MA Chinese and French
UCAS code: BR31
Duration: 4 years
School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing MA Chinese and French
This programme enables you to study two major world languages in the context of the histories, literatures and societies of the many countries, globally, in which they're spoken.
Between them, Chinese and French have over two billion native speakers and are your gateway to a vast range of cultures in Europe, Africa, North America and East Asia.
Edinburgh is the only university in Scotland to offer both single and joint honours undergraduate honours programmes in Chinese, enabling you to learn modern standard Chinese in the context of Chinese history, literature, culture, politics and international relations - past and present.
Likewise, you'll learn the French language while exploring Francophone literature and cinema, fascinating political history, social movements and philosophical ideas.
Both subjects will develop your skills in translation, reading, writing and oral communication, including through a year abroad in either China or Taiwan and a French-speaking country.
Employers recognise the importance of both languages and the benefits of a broad intercultural education. Our graduates are prized for their capability to act as bridges of understanding between Chinese, French and British cultures.
You will study Chinese 1, an introduction to modern spoken and written Chinese. If you already have some knowledge of the Chinese language, you may qualify to enrol in Chinese 2A, an intermediate-level Chinese course.
You will study Modern East Asian History B, an introduction to the modern history of China, and the skills development course, Academic Skills for Asian Studies.
If you have a limited knowledge of French, you will take French 1A, an intensive language course that also introduces you to French culture.
If you have studied French beyond National 5 (SQA) or GCSE level, you will take French 1B, which, as well as developing your written and spoken linguistic skills, engages intensively with modern French literature, culture and civilisation.
The aim is to introduce you to the extraordinary richness and variety of one of the world's great civilisations by focusing on social and political events from the Second World War to the 21st century.
In the Year 2 Chinese language classes, you will continue to learn Chinese and explore Chinese culture.
You will begin to learn classical Chinese and modern Chinese translation skills.
In addition to developing your language skills, you will be taught a range of research skills and complete an independent project in Chinese studies.
Your French 2 courses will build on your knowledge of French and Francophone cultures. The focus now shifts to exploring the 16th to the 19th centuries, including world-renowned authors such as Molière, Montaigne and Baudelaire, alongside fascinating writers whose work has been considered marginal to French culture for reasons of gender or colonial politics.
Your language classes will develop your written and spoken language skills to ensure that you are ready for your year abroad.
If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between either China or Taiwan and a country in which French is spoken. You will spend at least eight weeks in each country.
In China or Taiwan, you will study at a university. For French, you can choose to study at a university - we currently have exchange places in France, Belgium and Switzerland. Alternatively, you may be eligible to do a teaching assistant placement - or other work placement - instead.
Whether studying or working, our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefited their broader life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of East Asian and Francophone cultures.
During your year abroad, we'll aim to ensure your experience is as beneficial as possible to your final year, as well as to your wider language learning, cultural awareness and skills development.
For example, you'll take an e-learning course in French which will count as part of your third year mark and prepare you for your Year 4 French courses.
If international travel is not possible, you will be offered alternative ways of engaging with your subjects. This will allow you to meet your learning outcomes and prepare for your final year.
You will continue to study Chinese language, focusing on advanced skills in speaking, reading and writing. You will build on your existing translation skills.
Alongside the Chinese language, you will be able to choose from courses on film, politics, modern and pre-modern history, literature, contemporary Chinese society and economic history.
You will develop advanced language skills in spoken and written French, including through the submission of a long essay in French, and choose a course from a wide range of specialist options on French culture, theory and political thought.
Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's Central Area, where we have excellent:
- computing and audiovisual resources
- support services
- social spaces
Events and activities
Our Chinese Studies Peer Support Group is a valuable social learning resource. Our Students' Association also provides opportunities to get involved in social learning through its Tandem Language Exchange Programme.
We are home to the student-led French theatre society, Les Escogriffes, and to the online creative writing magazine, Babble, for students in European languages.
Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. These include one of the best French collections in the UK at the National Library of Scotland, as well as our Chinese and East Asian Studies Collection of 50,000 print and digital resources.
Edinburgh’s world cinema scene is also particularly strong, with an annual French Film Festival and plenty to see throughout the year, including at the nearby Institut Français d’Écosse and Confucius Institute for Scotland.
If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your time between a country when French is spoken and either China or Taiwan. You will spend at least eight weeks in each country.
This is your chance to immerse yourself in East Asian and Francophone culture. It will allow you to develop broader life experience and skills that you can use after university.
How will I learn?
The Chinese and French languages are taught by qualified and experienced native and non-native speakers. Class size varies depending on the skills being taught.
Cultural courses, such as history, film or literature, are taught by experts in their respective fields through:
How will I be assessed?
Over the course of your programme, you will be assessed using a combination of written exams, in-class exercises and coursework, including:
Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.
To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
Studying languages to degree level, especially when you spend a year abroad, gives you a set of skills and life experiences highly prized by employers.
Graduates are in high demand in a wide variety of sectors, from finance and banking through to non-profit organisations.
Studying Chinese leads to varied careers in:
- civil service
Many Chinese-speaking graduates are currently recruited by companies based in East Asia, an increasingly powerful player in the global economy.
With Scotland's strategy to enhance engagement with China, opportunities for employment are increasing closer to home, too. These include opportunities in translation, interpreting and education.
By the end of your programme, you will be able to speak a major language of international communication, one of the most widely spoken in the world. You will be able to work in the 29 countries where French is an official language.
You will also be able to find opportunities in the many multinational companies and institutions where French is a working language.
There are opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level. Throughout the degree programme, you will learn a range of research skills which are necessary for further study, but which are also highly transferable.
Standard entry requirement
The standard entry requirement is:
- SQA Highers: AAAA-AABB by end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: AAB - ABB.
- IB: 36 points with 665 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.
Minimum entry requirement
The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.
The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:
- SQA: Highers: Cantonese, Mandarin or French at B. National 5s: French at B (if not at Higher) and English at C.
- A Levels: Chinese or French at B. GCSEs: French at B or 6 (if not at A Level) and English at C or 4.
- IB: HL: Chinese or French at 5. SL: French at 5 (if not at HL) and English at 5.
Please note that the Chinese degrees involve beginners language study and are not suitable for native or near-native speakers.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.
You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.
SQA, GCSE and IB
For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:
- SQA National 5 at C
- SQA Standard Grade at 3
- SQA Intermediate 1 at A
- SQA Intermediate 2 at C
- GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
- Level 2 Certificate Grade C
- IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
- TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.
We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.
English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.
It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.
Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.
If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 in Taiwan or China, and in a French-speaking country. You will spend a total of 30 weeks abroad, a minimum of eight consecutive weeks in each country. This is a compulsory part of your programme.
Costs will vary according to location. Some scholarship money may be available from external sources, on a competitive basis, for students studying in China.
Universities in French-speaking countries may charge you a fee for courses, but we will reimburse you for these as long as they have been approved. You will be informed of costs as you plan your year abroad, during Year 2.
For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.
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