English – Bachelor of Arts

Develop your passion for literature. Understand how great writing has shaped identity, culture, and society.

Where you can study

Auckland campus
Distance and online
Manawatū campus (Palmerston North)

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students studying online from outside New Zealand

Specialise in English for your Bachelor of Arts at Massey

Study great texts from the past and present

Massey’s Bachelor 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.

Think deeply about the power of language

A Massey BA (English) gives you tools to understand how literature helps create the world we live in. You’ll explore the ethical and social power of literary language and rhetoric, helping you to think deeply about the world and your place in it.

Get an applied edge

Choose from a select range of courses where you can use your English skills in more creative and applied ways. Choose to expand the horizons of your major by taking a course in creative writing, theatre studies, or public and professional writing.

Express your insights

You’ll get excellent training in expressing yourself in a range of written, digital and oral forms. You’ll develop specialised skills in reading and writing that are transferable into any professional career.

A Bachelor of Arts in English is a good fit if you:

  • love to experience amazing writing
  • want to understand how words and narratives shape society
  • are keen to develop expertise in analysis and communication.

Planning information

If you study full time, in the first year you’ll take eight 15-credit courses, making a total of 120 credits.

If you wish to study over two semesters, you should aim for 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school if you wish. Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.

You need to pass five courses at 300-level for your BA. One of these (230310) is in the compulsory core and three are required for your major. If you are not taking a double major or a minor, you will need to take one 300-level elective course to meet this requirement.

About this major

An English major consists of 120 credits (eight courses).


Completing a minor is optional. Minors increase the breadth of your degree. They give you extra knowledge, attributes and capabilities.

A minor must be in a different subject from your major.

A Bachelor of Arts (English) with a minor

You may choose a minor from the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business or Bachelor of Science. If the minor is from another degree the regulations of that qualification will apply.

An English minor (for students who are studying a different degree) 

If you are not studying towards a BA (English) and wish to complete a minor in English see the BA regulations for requirements.  

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the qualification or specialisation you enrolled in may be no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Courses you can enrol in

Course planning key

Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Core courses for the Bachelor of Arts

As well as the specialisation courses listed below, this qualification has core courses that you will need to complete.

Bachelor of Arts core courses

English courses

Compulsory courses

Course code: 139139 Introduction to English Literature 15 credits

An introduction to the nature and functions of literary texts and the ways in which they are invested with meaning, with a focus on the skills necessary for reading and writing critically about them.

Restrictions: 139171

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Course code: 139239 Literary Landmarks: Words that Changed the World 15 credits

An introduction to reading, thinking, and writing about literature from the past four centuries, with a focus on the way that literary texts reflect and engage with the historical, social, political and cultural contexts in which they were written.

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Subject courses

Choose no more than 30 credits from
Course code: 139109 Prize-Winning Fiction 15 credits

A study of short stories, novellas and novels from the last 50 years emphasising the varieties of award-winning fiction.

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Course code: 139111 Podcasting: Producing Audio Stories 15 credits

An introduction to the genre of audio storytelling with podcasts. Students will analyse the storytelling techniques employed in the narrative nonfiction podcast genre and use these techniques in the production of their own podcast episode.

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Course code: 139142 Imaginary Worlds: Science Fiction and Fantasy 15 credits

An examination of selected science fiction and fantasy texts, emphasising their relationship to changing cultural contexts and the ways different storytelling media mould narratives.

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Choose at least 15 credits from
Course code: 139202 Romantic Writing: Self and Nature 15 credits

A study of the relationship between self and nature as explored in texts by British writers of the period 1780-1830.

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Course code: 139211 Shakespeare 15 credits

A study of selected dramatic works by William Shakespeare, taking a thematic overview across a variety of dramatic genres and considering the plays in their original contexts as well as significant contemporary interpretations.

Restrictions: 139301

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Course code: 139232 Crime Story: Detection as a Narrative Genre 15 credits

A study of the fundamental elements of crime stories and the social significance of crime as a narrative genre in relation to questions of social order, law and justice.

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Course code: 139244 Writing for the Public 15 credits

A course in writing non-fiction genres for the public, informed by a broad historical understanding of the emergence of the public sphere and its current reshaping in the digital age. Students apply rhetorical theory and theories of argument in their own writing and in analysing works by selected public intellectuals.

