SOAS University of London

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

BA East Asian Studies (2020 entry)

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


This programme combines the study of East Asian languages with the study of East Asia-related subjects in various disciplines. Compared to the existing single-subject BA Chinese, BA Korean and BA Japanese degrees, there is less emphasis on language learning. Compared to the existing 2-degree BA Chinese/Japanese/Korean and… degrees, there is more space to study East Asia-related courses in a range of disciplines. The programme also differs from the existing offerings in that there is no year abroad included.

Through the course of the three years, students take units in modern Chinese, Japanese and Korean at the appropriate level. They can start as complete beginners, or they can start from higher levels. Progression through a total of four levels is offered, whereas for those who exceed the highest level, language-based modules in literature and film, as well as a language-based dissertation, are available. The programme also offers courses in regional languages.

The programme will be attractive both to students who wish to study East Asia-related subjects without a strong emphasis on language, and to students who wish to work at an advanced language level within a more traditional framework, as it is offered at most other universities.

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Who is this programme for?:

This programme is for applicants who are looking for a programme where they can acquire East Asia-related knowledge across disciplines while working with the language at a suitable level, from ab initio to advanced. This programme does not have a year abroad and is suitable for students who require a shorter programme.

Entry requirements

  • Interview Policy: Candidates with ‘non-standard’ qualifications may be invited for interview.
A Levels:
35 (665 at HL)

View alternative entry requirements


Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction

Scottish Highers: AAABB

Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB

Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above

Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0

Euro Bacc: 80%

French Bacc: 14/20

German Abitur: 2.0

Italy DES: 80/100

Austria Mat: 2.0

Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

Featured events

3 years



Year 1

Year 1: Core Module
Module Code Credits Term
Reading and Writing East Asian Studies 155901439 15 Term 1


Year 1: Compulsory Module
Module Code Credits Term
East Asian Civilizations 155901464 30 Full Year


Language Modules

Sudents will take 30-60 credits of Language Modules form the list below.
Students may take the 60 credit language in year 1 only. This will enable them to transfer to the language programme and go on a year abroad.


Guided Options

Students will take 15-45 credits from the Year 1 Options list below

Year 2

Year 2: Compulsory Modules

Students will take the following compulsory modules

Module Code Credits Term
East Asian Imperialisms 155901481 15 Term 2
Myths, Legends and Folkways of East Asia 155901460 15 Term 1
Contemporary Chinese Society 155901478 15 Term 1
Contemporary Korean Society 155901480 15 Term 1
Contemporary Japanese Society 155901479 15 Term 1


Year 2: Language Modules

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from the Language List below


Year 2: Guided Option Module

Students will take a 15 credit module from either the Guided Options List A, Central Options or the Language lists below

Year 3

Year 3: Compulsory Modules

Students will take the following compulsory modules

Module Code Credits Term
History and Memory in East Asian Cultures 155903015 15 Term 2
Independent Study Project in East Asian Studies 155901483 30 Full Year


Year 3: Language Modules

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from the Language List below


Year 3: Guided Option Modules

Students will take 15 credit module from List B or language list below.  

Students must also take a further 30 credits from List B/Language List/central options list.

Year 1 Guided option modules
Module Code Credits Term
China in Ten Words: Key Concepts in Chinese Studies 155901461 15 Term 2
K-Culture 155901441 15 Term 2
Cool Japan: Manga, Anime, Sushi 155901416 15 Term 2
List A Guided option modules

Please note: Introduction to Pre-Modern Japanese; Classical and Literary Chinese 1; and Introduction to Hanja can only be taken with the relevant modern language component (and permission).

