach, club or religious leader). Your referee cannot be a relative or close friend.

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

Academic results

To be accepted, you should aim for either:

  • NCEA Level 3 rank score of 240 or higher
  • CIE rank score of 290 or higher
  • IB rank score of 31 or higher
  • Grade point equivalent (GPE) of at least 5.0

If you think that you may achieve below this, we still encourage you to apply. To calculate your estimated rank score, use our Rank Score Calculator.

We will confirm your final results when these are released.

Please note: Other applicants may be considered under exceptional circumstances.

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.

Closing dates

Applications for Arts Scholars for 2019 close on Saturday 8 December 2018.

For students seeking a guaranteed place at O’Rorke Hall, your Arts Scholars application must be received by Saturday 8 September 2018. You should have already applied for accommodation in O’Rorke Hall with the Accommodation Office.

Late applications may be considered subject to place availability.


If you have questions about the Arts Scholars programme, you can contact Samantha Lagos at