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What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS

Bachelor of Arts UTS - Fact Sheet

Do you want to take your degree to the next level by combining it with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS?

We bet you do because it’s a very exciting opportunity to learn the language and culture of a different country as well as study abroad for a year! Plus it only adds on two more years and you’ll finish with a double degree—how sweet is that?

So, let’s get started! 

What is a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS?
Core Units and Majors
How to Get into a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS?

A Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS is a combined only degree that gives you the opportunity to study abroad for a whole year! This degree can be paired with 28 other UTS core degrees. 

You’ll learn a language, be immersed in the everyday life of a different culture, gain incredible experiences that will last a lifetime and finish the degree with a research project on an aspect of your host country to show future employers. This degree is truly unique and gives your core degree that little bit of an international edge to help you stand out from the crowd.

Must it be studied with another degree?

Yes. A Bachelor of Arts in International Studies can only be studied alongside another degree (Journalism, Law, Business, Nursing etc.). Check this out to see all the other degrees you can pair International Studies with!

Career Paths 

Since a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies can’t be studied on its own, the career paths depend more on what your core degree is (Law, Nursing, Journalism etc.). However, UTS International Studies does provide you with the foundations to pursue your core degree at an international level if you wish to. 

Perhaps you’re a business student who is interested in working for a company overseas or a journalism student who wants to be a foreign correspondent… Whatever it is you want to do, living life in another country and immersing yourself in the language and culture at such a young age is priceless because of the experiences you gain and skills you develop.

Core Units and Majors

Course Structure

So, we bet you all want to know what year of the degree you spend away?! Well, it’s the fourth year so it gives you plenty of time to save up, practice your language skills and get super hyped for your year abroad. 

You start International Studies in the second year of your combined degree—you still do some subjects from your core degree but you also start language and culture subjects. In the third year, there’s more of a focus on the language and culture subjects, although you may have one or two subjects from your core degree as well. 

And then…fourth year—it’s time to step onto that plane and live in another country! After your year abroad, the International Studies part of your combined degree is finished and then you’ll complete the rest of your core degree. 

Bachelor of Arts UTS - Student Quote

What are the Core Units?

A Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS adds an extra 96 credit points onto your core degree. Everyone does the same core subjects—the only difference is which language you choose to learn. 

Language and Culture Subjects

Before you leave, you will have completed four language and culture subjects—one each semester during your second and third year. Each semester you’ll have 2 x two hour tutorials where you develop your language skills. 

Each subject builds on from the previous semester to extend your language skills. You’ll complete listening, writing, reading and speaking activities in the tutorial. 

Tutorials are really interactive and you’re encouraged to speak the language you’re learning as much as possible during class. The tutors are awesome and so helpful—they’re always happy to answer any questions! 

Contemporary Society 

All students take this subject in relation to their country major—so Contemporary Germany, Contemporary Spain etc. It’s an introduction to that specific country’s history, culture and the issues that are happening there in society today. 

In-country Study and Fieldwork 

In-country Study and Fieldwork 1 & 2 are the subjects you take for UTS during your year abroad—they’re all assessment based. Although there are no official classes for these subjects, your tutor will stay in regular contact with you to help guide your research project. 

Throughout the process, you’ll learn about another culture and really develop your research and writing skills. You have the whole year to complete your final research project with assessments along the way to monitor your progress and receive feedback. 

What are the Majors?

You will major in one of the 14 countries listed below so that you not only learn the corresponding language but also gain an understanding of the country’s culture, current affairs and history in preparation for your year abroad. 

  • Argentina
  • Canada (Quebec)
  • Chile
  • China 
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latino USA
  • Mexico
  • Spain
  • Switzerland 

In your first year as a UTS student, you nominate your country major and if you have already studied the language, you will be assessed on your skills and placed into the appropriate class level. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner because UTS caters to a range of different language levels from beginner to intermediate to advanced. 