Module Code Credits Term
Fieldwork methods in language and culture 155901417 15 Term 2
Gender in East Asian Literature (UG) 155901482 15 Term 2
East Asian Cinema (UG) 155901475 15 Term 1
Introduction to Pre-Modern Japanese 155901484 15 Term 2
Classical and Literary Chinese 1 155901456 15 Term 2
Introduction to Hanja 155901442 15 Term 2
List B Guided option modules

(some modules below may have a language requirement)

Module Code Credits Term
Japanese Cinema (UG) 155901476 15 Term 2
Chinese Cinema (UG) 155901474 15 Term 2
Korean Cinema (UG) 155901477 15 Term 1
Self, City and Sexuality in Modern Japanese Literature 1868 to present day 155901426 15 Term 1
Writing from the Margins: Minority and "Outsider" Texts in Modern Japanese Literature 155901427 15 Term 2
Murderers, Outlaws, and Magistrates in Traditional Chinese Literature 155901459 15 Term 2
Modern Chinese Literary Texts 155903013 15 Term 1
Trajectories of Modernity in Korean Literature and Film 155901390 15 Term 1
The Other Korea: North Korea since 1945 155901356 15 Term 2
Language Modules
Module Code Credits Term
Ch 100: Elementary Chinese 155901440 60 Full Year
Chinese 1 A 155906022 15 Term 1
Chinese 1 B 155906023 15 Term 2
Chinese 2 155900829 30 Full Year
Chinese 3 155901097 30 Full Year
Chinese 4 155901144 30 Full Year
Chinese 5 155901409 15 Term 1
Ch 200 Intermediate Chinese 155901467 30 Full Year
Chinese for Business 155903010 15 Term 2
Ch 401: Chinese-English Translation 155901469 15 Term 2
J100: Elementary Japanese 155901195 60 Full Year
Japanese 1 A 155906026 15 Term 1
Japanese 1 B 155906027 15 Term 2
Japanese 2 155900875 30 Full Year
Japanese 3 155901345 30 Full Year
Japanese 4 155901346 30 Full Year
J401: Japanese-English Translation 155901471 15 Term 2
K100: Elementary Korean 155900842 60 Full Year
Korean 1 A 155906028 15 Term 1
Korean 1 B 155906029 15 Term 2
Korean 2 155901404 30 Full Year
Korean 3 155900843 30 Full Year
K200 Intermediate Korean 155901472 30 Full Year
K400: Advanced Korean 155901473 15 Term 1
K401: Korean-English Translation 155901414 15 Term 2
Tibetan (Modern) 1 A 155906024 15 Term 1
Tibetan (Modern) 1 B 155906025 15 Term 2

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

Year abroad

This programme does not have a year abroad.

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, in modules of 60, 45, 30 or 15 credits. They are taught over 10 or 20 weeks. The programme structure shows which modules are taught over one term or the full year. It also shows which modules are compulsory and which are optional.

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). 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.

More information is on the page for each module.


As a graduate who specialised in East Asia, you will have gained competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a study of language in combination with literature, development studies, economics, geography, history, history of art and archaeology, law, linguistics, music, politics, social anthropology or religion.

Graduates leave SOAS not only with linguistic and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers, both in business and in the public sector. These include 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.

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

Allen and Overy LLP
China-Eu School of Law
ChinaContact Consulting
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Dah Sing Financial Holdings Ltd.
Embassy of Belgium
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
German Embassy Tokyo
Goldman Sachs International
Halo Associates (Asia) Ltd
Independent Power Corporation PLC
Oxford University Press
SiChuan WenJun Spirits Company
the International Herald Tribune
The University of Hong Kong
United Nations Population Fund
University of Cambridge
Washington State House of Representatives

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

Editor and Translator
Under Secretary
Director of Corporate Social Responsibility
Medical Secretary
Press Attache
Regional Chief of Photography
Project Manager
Economic Counsellor
Professional Translator
Director of Research for China
Social Worker
Head, Asia Programme
Professorial Research Associate
Senior Lecturer in Chinese Archaeology
Energy Consultant
Independent Columnist and Reporter
Art Curator

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

The best thing about my time here is that there has been a huge improvement in my language skills and I have become more aware of people from various backgrounds. 

Alice Yuen

Find out more