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Areas of interest

Study languages and linguistics , Ākona ngā reo me te wetereo

Study international languages and linguistics at Massey to deepen your understanding of how we communicate with each other.

Need help or know what you want to study?

Learn a language

Massey teaches Chinese Mandarin, French, Japanese, Spanish, and te reo Māori – and English language skills.

Make a contribution

Make sense of the world from different perspectives through Massey. Contribute to education, defence, sustainability and more.

World-wide recognition

Be work-ready on a global scale. Many Massey qualifications are recognised around the world, as well as in New Zealand.

The heart of the matter

Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey. Explore what it means to be human, why we act like we do and the ways we create meaning.


Language is at the heart of communication – a tool we use to connect with each other. Linguistics is the study of language – the mechanics of how we communicate.

Learn from world-class lecturers with deep experience of different languages and cultures. Discover new ideas with researchers specialising in areas such as language learning or Mandarin in New Zealand's workforce. Practise new languages in supportive shared environments. Develop your communication skills and cross-cultural understanding.

Languages and linguistics are a good fit if you:

  • enjoy school subjects such as English or languages
  • want to understand how we use, learn and teach languages
  • like thinking analytically and communicating clearly.

Languages and linguistics courses may cover:

  • languages such as Chinese, Spanish or te reo Māori
  • discourse studies – expression and meaning in the language of conversation, media and more
  • phonetics – how words are pronounced according to language-specific rules
  • semantics – the analysis of word meanings
  • syntax – how words are put together to make sentences
  • teaching techniques, including online language learning and TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages).

And for speech-language therapy students, courses may cover:

  • childhood communication development
  • communication disorders caused by brain injury
  • swallowing disorders.

Popular languages to study at Massey

Massey teaches Chinese, French, Japanese, Spanish, and te reo Māori – and English language skills for international students.

Learning a language helps you engage with different people and cultures. It can also give you a competitive edge in industries such as:

  • business, including finance and exporting
  • diplomacy and foreign affairs
  • tourism.

As language learning deepens with cultural context, our highly interactive programmes include history, literature, music and popular culture. Massey students can also apply for exchanges at our partner universities in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America.

Student exchange programme

What is linguistics?

Linguistics delves into the science of language. It includes:

  • how our brains process language
  • how languages evolve
  • how culture and social groups affect language use
  • how people communicate with and influence others in different settings.

How to study languages and linguistics

Discover what we offer if you’re interested in languages and linguistics – whether you’re coming to university for the first time, changing direction or returning to advance your study or career.

Undergraduate study

An undergraduate qualification is generally the first thing you’ll study at university.

Bachelor's degrees

Degrees are the standard qualifications you do at university – the most common is called a bachelor’s. Degrees give you enough time to explore your interests, and also focus on specific subjects.

Undergraduate bachelor's degrees with honours

An undergraduate honours degree is a four-year bachelor’s degree. We also offer postgraduate honours years.

Undergraduate certificates

If you want to study at university, but aren't sure if you want to commit to a degree, try an undergraduate certificate.

Graduate certificates

Graduate certificates let you study in a subject you're interested in without doing a second bachelor's degree. Or you can use it as a bridge to postgraduate study if you already have an undergraduate degree.

Undergraduate diplomas

Undergraduate diplomas let you try university study before you commit to a degree. They’re also useful if you need to advance your career.

Graduate diplomas

Graduate diplomas can help you advance to postgraduate study or research in a subject you haven’t majored in for your undergraduate study.

Relevant undergraduate subjects to major or specialise in

When you apply to study at Massey, for some undergraduate qualifications you can choose what subject you’d like to specialise in. You can usually change your mind after you get to university, depending on the courses you enrol in.

Postgraduate study

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equivalent experience – you’ll be ready to take on postgraduate study.

Master's degrees

A master's degree normally builds on a main subject of study from your undergraduate degree.

Postgraduate certificates

Postgraduate certificates give you an introduction to postgraduate-level study. They’re shorter than postgraduate degrees. If you’re successful, you may be able to use the credits towards a postgraduate diploma

Postgraduate diplomas

Postgraduate diplomas are postgraduate-level qualifications that are longer than a postgraduate certificate. If you’re successful, you might be able to use the credits towards the longer master’s degree.

PhD and other doctoral degrees

Doctoral degrees, including PhDs, are the highest degrees we award. They’re very demanding and their entry criteria reflect this.

What our students say

“Young people are contributing to the future of the language and making it relevant to their lives. If any generation is likely to show the future of te reo Māori it’ll be those who can speak Māori, and it’ll be the younger generation who’ve been raised through Māori medium education.”
Hinurewa Poutū

Ngāti Rangi, Te Āti Haunui a Pāpārangi, Ngāti Maniapoto

Doctor of Philosophy

“Teachers were very available and so encouraging. The four years at Massey equipped me well to become a language teacher.”
Christine Feuillade

Bachelor of Arts (Spanish, Minor in French)

“I ended up with my dream job working with adults who have speech, language or swallowing difficulties mainly as a result of brain injury.”
Karen Sturge

Bachelor of Speech and Language Therapy

Our facilities

You’ll have access to a wide range of first-class facilities when you study with us.

Mother and child

Speech-language Therapy Clinic

A teaching clinic offering therapy for children and adults who experience communication and eating difficulties. Supervised by specialist staff, students provide assessment and intervention support at the clinic and in the community.

Location: Auckland campus

Te Pūtahi-a-Toi

Te Pūtahi-a-Toi - School of Māori Knowledge has a rūnanga room and a wharekai – Toi Te Ora – where we can manaaki visitors, students and staff.

Location: Manawatū campus

Te Pūtahi-a-Toi

Marae and Māori spaces

Te Rau Karamu Marae on the Pukeahu campus during sunset

Te Rau Karamu Marae

Te Rau Karamu Marae provides stunning art-filled learning and teaching spaces and sits at the heart of the Wellington campus.

Te Whare Taupua

The Māori space on our Auckland campus. Te Whare Taupua is home to Te Rau Tauawhi, the Māori student support centre. While it's mostly a student space, it's also used for Māori events.

Marae and Māori spaces

English language courses

New to university, or keen to improve your English language skills? Our courses include:

  • short courses before you start university, such as English for academic purposes
  • courses to help with areas such as academic English writing, note-taking and seminar presentations.

Certificate of University Preparation

Jobs in languages and linguistics

Many jobs rely on the strong communication skills gained while studying languages or linguistics.

Careers can be in all sorts of industries – from business to government agencies, education to healthcare, charities to non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Then there are specialist language careers, such as translating, research or teaching.

Languages and linguistics careers include:

  • communications roles in government or businesses
  • diplomats
  • intelligence officers in the military or security agencies
  • interpreters and translators
  • policy analysts, who advise government or businesses
  • speech-language therapists, who work with people with communication or swallowing disorders
  • teachers, including teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).

Annual salary ranges for jobs

Salary ranges disclaimer

Indicative pay rates are:

Which languages and linguistics qualification?

Examples of where our qualifications may take you.

Table showing jobs and what you could study to enter them.
Jobs What you could study
Communications professional for business or government Bachelor of Arts (Linguistics)
Bachelor of Communication
Diplomat Bachelor of Arts specialising in your chosen language
Interpreter or translator Bachelor of Arts specialising in your chosen language
Policy analyst Bachelor of Arts (Linguistics)
Speech-language therapist Bachelor of Speech and Language Therapy with Honours
Master of Speech and Language Therapy
TESOL teacher Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics
Master of Applied Linguistics (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
Technical writer Bachelor of Communication

Get an information guide

Download our guide to find out more about studying languages and linguistics at Massey.

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