What is like?

The Master of Applied Linguistics provides professionals in all areas of second-language teaching, including Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), with a qualification that meets their specific combination of professional and research needs. This combination is increasingly important in both domestic and international settings.

Get real-world skills

You’ll use theories, methods and problem-based approaches that address real-world language issues. The Master of Applied Linguistics focuses on the second-language acquisition and language use in an increasingly globalised and digitally mediated world.

Explore areas such as contextually relevant teaching of languages, reflective practices to enhance teaching and learning, and the socio-cultural demands of language learning and teaching.

Draw on Massey’s research strengths

Massey’s research strengths include:

  • Heritage language learning
  • Mother tongue maintenance
  • Online second-language communities
  • Distance/online language learning
  • Sociocultural adjustment of international students and their teachers to their presence in New Zealand universities
  • Language learning and emotion
  • Bi/multilingualism
  • Oral proficiency

Research opportunities

Master’s study includes a research component. On the Master of Applied Linguistics, you’ll complete a research report (60 credits) or thesis (120 credits). Recent areas of student research include:

  • Investigating the needs of non-income earning students in community English classes.
  • The development of teacher identity among student teachers in Thailand.
  • Navigating cultural conflict and dissonance in the immigrant ESL classroom.
  • The role of motivational beliefs in self-regulated learning for Kanji acquisition.
  • Vocational tertiary students’ imagined experiences of learning English with native speakers in an Indonesian rural setting.
  • Perceptions of Bhutanese students, parents and teachers of their learning progress in a New Zealand secondary school.
  • A case study of teacher beliefs and student attitudes on L1 use in multilingual classrooms.

Key facts

  • Available at Manawatū
  • Available via Distance Learning
  • 18 months full-time; up to five years part-time
  • Available for international students studying in NZ or via distance learning

A good fit if you

  • Work in second-language teaching, including TESOL
  • Are passionate about teaching and learning languages
  • Have taught or are involved in teaching languages
  • Are curious about how we learn languages and how we teach them


With a Master of Applied Linguistics, you’ll be prepared for careers in language teaching, research and practice in national and international multilingual contexts. You’ll be supporting those who operate in multilingual contexts, such as migrants and former refugees, and international students in New Zealand. Our graduates are employed as educators, consultants and practitioners.

Entry requirements

Full details can be viewed on the 'Regulation' button.

Students require

  • A Bachelor degree with at least a B grade average across the 200-300 level courses AND
  • At least one full-time year of relevant teaching experience (or equivalent)


  • A Postgraduate Diploma in Second Language Teaching


  • A Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics

Note: Students admitted following completion of a Postgraduate Diploma in Second Language Teaching or a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics may be granted direct entry to Part Two. At least a B+ grade average is required for entry to the Research Pathway; at least a B grade average is required for entry to the Coursework Pathway.

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated August 4, 2019
This course is Online, Campus based
Start Date
18 - 60 months
By locations
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