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Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia

MA Chinese Studies

Duration: One calendar year (full-time); Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)


Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Who is this programme for?: Students who take this degree come from many countries and have a wide variety of academic backgrounds. While some wish to broaden their previous studies or experience of China, others approach the course without having a Chinese element to their first degree, but with a desire to focus their previous training on the region.

The MA Chinese Studies provides an exceptional opportunity to take advantage of the wide range of disciplinary approaches to the study of Chinese societies available at SOAS.The main emphasis is on modern and contemporary China, although it is also possible to study aspects of pre-Modern China.In addition to the courses on offer, students develop their own particular area of specialisation by writing a dissertation in their major discipline.

When applying, applicants are asked to specify their preferred major subject, and asked to give an alternative as practical considerations such as time tabling and availability of courses may limit freedom of choice. Once enrolled, students have two weeks to finalise their choice of subjects and have the opportunity of sampling a variety of subjects through attending lectures etc.


Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Students take three taught courses, one of which is considered a major, and complete a 10,000-word dissertation related to the major. As the emphasis in the Regional Studies programmes is on interdisciplinary study, students are required either to select
their three courses from three different disciplines OR two minor courses from the same discipline and the major from a different one.

China and Inner Asia
Available as a minor only
Taiwan Studies
Language (minor only)

Only one language course may be taken.

Art and Archaeology
Available as a minor only
Anthropology and Sociology (minor only)
Media and Film Studies
Development Studies
Politics and International Studies
Available as a minor only

Programme Specification


Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

Students are exposed to a wide range of topics through participation in the seminars, general lectures and specialised workshops organised by the Centre of Chinese Studies.

Lectures and Seminars

The style of teaching in the Chinese Studies programme varies according to subject and teacher, but in most courses there is one 2-hour class each week. This may be an informal lecture followed by a discussion or student presentation.
At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.


The 10,000-word dissertation on an approved topic linked with one of the taught courses.

Learning Resources

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.


A postgraduate degree in China and Inner Asia studies from SOAS equips students with essential skills such as competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, literature, history, cinema, politics, economics or law.  

Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers in business, public and charity sectors.  They leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.  A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

Africa-Asia Confidential
Asia Society
China Central Academy of Fine Arts
CSR Asia
CTBI China Desk
Deloitte UKEMP
Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK
French Embassy in China
Fu Xin Contemporary Art Gallery
Government Offices of Sweden
Inter Committee of the Red cross ICRC
Linklaters LLP
Macmillan Cancer Support
Overseas Development Institute
Shelter UK
The Amity Foundation Hong Kong

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

Chartered Accountant
Global Learning Program Associate
News Editor
China Industry Specialist
Artistic Director
Foreign English Expert
Policy Officer Environment/Climate Change
English Teacher
Internal Auditor
Consultant/Account Manager
Expert on Media-Chinese language
Lecturer in Modern Chinese Culture and Language
Professional Speaker & Director
Assistant Professor

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

With some of the West’s leading experts on Taiwan’s political economy, SOAS was the ideal place for me to study cross-Strait relations

Daniel Mojahedi