SOAS University of London

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

BA Chinese Studies (2018 entry)

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


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.

This programme combines the study of Chinese language with the study of China-related subjects in various disciplines. Compared to the existing single-subject BA Chinese degree, there is less emphasis on language learning. Compared to the existing 2-degree BA Chinese and… degree, there is more space to study China-related courses in a range of disciplines. The programme also differs from the existing offerings in that there is no year abroad included.

Through the course of the three years, students take units in modern Chinese at the appropriate level. They can start as complete beginners, or they can start from higher levels. Progression through a total of four levels is offered, whereas for those who exceed the highest level, language-based courses in literature and film, as well as a language-based dissertation, are available. The programme also offers courses in regional languages, namely Cantonese and Hokkien.

The programme will be attractive both to students who wish to study China-related subjects without a strong emphasis on language, and to students who wish to work at an advanced language level within a more traditional “sinological” framework, as it is offered at most other universities.

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Who is this programme for?:

This programme is for applicants who have intermediate to advanced language skills and are looking for a programme where they can acquire China-related knowledge across disciplines while working with the language at a suitable level.  At the same time, there are also ab-initio students who require a shorter programme without a year abroad. This programme caters to both types of students. 

Entry requirements

  • Interview Policy: Candidates with ‘non-standard’ qualifications may be invited for interview.
A Levels:
35 (665 at HL)

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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3 years


Modules are divided into different categories, under four lists: List A: Modern Chinese language modules; List B: Classical Chinese language modules; List C: Language-based disciplinary modules and regional languages; List D: Non-language based disciplinary modules.

The programme does not include a year abroad.

Year 1
Compulsory Modules

Students will take both of the modules below:

Core Module


Guided Option

Choose a module(s) from List B to the value of 30 credits. 


Open Option

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

Year 2
Core Module

Choose a Modern Language module(s) from List A to the value of 30 credits


Compulsory Module

Choose modules from List B to the value of 60 credits


Guided Option

Choose a module(s) from List B to the value of 30 credits

Open Option

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

Year 3
Compulsory Modules

Choose a Modern Chinese module(s) from List A  to the value of 30 credits


Choose a module(s) from List B to the value of 30 credits

Guided Option

Choose a module(s) from List B below to the value of 30 credits

Open Option

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

List of Modules (subject to availability)
List A (Year 1, 2 and 3 Modern Language modules)

Available to students depending on their language ability

Module Code Credits Term
Chinese 1 A 155906022 15 Term 1
Chinese 1 B 155906023 15 Term 2
Chinese 2 155900829 30 Full Year
Chinese 3 155901097 30 Full Year
Chinese 4 155901144 30 Full Year
Modern Chinese Literary Texts 155903013 15 Term 1
List B (Year 1, 2 and 3 Chinese Studies/East Asian modules)

List C (Language-based disciplinary modules and regional languages - subject to prerequisite)
Module Code Credits Term
Ch 305: Elementary Cantonese 155901228 30 Full Year
Chinese 5 155901409 15 Term 1
Chinese for Business 155903010 15 Term 2
Tibetan (Modern) 1 A 155906024 15 Term 1
Tibetan (Modern) 1 B 155906025 15 Term 2
New Taiwan Cinema and Beyond 155903011 15 Term 1
List D (Non-Language Modules)

Before selecting a course, student's must first check that the course is at the correct level. They must also ensure that they meet any pre-requisites.

Module Code Credits Term
History and Memory in East Asian Cultures 155903015 15 Term 2
Literature, Politics and National Identity in Modern China 155903017 15 Term 1
Queer Cinema in Asia 155907000 15 Term 2
Cool Japan: Manga, Anime, Sushi 155901416 15 Term 2
Fieldwork methods in language and culture 155901417 15 Term 2
Identity and social relations in Japanese 155901418 15 Term 1
The Other Korea: North Korea since 1945 155901356 15 Term 2
Trajectories of Modernity in Korean Literature and Film 155901390 15 Term 1

Available to year 2 or 3 students only. Prerequisite: “Introduction to Social Anthropology” to be taken in in Year 1 as an open option.

Module Code Credits Term
Ethnography of China 151802079 15 Term 2
Art and Archaeology
Module Code Credits Term
Themes in the Art and Archaeology of East Asia 154900163 15 Term 2
Art and Culture in Modern China 154900141 15 Term 2
Art and Archaeology of Medieval China 154900142 15 Term 2
Chinese Contemporary Art 154900174 15 Term 1
Module Code Credits Term
China and World Development 153401003 15 Term 1
China's Economic Transformation 153401004 15 Term 1

Available to 2nd or 3rd year students.

Module Code Credits Term
Government and politics of China 153400071 30 Full Year
Module Code Credits Term
Chinese Law 155200055 30
Study of Religions
Module Code Credits Term
R472 Classical Chinese Thought 158000103 15 Term 1
Buddhism in Chinese Culture 158000201 15 Term 1
R471 Taoism: the Great Tradition 158000181 15 Term 2
Module Code Credits Term
H297 Democracy in China 154800281 15 Term 2
H382 Opium and Empires: Eastern Asia's Narcotic Trade and Culture in Global Context 154800294 30 Full Year

'Musical Traditions of East Asia' Prerequisite: some background in music required; convenor’s permission required.

Module Code Credits Term
Pop and Politics in East Asia 155800077 15 Term 1
Musical Traditions of East Asia 155800078 15 Term 2

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

Year abroad

This programme does not have a year abroad.

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.


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, 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.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

Allen and Overy LLP
China-Eu School of Law
ChinaContact Consulting
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Dah Sing Financial Holdings Ltd.
Embassy of Belgium
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
German Embassy Tokyo
Goldman Sachs International
Halo Associates (Asia) Ltd
Independent Power Corporation PLC
Oxford University Press
SiChuan WenJun Spirits Company
the International Herald Tribune
The University of Hong Kong
United Nations Population Fund
University of Cambridge
Washington State House of Representatives

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

Editor and Translator
Under Secretary
Director of Corporate Social Responsibility
Medical Secretary
Press Attache
Regional Chief of Photography
Project Manager
Economic Counsellor
Professional Translator
Director of Research for China
Social Worker
Head, Asia Programme
Professorial Research Associate
Senior Lecturer in Chinese Archaeology
Energy Consultant
Independent Columnist and Reporter
Art Curator

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

Find out more