Master of Applied Linguistics – MAppLing

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

Type of qualification

Master's degree

Level of study

Postgraduate study

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equal experience – you can study at the postgraduate level. Doctoral qualifications require additional entry requirements.

More about study levels

NZQF level 9

Our courses follow the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) levels.

Find out more about NZQF levels

Time to complete

1 year 6 months full-time (180 credits)
Up to 5 years part-time
Part-time available

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students on campus in New Zealand

Study a Master of Applied Linguistics – MAppLing

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 combination of professional and research skills which 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-life language issues in our globalised, and digitally mediated world.

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
  • teaching and assessment
  • language education policy.

Research opportunities

In 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 MAppLing is a good fit if you:

  • work in second-language teaching including TESOL
  • are passionate about teaching and learning languages
  • are curious about how we learn and teach languages

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

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

Specific requirements

To enter the Master of Applied Linguistics you will:

  • have been awarded or qualified for a bachelor degree with at least a B grade average across the 200-300 level courses, or
  • have been awarded or qualified for a postgraduate diploma in second language teaching or a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics, or equivalent, with at least a B+ grade average for entry to the Research Pathway, or at least a B grade average for entry to the Coursework Pathway.

In addition to these requirements, entry to the Master of Applied Linguistics (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), you will: 

  • have completed relevant teaching and related experience approved by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as appropriate for entry.

If you have a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics as outlined above, you may apply for credit towards Part One of the qualification in accordance with the limits specified in the Recognition of Prior Learning.

You will need to provide:

  • copies of all official academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University.
  • a copy of your CV (Curriculum Vitae) containing details of teaching and related work experience.

English language requirements

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

Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit

Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with Distinction or Merit. 

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

English language skills

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

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications.  If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the qualification if you wish to continue your studies.

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 Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, and Postgraduate 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.

Structure of the Master of Applied Linguistics

If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.

All courses are 30 credits each unless otherwise indicated.

The Master of Linguistics is a parts-based qualification. That means you must complete the first part, before moving to the second, etc.

Coursework pathway

At least a B grade average is required in the Part One courses (120 credits) for progression to Part Two - Coursework Pathway.

Research pathway

At least a B+ grade average is required in the first 60 credits of courses completed in Part One for progression to Part Two - Research Pathway.

Courses and specialisations

Key terms

Each qualification has its own specific set of courses. Some universities call these papers. You enrol in courses after you get accepted into Massey.
Course code
Each course is numbered using 6 digits. The fourth number shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).
Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.
Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Credit summary

180 credits

Coursework Pathway

  • Part One courses – 120 credits
  • Part Two research report – 60 credits

Research Pathway

  • Part One courses – 60 credits
  • Part Two Thesis – 120 credits

A specialisation (subject) is optional, requiring 180 credits from the subject.

Advanced entry: Those who have already completed specified qualifications in advance of the minimum entry requirements and have been granted credit for it, may be able to complete this degree in 60 - 120 credits.

This is a parts-based qualification. This means there are regulations around your completion of Part One before progressing to Part Two, etc.

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.

Part One: Coursework Pathway (120 credits) or Research Pathway (60 credits)

Subject courses

Course code: 272702 Second Language Learning Theories and Processes 30 credits

A critical examination of theoretical perspectives accounting for second language learning processes.

View full course details
Course code: 272703 Contemporary Approaches to Language Teaching Methodology 30 credits

A critical survey of different approaches and methods used to develop language skills.

View full course details
Course code: 272704 Contextualising Curriculum and Materials Design 30 credits

A study of the principles, practice and contextualised nature of curriculum and materials design.

View full course details
Course code: 272706 Discourse Analysis 30 credits

An advanced exploration of key theoretical and analytical frameworks in discourse analysis and how to apply these to empirical data in a range of discourse genres.

View full course details
Course code: 272707 Language Documentation 30 credits

A practical introduction to language documentation to support language community goals, foregrounding the ethical responsibilities of researchers, while critically reflecting on how language documentation outcomes are communicated to community, academic and general audiences.

View full course details
Course code: 272715 Current Issues in Applied Linguistics 30 credits

A critical examination of current issues in applied linguistics research from both theoretical and practical perspectives.

View full course details

Part Two: Coursework Pathway (Choose 60 credits from)

Choose 60 credits from
Course code: 272873 Research Report 60 credits

A supervised and guided independent study.

View full course details

Part Two: Research Pathway (Choose 120 credits from)

Choose 120 credits from
Course code: 272816 Thesis 120 Credit Part 1 60 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

View full course details
Course code: 272817 Thesis 120 Credit Part 2 60 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

Corequisites: 272816

View full course details
Course code: 272899 Thesis 120 credits

A supervised and guided independent study resulting in a published work.

View full course details


Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

You may enrol in this qualification with or without a specialisation.


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

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.