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 are spoken.
China is one of the world's oldest 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. The language ranks in the World Top 20, being particularly important for business and politics.
Mandarin Chinese is your gateway to a major economic and political global power - one whose scale makes an understanding of regional and cultural differences essential.
Language learning in a cultural context
Edinburgh is the only university in Scotland to offer both single and joint honours undergraduate programmes in Chinese. While we specialise in teaching students with little or no prior knowledge of the language, we can also accommodate students who already have some experience of studying Chinese.
Study with us and you will develop advanced competency in the Chinese language. You will also gain specialist knowledge on mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and associated diasporas in pre-modern, modern and contemporary contexts. Courses explore history, literature, culture, politics and international relations.
Likewise, you will learn the German language to an advanced level 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. Immersive study includes 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 the skills development course, Academic Skills for Asian Studies.
If you have not 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 your 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
- German Colonialism: History, Memory, Controversy
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 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 course in German which will count as part of your Year 3 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 honours-level course from a wide range in German literature, film and theatre, and write a long essay in German.
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.
When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, or in one of the University’s many social spaces.
The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.
Libraries, collections and centres
The first Chinese book acquired by the University was a copy of Chengtze's Essay on Yi Jing (or Book of Changes), printed in China from blocks in 1440. Today, our Chinese and East Asian Studies Collection runs to over 50,000 resources, both print and digital, including upwards of 600 Chinese films.
The Main University Library also holds academic books, journals and databases for the study of German, including around 95,000 books (printed and e-books) and 5,425 journals in German. Highlights include the expansive Karin McPherson collection of GDR writing.
Events and activities
The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs, including the German Society. EUSA also promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.
From acting to dancing, making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to engage.
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.
We have great links to the Confucius Institute for Scotland, and a regular Asian Studies seminar series featuring visiting speakers from around the world.
Staff and student editors publish creative writing in nine European languages – including German – in the online magazine, Babble. Launch nights typically include readings and performances.
Recent extra-curricular activities in German have included a student-produced film version of the fairytale 'Aschenputtel', a German bake-off, writer-in-residence programme, and Christmas carol competition.
In the city
Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. The National Library of Scotland has outstanding German holdings.
The city has a thriving East Asian cultural scene and excellent links with China.
You will be able to attend film screenings, performances and talks organised by members of staff for the wider public. Edinburgh's world cinema scene, for example, is particularly strong.
We have excellent links with the German Consulate, as well as with the Goethe-Institut.
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 through a combination of written exams, in-class exercises and coursework, including:
Skills and experience
Studying languages to degree level demonstrates that you are a good communicator, a resilient problem solver, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as Intercultural Competence.
Beyond the language skills you will develop on this joint honours programme, and the nuanced understanding you will gain of other cultures and societies, graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows high-level intellectual strength and flexibility.
The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to understand, analyse and articulate key concepts, and to work to varied briefs to deadline, both independently and in groups.
Opportunities at home and away
Over one billion people speak Modern Standard Chinese, while German is an official language of seven European countries and provinces. German plays an important role in communications in many other countries, particularly in central and eastern Europe.
Growing numbers of Chinese-speaking graduates are recruited by companies based in East Asia, but with increasing migration in response to changing global dynamics, there is demand for our graduates both at home and abroad. Wherever you are based in the world, the ability to communicate in two popular languages, and to understand the cultures to which they open doors, will make you stand out.
Our alumni can be found in every kind of career, especially those that place a premium on thinking that is both disciplined and imaginative. Within the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors, previous graduates have gone on to career pathways in:
- business, finance and commerce
- communications, marketing, advertising and public relations
- education, outreach, advocacy and training
- journalism, broadcasting and media
- leisure, tourism and travel
- politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law
- publishing, culture, heritage and the arts
- research, development and venture acceleration
- translating and interpreting
The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level.
At the University of Edinburgh, for example, we typically offer Masters by Research degrees in both Chinese and German, and taught MSc programmes in:
- Comparative Literature
- Translation Studies
We have an excellent Careers Service. Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills, including through peer initiatives such as Life After LLC (Literatures, Languages and Cultures) where you can draw inspiration from our graduates.
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
- 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.
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.
As long as international restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad. The costs incurred will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.
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.
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