Please note that this BA programme will undergo a structural reform for 2019/20. Although the overall scope and learning outcomes will remain mostly unchanged, there may be minor changes to the core module and the selection of guided options. These changes are designed to improve the student experience and engagement with the subject matter, based on feedback from current and previous students.
The single subject BA Chinese degree aims to give a broad understanding of Chinese culture through study of its language, history and literature from earliest times up to the present.
In Years 3 and 4 students are offered a choice of modules which enables them to weight their studies towards either the modern or the classical aspect, but it is our philosophy to produce rounded graduates who will have a competence in both.
The range of expertise in SOAS, not only in East Asian studies, but also with regard to languages and literatures of other regions is unique in UK institutions. Along with proven excellence in other disciplines, such as religious studies, anthropology, art and archaeology, and history, this offers students an unparalleled range of options in choosing their second subject of study.
HSBC Undergraduate Awards at SOAS: HSBC and SOAS have partnered together to provide two generous awards, beginning in the academic year 2016-17 for students studying the four-year BA Chinese (Modern & Classical) degree programme.
Programme Code: T100 BA/CHMC
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
Who is this programme for?: The programme has flexible entry requirements for students with various levels of Chinese proficiency, from absolute beginners to GCSE and A-level Chinese. The department also offers elective modules in Chinese on various levels for students wishing to obtain or improve Chinese language skills in the context of other degree programmes.
- No preliminary knowledge of the language is required but a foreign language at A-level or equivalent is preferred.
- Interview Policy: Candidates with ‘non-standard’ qualifications usually invited
- A Levels:
- AAB - ABB
- A Level language preferred
- 35 (6/6/5)
View alternative entry requirements
Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
Scottish Highers: AAABB
Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB
Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
Euro Bacc: 80%
French Bacc: 14/20
German Abitur: 2.0
Italy DES: 80/100
Austria Mat: 2.0
Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects
- 4 years
- UK/EU fees:
- Overseas fees:
Fees for 2020/21 entrants. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Undergraduate Tuition Fees page
Introducing undergraduate Chinese programmes
Dr Rosella Ferrari is Reader in Chinese and Theatre Studies at SOAS University of London and convenor of the BA Chinese (Modern and Classical), BA Chinese Studies, and BA Chinese and… programmes.
How did you first get interested in China and Chinese language?
I studied languages in high school and I was interested in Asian philosophies, but growing up in a relatively small place (and before the internet!) I was not even aware that one could pursue a degree in Asian languages and cultures. I only found out by chance that the University of Venice offered such a degree, so I applied to study Chinese language and literature there.
What is your particular area of research?
I specialise in the performance cultures of the Sinophone region. Most of my work so far has dealt with the experimental theatres of mainland China and Hong Kong and, to a lesser extent, Taiwan and Singapore. I am especially interested in the relationship between performance and politics, practices of transnational and intercultural collaboration, and interactions between the performance communities of the Chinese-speaking world and other Asian cultures.
What is special about the BA Chinese Studies programme? What kind of students will it appeal to?
Our department offers three BA degrees in Chinese. BA Chinese (Modern and Classical), a 4-year single honours degree that includes a year abroad in China in year 2; BA Chinese and..., a 4-year joint degree that also includes a year abroad in China in year 2, and BA Chinese Studies. All our degrees can cater to students with different levels of language proficiency, from ab initio to intermediate and advanced - for example, those who come to SOAS with A Levels in Chinese. We also offer various modules on classical and literary Chinese, Hokkien (Taiwanese), Cantonese, and Tibetan.
What is special about BA Chinese Studies is its flexibility. It does not require students to go on the year abroad and can be completed in 3 years. It will therefore appeal to students who, for any reason, are unable, or do not wish, to spend a year away from the UK, as well as those who would rather complete their degree before going to China to pursue further studies or career opportunities. The language curriculum in this degree is not as intensive as in the 4-year single-honours degree, and the structure is flexible, so that students can choose from a range of modules in both the humanities and the social sciences, including cultural and literary studies, media, film and theatre studies, anthropology, music, history, study of religions, art and archaeology, politics, economics, and law. Our students are also what makes our programmes special; year after year, they never fail to take the top prizes in national and international competitions, such as the Chinese Bridge.
What advice would you give to a student considering Chinese Studies?
To be curious and open-minded and to be prepared to work hard, but also to be surprised. Chinese is not an easy language to learn, but it is an incredibly fascinating one. Students will be amazed at the advanced level of proficiency in reading, speaking, listening, and writing that they can achieve with a degree at SOAS.
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 a total of 120 credits each year. 90 credits of language and 30 credits on the History and Culture of China are studied in year 1.
In year 2, 120 credits of language are taken in Beijing, and students also work on a Sinological research project.
In year 3, students take a minimum of 90 credits from the department. In year 4, students also take a minimum of 90 credits from the department, which includes a compulsory dissertation.
