Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

MA Chinese and Economics

UCAS code: TL11

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Chinese and Economics

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.

Reflecting the growing importance of China in the world economy, this joint programme provides an excellent basis for careers in international business or finance, as well as the public and not-for-profit sectors.

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, and alongside Economics*.

We specialise in teaching students with little or no prior knowledge of the language.

On this programme, you will learn to read, write and speak modern standard Chinese to an advanced level, to read classical Chinese and to develop translation skills.

You will also acquire a broad knowledge and understanding of key economic and social issues, principles, models and associated mathematical and statistical techniques, along with their applications and policy implications.

You will spend Year 3 at a university in China or Taiwan.

*(Revised 17 November 2020 to update the Edinburgh honours programme offer.)

Year 1

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 Economics 1, which is accessible to those who have not previously studied economics, but is challenging to those who have.

In addition to your compulsory courses, you will also choose from a wide range of option courses offered by the University of Edinburgh.

You can, for example, opt to take Academic Skills for Asian Studies, developing key skills that will benefit you throughout your programme.

Year 2

In the Year 2 Chinese language classes, you will continue to learn Chinese and explore Chinese culture.

You have the option to begin to learn classical Chinese and modern Chinese translation skills, and to complete an independent project in Chinese studies.

You will also study Economics 2, which builds on your knowledge from Year 1, and Statistical Methods for Economics.

Year 3

You will spend Year 3 abroad, either in China or Taiwan, turning classroom learning into living engagement with Chinese and East Asian culture.

Besides developing your language and cross-cultural communication skills in an immersive environment, you will expand your research skills through assignments on a range of topics. These could include Chinese history, politics, contemporary society, literature and visual culture.

You will begin work on your dissertation and submit a detailed dissertation proposal on a topic related to Chinese studies.

In selected locations, there are opportunities for homestays with local families.

Year 4

You will continue to study Chinese language, focusing on advanced skills in speaking, reading and writing. You will build on your existing translation skills.

You will take four specialist courses in Economics.

You will also continue to develop your Chinese studies dissertation project under formal supervision with an assigned supervisor. The dissertation will help you develop more advanced research skills and the final version will be submitted in the second semester.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on 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.

Programme structure (2020/21)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's central area in a world-leading festival city bursting with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections, including the University’s EUL Chinese and East Asian Studies Collection of some 50,000 print and digital resources.

The University also has excellent computing and audiovisual resources, support services and social spaces, including many in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures and School of Economics.

We have great links to the Confucius Institute for Scotland and a regular Asian Studies seminar series, featuring visiting speakers from around the world.

Student societies include:

  • Economics for Change

  • Edinburgh University Trading and Investment Club

  • Economics Society

  • Association of British and Chinese University Students

  • Chinese Dance Society

Our Chinese Studies Peer Support Group is a valuable social learning resource. The Students’ Association provides further scope to get involved in social learning, including through its Tandem Language Exchange Programme.

Study abroad

You will spend Year 3 (a minimum of 30 weeks) at a university in China or Taiwan. This is your chance to immerse yourself in East Asian culture, and to develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

The Chinese language is taught by qualified and experienced native and non-native speakers. Class size varies depending on the language skills being taught.

Economics courses and cultural Chinese courses (for example on history and literature) are taught through lectures, seminars and tutorials by experts in their respective fields.

How will I be assessed?

Over the course of your programme, you will be assessed through a combination of written exams, in-class exercises and coursework, including essays, reports and projects.

Programme details

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.

Programme details (2020/21)

Employers look for the breadth of training and experience demonstrated by our graduates, who are in high demand in a wide variety of sectors.

As well as the finance and banking industries, and businesses and non-profit organisations at a range of scales, these include sectors such as the media, tourism, culture, government and the 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.

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 in a wide range of contexts.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA-AABB by the end of S5 or AAAA-AAAB by the end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.(Revised 08/04/2020 from AAAA-AAAB and to include alternate grades to be achieved by end of S6.)
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB.
  • IB: 43 points with 776 at HL - 37 points with 666 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.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: Mathematics at B. National 5s: English at C and a language other than English at A.
  • A Levels: Mathematics, or AS Mathematics at A (if A Level not taken). GCSEs: English at C or 4 and a language other than English at A or 7.
  • IB: HL: Mathematics at 5. SL: English at 5, a language other than English at 6, and Mathematics at 6 (if not at HL). Mathematical Studies is not accepted for this degree.

Additional requirements

Native speakers

Please note that the Chinese degrees involve beginners language study and are not suitable for native or near-native speakers.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant 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.


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.

English language requirements

*(Revised 27 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition.)

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.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Chinese and Economics

Additional costs

Economics textbooks are required for years 1 and 2, which cost about £100.

You will spend September to July of Year 3 enrolled at a university in Taiwan or China. This is a compulsory part of your programme.

Costs will vary according to the 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.

Fees and funding