SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

Reading Seminar in Chinese Studies

Module Code:
Year of study:
Year 1

The Reading Seminar in Chinese Studies is one of the options available to first-year students on the MA Advanced Chinese Studies to improve their Chinese-language skills prior to spending time in China in their second year. Students with demonstrated reading skills at HSK Level 5 or higher (SOAS 400 level or higher) may opt for this course in order to improve especially their ability to read Chinese-language material and use it as part of a research project.

Selected readings will as much as possible link to the students’ research interests and will include both original-language research material and Chinese-language scholarly work from both the humanities and social sciences. Where possible and appropriate reading assignments will also be linked to topics covered in the core course Approaches to Chinese Studies.

Students will read independently, as well as in group sessions with academics from the SOAS China Institute and/or other China experts from across the School. In addition to reading comprehension and exact translation for research purposes, the course will also train students in the use of Chinese-language database and bibliographical software, and will pay attention to specific Chinese-language academic conventions.

Readings will normally be in modern standard Chinese, although in cases where there is student demand, reading seminars in classical Chinese could be included.


HSK Level 5 or higher (SOAS 400 level or higher).

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • read, comprehend, and translate Chinese-language material on a range of topics at an advanced level of proficiency
  • find, select, and assess Chinese-language scholarly publications, using both printed and online resources
  • develop a small research project making use of Chinese-language material and scholarship

Method of assessment

  • Research plan, bibliography, and sample source translation (3,000 words, 30%)
  • Essay including source translation (5,000 words, 70%)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules