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University of Canterbury
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Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in English Language

This course is available


Level of Study

Bachelor's Degree


3 years

Next start date

Expected Feb 2023


University of Canterbury


The Bachelor of Arts is a flexible degree so you can specialise or study a wide variety of topics. Over the three years of your degree, you will gain the critical thinking, creative problem solving, and communication skills that employers want. Unique practical experiences such as internships are on offer too. The Bachelor of Arts requires a minimum total of 360 points. Each major has specific course requirements, but all consist of a minimum of 135 points in a single Arts subject. Of these, at least 60 points must be at 300-level and at least 45 points at 200-level.

Are you curious about how the English language works? Are you fascinated by the changes that have taken place in the English language over centuries of time? Or even how individuals vary their use of English from one day to the next, depending on social situation or communication medium? Ever thought about how a person's early experience of English shapes them? Or how and why New Zealand English differs from the language spoken in other English-speaking countries?

English Language studies aim to satisfy these curiosities and illuminate even further; focusing on the structure, functions and contexts of use of English. Students will learn about the sound systems and grammatical systems of English, and they will come to understand how English varies in different historical, geographical and social contexts.

Why study English Language at UC?

The study of languages is an interdisciplinary field of study that bridges the sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. The Department of Linguistics is internationally renowned for its research work on the linguistics of English. This reflects UC’s established staff expertise in this area.

The New Zealand Institute for Language, Brain and Behaviour is a research centre at UC, where researchers from different departments at the university reflect on the foundations of language as an integrated, multimodal, statistical system operating in a social, physical and physiological context.

Double degrees

It is possible to combine an Arts degree with other degrees.

Further study

The College of Arts has a wide range of options for postgraduate and graduate study with excellent research facilities. Pathways include: Bachelor of Arts with Honours; Master of Arts; Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Career opportunities

This subject provides a foundation for any career which requires advanced communication skills and/or a detailed understanding of the English language, such as teaching, management, marketing, the media, research and publishing.

An English Language degree is an ideal preparation for training in teaching English as a second language, which is a popular career and offers excellent travel opportunities.

Entry criteria

Applicants must have completed New Zealand University Entrance through NCEA; or Cambridge International Examinations (CIE); or International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) or any other equivalent overseas qualification.

Applicants must also satisfy our English language entry requirements:

  • IELTS (Academic): Minimum overall score of 6.0, with no band score lower than 5.5.
  • TOEFL (IBT): Minimum overall score of 80, with a minimum score of 19 in Reading, Listening and Writing.
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English - Academic): Overall score of 50, and no communicative skills score below 42.

Undergraduate application deadline: Semester 1 (February start) by 31 October; Semester 2 (July start) by 30 April.

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