Master of Linguistics


This new 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 Māori.

A special feature of the programme will be the opportunity to study the languages of the Pacific region. For example, in one course (LING407 Field Methods), students work with a language consultant — a native speaker of a Pacific language — to document the characteristics of that language. The actual language differs from year to year, but the focus on the Pacific region is a constant theme.

Entry requirements

For full entry requirements see the Regulations for the Master of Linguistics or use the admission requirements checker.

You are also required to meet UC’s English language requirements.

Qualification specific requirements

A candidate for this master’s needs to have either:

  1. qualified for a Bachelor’s degree with a major in Linguistics, with at least a B+ average in 60 points in Linguistics at 300 level; OR
  2. qualified for a Bachelor’s degree and completed a Graduate Diploma in Arts in Linguistics with at least a B+ average in 60 points in Linguistics at 300 level; OR
  3. qualified for 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+ average or better in 60 points of 300-level courses in the majoring subject, AND achieved at least a B+ in LING400 English Structures (a distance-learning course which runs over the summer); OR
  4. been admitted under the Regulations for admission ad eundem statum as entitled to enrol for the Degree of Master of Linguistics. 

In addition, all candidates must be approved by the Head of Department of Linguistics and the Dean of Arts.

Qualification structure and duration

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

  • three 30-point courses (spread between Semesters 1 and 2, according to course choice)
  • a compulsory thesis, worth 90 points.

Full-time students who commence their studies in February must complete within one year. Part-time students must complete the degree within two years.

Subjects and courses

There are no restrictions on which taught courses a student can take, but they must take no more than two taught courses in a given semester. Students are free to choose any 30-point 400 or 600 level Linguistics course

How to apply

Find out how to apply for graduate and postgraduate qualifications.

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 skillful 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 Māori
  • 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.

Useful resources:

Postgraduate study can bring many career benefits eg, specialist skills and enhanced knowledge, entry into specific occupations, higher starting salary/progression rates, research capability/achievement and evidence of high academic attainment/self-discipline. 

More information

For full requirements see the Regulations for the Master of Linguistics

For general information email info@canterbury.ac.nz or freephone in NZ 0800 VARSITY (827 748).

For study planning help contact the College of Arts:

College of Arts
University of Canterbury
Level 4, Karl Popper Building
Private Bag 4800
New Zealand

Phone +64 3 364 2176
Email artsdegreeadvice@canterbury.ac.nz