Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

MA Honours in Chinese and Russian Studies

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: The University of Edinburgh
Final award: MA Hons
Programme title: MA Honours in Chinese and Russian Studies
UCAS code: BR37
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Languages
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: Dr Andrew Marsham
Date of production/revision: April 2011

External summary

The University of Edinburgh is the only university in Scotland to offer an Honours degree in Chinese. Research interests of staff at the Scottish Centre for Chinese Studies cover literature, translation, film, history and culture: the expertise of the teaching staff was reflected in an excellent performance in the recent Research Assessment Exercise. The Scottish Centre for Chinese Studies serves as a platform to link China related research at University of Edinburgh and at other HEI's in Scotland. The Confucius Institute was established in 2006. Within four years of operation the Institute has developed into a comprehensive cultural centre.

There are high-quality resources to support Russian students in Edinburgh. 2010 saw the opening of the Princess Dashkova Russian Centre for the advancement of knowledge in the field of Russian language and Russian studies. The Russian Society organises events, film screenings and a programme of speakers, which includes Russian journalists and writers. Russian Studies at Edinburgh will provide a solid understanding of the Russian language and culture, offering students the chance to study Russian literature, art, music and film and the country’s political history.

Educational aims of programme

The programme aims to develop the student’s interest in and complex knowledge and understanding of the target countries, including their language, history, literature, culture and social issues. The programme offers society the resource of intellectually trained individuals capable of acting as conduits of knowledge and understanding between British and non-British cultures, as well as using the acquired knowledge to contribute to the wealth creation of Britain and other nations. The programme is taught within the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.

The programme aims to enable students with little or no previous knowledge of Chinese language and culture to acquire and develop interest in and understanding of Chinese speaking countries, including the Chinese language (Mandarin), history, literature, culture and society. It offers society the resource of intellectually trained individuals capable of acting as conduits of knowledge and understanding between Britain and Chinese-speaking countries. 

During the first two years, students attend a range of classes which provide a solid foundation in the Chinese language (Mandarin). Together with courses on modern Chinese society and culture as well as outlines on China's rich history from earliest times to the present day students are well prepared for the third year of the programme. The same pattern is repeated in Russian with language courses supplemented by courses on culture and society.

For the third year of the programme students can choose whether to spend one semester in Russia and one in China or the whole of the academic year in China with a minimum of eight weeks in Russia.

In the fourth year students intensify their study on primary sources in courses on key notions of classical philosophy and literature as well as courses on modern and contemporary China and Russia.

The programme is taught within the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.

The main programme aims of the programme are:

  • to enable students to understand, evaluate and compare a range of theoretical and methodological frameworks.
  • to enable students to develop and apply their knowledge and skills to the understanding and evaluation of issues and problems in the contemporary world.
  • to enable students to develop and apply key generic skills in critical thinking, research, oral and written articulation of information and argument.
  • to equip students for progression to a wide variety of careers or to further academic study.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

  1. Modern spoken and written Chinese (Mandarin) and Russian
  2. Modern and classical Chinese and Russian literature
  3. Chinese and Russian history and thought
  4. Political and social issues related to Chinese and Russian speaking countries
  5. Linguistic issues related to the Chinese and Russian languages (structure, functions, registers, writing systems etc.)
  6. Key methods and concepts of literary, historic and linguistic analysis

Teaching/learning methods and strategies

Chinese language is acquired through small-group classes, tutorials and regular, assessed coursework.  Additional support is provided through the self-access facilities for language learning at the Language and Humanities Centre and the Languages MicroLab. The year abroad provides total immersion in the Chinese language and culture.

Knowledge of Chinese literature, history, thought, culture and society is acquired through a combination of lectures and tutorials or seminars including group discussion and individual or joint presentations.

Acquisition of Russian is through tutorials and regular, assessed coursework. Additional support is provided through the self-access facilities for Language Learning in Language and Humanities Centre, the Languages Microlab, and the recommended materials on the Web. The Third year abroad provides total immersion in the target languages and culture.

Acquisition of Russian culture is through a combination of lectures and tutorials or seminars including group discussions and individual or joint presentations.

Assessment

Testing on the knowledge base is through unseen written examinations in all areas, combined with assessed regular language exercises and oral examinations in Chinese language; and essays, coursework assignments and exams in Chinese cultural studies.