Prerequisites: 230100 or 230111 or 119155 or 247155 or 119177 or 219100 or 192102 or 247177

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Course code: 139253 American Literature 15 credits

An introduction to American literature, focusing on key novels, short stories and poems from the Romantic period through to the postmodern, and their relation to their historical and cultural contexts.

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Course code: 139255 Critical Periods in Aotearoa New Zealand Literature 15 credits

An introduction to New Zealand’s literary history, focusing on important novels, short stories and poems in relation to their social and political contexts.

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Course code: 139270 Young Adult Fiction 15 credits

A study of young adult fiction and its reception. Focussing on classic and contemporary examples, the course explores the definition of the genre and its characteristic concerns, with a focus on case studies of popular and controversial texts.

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Choose at least 45 credits from
Course code: 139305 Twentieth Century Literature 15 credits

A study of a variety of twentieth-century fiction and poetry. Emphasis will be given to aspects of literary modernism and postmodernism in order to contextualise the literary works.

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Course code: 139306 Writing Shakespeare’s England 15 credits

An advanced exploration of the Early Modern poetry and drama of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, focusing on key themes, prominent genres, and the differing contexts of the royal court and the new world of the empowered citizen.

Restrictions: 139201

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Course code: 139307 Territory, Modernity, and Victorian Literature 15 credits

An advanced introduction to Victorian literature, highlighting the engagement by nineteenth century writers with questions of liberalism, democratisation, and the expansion of the British empire.

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Course code: 139325 The Gothic Imagination 15 credits

A study of the term 'Gothic' in literature and film, relating the enduring Gothic themes of fantasy, the unconscious and death to contemporary literary and social debates.

Restrictions: 139275

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Course code: 139340 The Publishing Project 15 credits

In this course, students study and experience the principles, processes and practice of publishing, through the co-production of an online publication. Key concepts include teamwork, co-production, theme selection, peer review, production scheduling, source selection, and online publishing.

Prerequisites: Any 200-level course with a 139 prefix or 219202

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Course code: 139352 Postcolonial Literature 15 credits

A study of late-nineteenth and twentieth century novels in English, from diverse cultures, paying special attention to the ways in which these address the consequences of European colonisation. Recent postcolonial theory will provide a frame for textual analysis.

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Course code: 139362 Oceanic Literatures of Aotearoa: Ngā Tuhinga Kōrero o te Moana nui a Kiwa 15 credits

A study of contemporary Oceanic (Māori and Pasifika) literature in English contextualised in relation to customary and pre-colonial Oceanic literatures, narratives, and storytelling methods.

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Course code: 139376 Sexual/Textual Politics 15 credits

A study of patriarchal society and gender identity in selected literary texts.

Restrictions: 139361

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Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for the Bachelor of Arts (English), outside of university admission regulations.

English language requirements

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

If you have already completed a bachelor degree

If you have already completed a bachelor degree you may replace 230111 Tū Kupu: Writing and Inquiry or 230112 Tū Arohae: Critical Thinking with courses of your choice. You will need to apply for replacement courses via a Special permission request in your portal and you will need to attach evidence of your completed degree with the request.

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Can't meet the entry requirements?

If you need to do a course before you start your programme, there may be options for you in Summer School.

Fees and scholarships

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

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 (English) graduates to research effectively, analyse rigorously and communicate with style.

Through studying English you will develop a set of flexible interpersonal and professional skills that ensure you remain agile and able to take on future opportunities. The career paths you’ll be able to explore include:

  • teacher
  • policy analyst
  • writer, editor, publisher or researcher
  • communicator
  • arts administrator, developer or manager
  • speech writer, travel writer, blogger or reviewer.

International students

New Zealand is a great place to study. Massey University’s reputation is supported by our international rankings, accreditations and associations. We are rated five star plus by the QS World University Rankings.

Massey University has small class sizes, and our lecturers and staff are friendly and approachable.

As an international student, there are entry requirements that will apply to you. We recommend that you apply at least three months before your anticipated start date so your application can be processed in time. There are additional steps you will need to take. These include obtaining a visa and travel bookings if your study is to be in New Zealand.

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