Depending on your country major, you will either learn French, Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese or Japanese! 

How to Get into a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS 

Since a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS is only offered as a combined degree, the ATAR cut-off varies depending on what your core degree is. A double degree does make the ATAR cut-off higher as opposed to studying a single degree. 

UTS International Studies can be combined with 28 other degrees so the ATAR cut-off ranges from 72.55-96.45!

Have a look here for more details!  

Pathway Programs 

Now, if you just miss out on getting the ATAR to add a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies to your core degree, don’t worry. After completing a full year of study in your core degree with at least an overall Credit average, you can then add it on—so there’s no missing out!

How can I afford to study overseas for a year? 

The great part about your in-country study is that UTS pays for your flights to get there and back, transport from the airport to your host city, visa, insurance and part of your semester fees at your host uni. Now, that’s pretty neat!   


Even if you save really hard and work up until you leave, it can still be challenging to finance your year overseas—you’ve got to pay for your accommodation and food as well as any activities or travel you do. That’s why UTS offers students the chance to apply for an OS-HELP loan. 

You can find all the info on it right here! 


You can apply for the International Studies Overseas Access Scholarship which provides financial assistance for your year away. In order to apply, you must have at least an overall Distinction average.

Check out more info here! 

What’s the Teaching Format?

A Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS is completed through semesters with a mix of lectures, tutorials and workshops. 

During your year abroad, you’re obviously there for the entire year and when you leave/return depends on when the uni year starts in your host country. But you will all get that big summer break—the perfect time to pack your bags and travel if you want to. 

Bachelor of Arts UTS - Class Structure


As it depends on the subject, you could have anywhere between 25 to 100 students in your lecture. The more tailored subjects like Contemporary Germany or Spain, depending on your country major are usually a lot smaller. 

In the lectures, you’ll learn all the content, take lots of notes and sometimes have guest lecturers. There are no lectures for the language classes—only tutorials because they are very interactive. 


The tutorials are very discussion based and interactive—you’ll discuss the readings and ideas from the lecture and work in groups on various activities such as giving feedback on your essay progress. There are usually around 20 to 30 students in the tutorials. 


Before you leave for your in-country study, there are a fair few logistics to work out! That’s why UTS has a number of compulsory workshops which cover everything from how to apply for student accommodation to visas to flights and what is expected of you throughout the year.

It depends on how popular you host country is for that year but there’s usually 20 to 30 people. Don’t worry, you are guided every step of the way—they even help enrol you in the university of your host country.

How many contact hours? 


This really depends on what year of the degree you’re in however, the lectures at UTS go for an hour and the tutorials are two hours. Of course, you spend a fair bit of time writing all those essays and also practicing your language skills by doing your homework and learning new vocab. 


You’ll do around 10-12 hours of classes at your host university a week. There are no classes for UTS while you’re away and instead you maintain contact with your tutor and work on your assessments in your own time. 

The tutors are really supportive and just an email or call away if you want to discuss your project with them or have any questions.

What are the assessments like?

Language Assessments

You’ll have a combination of in-class assessments and take home assignments. It is important to note that depending on your language efficiency, the assessments will vary.

Your progress is monitored over the whole semester with small writing tasks and vocab tests. Developing your speaking skills in the language is an important aspect and that’s why there is a focus on giving presentations. 

You can expect to have listening comprehension where you’ll hear a conversation and have to answer questions related to it. There is usually a written exam at the end of the semester where you get to showcase your reading comprehension and writing skills. 

It’s also good to know that language classes will be taught mostly in the language you’re learning—of course, it depends on your level, but that’s the aim because it’s the best way to learn. In preparation for your in-country research project, you’ll conduct a small survey or interview and write up the findings. 

You’ll also be expected to do any set homework, learn new vocab and practice regularly since that’s how you learn in the end! 

Core Subjects – Foundations in International Studies and Contemporary Society (country major) 

You can expect a lot of research and writing for these assessments. There’s no exams though—thank goodness! 

Instead, you’ll have a mix of group presentations, research essays and reflective journal entries related to the lectures and readings. All these assessments refine your skills needed for your in-country research project. 

University Classes Abroad

You’ll be expected to attend university classes in your host country. This is where you’ll meet new people and really immerse yourself in the culture and language. 

Although you’re not marked by UTS on these classes, it is a requirement of the program and you have to attend the classes, complete all the activities and pass the subjects. 

In-country Study and Fieldwork 1 & 2

These are the assessments you complete during your year abroad. All of these tasks are completed in English—phew! 

Basically, all of the assessments contribute to your final research project known as a Capstone. You can expect to have the following assessments which include a lot of research and essay/report writing:

  • Literature review: Research essay on a topic of your choice 
  • Pilot research project: Collect data through surveys or interviews etc. and then write up findings  
  • Project Proposal: Plans for how you will carry out the final project 
  • Final research project: This is your Capstone—so you’ll collect data, analyse the findings in relation to your chosen topic and then write up a 5000 word report on it. 

What’s really cool is that you finish your Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with an original research project that you can show future employees! 

Skills That You Refine and Learn

Bachelor of Arts UTS - Skills

During the degree, you’ll develop and refine a huge set of different skills. 

Of course, you’ll develop your language skills during your UTS language classes which prepare you for the year abroad. But trust us, there’s no better way to learn the language than being in the country where it’s spoken and immersing yourself in everyday life. 

You’ll be surprised how quickly you pick up on things and gain the confidence to just speak, even if you don’t really know how to say it. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a place for that long where the official language was not my first language. I was able to be in that position for the first time and I think that’s a valuable experience that I’ll never get again.” – Emiko Reed

Now, as you can expect, studying abroad can also be quite challenging at times—you might get homesick, experience culture shock, get lost in translation or just feel totally lost! And that’s okay—there’s going to be ups and downs but you’ll figure it out, you’ll make it work and those are times where you develop resilience. 

For a lot of students, the year abroad is the first time they’ve lived away from home. So, there’s no one telling you what to do or when to do it—it’s kind of all up to you and your responsibility to stay on top of everything. You learn to become more independent and it’s a great feeling! 

The in-country study assessments are heavily research based and help you develop your writing skills (there’s a lot, a lot of writing involved). Juggling your UTS assessments, host university classes, staying on top of all the paperwork, hanging out with friends and travelling definitely teaches you about organisation and time management. 

What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

First things first: all students doing International Studies are in the same boat as you. They’re just as nervous about all that pre-departure organisational stuff, whether their language skills are up to speed and whether they’ll feel homesick. 

They’re also just as excited to travel, make new friends and gain experiences that they’ll talk about for years later. So, you all support each other and really stick together throughout your year abroad. 

The other great thing is that you start your language and culture classes in the second year of the combined degree which gives you time to make friends with the students who will be going to the same country as you. 


You can join the UTS Global and International Studies Club where you can meet new people, listen to previous student’s experiences abroad and also share your own! If you want to discuss international issues and talk about the world, then this is the place for you.

You may also be interested in the Exchange and Study Abroad Club where international and local students can mix and get to know each other. If you choose to do this degree, you’ll also be an International student in a different country someday and will probably also want to get to know local students.

There’s Welcome drinks, games and trivia nights, BBQ and picnics, coastal walks and lots of day trips exploring Sydney! It’s a great way to learn about other cultures and also experience your own city through new eyes! 

Interested in the pros and cons of this double degree? Check out our article here!

Tanna Nankivell is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently in Germany completing a year of study for her double degree in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She has had articles published on Central News – the UTS Journalism Lab and wrote a feature piece for Time Out Sydney during her internship. Tanna has a love for travel and the great outdoors, you’ll either find her on the snowfields or in the ocean, teaching aqua aerobics or creating short films. 

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