MSc Contemporary China Studies


Programme Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

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:

  • Interdisciplinary teaching;
  • Social scientific study of China;
  • Contemporary Chinese society defined broadly as post-1949;
  • Research methodology training that is relevant to the study of China (part of the core module);
  • A language option which provides maximum flexibility to students who would like to improve Chinese language skills.

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 module, the programme may also serve well as a channel to a research degree in China (MPhil or PhD).


Students take 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation and a 120 from taught modules. Of the taught modules, students must take the core module Understanding Contemporary China - 15PCIC002 (30 credits) and a further 90 credits are chosen from a list of approved optional modules.

Students write a 10,000-word dissertation.


Students complete the Dissertation in Contemporary China Studies.

Taught Component

Compulsory Module

All students must take the following compulsory module:

  • Understanding Contemporary China

Guided Options

All students will take modules to the value of 90 credits from the list of modules below.

List of modules (subject to availability)

  • Connections and Intersections: Core Aspects of East Asian Studies
  • China and international politics
  • Culture and Society of Taiwan
  • China and World Development
  • China's Economic Transformation
  • International politics of East Asia
  • Media Spectacle and Urban Space in East Asia
  • Modern Chinese Film and Theatre (PG)
  • Nationhood and Competing Identities in Modern China
  • Pop and Politics in East Asia (Masters)
  • Taiwan's politics and cross-strait relations
  • State and society in the Chinese political process
  • Elementary spoken Hokkien (Minnanyu, Taiwanese) (PG)
  • Practical Translation: Chinese to English
  • Practical Translation: English to Chinese
  • Chinese 1 A (PG)
  • Chinese 1 B (PG)
  • Chinese 2 (PG)
  • Chinese 3 (PG)
  • Chinese 4 (PG)
  • Chinese 5: Intermediate Business Chinese (PG)
  • Reading Classical and Literary Chinese (PG)
  • Styles of Modern Chinese Literary Language

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

SOAS has general minimum entrance requirements for registration for a postgraduate taught degree.

No additional requirements, specific to the MSc Contemporary China Studies programme which can be taken with or without knowledge of a Chinese language.

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Nov 2019

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About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read Less
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