SOAS University of London

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

Independent Study Project in Chinese Languages and Cultures

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/2021
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 4
Taught in:
Full Year

This final-year module is the culmination of the language-based research and writing training provided throughout the BA Chinese and Chinese Studies degree programmes. It aims to introduce key issues, methods, and resources for the study of the modern and pre-modern languages and cultures of mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and their diasporas, to provide advanced training in academic research and writing, using Chinese language sources, and to give students an opportunity to work independently on an approved topic of their choice. Students will attend training seminars in the first five weeks of term 1 and will work on their individual projects with a supervisor for the rest of term 1 and in term 2.

Topics should broadly fall within the realm of the humanities (e.g., languages, literatures, arts, history, philosophy, popular cultures, media) and should be agreed in advance with the module convenor and the prospective supervisor. Supervisors will be allocated within the Chinese academic staff of the School of East Asian Languages and Cultures on the basis of expertise and availability.


A modern Chinese language module at 300-level.

Those writing on pre-modern topics must have completed a pre-modern Chinese language module at the appropriate level or must take it in the same year.

Those writing on modern topics must have completed a modern Chinese discipline module (e.g., film, theatre, literature) in the pre-final year or must take it in the same year.

Joint degree students wishing to take this module must take a minimum of 75 credits from the Chinese syllabus in their final year.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The main learning outcome is the production of a 10,000 word project written in English with a summary in Chinese. The use of Chinese-language sources is mandatory, therefore students taking this module must have passed modules at an intermediate/advanced level of Chinese language. 


Students will attend training seminars in the first 5 weeks of term 1 and will work on their individual projects with their supervisor for a maximum of 6 hours over term 1 and 2.

Scope and syllabus

In the first 5 weeks of term 1, the module is team-taught. Students give short oral presentations on their chosen topic and by the middle of this term they submit a research proposal for their dissertation. 

For the remainder of term 1 and in term 2 students work on their individual projects with a supervisor. Supervisors will have regular meetings (up to 6 hours contact) with the students they supervise to discuss their progress.

Method of assessment

An ISP proposal of 1,000 words to be submitted on day 1, week 7, term 1 (10%); a 9,000 ISP with 1 page Chinese abstract to be submitted on day 5, week 1, term 3 (90%).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules