New information following the change in COVID-19 alert levels.

Master of Applied Linguistics

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

Take your career to the next level

With Massey’s Master of Applied Linguistics, you’ll help make second-language teaching work in a multilingual world.

What is it like?

Find out more about entry requirements, fees and courses in the planning section.

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 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 sociocultural 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 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

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
Rebecca Cameron
English Language Teacher

“I feel more knowledgeable, and have a firmer theoretical base on which to draw on and justify decisions I make about classroom practices and pedagogical underpinnings. That has been fantastic…”

I also became aware of how much I had to extend my thinking in terms of engaging in higher order processes of evaluating and synthesizing information. Prior to this journey I was well aware I spent a lot of time reflecting, but doing a more in-depth analysis of thoughts and readings created a number of light bulb/eureka moments - most often in the middle of the night!


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.

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