This programme enables students to engage critically with the varied aspects of Chinese literature.
This programme covers both pre-modern and modern literatures of China. It includes the study of literary works written in the original languages, as well as an introduction to literary theory.
For students on this programme the dissertation must be on a subject in Chinese Literature.
Please note that to be considered for the MA Chinese Studies (Literature pathway) programme you will need apply for MA Chinese Studies and select the relevant literature modules at enrolment.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Incoming students will be expected to have completed at least the equivalent of two years of undergraduate Chinese language study.
- One calendar year (full-time);
Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)
Students take 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation, 30 credits of core modules, 30 credits of compulsory modules, and the remaining 30 credits can be from the list of optional modules.
All modules are subject to availability.
The dissertation must be on a subject in Chinese Literature.
Students must take 30 credits from the list below. You may take more.
Students must take the following module.
30 credits from the list below. You may take more.
Students may take 30 credits from the list below. Please note that some of the modules listed below may have a language requirement.
China and Inner Asia
Japan and Korea
Languages, Cultures and Linguistics
Non literature modules (China/East Asia Related):
Art and Archaeology
Anthropology and Sociology
Media and Film Studies
Politics and International Studies
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 & Learning
All Masters programmes consist of 180 credits, made up of taught modules of 30 or 15 credits, taught over 10 or 20 weeks, and a dissertation of 60 credits. The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.
As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study, including reading and research, preparing coursework, revising for examinations and so on. 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. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.
More information is on the page for each module.
- To obtain a solid knowledge of the texts and contexts of modern and traditional Chinese literature.
- To translate and interpret different writing styles and genres.
- To obtain a thorough grounding in the theories and techniques of comparative literature.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
- Students should become able to assess data and evidence critically from manuscripts and digital sources, solve problems of conflicting sources and interpretations, locate materials, and use research sources.
- Students should become aware of culturally essentialist and/or Eurocentric models of analysis of non-Western literatures and cultures and related intellectual debates, and acquire the intellectual skills to assess them critically.
- Students should become aware of and think through the problems involved in applying a mainly “Western” body of literary theory to Chinese texts.
- Students should become able to question interpretations, however authoritative, and reassess evidence independently.
Subject-based practical skills
- Communicate effectively in writing.
- Present seminar papers in an effective manner.
- Discuss ideas introduced during seminars.
- Practice research techniques in a variety of specialized research libraries and institutes.
- Exercise and increase their reading ability in modern and/or classical Chinese.
The programme will encourage students to:
- Write good essays and dissertations.
- Structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing.
- Understand unconventional ideas.
- Study a variety of written and digital materials that they will not have been exposed to as undergraduates.
A postgraduate degree in Chinese Literature from SOAS equips students with essential skills such as competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through the indepth study of Chinese Literature, both pre-modern and modern and the study of literary theory in relation to this literature.
Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers in business, public and charity sectors. They leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including 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 postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
A Student's Perspective
Dong-Kyung Lee, Korea University
You might not be able to find a department dedicated to your major... However, because SOAS has many courses that are interdisciplinary, you also might be able to find courses of your interests. For example, for SOAS does not have a dedicated philosophy department, I, a philosophy major, looked for courses in other departments that cover philosophical discourses. My experience here of studying Buddhism and Taoism was highly inspiring.