Master of Professional Language Studies — Language Teaching

The Master of Professional Language Studies offers graduates the opportunity to develop advanced professional skills in teaching English or another language. The degree is for teachers who have a preliminary qualification and experience in language teaching.
  • A one-year taught master's degree — equivalent to the level of the second year of a two-year master's.
  • Focus is on professional practice.
  • Unlike other programmes that are largely theoretically based, this programme combines practical classroom teaching with a sound knowledge of theory.
  • Students on the programme are, for example, experienced teachers of ESOL or EFL, Maori, Sign Language and additional languages.
  • Teachers complete taught papers and an applied practice project.
  • Study includes teaching practice and reflection.
  • Teachers can do the programme full-time in 1 year or part-time over 2-3 years.
  • Classes are in the late afternoon/early evening so that teachers can finish their teaching day before coming to class.
  • All papers include some blended learning; this can range from readings and the handbook posted online, to online tutorials and discussions.

Programme details

Programme code: AK1287
1 year full time / 3 years part time
City Campus
Start date:
2 March 2015 / 20 July 2015

Programme administrator: Cynthia D'Souza, Ph: +64 9 921 9999 ext 6840.
Programme co-ordinator:
Clare Conway, Ph: +64 9 921 9999 ext 6000.

Entry requirements

  1. To enter the MPLS in Language Teaching students must have completed one of the following:

    (a) a relevant 4 year bachelor's degree or
    (b) a relevant bachelor's degree with honours or
    (c) a relevant postgraduate diploma or
    (d) a bachelor's degree or graduate diploma and
    (e) a relevant professional qualification approved by the dean (or representative) to be equivalent to one year of advanced study.

  2. An applicant must have completed their qualification in 1 (d) (e) above to a merit standard

All applicants must have at least one year of relevant professional experience.

An applicant who is admitted under 1(d) and (e) above will be required to provide evidence of further relevant professional experience.


Non-native English speakers require an Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with not less than 6 in each band and not less than 7 in speaking and writing.

  • 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 —
Evidence of relevant professional experience must be submitted upon application. See Addendum.

Note: Students teaching in Auckland during their studies must gain approval from their teaching institution to use their own class for the Reflective Practice Project paper. Students not teaching during the programme will be assisted to set up some teaching in order to complete the paper.

Structure and content

This professional masters qualification combines the development of advanced academic knowledge with practical language teaching skills.

You study a range of core and elective topics and then complete a reflective practice project where you identify an area of teaching that you would like to investigate in more depth through a reflective practice project.

You critically review the literature and develop a theory of teaching in this area. In the classroom you apply the theory in practice through a number of teaching events.

Key skills practiced in this programme include:

  • Critical thinking, reading and discussing
  • Evaluating strategies for effective language teaching and learning
  • Developing a personal theory of teaching
  • Critical reflection on own classroom practice
  • Devising a plan for own development as a teacher arising out of critical reflection.

The development of these skills is relevant to teachers’ future careers as they equip teachers to continue their own professional development once the course of study is finished.

Teachers have the opportunity to explore a special area of interest in their teaching. They carry out in-depth reading in their area of focus, try out their theory of teaching in the classroom, and then reflect on their teaching.

Graduates of the programme have explored areas, such as teaching vocabulary through reading, teaching spoken language through using authentic texts and intercultural language teaching.


Applicants must discuss their intended study sequence with the programme leader before enrolling in papers. Semester 1 papers are noted below; students wishing to start the programme midyear will need to study part time as Semester 1 papers are a pre-requisite for Semester 2 papers.

Core papers
168101 Language Analysis
169203 The Language Learner
169206 Contemporary Approaches and Issues in Language Teaching
169202 Reflective Practice Project
169204 Curriculum Design and Assessment

Elective papers
168102 Language, Culture and Communication

168104 Discourse Analysis

Other papers
169013 Language in Virtual Worlds: Presence, Theory, Practice

Industry connections

Students usually complete their work experience in their own language teaching environment.

This means they can make their study directly relevant to their practice. Where this is not possible (e.g. for international students studying in NZ) students are assisted in finding groups of learners for their classroom practice.

The programme has a Language Education Advisory Committee made up of language teachers and language teacher educators from a variety of sectors (tertiary, community, private language schools).

Career opportunities

Enhanced prospects for employment and promotion in language teaching positions nationally and internationally in:

  • Private language schools
  • Tertiary educational institutions
  • Community schools
  • High schools (for teachers who already have high school teaching qualifications)
  • Students may undertake further study on completion of their course, as long as sufficient papers in research methodology have been taken during the course of their MPLS programme and they meet other relevant entry criteria:

Last updated: 11-Mar-2015 11.15am

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