Master of Arts in Applied Language Studies

Yulia Khan

AUT alumna wins ALANZ Best Thesis competition

The Applied Linguistics Association of NZ has awarded one of our Master of Arts in Applied Language Studies alumni Yulia Khan, the 2016 Best Thesis (Masters) Award. Yulia’s thesis was on adult migrant English language education policy in New Zealand, 2002-2014 and was supervised by Associate Professor Sharon Harvey.

The Master of Arts in Applied Language Studies is suitable if you want to take your language study to a higher level. This programme is a specialisation within the Master of Arts — programme code AK3689. See the Master of Arts overview page for more information.

This specialisation covers language analysis and looks at the impact of language, culture and communication on our society. A significant component of this programme is research based. You carry out research into specialised areas, such as language teaching, translation and interpreting, and literacy development.

Scholarships for new students are available in this programme 

Download a programme summary: Master of Arts in Applied Language Studies pdf icon

Who is this programme for?

  • Graduates with a background in language, education, translation and interpreting
  • Graduates and professionals in the above areas who are interested in a research masters

Career opportunities

  • First and second language education
  • Literacy development (school to workplace settings)
  • Research
  • Translation and/or interpreting.

Recent graduates of the programme completed theses in the following topics:

  • Aspects of discourse in advertisements
  • Politeness strategies in film subtitles
  • The effectiveness of increasing awareness of learning strategies
  • First and second language development from birth
  • Task-based instruction in second language classrooms
  • Ethnographic investigations of literacy in the workplace
  • The academic writing challenges faced by Saudi students
  • Perceptions of supervisory relationships between Chinese-speaking students and English-speaking supervisors
  • Challenges of court interpreters in New Zealand courtroom settings.

How is the programme taught?

Students can do the 240* point programme full time over two years (120 points of taught papers, and 120 points of a thesis), or part-time over five years. Classes are in the late afternoon/early evening to suit students who are also working.

All papers include some blended learning - this can range from readings and the handbook posted online, to online wikis and discussions.

*There are plans to change the 240 point MA to a 180 point MA which could be completed in a year.

Entry criteria

Students need to have:

  • A relevant undergraduate degree with B pass average or better
  • Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with not less than 6 in each band.
  • If you have not yet met all the IELTS or equivalent test requirements, you are still encouraged to discuss your entry to this programme with the Programme Administrator, Cynthia D'Souza —
English and New Media Studies

What this programme offers

The Applied Language Studies major in the MA offers graduates in English and other languages the following features:

  • Advanced education and professional study in the areas of second language teaching and learning, general and social linguistics, discourse analysis, intercultural communication and research methodology
  • Specialisation in one of the following areas:
    • Second language teaching and learning (including ESL)
    • Translation
    • interpreting
    • Literacy development and language awareness studies (for the secondary school English curriculum)
    • Discourse studies
    • Sociolinguistics
    • New Zealand English
    • Academic literacies
    • Digital literacies
    • English
    • Japanese
    • Chinese culture and language.


Applicants must discuss their intended papers and study sequence with the programme leader before enrolling in papers.

Thesis (equivalent of one year full time study)
Students who successfully complete the taught papers and then decide that they don’t wish to continue with a thesis (or do not meet the grade criteria) can exit the programme with a Post Grad Dip Arts in Applied Language Studies.

LING810 Language Analysis
LING811 Language, Culture and Communication
LING812 Discourse Analysis
LING820 Specialty Reading Paper
TRIN802 Translation: A Critical Approach
ENMS802 Language in Virtual Worlds: Presence, Theory, Practice
TRIN801 Interpreting: A Critical Approach
LING814 Special Topic in Applied Language Studies
SOSC880 Qualitative Research Methods
SOSC881 Quantitative Research Methods
SOSC884 Social Research Design and Analysis
POLS880 Policy Research and Evaluation
MAOR810 Research Methods and Indigenous Methodologies

CLSY999 MA Thesis

Last updated: 05-Sep-2017 1.59pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.