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 the languages, literatures and cultures 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 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 Russian language alongside Russian literature and culture, as well as developing an awareness of political and historical context.
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 the Russian Studies 1B course which provides advanced Russian language study. 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 continue to study Russian language, and will choose one of the following three courses: Transnational Russian Culture; 19th century- Russian literature; 20th -century Russian literature.
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 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.
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, 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, where we have excellent:
- computing and audiovisual resources
- support services
- social spaces
Events and activities
We are home to the Confucius Institute for Scotland and Princess Dashkova Russian Centre, both of which run academic and cultural events, including:
- film festivals
- discussions with award-winning writers
Our Chinese Studies Peer Support Group is a valuable learning resource. Our Students' Association also provides opportunities to get involved in social learning through its Tandem Language Exchange Programme.
You can join student societies for both Chinese and Russian, and contribute creative writing in Russian to the online magazine, Babble. We also stage a Russian play.
Edinburgh is 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 Chinese and East Asian Studies Collection of 50,000 print and digital resources.
If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad, dividing your time between a country where 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. It will allow you to develop broader life experience and skills that you can use 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, 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:
Studying languages to degree level, especially when you spend a year abroad, 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.
This programme leads to varied careers in:
- 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.
By the end of your programme, you will be able to speak 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.
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 or Mandarin 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.
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 at a university in Taiwan or China and in a Russian-speaking country. You will spend a total of 30 weeks abroad, 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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