The Department covers, through teaching and research, the language-based study of the cultures of China and Inner Asia, with a focus on materials in modern and classical Chinese and modern and classical Tibetan.
The Department was awarded an excellent rating in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. It is able to supervise MPhil and PhD research in a wide range of cultural and linguistic subjects. Prospective research students should not feel constrained to limit their choice of topics to those indicated against the names of current staff members (postgraduate students have recently been working on such diverse topics as colour symbolism in ancient Chinese texts, Chinese cinema, and Chinese Braille systems, and translation studies).
If necessary, arrangements can be made for joint supervision with teachers from other departments or institutions of SOAS or the University of London. Research undertaken at MPhil and PhD level is based on literary, documentary, and archive materials in the languages of the area and/or on fieldwork conducted in those languages.