Master of Arts

Information on this page relates to the 2016 academic year unless otherwise specified.

The School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies offers MA programmes in TESOL, Linguistics, Applied Linguistics and Second Language Learning and Teaching. These programmes have been developed to meet the needs of students and teachers of English as a second/foreign language from around the world.

More than 18 courses are offered onsite and by distance each year; this allows for many customisable options in how the programme content can be tailored to meet the needs of each student. The MA can be completed in one to three years of study, and three start dates each year provides flexibility to students.

The Master’s degree can be completed by coursework or by thesis. A Master's degree by coursework requires you to complete specific courses, as well as offering the opportunity to do a research project, while a Master's degree by thesis does not require coursework - the entire degree involves researching a topic that interests you and producing a thesis to support your work. The Master’s by thesis option is not available to distance students. Read more about the Master’s by thesis option.

MA thesis students are normally required to complete within one year of first enrolling (or two years for half-time students) - see the Master's Thesis Policy for details. MA by coursework candidates are normally required to complete the degree within one year and six months of first enrolling (or up to four years for students who are part-time).

The comprehensive resources of the Victoria University of Wellington are available to all students. For those learning off-campus, web-based resources allow regular contact between lecturers and domestic and international students, providing a rich learning experience.

Application (for new students only)

Domestic student applications

Domestic students (i.e. New Zealand citizens and Permanent Residents) applying for the MA by coursework please go to the Online Enrolment System to apply. If your application is accepted, the system will progress you through to enrolment.

Domestic thesis students (any thesis or dissertation of 90 points or above) need to apply to the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Student and Academic Services Office.

Thesis students must also re-enrol annually, see the Faculty Master's Guidelines.

International student aplications

New international students apply to Victoria International to see if they will be accepted academically. If academic records are acceptable your application will be passed to the School.

If you are accepted by the School, you will still need to enrol through Victoria International (email: or tel: 64 4 463 5350).

Registering for courses (returning students only)

Existing and returning students can find information about enrolling and registering for courses on the Postgraduate Admissions page. You may also find this information on how to add and withdraw from courses helpful.

Applications made via the online enrolment system after set deadlines may incur a late fee.

Entry requirements

If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence of proficiency in the English language.  Your report form must be no older than 2 years. The minimum requirements are:

  • TOEFL 575 with (preferably) a TWE of 5; or 237 on the computer-based test; or 90 on the internet-based test with a minimum 20 in writing; or
  • IELTS overall band of 6.5 with no sub-score below 6.0; or
  • Pearson Test of English: minimum score of 65 (with a ‘Communicative’ score of not less than 58); or
  • A minimum of two ratings of 5 and two ratings of 4 in the Victoria University English Proficiency Programme test.

For more information about entry requirements, view the page for the programme you are interested in:

MA in TESOL, MA in Linguistics, MA in Applied Linguistics or MA in Second Language Learning and Teaching.

Core courses

An MA involves 180 points usually made up of twelve 15-point courses.

When completing your MA part-time, you may have to wait to do a core course as each MA course is only taught once per year. For more information about core courses, view the page for the programme you are interested in:

MA in TESOL, MA in Linguistics, MA in Applied Linguistics or MA in Second Language Learning and Teaching.

Current MA courses

For a list of the current MA courses please see the Current MA Courses page.


You may find helpful information regarding the MA Programme on the frequently asked questions page.

For further information

For further information regarding the MA in general, please see the MA page and Postgraduate Resources and Links on the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences website.

For School-specific information about the MA, please:


School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600
Wellington 6140

Telephone: +64-4 463 5600


General enquiries

Scholarship information

International student enquiries

online student support centre or