Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA History of Art and Chinese Studies

UCAS code: TV13

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA History of Art and Chinese Studies

Study History of Art and Chinese Studies in equal depth with this joint honours programme.

The degree takes advantage of the University of Edinburgh's long-standing tradition of studying Asian literary and visual culture and our other expertise.

As the world’s second most spoken language, Mandarin Chinese and its associated cultures have helped to shape the contemporary world in many ways.

This particular degree benefits from a growing global market and interest in Asian art.

Why Edinburgh

We are the only university in Scotland to offer both single and joint honours undergraduate honours programmes in Chinese. This means you can learn:

  • modern standard Chinese in the context of Chinese history and culture
  • a broader survey of the History of Art

You will learn to read, write and speak modern standard Chinese to an advanced level using both:

  • simplified characters
  • traditional-form characters

As you progress through the degree, you will learn Chinese to English and English to Chinese translation skills.

You will spend Year 3 at a university in China or Taiwan. This will provide you with an immersive cultural and language experience.

Year 1

In Year 1, you will study:

  • History of Art 1, covering the period from the fall of the Roman Empire until the end of the Counter-Reformation, including non-Western material
  • Chinese 1, an introduction to modern spoken and written Chinese
  • courses that cover modern East Asian history or literature and film in modern China

If you already have some knowledge of the Chinese language, you may qualify to enrol in Chinese 2A.

Year 2

In Year 2, you will:

  • study History of Art 2, which covers the 18th century to the present day
  • continue to learn Chinese and explore Chinese culture further in the Year 2 language classes
  • take course options which focus on pre-modern East Asian history

You will also choose between:

  • learning classical Chinese and modern Chinese translation
  • completing an independent research project on a topic within Chinese studies

Year 3

International travel restrictions permitting, you will spend Year 3 abroad in either China or Taiwan. This will help you develop both your:

  • language skills
  • cross-cultural communication skills in an immersive environment

You will also write either one or two independent projects for History of Art. You may elect to write the first part of your dissertation preparation for Chinese.

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered an alternative means of engaging with your subjects. This will enable you to meet your learning outcomes and prepare you for your final year.

Year 4

You will choose from a wide range of specialist History of Art courses.

You will also continue to study Chinese language where you will focus on:

  • advanced skills in speaking, reading and writing
  • building 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
  • economic history

You will write a dissertation in either History of Art or Chinese.

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 (2022/23)

Our facilities

History of Art teaching

Most History of Art teaching takes place in the University's Central Area or within Edinburgh College of Art (ECA).

You will be able to take advantage of Edinburgh's galleries and museums. Many of these are near the University.

Chinese teaching

Most Chinese teaching takes place in the University's Central Area. When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in:

  • class
  • the library
  • one of the Central Area's many social spaces

The University's Chinese and East Asian Studies Collection runs to over 50,000 resources, both print and digital, including upwards of 600 Chinese films. All this material is held in the Main University Library.

Our Chinese Studies Peer Support Group is a valuable social learning resource. There are also opportunities to pair up with native speakers for language exchange and practice.

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at Edinburgh College of Art and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Take a virtual tour of the Edinburgh College of Art

Study abroad

International travel restrictions permitting, you will spend at least 30 weeks at a university in China or Taiwan in Year 3.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in Chinese culture and develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a mix of:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • individual supervisions
  • language tuition
  • museum and gallery visits

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by coursework and exams.

In Years 3 and 4, you will complete:

  • at least one independent project in History of Art
  • a longer dissertation in either History of Art or Chinese Studies

Over one billion people worldwide speak Modern Standard Chinese and many countries, including Scotland, have strategic links with China.

Wherever you are in the world, the ability to understand and communicate in Chinese will make you stand out.

Our programme prepares you for a range of careers in the art world, including:

  • curatorships in galleries and museums
  • art journalism
  • publishing
  • art dealing
  • tourism
  • graphics
  • advertising
  • heritage management
  • auctioneering

This particular degree benefits from a growing global market and interest in Asian art.

Some graduates use their skills and experience for careers in management or teaching, while some choose to go on to further study.

Throughout the degree programme, you will learn a range of research skills which are both necessary for further study and highly-transferable to a range of careers.

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: AAA - ABB.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 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.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: a language other than English at A and English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: a language other than English at A or 7 and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: a language other than English at 6 and English at 5.

Additional requirements

Language requirement

For degrees that have a subject requirement of a language other than English, students may not use their own native language to meet this requirement. In these instances, English or an alternative language other than native will be acceptable.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

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

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

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
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at 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: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

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, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

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 History of Art and Chinese Studies

Additional costs

You will cover:

  • the cost of printing
  • any costs associated with travel to visit exhibitions, usually limited to £10 to £20 per visit

International travel restrictions permitting, you will spend September to July of Year 3 at a university in Taiwan or China. The costs incurred will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Study placements at language schools

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee but we will normally reimburse you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

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