Asian Studies

Undergraduate study | Chinese

Learn modern standard Chinese in the context of Chinese and East Asian history, literature and culture, past and present.

Why study Chinese in Edinburgh?

One of the world’s earliest civilisations, China is once again a major economic and political global power; one whose scale makes an understanding of regional and cultural differences essential.

Specialising in teaching students with little or no prior knowledge of the language, Edinburgh is the only university in Scotland to offer both single and joint honours undergraduate honours programmes in Chinese. You will learn to read, write and speak modern standard Chinese while exploring Chinese and East Asian history, literature, culture, politics and international relations, past and present.

You’ll be part of a friendly community of staff and students in Asian Studies, with its own Chinese Studies Peer Support Group, great links to the Confucius Institute for Scotland, and a regular seminar series featuring visiting speakers, all within a School passionate about languages, literatures and cultures from around the globe.

You’ll be based at the heart of the University of Edinburgh in a world-leading festival city with excellent links to China, a thriving East Asian cultural scene, and fantastic libraries, language learning facilities, and collections, including the EUL Chinese and East Asian Studies Collection of some 50,000 print and digital resources.

The small class sizes in Chinese mean you quickly become a tight-knit group. It also allows lecturers to properly get to know you and your individual strengths and weaknesses.

Laura FindlayMA (Hons) Chinese and Economics student

Your learning at a glance

  • You can take Chinese as a single honours subject, or jointly with one of a wide range of other subjects.
  • In addition to the Chinese language, you will have the opportunity to learn about China's modern and pre-modern history, its politics and society and culture, including specialist courses on literature and film.
  • As well as modern standard Chinese using both simplified and traditional form characters, most programmes involve learning to read classical Chinese and developing translation skills.
  • You’ll complete a four-year MA degree, with your third year spent in full, or in part, in either China or Taiwan.
  • You’ll engage with a broad range of subjects in your first two years, and specialise thereafter. Our courses are taught by experienced language tutors and research-active staff who will pass on the same passion and world-class expertise that gained us excellent results in the last Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Learning Chinese has given me lots of opportunities, from working part-time as a translator, to competing in the UK semi-finals of the Chinese Bridge competition. Without studying Chinese, not only would I not have had these great opportunities, but I wouldn't have met so many wonderful friends from all around the world."

Leah Duncan-KarrimMA (Hons) Chinese student

This information was last updated in November 2020 for prospective students wishing to start studying with us in September 2021. 

What and how you’ll study

Degree combinations, teaching methods, and a year-by-year guide to your learning.

Where might Chinese take you?

Career opportunities for graduates of Chinese.

Student representation

Find out more about class representatives and student representation in our School (secured)