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Master of Arts (English)

Key facts

  • Available via Distance Learning
  • Available for international students via distance learning

Shape our world with words

With Massey’s Master of Arts in English you can build on your undergraduate interests and develop your critical research skills.

Find out more about the Master of Arts parent structure.

What is it like?

Follow your interests further

A Master of Arts (English) at Massey gives you the chance to study important literary genres and periods in depth. You’ll also explore the complexities of literary language and rhetoric.

Study great texts from the past and present

Massey’s Master of Arts (English) offers you thorough coverage of great literature in English, from Shakespeare to the present day. Our courses are taught by active researchers who share your love of literature: they’ll introduce you to amazing writing and the reasons why it matters.

Get an applied edge

Choose from a range of courses that will extend your English skills in creative and applied ways. Expand the horizons of your degree by taking an elective course in creative writing, theatre studies or media studies.

Think deeply about the power of language

A Massey Master of Arts (English) helps you understand how language shapes the world we live in. You’ll explore the ethical and social power of imaginative writing and rhetoric, and think deeply about the world and your place in it.

A good fit if you:

  • Have a relevant undergraduate degree
  • Wish to develop your interests in English literature and writing
  • Want to investigate a particular aspect of English, rhetoric or theatre studies through independent supervised research at advanced level
Robert Gilbert
MA (English)

“The result was so personally rewarding…”

For my postgrad diploma in arts research project, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to combine traditional European story-form with Maori cultural dynamics by writing a play for children.

The result was so personally rewarding that under the expert guidance of award-winning playwright and academic, Dr Angie Farrow, I sought to develop my writing further by attempting to pen a full-length play for adults.

My recently completed master's thesis looked at transgender representation in theatre, and the theatrical considerations in writing a play that might broaden the debate around transgender issues in New Zealand. This fascinating journey began with lengthy interviews of transgender kiwis. Apart from authentic source material for the play, the interviews gave me a rare insight into a word of marginalised people who are often ridiculed and misunderstood. The research included an examination of transgenderism, the theatrical representation of transgender characters, and cross-dressing in theatre from the ancient Greeks to Shakespeare and beyond.

I also explored theatre forms and examples of dramatic narrative to guide my thinking and my own writing. The thesis included the play I wrote: Trans Tasmin. I was delighted with the opportunity to have two workshops of the script, one in The Dark Room in Palmerston North, and one at The Court Theatre in Christchurch. These were incredibly rewarding experiences and I was thrilled with the outcome. Subsequently, a professional theatre company has shown interest in the script, and with their guidance and support I am currently writing a new draft and crossing my fingers that, ultimately, it will be staged.


Your love of literature and writing can take you into a range of professions where literacy, critical thinking and communication skills are highly valued. Employers appreciate the ability of BA Honours (English) graduates to research effectively, analyse rigorously and communicate with style.

Through studying English you’ll develop a set of flexible interpersonal and professional skills that ensure you remain agile and able to take on future opportunities.

Our graduates have pursued careers in:

  • Teaching English, creative writing, theatre studies, and English as a second language
  • Publishing and e-publishing: writing, editing, researching, technical writing
  • Working as a literary agent /writing coach
  • Web content development
  • Journalism
  • Freelance speech writing, travel writing, blogging and reviewing
  • Librarianship
  • Liaison and relationship management
  • Arts administration
  • Community development
  • Corporate training
  • Corporate event management

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