MA Chinese and German
UCAS code: BR32
Duration: 4 years
School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing MA Chinese and German
This programme enables you to study two world languages in the context of the histories, literatures and societies of the countries in which they're spoken.
China is one of the world's earliest civilisations, while German-speaking cultures have long had a profound international influence.
In Europe, more people speak German as their native language than any other, and the language ranks in the World Top 20, being particularly important for business and politics.
Likewise, Chinese is your gateway to a major economic and political global power - one whose scale makes an understanding of regional and cultural differences essential.
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 German language while studying literature, film and theatre, all within the context of historical and political developments from the eighteenth century to contemporary times.
Both subjects will develop your skills in translation, reading, writing and oral communication, including through a year abroad in either China or Taiwan and in a German-speaking country.
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 haven't studied German before, you will take German 1A, an intensive language course. If your entry qualification for German is a Scottish Higher, A level, or equivalent, you will be admitted to German 1B, which covers language as well as literature and culture from 1770 to the present day.
If you are studying German 1B, you will do a project in which you interview a German native speaker working in Edinburgh or Glasgow, giving you the opportunity to practise professional communication, find out about the value of languages in the workplace, and gain insights into possible career options.
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.
On our German 2 language course, you will further develop your oral language skills and practise translation and grammar, including in writing. You will also continue to study literature and culture, choosing at least two courses from a suite of options. These are likely to include:
- Researching Disability in German Literature and Society
- Sexualities on the German Screen (title to be confirmed)
- Culture, Modernity and the City in the Weimar Republic
- Reading Antisemitism in Modern German Literature
- The Contemporary Short Story in German
- Migration in German-Language Discourse
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 German is spoken. You will spend at least eight weeks in each country.
In China or Taiwan, you will study at a university. In Germany, or another German-speaking country (usually Austria), you will either study or complete a work/teaching placement.
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 German-speaking 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 German which will count as part of your third year mark and prepare you for your Year 4 German 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 take German language classes in essay and précis writing, spoken German, and German-to-English translation of literary and journalistic texts.
You will also choose a specialist course from a wide range of German literature, film and theatre, and write a long essay in German.
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 stage an annual German play and our online magazine for European languages, Babble, is the place to publish your creative writing in German.
We contribute actively to the local cultural scene. You will be able to attend film screenings, performances and talks organised by members of staff for the wider public, including at the Confucius Institute for Scotland.
Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. These include one of the best German collections in the UK at the National Library of Scotland, and the University’s Chinese and East Asian Studies Collection of 50,000 print and digital resources.
Edinburgh's world cinema scene is also particularly strong.
If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your time between a country in which German 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 Chinese and German-speaking cultures. It will allow you to develop broader life experience and skills that you can use after university.
How will I learn?
The Chinese and German 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 as part of your studies, 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.
German speakers are increasingly sought after by British employers, particularly those with links to the German economy, the fourth largest in the world. In 2019, German overtook French as the language most sought after by employers*.
There are also 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.
*The Independent, April 2019, citing jobs website Indeed.
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 German at B. National 5s: English at C.
- A Levels: Chinese or German at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
- IB: HL: Chinese or German at 5. SL: 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 German-speaking country. You will spend a total of 30 weeks abroad, a minimum of eight consecutive weeks in each country.
Costs will vary according to location. Some scholarship money may be available from external sources, on a competitive basis, for students studying in China.
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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