SOAS University of London

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

MA Chinese Studies (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2021 2020

  • Q&A
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply

Overview

Overview and entry requirements

The MA Chinese Studies provides an exceptional opportunity to take advantage of the wide range of disciplinary approaches to the study of Chinese societies available at SOAS. The main emphasis is on modern and contemporary China, although it is also possible to study aspects of pre-Modern China.

Students who take this degree come from many countries and have a wide variety of academic backgrounds. While some wish to broaden their previous studies or experience of China, others approach the course without having a Chinese element to their first degree, but with a desire to focus their previous training on the region.

In addition to the courses on offer, students develop their own particular area of specialisation by writing a dissertation in their major discipline.

When applying, applicants are asked to specify their preferred major subject, and asked to give an alternative as practical considerations such as time tabling and availability of courses may limit freedom of choice. Once enrolled, students have two weeks to finalise their choice of subjects and have the opportunity of sampling a variety of subjects through attending lectures. 

See China and Inner Asia Department

Why study MA Chinese Studies at SOAS

  • SOAS is in the UK Top 10 in the 2021 QS World University Rankings for Modern Languages
  • we are home to the largest concentration of Chinese specialists outside of China
  • with more than 50 experts working on a wide range of disciplines across the School, the MA Chinese Studies programme offers exceptional flexibility in designing a study plan that accommodates students’ interests
  • we offer strong interdisciplinary support and have great facilities, such as a multimedia suite, a radio station and a satellite access to a wide range of world television. Our Library houses a major collection of digital and paper resources, with books and journals on China-related issues that scholars from all around the world travel to consult.

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

  • We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

Featured events

duration:
One calendar year (full-time) Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)

Fees 2021/22

UK fees:
£11,520
Overseas fees:
£22,500

Fees for 2021/22 entrants. This is a Band 3 fee. 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's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

Convenors

Q&A

Introducing Postgraduate Chinese Studies

Cosima Bruno

With the increase of economic, political and cultural links between China and Europe, SOAS’s range of China-related degrees seek to dispel some of the stereotypes, which still remain regarding the region, and to provide a comprehensive understanding of this dynamic country.  Dr Cosima Bruno, Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies, outlines the importance of the MA Chinese Studies course at SOAS University of London.

What does the programme involve?

We provide students at all language levels with a comprehensive training in the exceptionally rich list of China-related disciplines that we are able to offer at SOAS. Your study with us might cover topics ranging from literature, history, film, art, religion, politics, translation, law, and economics. This programme helps you gain a broad knowledge and insights into China.

What kind of students will the programme appeal to?

The MA programme Chinese Studies is particularly popular among students who want to study China with an interdisciplinary approach. They will specialise in a subject of Chinese studies of their choice, while at the same time also develop a critical understanding of the “bigger picture”, through the study of other China-related disciplines. The programme has special appeal for students who want to focus on modern and contemporary China, although it also offers the possibility of studying aspects of pre-modern China. There is no Chinese language requirement, therefore the programme is able to accommodate students from a wide variety of academic background and at any level of Chinese proficiency, from absolute beginners to fluent speakers.

What facilities are available?

SOAS offers strong interdisciplinary support for its students. We have a multimedia suite, a radio station and a satellite access to a wide range of world television. Further, the Library houses a major collection of digital and paper resources, with books and journals on China-related issues that scholars from all around the world travel to consult.

What is special about the programme at SOAS?

With more than 50 experts working on a wide range of disciplines across the School, this programme offers exceptional flexibility in designing a study plan that accommodates students’ interests.

Can you recommend a good book to read on MA Chinese Studies?

Chinese Studies by definition deals with a variety of subjects. The book series Contemporary Chinese Studies, edited by the University of British Columbia Press, provides some good examples of new scholarship on modern and contemporary China.

What do students do after graduating?

Students who graduate from this programme at SOAS have found careers in various sectors. Many have pursued further research at a doctoral level, becoming academics; others have been employed in areas of media, becoming journalists or cultural experts; others still have found career opportunities in the publishing industry, international relations, NGOs, multinational corporations, and tourism. 

Structure

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.

Structure

Students take a total of 180 credits, of which 60 credits are a dissertation, 15 credits are allocated to the core module and the remaining 105 credits are chosen from other taught modules.

Students must choose a minimum of 45 credits of modules from List A (modules related to China) and a maximum of 60 credits from List B, which includes language modules, modules related to other regions of East Asia and modules on China offered by other departments. For students opting to take language acquisition modules in more than one language, only one of these can be at an introductory level.

In the first term students will be asked to choose the module on which they will base their dissertation. The convenor of this module will usually be their dissertation supervisor. The module will usually be chosen from List A modules within the department, but after consultation with the programme convenor it may be possible to arrange for a supervisor from another department.

All modules are subject to availability.

Programme

Compulsory Dissertation
Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation in Chinese Studies 15PCHC998 60 Full Year
Core Module
Module Code Credits Term
Connections and Intersections: Core Aspects of East Asian Studies 15PJKH025 15 Term 1
List A: Guided Options (China)

Choose modules to a minimum value of 45 credits from List A.

Module Code Credits Term
New Taiwan Cinema and Beyond (PG) 15PCHH002 15 Term 1
Literature, Politics and National Identity in Modern China (PG) 15PCHH042 15 Term 2
Nationhood and Competing Identities in Modern China 15PHIH022 15 Term 1
Gender and Empire in Early Modern China 15PHIH024 15 Term 2
Contemporary Chinese Society (PG) 15PCHH054 15 Term 1
List B: Guided Options (East Asia)

Choose modules to a maximum value of 60 credits from List B.

Module Code Credits Term
East Asian Cinema (PG) 15PCHH051 15 Term 1
Gender in East Asian Literature (PG) 15PEAH014 15 Term 2
Myths, Legends and Folkways of East Asia (PG) 15PJKH052 15 Term 1
Fieldwork methods in language and culture (PG) 15PJKH045 15 Term 2
Culture and Society of Taiwan 15PCHH003 15 Term 1
Japanese-English Translation (PG) 15PJKH003 15 Term 2
Trajectories of Modernity in Korean Literature and Film (PG) 15PJKH006 15 Term 1
Modernity, Nation and Identity in Japanese History (1853-1945) (PG) 15PJKH027 15 Term 2
Writing from the Margins: Voices of change in Modern Japanese Literature (PG) 15PJKH031 15 Term 2
The Making of Modern Korea 15PJKH032 15 Term 2
Korean-English Translation (PG) 15PJKH057 15 Term 2
Japanese Cinema (PG) 15PJKH058 15 Term 1
Contemporary Japanese Society (PG) 15PJKH060 15 Term 1
Language modules
Module Code Credits Term
Chinese 1 A (PG) 15PCHH031 15 Term 1
Chinese 1 B (PG) 15PCHH032 15 Term 2
Chinese 2 (PG) 15PCHC011 30 Full Year
Chinese 3 (PG) 15PCHC009 30 Full Year
Chinese 4 (PG) 15PCHC012 30 Full Year
Chinese for Business (PG) 15PCHH027 15 Term 2
Ch400: Advanced Chinese (PG) 15PCHH049 15 Term 1
Classical and Literary Chinese 1 (PG) 15PCHH043 15 Term 2
Japanese 1 A (PG) 15PJKH035 15 Term 1
Japanese 1 B (PG) 15PJKH036 15 Term 2
Japanese 2 (PG) 15PJKC009 30 Full Year
Japanese 3 (PG) 15PJKC010 30 Full Year
Japanese 4 (PG) 15PJKC011 30 Full Year
J400: Advanced Japanese (PG) 15PJKH055 15 Term 1
Korean 1 A (PG) 15PJKH037 15 Term 1
Korean 1 B (PG) 15PJKH038 15 Term 2
Korean 2 (PG) 15PJKC024 30 Full Year
Korean 3 (PG) 15PJKC013 30 Full Year
Korean 4 (PG) 15PJKC036 30 Full Year
K200: Intermediate Korean (PG) 15PJKC035 30 Full Year
K400: Advanced Korean (PG) 15PJKH056 15 Term 1
List C: Guided Options

You may choose modules to a maximum value of 30 credits from List C or the central options list.

Module Code Credits Term
Themes in the Visual Arts of Dynastic China (before 1800) 15PARH051 15 Term 1
Arts of Modern and Contemporary China (since 1800) 15PARH055 15 Term 2
Chinese Porcelain: Trade, Transfer and Reception 15PARH064 15 Term 2
Interpreting Visual Expressions of the Mandala 15PARH086 15 Term 2
China and the Silk Road: Art and Archaeology 15PARH093 15 Term 1
Ceramics in Chinese Culture: 10th - 18th Centuries 15PARH046 15 Term 2
China and World Development 15PECH023 15 Term 2
Economic development in the Asia Pacific region 15PECC030 15 Term 2
Taiwan in International Politics 15PPOH073 15 Term 2
International Security Politics in East Asia 15PPOH059 15 Term 2
State and Society in the Chinese Political Process 1 15PPOH071 15 Term 1
State and Society in the Chinese Political Process 2 15PPOH072 15 Term 2
Globalising China 15PPOH056 15 Term 2
Comparing Democracies in North East Asia 15PPOH050 15 Term 2
China and International Politics 15PPOH049 15 Term 1
Elections, Social Movements and Gender in Taiwan 15PPOH054 15 Term 1
Pop and Politics in East Asia (Masters) 15PMUH014 15 Term 1
East Asian Buddhist Thought 15PSRH018 15 Term 2
Chinese Buddhism: History and Themes 15PSRH053 15 Term 1
The Great Tradition of Taoism 15PSRH036 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

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.

