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Overview

Shape our world with words

Build on your undergraduate interests in English and develop your critical research skills.

  • Level

  • Postgraduate, NZQF Level 9
  • Distance learning

  • Available
  • International

  • Available for international students via distance learning

Follow your interests further

A Master of Arts (English) at Massey gives you the chance to study important literary genres and periods in depth. You’ll also explore the complexities of literary language and rhetoric.

Study great texts from the past and present

Massey’s Master of Arts (English) offers you thorough coverage of great literature in English, from Shakespeare to the present day. Our courses are taught by active researchers who share your love of literature: they will introduce you to amazing writing and the reasons why it matters.

Get an applied edge

Choose from a range of courses that will extend your English skills in creative and applied ways. Expand the horizons of your degree by taking an elective course in creative writing, theatre studies or media studies.

Think deeply about the power of language

A Massey Master of Arts (English) helps you understand how language shapes the world we live in. You’ll explore the ethical and social power of imaginative writing and rhetoric, and think deeply about the world and your place in it.

Careers and further study

Careers

Your love of literature and writing can take you into a range of professions where literacy, critical thinking and communication skills are highly valued. Employers appreciate the ability of Master of Arts (English) graduates to research effectively, analyse rigorously and communicate with style.

Through studying English you’ll develop a set of flexible interpersonal and professional skills that ensure you remain agile and able to take on future opportunities.

Our graduates have pursued careers in:

  • teaching English, creative writing, theatre studies, and English as a second language
  • publishing and e-publishing: writing, editing, researching, technical writing
  • working as a literary agent /writing coach
  • web content development
  • journalism
  • freelance speech writing, travel writing, blogging and reviewing.

Entry requirements

University admission

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Programme admission

Required

Master of Arts 180 credits

To enter the Master of Arts 180 credits you will:

  • have been awarded or qualified for a Bachelor of Arts degree (or equivalent) with a major in the intended postgraduate subject, with at least a B grade average across the 200/300-level major courses.

Master of Arts 120 credits

To enter the Master of Arts 120 credits you will have been awarded or qualified for:

  • a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) with a subject in the intended postgraduate subject, or
  • a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts with an endorsement in the intended postgraduate subject, or
  • an equivalent qualification.

Research pathway - for entry to the research pathway you need a B+ grade average endorsed in the intended subject area.

Coursework pathway - for entry to the coursework pathway you need a B grade average.

You will need to provide verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University. 

English language requirements

To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

If you do not have the entry requirements

English language and foundation courses

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and programmes that may help.

Courses and planning

Courses for this specialisation

Part One: Coursework Pathway (120 credits) or Research Pathway (Between 60 and 90 credits)

List A: Subject courses (At least 30 credits from)

At least 30 credits from
139703 Critical and Creative Research 30
139710 Rhetoric, Composition and the Teaching of Writing 30
139724 Literary Revolutions: Romantic and Victorian Literature 30
139728 Early Modern Drama: Form and Performance 30
139750 Contemporary New Zealand Writers in an International Context 30
139758 Postcolonial Theory and Writing 30

List B: Subject courses (No more than 30 credits from)

No more than 30 credits from
139763 Community Theatre 30
139765 New Directions in Creative Writing 30
154708 Modern Fiction, Popular Culture and the Media 30

Part Two: Coursework Pathway (60 credits)

60 credits
139873 Research Report English (60) 60

Part Two: Research Pathway (Between 90 and 120 credits)

Between 90 and 120 credits
139816 Thesis 120 Credit Part 1 60
139817 Thesis 120 Credit Part 2 60
139881 Thesis 90 Credit Part 1 45
139882 Thesis 90 Credit Part 2 45
139883 Thesis 90
139899 Thesis 120

Planning your programme

Planning overview

The Master of Arts (English) is a parts-based qualification. That means you must complete the first part, before moving to the second.

If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.

Not all courses are available in each semester.

Grades achieved in the first 60 credits will determine eligibility for progression to Part Two.

  • For the coursework pathway a minimum B grade average is required.
  • For the research pathway a minimum B+ grade average is required.

Master of Arts 120 credits

If you enrol in a thesis, you commence with Part One, followed by Part Two in the next enrolment period. Both parts combine to meet the thesis requirements with a single grade assigned to each part.

If the thesis cannot be submitted at the end of the initial Part Two enrolment, you must re-enrol in Part Two (and pay fees) each semester until submission is made.

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications.  If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the programme if you wish to continue your studies.

Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit

Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with a class of Honours, Distinction or Merit. 

Fees and scholarships

Fees and finance

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

If you already know which courses you are going to take, you can use our fees calculator to get an estimate of your fees.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students will find their National Student Number on their student homepage.


A good fit if you:

  • have a relevant undergraduate degree
  • wish to develop your interests in English literature and writing
  • want to investigate a particular aspect of English, rhetoric or theatre studies through independent supervised research at advanced level.

Meet our students

Key information for students

Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.

Regulations

Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.

Postgraduate regulations

General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.

Regulations for this programme

Applying and enrolling

Applying for the programme

Check you are ready

If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.

Choose your programme and click on Apply now

You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.

Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.

Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place

You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.

Enrolling in courses

You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.

When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:

  • prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
  • corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
  • restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
  • location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.

Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.

More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.

You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.

We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!

If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.

What are courses and credits?

What are courses and credits?

Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).

You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.

Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.

There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.

  • See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
  • Courses search

Understanding course numbers

The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.

The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:

  • sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
  • undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
  • as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study.
1 6 2 . 3   0 1
Subject area   Level   Course ID number

Workload and time management

Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.

Estimate workload

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may be no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.

Scholarships and awards

Scholarships related to this programme

There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.

Find and apply for scholarships