SOAS University of London

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

BA Chinese (2022 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

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Overview and entry requirements

The BA Chinese single subject degree provides students with the highest level of competence in all aspects of the written and spoken language, as well as an in-depth understanding of both classical and modern Chinese culture, from the study of pre-modern Chinese language and history to modern literature and cinema.

Students on the BA Chinese will spend the third year of study in China or Taiwan furthering language proficiency and understanding of the local cultural environment. The Chinese BA programme is suitable for both absolute beginners as well as those with some knowledge of the Chinese language.

HSBC and SOAS partnered to provide two generous awards (HSBC Undergraduate Awards at SOAS) for students studying the four-year BA Chinese (Modern and Classical) degree programme.

See China and Inner Asia Department

Why study Chinese at SOAS

  • Ranked 13th in the UK in the 2022 QS World University Rankings for Modern Languages
  • SOAS is home to the largest concentration of Chinese specialists outside of China
  • Chinese is a language spoken by a quarter of the world’s population; your command of a language will set you apart from graduates of other universities
  • spend your third year in China or Taiwan furthering language and cultural proficiency
  • learn not only the essential language skills but also an in-depth understanding of the region’s culture covering subjects (such as literature, history, cinema, etc.)
  • flexibly structure your programme using our central options modules to take advantage of the expertise of our other departments.


Follow us:

Programme Code: T100 BA/CHMC

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time


Entry requirements

Featured events

4 years

Fees 2022/23

Fees for 2022/23 entrants per academic year

UK fees:
Overseas fees:

Please note that fees go up each year. Further details see 'Fees and funding' (tab on this page) or the Registry's undergraduate tuition fees page.




Students take a total of 120 credits each year.

  • Year 1: students normally take 60 credits of language, 45 credits of culture/history modules and 15 credits of academic writing.
  • Year 2: students take a further 30 credits of modern language and are introduced to classical and literary Chinese, and further modules of culture/history.
  • Year 3: Students will spend the third year of study in China or Taiwan
  • Year 4: students take a minimum of 90 credits from the department, which includes a compulsory Independent Study Project.


Year 1

Core Module

This module must be passed in order to proceed to the following year.

Module Code Credits Term
Ch 100: Elementary Chinese 155901440 60 Full Year

*Lifeboat Option: If a student is struggling with Ch100, they will move to Chinese 1B (155906023) in the 2nd semeseter & write an extended essay (155901421), then move to the BA East Asian Studies Programme

Compulsory Modules:

Students must take the modules below

Module Code Credits Term
China in Ten Words: Key Concepts in Chinese Studies 155901461 15 Term 2
Reading and Writing East Asian Studies 155901439 15 Term 1
East Asian Civilizations 155901464 30 Full Year
Year 2

Core Module

This module must be passed in order to proceed to the following year.

Module Code Credits Term
Ch 200 Intermediate Chinese 155901467 30 Full Year
Compulsory Modules

Students must take the modules below

Module Code Credits Term
Contemporary Chinese Society 155901478 15 Term 1
East Asian Imperialisms 155901481 15 Term 2
Classical and Literary Chinese 1 155901456 15 Term 2

Guided Option

Choose a module from List A (at the relevant FHEQ level for your academic year of study) below to the value of 15 credits


Guided Options

Choose modules from List A /List B or Central options (at the relevant FHEQ level for your academic year of study) to the value of 30 credits

Year 3

*Year 3 (from 20/21) Year Abroad: For more information on the year abroad in China, please see the Teaching & Learning tab.

