Asian Studies

Undergraduate study | Chinese

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

Why study Chinese in Edinburgh?

One of the world’s earliest civilisations, China is a major economic and political global power. Its scale makes an understanding of regional and cultural differences essential. Mandarin Chinese is the world's second most-spoken language, and its associated cultures have helped shape the contemporary world in many ways.

Edinburgh is the only university in Scotland to offer both single and joint honours undergraduate honours programmes in ChineseWhile we specialise in teaching students with little or no prior knowledge of the language, we can also accommodate students who already have some experience of studying Chinese.

Study with us and 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. Our courses will give you specialist knowledge on mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and associated diasporas.

On campus and in the city

You will study in the heart of a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. Highlights include the University’s own East Asian Studies Collection, of some 60,000 print and digital resources, including 45,000 titles in Chinese, and 600 Chinese films. Edinburgh has excellent links to China and a thriving East Asian cultural scene.

You’ll be part of a friendly community of staff and students passionate about languages, literatures and cultures from around the globe. In Asian Studies in particular, we have:

  • Peer Support Groups for both Chinese and Japanese
  • great links to the Confucius Institute for Scotland
  • a regular seminar series featuring visiting speakers

Discover more about resources and facilities in Asian Studies

The programme at Edinburgh is unique in its structure because it allows you to not only study Chinese language with your peers, but also delve into China’s history, literature and film under the guidance of renowned lecturers. One of my favourite aspects of studying at Edinburgh is being able to connect with other students studying Chinese from across all four years; they are always willing and enthusiastic mentors.

Uma, Year 4, Chinese MA (Hons)

Get to know us better

QS World Rankings by Subject 2024

QS World Rankings graphic on orange background. Text says #3 in the UK, World Top 10

The University of Edinburgh is ranked 3rd in the UK for Modern Languages.

We are ranked 4th in the UK in the broad subject area of Arts & Humanities.

Globally, we’re in the World Top 10 for Modern Languages (10).

The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings are based on research citations and the results of major global surveys of employers and academics.

They are International Ranking Expert Group (IREG) approved.

The Complete University Guide 

The University of Edinburgh is ranked fourth for Asian Studies in The Complete University Guide  - Subject League Table 2022.

The Complete University Guide ranks the best 130 universities in the UK in 74 subject areas. 

Other ways to learn Chinese at Edinburgh

Graphic for languages as an outside subject

If you're not on one of our degree programmes, you can still learn Chinese with us!

As an undergraduate student of most subjects at the University of Edinburgh, you can take Chinese as an outside subject in one or both of Years 1 and 2 of your programme, depending on your timetable.

Find out more about outside subjects 

Chinese is also available to all students (undergraduate and postgraduate) as an Open Language Course and - through the Centre for Open Learning and Confucius Institute - as a Short Course, with options for complete beginners.

Browse Open Language Courses