For Russian, testing on the knowledge base is through a combination of assessed regular language exercises, class presentation and unseen written examination, coursework essays, extended essays and oral examination.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

  1. to reason critically and cogently
  2. to apply linguistic, literary and historical concepts
  3. to identify and solve problems
  4. to analyse and interpret

Teaching/learning methods and strategies

Intellectual skills are developed through the teaching and learning programme outlined above.  Each course, whatever the format of the teaching, involves discussion of the key issues, practice in applying concepts both orally and in writing, analysis and interpretation of material and individual feedback on work produced

Classes are given on literary, historical, social and linguistic concepts and on approaches to translation. Throughout their studies, students take classes and receive instruction in the target languages. The Year abroad further promotes the active learning of the target languages to a high level.

Comprehensive bibliographies are provided for each course as are the guidelines for the production of coursework essays, and extended essays.

Assessment

The variety of assessment methods employed all place great emphasis on the learner’s ability to demonstrate the above skills through the production of cogent and coherent written and oral responses to problems and tasks set.  Essays produced in the Honours years provide an especially valuable vehicle for the training of those skills.

All the listed skills are primarily assessed through the assessed coursework essays, and extended essays, skills are manifested in degree exams on the Literature, Culture and History of the target languages and country/countries concerned.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

Graduates will be able to:

  • process, structure and communicate ideas effectively and at an advanced/near-native level of proficiency, both orally and in written form in Russian, Chinese and English;
  • communicate clearly and accurately, constructing cogent arguments;
  • participate constructively and efficiently in group discussions, assessing and responding effectively to the ideas of others; and
  • communicate effectively in English to inform and educate others about Russian and Chinese language and culture.
  • demonstrate and exercise independence of mind and thought

Teaching/learning methods and strategies

All courses require written work, usually in the form of essays, and regular feedback is given to the learners in order to develop their understanding and power of expression.  Teamwork and leadership skills are acquired through active contributions to tutorials and seminars, both as group members and discussion leaders.  Time management is learned through the expectation to submit coursework by prescribed deadlines notified at the outset of each course.  Teamwork and assessment and response to the ideas of others are developed in classes, seminars and tutorials, which rely on discussion and interaction, as well as presentations by individuals and groups of students.  Independent work and self-reliance are developed during the year abroad.  IT skills are developed through University-wide training courses and individual learning.

Assessment

Effective communication of ideas is an important criterion in assessing all areas of a learner’s work, and the regular feedback and the final mark both reflect this.  Additionally, penalties are levied for late submission of essays and coursework assignments.  Structuring and communication of ideas, independent work, self-reliance, IT skills and assessment and response to the ideas of others are all assessed through regular coursework essays.  Although these are supervised they are nevertheless a manifestation of the independent thought and research by the learner.  IT skills are assessed through the assembly of necessary information for essays, etc. and their production on PCs.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

  1. To speak, write and read Mandarin Chinese and Russian at an advanced level of proficiency
  2. To translate and interpret from and into Mandarin Chinese and Russian
  3. To use the Internet and bibliographic resources in both Mandarin Chinese and Russian
  4. To communicate effectively in English to inform and educate others about Chinese and Russian language and culture

Teaching/learning methods and strategies

Classes are given on literary, historical and linguistic concepts and on approaches to translation.  Throughout their studies, students take classes and receive instruction in Russian and Mandarin Chinese language.  The year abroad further promotes the active learning of the two languages to an advanced level.

Comprehensive bibliographies are provided for each course, as are guidelines for the production of essays and coursework assignments.

Assessment

All skills listed are primarily assessed through essays, and coursework assignments.  Use of the Mandarin Chinese and Russian languages and translating and interpreting from and into Chinese and Russian are assessed by class and home exercises, tests and degree examinations.  The ability to gather information on Chinese and Russian speaking countries and to present it effectively in English is assessed through degree examinations on Chinese and Russian literature, history, thought, culture and society.

Effective communication of ideas is an important criterion in assessing all areas of a learner’s work, and the regular feedback as well as the final mark reflects this. Additionally, penalties are levied for late submission of coursework essays and other assignments. Skills are also assessed through the assembly of necessary information for essays etc. and their production on PCs.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

Graduates will be able to:

  • work autonomously, setting their own goals, self-motivating and organising their own learning;
  • manage their time and priorities and working to both self-imposed and external deadlines;
  • collaborate effectively and productively with others in the process of learning and presenting conclusions, exercising leadership skills as appropriate;
  • confidently rely on their own intellectual capacities;
  • exercise sensitivity to ambiguity and multiplicity of meanings; and
  • confidently interacting with, and think about, cultural difference.

