English Language


Certificate in Arts
Bachelor of Arts
Graduate Diploma in Arts 
Master of Linguistics

Bachelor of Commerce (minor only)

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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?

UC is ranked in the top 150 universities in the world in English Language and Literature (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2017).

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.



ENLA101 and ENLA102 are prerequisites for 200-level English Language courses.

  • ENLA101 The English Language introduces students to the study of the English language, its words, sounds and sentences. It also introduces the conceptual and analytical tools which linguists use to understand how languages are constructed.
  • ENLA102 Language and Society in New Zealand and Beyond – participants will assess the role of language experience in how we speak, how we listen and how our beliefs are shaped.

200-level and beyond

Beyond first-year, more specialised courses explore a variety of topics. At 200-level, students are introduced to the sociolinguistic study of language and will analyse English language variation across space and time. At 300-level, courses include New Zealand English and the History of English.

Students taking English Language courses can benefit from exposure to other Linguistics courses and/or from taking a course in another language other than English (or their native language).

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.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree from UC.

More information

Department of Linguistics

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

Physical location
Level 2, Locke Building
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Postal address
College of Arts
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand