SOAS University of London

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

MA Sinology

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

Fees 2018/19

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2018/19 entrants. This is a Band 1 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 Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

2018 Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours (or equivalent) in Chinese
  • Subjects Preferred: Chinese

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Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Who is this programme for?: Students are expected to have a degree of at least upper-second class level or equivalent and to have proved to our satisfaction that they have a competence in Chinese equivalent to at least the level reached by the end of our third year BA Chinese course. The degree is designed either as an end qualification in itself or to prepare the student for more advanced graduate work (MPhil/PhD).

The MA Sinology is designed to provide a training in advanced Chinese literature and documentary sources for those who already have a knowledge of Chinese (both classical and modern) to a level equivalent to that attained by the end of the 3rd year Chinese BA at SOAS.

This programme does not follow the major/minor pattern. Students must undertake a compulsory course together with two other optional courses.



On this programme, students take 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation and a 120 from taught modules. 

Core Module

Students must take both modules below.

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Sinological Methodology 15PEAC005 30 Full Year
Dissertation in the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia 15PCHC999 60 Full Year
Compulsory Modules

Students must take 30 credits from the list below. You may take more.

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Classical Documentary Texts 15PEAC006 30 Full Year
Modern Documentary Texts 15PEAC007 30 Full Year
Optional Modules

Students can take the remaining 30 or 60 credits from the list below. Only 30 credits are allowed from the language acquisition modules. Higher levels of language may be available upon request.

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Art and Archaeology of the Silk Road 15PARC032 30 Full Year
Practical Translation: Chinese to English 15PCHH004 15 Term 2
Practical Translation: English to Chinese 15PCHH005 15 Term 1
Modern Chinese Literature in Translation 15PCHC002 30 Full Year
Modern Chinese Literature (MA) 15PCHC003 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation 15PCHC004 30 Full Year
Modern Chinese Film and Theatre (MA) 15PCHH001 15 Term 2
Modern Film from Taiwan and the Chinese Diaspora 15PCHH002 15 Term 1
Introduction to Classical Literary Tibetan (Masters) 15PEAC020 30 Full Year
Knowledge and Power in Early Modern China 15PHIH024 15 Term 1
Chinese Religious Texts: A Reading Seminar 15PSRH038 15 Term 2
Elementary spoken Hokkien (Minnanyu, Taiwanese) (PG) 15PCHC007 30 Full Year
Intensive Elementary Tibetan (PG) 15PCHC018 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Basic Japanese 1 (PG) 15PJKC008 30 Full Year
Basic Japanese 2 (PG) 15PJKC009 30 Full Year
Basic Korean (Postgraduate) 15PJKC022 30 Full Year
Basic Korean 2 (PG) 15PJKC024 30 Full Year
Sanskrit Language 1 (PG) 15PSAC294 30 Full Year
Sanskrit Language 2 (PG) 15PSAC306 30 Full Year


This is the structure for 2017/18 applicants

If you are a current student you can find structure information on Moodle or through your Faculty.

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

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

Learning Outcomes

  • To enhance practical skills and understanding of the basic literature and documentary sources which permit research in the broad field of Sinology. Research aids such as research guides, dictionaries, bibliographies, library catalogues, commentaries, concordances and digital sources are explored and studied, and skills in locating materials, dating texts, tracing pseudonyms, identifying and comparing official titles and responsibilities, and understanding the political, legal and social structures and their development through time will be fostered.
  • To obtain an understanding of the wealth of Chinese documentary sources, and to study representative genres in the classical corpus. Understanding of the content and research value of documents is stressed rather than their merit as literature. Different calligraphic scripts are introduced, and selections from the classics, diaries, gazetteers, legal texts, anecdotal writings, collected works, critical writings and other texts are read. Data and evidence are assessed critically, and problems of conflicting sources and interpretations are discussed.
  • To enhance students’ Chinese reading skills and take them beyond the level of word-for-word translation which typifies undergraduate reading modules; to increase students’ modern Chinese reading speed to an average of thirty pages per week; to introduce twentieth-century articles in Chinese which have had a major influence on Chinese history, society or culture; to familiarise students with secondary sources (scholarly articles and reference texts) in modern Chinese.
Intellectual (thinking) Skills
  • Students will learn to be precise and cautious in their assessment of evidence, and to understand through practice what documents can and cannot tell us.Students will develop an awareness of the interconnectedness of different texts and to develop a broader view when considering problems and to come up with a balanced opinion through utilizing a combination of different sources.
  • Students will learn to appreciate different viewpoints of a problem through critical writings.Students will learn to question interpretations, however authoritative, and reassess evidence for themselves.
Subject - based Practical Skills

The programme aims to help students with the following:

  • To improve their knowledge and usage of basic reference sources.
  • To gain an understanding of the research methods of sinologists.
  • To improve their reading ability of various styles of classical and modern Chinese.
  • To practise research techniques in specialised SOAS research library.
  • To improve their awareness of the content and research value of documents, and their knowledge of Chinese literature and culture.
Transferable Skills

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.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

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

This is a Band 1 tuition fee.

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

Full-time Part-time 2 Years Part-time 3 Years
£9,225 £18,980 £4,613 £9,490 £3,075 £6,327
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00

HSBC SOAS Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

SOAS Master's Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2018-06-05 00:00

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


A postgraduate degree in Sinology 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 training in advanced Chinese literature and documentary sources.

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

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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