Assessment:

Skills are assessed through regular coursework, essays, and long essays, which although supervised are nevertheless a manifestation of independent thought and work/research by the learner and are further developed during the year abroad.  Also through the management of time to meet the various deadlines (all notified at the outset of each course) for submission of coursework. The small classes in the final year of the degree allow space for extensive discussion involving all the students.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Graduates will develop:

IT skills – the ability to use computers for word-processing, information storage and for retrieving information from the world wide web, including the use of foreign language symbols on the computer, or foreign-language computer keyboards;

and

library skills – the ability to use libraries for the recovery of information, and related research skills, including the ability to discriminate between different sources of information, suggested readings, and so on. Students are given instruction in how to access material in Chinese through the use of internet resources. Students routinely use Chinese word processing software to insert Chinese characters into essays.

Assessment:

Skills for both languages are assessed by class and home exercises, tests and degree examinations.

Programme structure and features

1 Chinese 1 G 8 40
  East Asian Civilisation 1 G 8 40
  Russian 1B G 8 40
OR Russian 1A G 8 40
         
2 Chinese 2A G 8 40
  Russian 2 G 8 40
  Chinese 2B G 8 40
         
3 Chinese year Abroad (Combined Degree) G 10 60
  Language Acquisition through Study Abroad G 10 60
         
4 MEL Long Essay G 10 20
  Russian Language Paper 1 G 10 10
  Russian language Paper 2 G 10 10
  Russian Oral G 10 0
  Course in Russian G 10 20
  Chinese Oral G 10 0
  Chinese Language 4A G 10 10
  Chinese Language 4B G 10 10
  Courses in Chinese G 10 40

Requirements for Admission to Honours

Passes at 50% or above at the first attempt in all second year courses.

Final Assessment:

One unit of assessment is allocated to every 20 credits and constitutes one 20-credit paper. The following are the twelve 20-credit papers on which the classification of the degree is based. (Papers that for the purposes of degree classification acquire a weighting of 40 credits are, therefore, listed twice).

1. Russian Language Paper 1

2. Russian Language Paper 1

3. Russian Language Paper 2

4. Russian Oral

5. Chinese Language 4A

6. Chinese Language 4A

7. Chinese Language 4B

8. Chinese Oral

9. Russian option

10. MEL Long Essay

11. Course in Chinese

12. Course in Chinese

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Requirements for Admission to Honours

Passes at 50% or above at the first attempt in all second year courses.

Final Assessment:

One unit of assessment is allocated to every 20 credits and constitutes one 20-credit paper. The following are the twelve 20-credit papers on which the classification of the degree is based. (Papers that for the purposes of degree classification acquire a weighting of 40 credits are, therefore, listed twice).

1. Russian Language Paper 1

2. Russian Language Paper 1

3. Russian Language Paper 2

4. Russian Oral

5. Chinese Language 4A

6. Chinese Language 4A

7. Chinese Language 4B

8. Chinese Oral

9. Russian option

10. MEL Long Essay

11. Course in Chinese

12. Course in Chinese

Assessment methods and strategies

Assessment

Courses can be assessed by a diverse range of methods and often takes the form of formative work which provided the student with on-going feedback as well as summative assessment which is submitted for assessment.

In Year 1

Written Examinations

Oral Examinations

Coursework Essays

Coursework Exercises

In Year 2

Written Examinations

Oral Examinations

Coursework Essays

Coursework Exercises

In Year 3

Year Abroad Work

In Year 4

Written Examinations

Coursework Essays

Oral Examination

Dissertation

Career opportunities

Graduates have a broad range of careers available to them. Chinese graduates are in demand in the media, commerce and the Civil Service, and many are recruited by companies based in East Asia.  Graduates in Chinese and Russian Studies can use their language skills to work as translators, interpreters or teachers. There are also opportunities to continue studying and some scholarships are available for masters and PhD programmes in Chinese and Russian Studies.

There are a variety of opportunities for Russian-speaking graduates within Russia, the UK and other European countries. Russian is becoming an increasingly important language for international business, journalism and law as Russia begins to work more closely with Europe and the US. Most previous graduates use their language skills in their chosen career.

Other items

  • all students are assigned a Personal Tutor on admission to the degree programme, who oversees the course of the student’s degree programme, offers advice on academic matters (including degree-progression) and should be the student’s first port of call for course-related worries or concerns
  • student opinion is actively sought through participation in Staff-Student Liaison Committees, through the election of class- and tutorial-representatives, and by the wide circulation and review of detailed student questionnaires each semester. 
  • LLC have a student support office, where students can go for advice on degree transfers, course changes, authorised interruption of studies, confirmation letters and general support. Information can be found at:

    http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/literatures-languages-cultures/current-students/undergraduate-support

  • further information about Asian Studies can be found at: -
  • http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/literatures-languages-cultures/asian-studies