Contact hours

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

Learning outcomes

Knowledge

Student will acquire specialist knowledge on the following key areas:

  • How to assess data and evidence critically from manuscripts and digital sources, solve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations, locate materials, use research sources (particularly research library catalogues) and other relevant traditional sources.
  • To obtain a theoretical grounding in one of the several disciplines offered as part of degree: Anthropology, art& archaeology ,economics ,history, law,literature,media,music,politics or religion& philosophy.
  • To obtain an empirical grounding of the disciplines cited above as they relate specifically to the study of China
  • To develop a critical understanding of other disciplines–in their theoretical and empirical dimensions–through Minor courses.
  • To acquire/develop skills in Chinese language at any of these levels:Basic1(absolute beginner),Basic2(beginner),Intermediate or Advanced.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
  • Critical evaluation of source material: students should become precise and cautious in their assessment of evidence, and to understand through practice what document scan and cannot tell us.
  • Critical evaluation of previous scholarship: students should question interpretations, however authoritative, and reassess evidence for themselves.
  • Critical attitude toward euro-centristic approaches: Students will acquire a sensitivity to non-euro-centric perspectives on a range of intellectual problems in the Anthropology, art &archaeology,economics,history,law,literature,media,music,politics or religion & philosophy of China.
Subject-based practical skills

Subject-specific skills will be in line with the requirements in the academic discipline in which students do their Major and the dissertation.

Practical skills include:

  • Communicate effectively in writing
  • Retrieve, sift and select information from a variety of sources
  • Present seminar papers
  • Listen critically to, and discuss, ideas introduced during seminars
  • Practice research techniques in a variety of specialized research libraries and institutes
Transferable skills
  • 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, in libraries and research institutes of a kind they will not have used as undergraduates.

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.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Fees for 2021/22 entrants, per academic year (Band 3 tuition fee)

Full-time Part-time 2 Years Part-time 3 Years Part-time 4 Years
Intensive Language only
UK
Students
Overseas
Students
UK
Students
Overseas
Students
UK
Students
Overseas
Students
UK
Students
Overseas
Students
£11,520 £22,500 £5,760 £11,250 £3,840 £7,500 £5,760 £11,250

Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second and subsequent years of study will be higher.

Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the postgraduate tuition fees page.

Scholarships
Bernard Buckman Scholarship

Bernard Buckman Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2021-04-30 00:00

Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2021-01-29 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2021-02-15 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – East Asia

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Europe

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – India

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Pakistan

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

SOAS Master's Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2021-04-30 00:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2021-06-04 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section

Employment

Employment

A postgraduate degree in China and Inner Asia studies 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 a combination of the study of language, literature, history, cinema, politics, economics or law.  

Skills gained

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
  • ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.

Careers

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.

Employers

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

  • Africa-Asia Confidential
  • Asia Society
  • BBC
  • China Central Academy of Fine Arts
  • Citibank
  • CSR Asia
  • CTBI China Desk
  • Deloitte UKEMP
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK
  • French Embassy in China
  • Fu Xin Contemporary Art Gallery
  • Government Offices of Sweden
  • Inter Committee of the Red cross ICRC
  • KPMG LLP UK
  • Linklaters LLP
  • Macmillan Cancer Support#
  • Overseas Development Institute
  • Shelter UK
  • The Amity Foundation Hong Kong

Roles

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

  • Editor
  • Chartered Accountant
  • Global Learning Program Associate
  • News Editor
  • Researcher
  • China Industry Specialist
  • Lecturer
  • Artistic Director
  • Foreign English Expert
  • Diplomat
  • Policy Officer Environment/Climate Change
  • English Teache
  • Translator
  • Internal Auditor
  • Consultant/Account Manager
  • Expert on Media-Chinese language
  • Interpreter
  • Lecturer in Modern Chinese Culture and Language
  • Professional Speaker & Director
  • Assistant Professor

Find out more on our Careers Service website

A Student's Perspective

With some of the West’s leading experts on Taiwan’s political economy, SOAS was the ideal place for me to study cross-Strait relations

Daniel Mojahedi

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