The China and Inner Asia section within the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures covers one of the oldest, yet most dynamic and important regions of the world.

Demand for specialists with advanced proficiency in the languages of this region has significantly increased in recent years. The choice of languages in our Section is unmatched in Europe. The teaching of the Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hokkien) and Tibetan languages is a major part of our undergraduate syllabuses.

Why choose SOAS to study China and Inner Asia?

China's economic growth over recent decades, its growing importance as a major political power in international affairs, its relationship with Hong Kong, along with increased contact between China and the West, has seen a corresponding rise of interest amongst Western audiences to travel to, or learn about, the cultural and social life of the region. Tibetan Studies has been taught at SOAS since 1950 – the first UK Higher Education Institution to offer it.

Yet, despite such increasing familiarity and the motivation to learn about the rich diversity and dynamism of literary, religious, artistic and philosophical cultures, many stereotypes remain about China and Taiwan, their cultures and their languages.

Our degrees aim to shatter these stereotypes, to allow you to master the languages, and to gain a deep and comprehensive understanding of the historical development of the cultures of China, Taiwan and Tibet and their place in the modern world.

Our research

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.

We are 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.

Staff research interests include language, linguistics, translation studies, classical philology and philosophy, cultural and intellectual history, popular culture, cinema, visual culture and media technology, literature, drama, theatre and performance studies.