Master of Arts (Applied)

Are you interested in a career teaching English as a second language overseas, at University level? Some countries, such as those in Asia, require you to have a Masters level qualification to do this. Waikato's Master of Arts (Applied) provides you with the qualification you need.

You'll complete Waikato's Master of Arts (Applied) (MA(Applied)) by studying papers on specialist topics. Your studies will give you the skills you need to work overseas. You might already be working in a different area of language teaching in New Zealand and are thinking about heading overseas, so you'd like to gain the qualification you need to do this.

Some of the topics you'll study are specific to Waikato's MA(Applied). These topics include discourse analysis and teacher cognition studies. Another distinctive topic that's increasing in importance is the theory and concepts of English for academic purposes. When you study this topic, you'll learn how to teach students who are doing higher degrees and research, so you'll develop the skills you need to teach International students doing post-graduate education. You'll be completing a degree that was the first of its kind in New Zealand - the MA(Applied) was introduced in 1992, and was the first applied linguistics degree offered here.

Teaching Staff

During your MA(Applied), you'll benefit by being taught by experts in their fields. Dr Diane Johnson specialises in language analysis, syllabus and curriculum design, teaching methodology, discourse analysis, language teacher training and materials design. Dr Roger Barnard specialises in linguistic and cultural issues facing immigrant and international learners, second language curriculum design and evaluation, teacher cognition studies, and language policy and planning. Dr Ian Bruce specialises in text and genre studies, academic writing and curriculum design, English for Academic Purposes (EAP), teacher training and pedagogy.

Career Opportunities

Where can your MA(Applied) degree take you? You'll be qualified to teach English in schools and universities in a number of countries. Past graduates have gone on to achieve in many different roles, from managing a language school to being involved in academic administration, from coordinating language courses to teaching in Universities, polytechs and English language centres in New Zealand. Our graduates have taken up opportunities at Universities in China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan and Mongolia. Some graduates have managed ESOL units in New Zealand schools or worked in the educational publishing field.

Key information

Study Locations Hamilton
Faculty Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Years 1.0
Start Dates Semester A (February) and Semester B (July)
Domestic Fees $6,616-$7,926 per year
See if you're eligible for fees-free study in your first year
International Fees $27,830 per year
Tuition fees shown above are indicative only and may change. There are additional fees and charges related to enrolment please see the Table of Fees and Charges for more information. You will be sent an enrolment agreement which will confirm your fees.


These are all the subjects available for the Master of Arts (Applied)

Applied Linguistics
Biological Sciences
Computer Science
Development Studies
Earth Sciences
Education and Society
Environmental Planning
Health, Sport and Human Performance
Human Resource Management
International Relations and Security Studies
Labour Studies
Management Systems
Materials and Processing
Political Science
Population Studies
Population Studies and Demography
Public Policy
Public Relations
Screen and Media Studies
Social Policy
Social Science Research
Strategic Management
Supply Chain Management
Theatre Studies
Tourism Management
Women's and Gender Studies

Scholarships and prizes

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

Graduate study options

Through completing the Postgraduate Diploma in Second Language Teaching (PGDipSLT), which is the pathway into the MA(Applied), you will be exposed to practicums organised by the programme and given the opportunity to teach under supervision.

The Applied Linguistics programme also has close connections with the University of Waikato’s Pathways College, through assistance with professional development, as well as the English programme offered through Hamilton’s Wintec.

To be eligible to be considered for admission to the MA(Applied), a student should normally have a bachelors degree or Diploma of Teaching, and have successfully completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Second language Teaching (PGDip(SLT)) (or equivalent). Students generally need to have achieved a B+ average in the PGDip(SLT) (or equivalent) in order to proceed to the MA(Applied).

Students whose first language is not English must have an IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with no band lower than 6.0 or a TOEFL (paper-based) score of 600 including a Test of Written English of 5.

All applications are studied by the Progamme and applicants may be asked to attend an interview and/or write an essay.

Admission criteria may vary so please consult the appropriate programme Graduate Adviser for their specific admission criteria.


The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

Graduate Support Administrator
Tel: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 837 9234

Applied Linguistics Graduate Student Adviser

Degree Structure

Following the successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma in Second Language Teaching (PGDipSLT) you may apply for the MA(Applied). This degree is awarded with classes of honours.

The MA(Applied) is offered on-campus in Hamilton and involves 12 months of full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study. The programme comprises taught papers amounting to 120 points. In addition to the core research methods paper (APPL501), students are required to take 90 further points from papers listed for the MA(Applied).

With the approval of the Programme Convenor of General and Applied Linguistics, students may take APPL591, APPL592 or APPL593 in lieu of taught papers.

Papers offered for the MA(Applied) include:

  • APPL501 - Research Methods in Applied Linguistics
  • APPL502 - Language Programme Evaluation and Assessment
  • APPL504 - Language Analysis
  • APPL520 - Second Language Classroom and Curriculum Issues
  • APPL530 - Discourse Analysis and the Language Classroom
  • APPL560 - Language Policy and Planning
  • APPL571 - Research Writing for ESL Graduate Students
  • APPL580 - Special Topic
  • APPL581 - Special Topic in Applied Linguistics
  • APPL590 - Directed Study
  • APPL591 - Dissertation
  • APPL592 - Dissertation
  • APPL593 - Applied Linguistics Thesis
  • APPL594 - Applied Linguistics Thesis

Students wishing to undertake a directed study, dissertation or thesis should obtain the agreement of a potential supervising staff member and negotiate a topic before applying to enrol.

MA(Applied) Regulations