So you’ve chosen to come study at UoA (yay!), and you’ve picked your degree.
But the part that always baffled me was “what do you actually do in your degree?”
I had a general sense that I was going to do a Bachelor of Science, but because there were so many majors to pick from, I didn’t quite know what to choose. Many things like earth science, computer science, and anthropological science weren’t offered at my school, so I didn’t know if I’d be any good at a major without having done it before.
My passion lied within biology at school – it made the most sense to follow this. But in biology, and so many other sciences, there’s distinct fields within them – like evolutionary biology, genetics, cellular biology, ecology… how would I know what to take? What my degree would be like? One specialty or a mix of all types? Could I take other sciences too?
That’s where degree planning comes in!
What I did to narrow down what major I wanted to do was to work on the degree planning first.
To plan your degree, you’ll first need to look at the general requirements for your degree.
You’ll need to look at the university calendar (https://www.calendar.auckland.ac.nz/en.html) to see exactly how many points you’ll need and what courses they must come from. You’ll find this under programme regulations. Usually a course is worth 15 points, but some courses are worth more – the courses section of the calendar will tell you how much it’s worth. Checking “My Programme Requirements” on Student Services Online is also useful if you’ve confirmed your enrolment with the right degree and major in place. It’s also best to double check with Student Hubs to make sure everything is in place and that you know exactly what courses you must take. They can also provide you with a really useful degree planner, that gives you a diagram-type overview of what to take when.
This approach is how I figured out which major I really wanted to do. Looking at the different papers available and seeing what I’d be learning made me realise biology was what I really wanted. I also really loved UoA’s approach to biology – you can focus on a specialisation (where you take certain papers focusing on a certain topic), or take a mix of many types of papers, which is what I did since I’m interested in many types of biology.
Generally, most degrees have a bit of flexibility around what courses you can do. Given this choice, how would you know what courses to do and how to pick? This is where course outlines come in. The uni’s course outlines website (https://courseoutline.auckland.ac.nz/dco) has outlines for all the classes offered. You can see the breakdown of how much each assignment is worth, a broad overview of what will be taught, and anything worth noting (such as whether there will be some elements delivered online, or lab requirements). This is a good tool to see whether the course might be something you’re interested in.
I definitely recommend taking reviews from the Student Course Review website and other platforms with a grain of salt – while they can be truthful, everyone is different and everyone has strengths in different areas, and courses definitely seek feedback on how to improve for future years, which is something to consider.
Don’t forget your general education courses (more commonly called gen eds)! If you’re doing a conjoint, you’ll only need one, but if you’re doing a single degree you’ll need two (with some exceptions to the rule – see the programme overview link). You can find out which courses are available to be taken here (https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/study/study-options/undergraduate-study-options/general-education/course-schedules.html). Make sure to double check any requirements around what courses will count towards your gen ed requirement, especially since the regulations have changed recently (see https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/study/study-options/undergraduate-study-options/general-education/programme-overview.html) – check in with Student Hubs if you’re unsure! Also be sure to enrol in the course in SSO with a G on the end of the course code (eg, BIOSCI 100G instead of BIOSCI 100) so that it counts towards your gen ed requirements.
Then all that’s left to do is enrol in your courses! Usually enrolment for the upcoming year opens in early October or early December, depending on the programme, and you can enrol for both Sem 1 and Sem 2 courses.
Hopefully my experience in choosing what major to do and this quick crash course in planning your degree helps!