SOAS University of London

China & Inner Asia Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures

BA Chinese (Modern and Classical)

4 years

Fees 2018/19

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2018/19 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

2018 Entry requirements

  • 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:
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

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Programme Code: T100 BA/CHMC

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.

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.



Key Information Set Data


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 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 Modules

Must be passed in order to proceed to the following year.

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Chinese 101: Elementary Modern Chinese Language 1 155901217 30 Full Year
Chinese 103: History and Culture of China 155901001 30 Full Year
Chinese 104: Introduction to Classical Chinese 155901219 30 Full Year
Compulsory Module
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Chinese 102: Elementary Modern Chinese Language 2 155901218 30 Full Year
Advanced Entry Students

Students under advanced entry do not take Elementary Modern Chinese Language I (101) and Elementary Modern Chinese Language II (102), but take instead 30 credits of Modern Chinese (Special Course in Chinese III or higher) (CORE) and an open option module.

Year 2: Year Abroad

Please see Year Abroad, Under the Teaching & Learning Tab for more information.

Year 3:

Students in this year take 120 credits, with a minimum of 90 credits from the approved syllabus.

Core Module

Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from the following as your core module. The other may be taken as an option. 301 and 302 modules can only be taken in Year 3.

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Chinese 301A: Intermediate Modern Chinese Language (Reading) 155903004 15 Full Year
Chinese 301B: Intermediate Modern Chinese Language (Grammar and Writing) 155903005 15 Full Year
Chinese 302A: Intermediate Modern Chinese Language (Translation) 155903006 15 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Chinese 302B: Intermediate Modern Chinese Language (Listening and Speaking) 155903007 15 Full Year
Compulsory Module
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Chinese 304: Traditional Chinese Language and Literature 1 155901227 30 Full Year
Optional Modules

Choose modules to the value of 30 credits from this list or an approved open option.

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Chinese 303: Chinese Cultures on Screen and Stage 155901226 30 Full Year
Chinese 305: Elementary Cantonese 155901228 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Elementary Spoken Hokkien (Minnanyu, Taiwanese) 155901249 30 Full Year
Approved Option

Students can select one of these modules, which must be taken with a module from the list above, or an approved open option to the value of 30 credits:

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Advanced Chinese for Business 155903010 15 Full Year
Modern Tibetan 155903000 30 Full Year
Advanced entry Students

Students under advanced entry take Chinese language modules at the appropriate level instead of Intermediate Modern Chinese Language I (301) and Intermediate Modern Chinese Language II (302). There are no core modules for those students.

Year 4:

Students take a minimum of 90 credits in the department, including one compulsory module. The remaining 30 credits may be an approved open option in another department.

Compulsory Module
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Chinese 402: BA Dissertation in Chinese Languages and Cultures 155901230 30 Full Year
Optional Modules

Fourth-year students must take modules to the value of 60 credits from the list below.

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Chinese 401A: Advanced Modern Chinese Language (Listening and Speaking) 155903008 15 Full Year
Chinese 401B: Advanced Modern Chinese Language (Reading and Writing) 155903009 15 Full Year
Chinese 403: Modern Chinese Literature 155901231 30 Full Year
Chinese 404: Traditional Chinese Language and Literature 2 155901232 30 Full Year
Chinese 405: Styles of Modern Chinese Literary Language 155901332 30 Full Year
Elementary Spoken Hokkien (Minnanyu, Taiwanese) 155901249 30 Full Year
Chinese 305: Elementary Cantonese 155901228 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Modern Tibetan 155903000 30 Full Year

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Year abroad

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

Contact Hours

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

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

Tuition Fees

Full details of undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.

Fees for 2018/19 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Programme Full-Time
BA, BSc, LLB £9,250 £16,907
BA/BSc Language Year Abroad £1,385 £8,454
Undergraduate Research Awards

Application Deadline: 2018-04-30 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:

Allen & Overy
Chimerica Media
China Consulting
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
JP Morgan
British Embassy Beijing
Marks & Spencer
Swiss Consulate
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
Copy Editor
Research Executive
Export Sales Manager
Programmes Assistant
Electronic Music Manager
Managing Director
Investment Banker
Researcher and Translator
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

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.

Stephanie Koch


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