MA Chinese and Russian Studies
UCAS code: BR37
Duration: 4 years
School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing MA Chinese and Russian Studies
This programme enables you to study Russian and Chinese in the context of the histories, literatures and societies of two of the world's largest countries, both of whom play an important role in contemporary global politics.
Edinburgh is the only university in Scotland to offer undergraduate honours programmes in Chinese, enabling you to learn modern standard Chinese in the context of Chinese history, literature and culture, past and present.
Likewise, you'll learn the Russian language while exploring the country’s fascinating political history, its literature, art, music and film.
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 Russian-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, Russian 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 China in Literature and Film, and the skills development course, Academic Skills for Asian Studies.
If you have no previous knowledge of Russian you will take Russian Studies 1A, an intensive beginners Russian course. If you have studied the language before, you will take Russian Studies 1B which provides an advanced Russian language component. Both courses include a unit on Russian culture.
After completing Year 1, you have the opportunity to take a summer language course in St Petersburg, Moscow or Riga.
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.
You will also continue to study Russian language and will take a course on 19th- and 20th-century Russian literature.
You'll spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your 30 weeks between either China or Taiwan and a country in which Russian is spoken. You will spend at least eight weeks in each country, studying at a university or language centre.
During your year abroad, we will 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 will take an e-learning Russian course, which will count as part of your third year mark and prepare you for your Year 4 Russian language courses.
You will continue to study Chinese language, focusing on advanced skills in speaking, reading and writing, and 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 and economic history.
You will develop advanced language skills in spoken and written Russian and choose a specialist course on Russian language, culture or literature. You will also complete a long essay in Russian.
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.
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.
These include outstanding Russian holdings in the National Library of Scotland and the University’s EUL Chinese and East Asian Studies Collection of some 50,000 print and digital resources.
The University has excellent computing and audiovisual resources, support services and social spaces, including many in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.
We are home to the Confucius Institute for Scotland and Princess Dashkova Russian Centre, both of which run academic and cultural events, including conferences, lectures, film festivals and discussions with award-winning writers.
Our Chinese Studies Peer Support Group is a valuable social learning resource, and the Students’ Association provides further scope to get involved in social learning, including through its Tandem Language Exchange Programme.
There’s lots going on in our subject areas, from our Russian play to our student-run Association of British and Chinese University Students, Russian Society and Chinese Dance Society.
We publish student work in Russian in Babble, our online creative writing magazine for European languages.
You will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your time between a country when Russian 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 Russophone culture, and to develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.
How will I learn?
The Chinese and Russian languages are taught by qualified and experienced native and non-native speakers. Class size varies depending on the skills being taught.
Cultural courses (for example on history, film 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.
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 the finance and banking industries, businesses and non-profit organisations at a range of scales, to the media, tourism, culture, government and the civil service.
Many Chinese-speaking graduates are 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.
With a qualification in Russian, you’ll know a major language of international communication, one of the most widely spoken in the world. Like neighbouring East Asia, Russia is an increasingly powerful player in global politics and economics.
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.
The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:
- SQA: Highers: Chinese at B. National 5s: English at C.
- A Levels: Chinese or Russian at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
- IB: HL: Chinese or Russian 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.
*(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.
You will spend Year 3 at a university in Taiwan or China and in a Russian-speaking country. You will spend a total of 30 weeks abroad and are required to spend a minimum of eight consecutive weeks in each country. 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.
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