Our unique educational experience

We’re evolving your education. Here’s what you can look forward to when studying with us.

In 2025, we’re introducing some exciting changes that will begin to transform how you will learn while you study here at Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland.

By 2026, all new undergraduate students will experience an education that ensures you understand your tūrangawaewae, the place you stand, the people you stand among, and the wider world.

In these times of rapid global change, we know students will face a variety of challenges calling on you to think creatively, work collaboratively and understand different knowledge systems to ensure you are prepared for the world’s uncertain future.

To help you realise your goals in your study and beyond, the University puts students at the heart of education, ensuring you gain practical, real-world skills, and igniting a passion for academic and lifelong learning that lasts well beyond your time with us.

We understand that everyone is different, and no two individuals’ needs are quite the same. Our educational experience celebrates this uniqueness by ensuring you can learn in a safe space that enables you to build relationships and connect with others at Uni, in Aotearoa, and overseas.

Our Taumata – aspirational principles that guide our educational approach

Our approach is guided by eight key principles (taumata). At a high-level these are:
  • Embracing Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles and accountabilities and mātauranga Māori and kaupapa Māori ways of teaching.
  • Striving for academic excellence through idea development and sharing. 
  • Putting research at the heart of our teaching.
  • Fostering a sense of belonging and celebrating diversity. 
  • Making education accessible and equitable for all.
  • Supporting various programmes tailored to your needs and life stage
  • Enriching and expanding your knowledge and encouraging collaboration.
  • Sustainability and sharing knowledge for a positive impact.

Find out more about our guiding Taumata 

What does this mean for you as a student and your degree?

A new Waipapa Taumata Rau 15-point course (programme requirement) 

From 2025, the structure of undergraduate degrees will begin to change.

All first-year undergraduate students will take a Waipapa Taumata Rau course. Each faculty-based Waipapa Taumata Rau course focuses on understanding core knowledge relevant to that faculty, the significance of place-based knowledge, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Students will develop foundational critical and ethical thinking, communication, and collaborative skills essential for success in their undergraduate study.

Transdisciplinary Learning opportunities

From 2026 most undergraduate students will be required to complete a 15-point transdisciplinary course.

Transdisciplinary learning involves bringing together students and staff from different fields of study and incorporates community perspectives to address complex societal challenges. The course will equip you with the skills, mindset, and awareness of the systems of knowledge needed to tackle real-world issues that require diverse expertise and perspectives.

This learning experience will provide an exciting opportunity for you to make friends and connections with students studying across the University and to use all of your unique ways of viewing the world to think of solutions to societal challenges. 

For example, in the Environmental Futures: Te Taiao Tāngata course, you will work to tackle current and future challenges we’re facing with the climate crisis. Working in teams, you’ll examine environmental, social, economic and cultural perspectives in the real-world contexts of waitā (sea), waitī (freshwater) and whenua (land).

Through real-world case studies, you'll gain skills and a collaborative mindset to innovatively address the complexity of environmental challenges.

In the Democracy in the 21st Century course, you’ll examine the challenges to democracy in Aotearoa New Zealand and globally. You’ll explore how the rise of social media, artificial intelligence, and other technological developments are rapidly altering the information environment. Working in teams, you’ll come up with innovative ideas for building more inclusive, equitable, and participatory democracies.

In Semester Two, 2024 two transdisciplinary courses will be available as part of the General Education schedule. There are: 

Preparing you for your career and your future

In 2024, we have a new Graduate Profile. The Graduate Profile outlines the capabilities you will have when you finish your studies, and how we will prepare you for your future lives and careers.

We have ambitious aspirations for our students. These are embodied by our Māori name, Waipapa Taumata Rau. Gifted to the University by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, te ahi kā of Tāmaki Makaurau, this name signals a call to excellence in scholarship and the pursuit of knowledge, sustainability, relevance, fairness and a positive impact in all we do.

While you’re with us, you will have the opportunity to thrive as Pūmātauranga | Scholars, Aronga Raraupori | Global Citizens, Kiriauaha | Innovators and Kaiarataki | Leaders. These opportunities are embedded within your degree programmes and wider experiences at University.

Our degree programmes also actively support future career and civic engagement, by providing learning opportunities with industry employers and the wider community. These learning opportunities connect your areas of study at University with your future academic, work or community aspirations.

Learn more about the Graduate Profile