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University of Otago
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Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (PGDipArts) in Linguistics

This course is available


Level of Study

Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma


1 year

Next start date

Expected Jul 2023


University of Otago


The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (PGDipArts) requires two semesters of full-time study. It entails a structured programme of postgraduate coursework and, in some instances, a piece of supervised research that counts for one or two of the required papers. The normal admission requirement is a completed Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in the major of the proposed programme.

Graduates are employed in administration, business, education, government, industry and journalism where their advanced knowledge of an academic area, ability to solve problems, research and writing skills are valued. It is also a recognised qualification for admission as a candidate for the Master of Arts (MA) and, if a dissertation is included, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Why study Linguistics?

Linguistics does not prescribe grammatical correctness. Instead it describes how people actually communicate and how this changes from one context, situation, culture, geographical domain or even one moment to another.

When you study Linguistics, you will find the answers to a range of questions - How many languages are there in the world? Why and how do languages change, become endangered or die out? Why do some sentences have more than one meaning? How do new words get into a language? Why do different people speak differently, why do they sound different and why do they use different forms of language? How do children acquire language and why do they start to speak? What does it really mean to be bilingual or bi-cultural?

Career opportunities

There are many career options for Linguistics graduates.

The TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), minor equips you to teach English abroad and at home in language schools and other non-state institutions.

Previous graduates are now lawyers, editors, copy-writers, technical writers, journalists, award-winning film directors and producers, translators, interpreters, sign language interpreters, language policy makers, diplomats.

You will find Linguistic graduates as first language teachers, second language teachers, primary school teachers, high school teachers, speech therapists, university lecturers, polytechnic lecturers.

Linguistics graduates have gone on to be newspaper reporters, editors, television producers, television reporters, software designers, actors, comedians, education policy makers, machine voice synthesisers, entrepreneurs, publishers, creative writers, science writers, marketers.

Entry criteria

Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).

Every applicant shall

  • either have been admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Arts majoring in the subject or subjects of study proposed;
  • or have been admitted with the status of one who is entitled to proceed to the diploma;
  • or have a qualification acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and produce evidence satisfactory to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of ability to proceed to the diploma.

English language requirements

  • IELTS Academic - Score of 6.5 in the academic module (with no individual band below 6.0). IELTS Online is also accepted.
  • Internet-based TOEFL - Score of 90 with a minimum writing score of 21
  • Paper-based TOEFL - score of 587 (TWE 4.5)
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) & Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) - Minimum of 176
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic - Overall score of 58 with no communicative skills score below 50.
  • LanguageCert - International ESOL: C1 Expert (LRWS) with a high pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill OR C2 Mastery (LRWS) with a pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill
  • NZCEL - NZCEL 5 Academic endorsement
  • University of Otago Language Centre ‘English for Otago’, English for Postgraduate Academic Purposes (EPAP) - Grade C or higher
  • University of Auckland English Language Academy (ELA) pathway programmes - Successful completion of the English Pathway for Postgraduate Studies (EPPS) with a B Grade
  • University of Auckland Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP) - Successful completion of the certificate with a B Grade
  • English NZ's Accredited Pathway Assessment - English NZ’s Accredited Pathway Assessment Level 3 (with no skill lower than Level 2).

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