Year 4

Compulsory Modules

Students will take the following modules:

Module Code Credits Term
Ch 400: Advanced Chinese 155901468 15 Term 1
History and Memory in East Asian Cultures 155903015 15 Term 2
Independent Study Project in East Asian Studies 155901483 30 Full Year

Guided Options

Choose modules from List A (at the relevant FHEQ level for your academic year of study) below to the value of 30 credits


Choose modules from List A/List B or Central options (at the relevant FHEQ level for your academic year of study) to the value of 30 credits

Year 2 - List A Guided option modules

FHEQ Level 5

Module Code Credits Term
Myths, Legends and Folkways of East Asia 155901460 15 Term 1
Gender in East Asian Literature (UG) 155901482 15 Term 2
East Asian Cinema (UG) 155901475 15 Term 1
Fieldwork methods in language and culture 155901417 15 Term 2
Year 4 - List A Guided Option Modules

FHEQ Level 6

Module Code Credits Term
Ch 401: Chinese-English Translation 155901469 15 Term 2
Chinese for Business 155903010 15 Term 2
Ch 305: Elementary Cantonese 155901228 30 Full Year
Literature, Politics and National Identity in Modern China 155903017 15 Term 1
Chinese Cinema (UG) 155901474 15 Term 2
Culture and Society of Taiwan 155903020 15 Term 1
Year 2/Year 4 List B Language Modules

FHEQ Level 5

Module Code Credits Term
Japanese 1 A 155906026 15 Term 1
Japanese 1 B 155906027 15 Term 2
Japanese 2 155900875 30 Full Year
Korean 1 A 155906028 15 Term 1
Korean 1 B 155906029 15 Term 2
Korean 2 155901404 30 Full Year
FHEQ Level 6
Module Code Credits Term
Korean 3 155900843 30 Full Year
Korean 4 155901486 30 Full Year
Japanese 3 155901345 30 Full Year
Japanese 4 155901346 30 Full Year
Year 4 - List B Guided Option Modules

FHEQ Level 5/6

Module Code Credits Term
Japanese Cinema (UG) 155901476 15 Term 2
Trajectories of Modernity in Korean Literature and Film 155901390 15 Term 1
Modernity, Nation and Identity in Japanese History (1853-1945) 155900882 15 Term 2
The Other Korea: North Korea since 1945 155901356 15 Term 2
Japanese Traditional Drama 155901422 15 Term 1
Culture and Society in Traditional Korea 155901431 15 Term 1
Identity and social relations in Japanese 155901418 15 Term 1

Programme Specification

Important notice

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

Teaching & Learning

All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, in modules of 60, 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.

Contact hours

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.

Year abroad

Students spend the third year of their BA Chinese degree at Beijing Normal University (BNU) or Taiwan. Single-subject degree students are required to take the following modules: 

Newspaper Reading (baokan 报刊)
Reading and Writing (duxie 读写) 
Conversation (huihua 会话)
Listening (tingli 听力)

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 readings

  • Ebrey, Patricia: The Cambridge Illustrated History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996/2010.
  • Mair, Victor H.: The Columbia History of Chinese Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.
  • Shei, Chris: Understanding the Chinese Language. London and New York: Routledge, 2014.

Further suggestions

  • Goldman, Merle, Leo Ou-Fan Lee (eds.): An Intellectual History of Modern China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Hong Zicheng: A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature. Leiden: Brill, 2007.
  • Lau, Joseph S. M., Howard Goldblatt (eds.): The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.
  • Lovell, Julia: The Great Wall: China Against the World. 1000 BC - AD 2000. New York: Grove Press, 2006.
  • Minford, John, Joseph S. M. Lau (eds.): Classical Chinese Literature: An Anthology of Translations. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.

Fees and funding



Graduates from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures develop competencies in intercultural awareness, analysis and communication. Demand for specialists with advanced proficiency in the languages of China, Japan and Korea has significantly increased in recent years, and graduates with these skills are highly sought after by employers.

Recent Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures graduates have been hired by organisations including:

  • Accenture
  • Amazon
  • Bloomberg LP
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea
  • European Commission
  • Google
  • ITN
  • Japanese Government
  • Korea Trade Centre (KOTRA)
  • KPMG
  • Mizuho Bank
  • Nagahama Board of Education
  • Nanjing Museum
  • Pinsent Masons LLP
  • PwC
  • Seoul Metropolitan Government
  • Shelterbox
  • UNDP

Find out about our Careers Service.

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


Find out more