Year 1: Core Module
This module must be passed in order to proceed to the following year.
Year 1: Compulsory Modules
Students must take the following modules:
Year 1: Advanced Entry Students
Students under advanced entry do not take Ch 100: Elementary Chinese but instead take 30 credits of Modern Chinese (Chinese 3 or higher) and an approved guided or open option module.
Year 2: Year Abroad
Please see Year Abroad, Under the Teaching & Learning Tab for more information.
Year 3: Core Modules
Students must take 30 credits from these core modules:
Year 3: Advanced Entry Students
Students under advanced entry take Chinese language modules at the appropriate level instead of Chinese 301: Intermediate Modern Chinese Language I and Chinese 302: Intermediate Modern Chinese Language II. There are no core modules for those students.
Year 3 - Compulsory Module
Students will take the following module
Year 3: Compulsory Module(s) Options
Choose from Core/List A1/List B to the value of 30 credits
AND choose modules to the value of 30 credits from either:
Year 3: Guided Options
Choose a module(s) from List A1/List B/List C below to the value of 30 credits
Year 3: Open Options
Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits
Year 4: Compulsory Modules
Students will take the following modules:
Choose a module(s) from List A2 below to the value of 30 credits
Choose a module from List B below to the value of 15 credits to support the Independent Study Project.
AND Choose a 15 credit module from either:
Year 4: Guided Options
Choose a module(s) from List A, B or C below to the value of 15 credits
Year 4: Open Options
Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 15 credits
List of modules (subject to availability)
List A1 (Year 3 language use)
List A2 (Year 4 language use)
List B (Year 3/4)
List C (East Asia Department Modules)
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching and Learning
Students spend the second year of their BA Chinese degree at Beijing Normal University (BNU). Single subject degree students are required to take four of the following modules:
- Newspaper Reading (baokan 报刊) compulsory
- Reading and Writing (duxie 读写) compulsory
- Conversation (huihua 会话)
- Listening (tingli 听力)
- Classical Chinese (guwen 古文) compulsory
In order to proceed to Year 3, students must pass all four of the language modules taken at BNU as well as a Sinological Research Project which is submitted to their teachers at SOAS. If a student fails one language module, they will be offered a re-entry test in September of the same academic year, to determine whether or not they can continue to Year 3. A student who fails more than one language module will fail the year. If a student fails the Sinological Research Project, they must re-sit by doing a new project on a new topic, without supervision. If the new project is handed in before September of the same academic year and is considered to be of sufficient quality, the student may be allowed to progress to Year 3 (if the performance on language modules has been satisfactory).
Students wanting to take Chinese 304 in Year 3 must also take and pass Guwen this year.
Teaching & Learning
All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, in modules of 60, 45, 30 or 15 credits. They are taught over 10 or 20 weeks. The programme structure shows which modules are taught over one term or the full year. It also shows which modules are compulsory and which are optional.
As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others.
More information is on the page for each module.
Most modules are taught in small classes. Modern language teaching involves classroom work and independent study. A few non-language modules are taught by formal lecture. The single and combined degree modules are examined through oral and written examinations and coursework or reports.
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.
Pre Entry Reading
- Gernet, Jacques (transl. by J.R. Foster): A History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1982
- Idema, Wilt and Lloyd Haft: A Guide to Chinese Literature. Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, 1997
- Norman, Jerry: Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988
Further suggestions include:
- Spence, Jonathan: The Search for Modern China. 2nd ed.; New York: W.W. Norton, 1999
- Owen, Stephen: An Anthology of Chinese Literature: Beginnings to 1911. New York, London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996
- Zhao, Henry (ed.): The Lost Boat. Avant-Garde Fiction from China. London: Wellsweep, 1993
Fees and funding
Full details of undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.
Fees for 2020/21 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year.
|BA, BSc, LLB
|BA/BSc Language Year Abroad
Application Deadline: 2019-04-30 00:00
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
As a graduate who specialised in China and Inner Asia, you will have gained competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a study of language in combination with literature, development studies, economics, geography, history, history of art and archaeology, Indonesian, Korean, law, linguistics, music, politics, social anthropology or religion.
Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers, both in business and in the public sector. These include 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 large number of graduates find work in which they are able to use their language skills, either in Britain or in East Asia. Recent graduates are currently located in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, as well as in various countries of Europe. They work in a variety of sectors and some have gone on to do higher degrees and have found or are aiming for careers in academia.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
|Allen & Overy
China International Publishing Group
Consulate General of Switzerland, Shanghai
Enabling Environments Ltd
Fortuna International Ltd
|Institute for Philanthropy
Modern Sky Records
Sino International Capital Group (SICG)
The Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs
British Embassy Beijing
Marks & Spencer
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
Export Sales Manager
|Electronic Music Manager
Researcher and Translator
A Student's Perspective
If I were to describe SOAS in one sentence it would say that you will hear at least six different languages on the same day while you casually walk through the corridors of the university.