New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Studies

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

This subject is taught by the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies.


What language is indigenous to New Zealand and is used by more than 20,000 people? It's New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), the language of the Deaf community, recognised as New Zealand's third official language in April 2006.

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Studies at Victoria explores the language, community, and cultural experiences of Deaf people in New Zealand. Courses focus on developing skills to communicate effectively in NZSL. You cannot major in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Studies, but a minor is available or you can add individual NZSL courses to many degree programmes. Postgraduate thesis supervision is also offered in this subject area.

Victoria caters for both learners and teachers of NZSL. Courses in NZSL attract undergraduate students from a wide range of Humanities, Social Science, and Science majors, while other NZSL Studies courses are designed for members of the Deaf community.

Undergraduate information

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Studies is not a major, but is available as a minor, or may contribute points to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or be included in other degrees by arrangement with the relevant faculty.

Two consecutive NZSL courses are offered at 100 level. They provide a practical foundation in understanding and using NZSL in a variety of contexts. They also introduce you to aspects of Deaf community and culture. There are two further NZSL courses at 200 level, and one course at 300 level that introduces topics in sign language linguistics.

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Studies minor requirements

At least 60 points selected from NZSL 200-299 (or DEAF 200-299), and NZSL 311.

How to find out more

Want to find out more about studying at Victoria? Register now to find out more about your study options and keep updated on application and enrolment information, open days and events.

If you need help deciding what degree might be right for you, or what courses to take, talk with a liaison officer or book a course planning session with us, call 0800 VICTORIA (842 867) or email

If you’re a returning or transferring student, contact the Faculty Student and Academic Services Office, for help with degree planning and for information on admission requirements and transfer credit from other institutions.

Related subjects and careers

Related subjects


  • Interpreter
  • Policy analyst
  • Social worker
  • Social services
  • Teacher

List of courses

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Studies courses are taught within the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Levels 2 and 3, von Zedlitz Building.

Please note: the list of courses displays undergraduate–level courses for this subject.

View list of courses