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Master of Linguistics

This course is available


Level of Study

Master's Degree


1 year

Next start date

Expected Jul 2023


University of Canterbury


This 180-point master’s degree is an advanced programme offering specialised courses in linguistic analysis and a significant research component. Master of Linguistics (MLing) students will analyse the relationship between a language and its 'social life'. In a New Zealand context, this means understanding how English has developed over time, and how it continues to change as a marker of NZ identity, as well as understanding the relationship, both past and present, between English and Te Reo Maori.

How do I plan my degree?

The MLing is a 180-point programme that consists of:

  • a compulsory thesis, worth 90 points.
  • 90 points of courses from 400 or 600-level Linguistics and/or elective courses from the schedule.

Subjects and courses

Students can choose from either 90 points from 400 or 600-level Linguistics courses (excluding LING 400 and LING 480), or 60 points from 400 or 600-level Linguistics courses and another 30 points from the elective courses.

It is recommended you take no more than two taught courses in a given semester.

Further study

Students can study a Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics.

Career opportunities

Graduates of the Master in Linguistics will be highly trained in the theories and contemporary methodologies of Linguistics and skilful in a range of complementary analytical, critical and linguistic skills. These will include an understanding of:

  • the internal structure of language and languages, including knowledge of phonetics, phonology and syntax
  • the relationship between English and other languages, including Te Reo Maori
  • key geographical and social determinants of variation in language
  • the role of language in constructing individual and group identities
  • how language produces and reflects cultural change and difference.

Start date: Monthly by arrangement with supervisor

Entry criteria

A student for this degree needs to have either:

  • a bachelor’s degree with a major in Linguistics, with at least a B+ Grade Point Average in 60 points in Linguistics at 300-level; or
  • any bachelor’s degree, and a Graduate Diploma in Arts in Linguistics, with at least a B+ Grade Point Average in 60 points in Linguistics at 300-level; or
  • a bachelor’s degree with a major in Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, Computer Science, a language, or a different major approved by the Head of Department of Linguistics, with at least a B+ Grade Point Average in 60 points of 300-level courses in the majoring subject, and achieved at least a B+ in LING 400 English Structures (a distance-learning course which runs over the summer); or
  • other approved qualifications of an equivalent standard.

In addition, all students must be approved to enrol.

Applicants must also satisfy our English language entry requirements

  • IELTS (Academic): Minimum overall score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking.
  • TOEFL (IBT): Minimum overall score of 90, with a minimum score of 19 in Reading, Listening and Writing.
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English - Academic): Overall score of 58 and no communicative skills score below 50.

Application deadline: At least 6 months before the planned start date.

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