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MSc Contemporary China Studies

Course Description

This 12-month programme combines high quality postgraduate social science research training with a comprehensive study of contemporary China.

The key features of this programme are:

1. interdisciplinary teaching;
2. social scientific study of China;
3. contemporary Chinese society, defined broadly as post-1949;
4. research methodology training that is relevant to the study of China (part of the core course);
5. a language option which provides maximum flexibility to students who would like to improve Chinese language skills;
6. an internship option which provides students with an opportunity to gain insights into China’s cultural and/or business environment.

The MSc in Contemporary China Studies attracts students with diverse backgrounds and study/work experiences. Students may come from undergraduate degrees in various social science subjects such as Economics, Sociology, Social Policy, Geography, Politics, International Relations, Management and Anthropology. Previous undergraduate coursework on China is not a compulsory requirement for admission. Applications will be considered from those who have worked in NGOs, civil service, or similar fields. As research methodology training is a compulsory part of the core course, the programme may also serve well as a channel to a research degree on China (MPhil or PhD).

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/china-institute/msc-contemporary-china-studies/


Students on the programme take the core course Understanding Contemporary China - 15PCIC002 and two taught option courses (2 Units) from the list given below. Those who wish to improve their Chinese language skills may take language courses (1 Unit maximum) from the Faculty of Cultures and Languages and one other option course (1 Unit). In addition, students write a 10,000 word dissertation. This course includes the option of undertaking a 4-week internship sometime during June/July.

Teaching & Learning

- Lectures and Seminars

Most courses require students to attend two or three hours of classes each week. This time will be spent in lectures, seminars, tutorial discussions and student presentations: the exact mixture of activities varies somewhat from course to course. At Masters level there is a particular emphasis on students’ contributions and presentations, and students are also expected to read extensively and prepare for each class in advance.

Language courses typically involve more hours of contact time, especially at elementary level, and regular homework.

The assessment on most courses consists of two or three coursework essay assignments and an unseen written examination, sat in April or May. However, some courses are assessed purely on the basis of coursework, including essays and reaction papers.

- Dissertation

A 10,000-word dissertation will be written on a topic agreed with the Programme Convenor of the MSc Contemporary China Studies and the candidate's supervisor.

Learning Resources

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. The China and Inner Asia collection consists of approximately 200,000 volumes and 5,000 periodicals.

The Department

Six of the academic departments are devoted to teaching and research in the languages, literatures and cultures of Africa, China and Inner Asia, Japan and Korea, the Near and Middle East, South Asia, and South East Asia, with the seventh teaching and conducting research in Linguistics. The Language Centre caters to the needs of non-degree students and governmental and non-governmental organisations. It maintains a huge portfolio of courses, including year-long diploma programmes, weekly evening classes in about 40 different African and Asian languages, and tailored intensive one-to-one courses. The Language Centre also offers courses in French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

Visit the MSc Contemporary China Studies page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Canon Collins Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

These scholarships are for Masters study in any subject field.
The application process normally opens in December and closes in February, for study commencing in September the following year. Please go to the Canon Collins website and click "Apply for A Scholarship" and then "Canon Collins Scholarship for Masters Study in the UK" for further information on how to apply.

Value of Scholarship(s)

See website


Country/Nationality: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a first or good second class honours bachelors degree from a UK university, or equivalent, in a subject appropriate to that of the programme to be followed. No additional requirements specific to the MSc Contemporary China Studies programme which can be taken with or without knowledge of a Chinese language.

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