Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

MA Honours in Chinese and German

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 German
UCAS code: BR32
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Languages
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: Dr Andrew Marsham
Date of production/revision: May 2012

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.  German is one of the larger modern-language subject areas with circa 250 students, 6 full-time members of staff, 1 part-time language tutor, and 2 German / Austrian LektorInnen; several members of staff are native speakers of German.

German at Edinburgh attained an excellent result in the most recent RAE and is rated consistently highly for teaching quality in the National Student Survey.There are high-quality resources to support German students in Edinburgh. The University possesses a large library with good stocks in most aspects of German studies. German itself offers the Gibson Library with its collection of many primary and secondary texts, together with reference works. The city of Edinburgh is also home to the National Library of Scotland, one of the largest and best libraries in the UK, with superb German holdings. All students have access to satellite TV and film viewing facilities in the Language and Humanities Centre and excellent computing facilities. German at Edinburgh also makes increasing use of e-learning facilities, via the university’s WebCT platform which supports many aspects of teaching and learning. There are also close links with the Scottish Branch of the Goethe-Institut in Glasgow, while the Edinburgh German Circle offers a varied programme of events relating to the life and culture of the German-speaking peoples. There is a sizeable community of native speakers of German in Edinburgh whose (extremely ecumenical) church provides a further focus of interest.

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 German 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 Germany and one in China or the whole of the academic year in China with a minimum of eight weeks in Germany.

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 Germany.

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 German
  2. Modern and classical Chinese and German literature
  3. Chinese and German history and thought
  4. Political and social issues related to Chinese and German speaking countries
  5. Linguistic issues related to the Chinese and German 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 third 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 German 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 year abroad provides total immersion in the target languages and culture.

Acquisition of German 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 German, 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 German, 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 German 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

  • To speak, write and read Mandarin Chinese and German at an advanced level of proficiency
  • To translate and interpret from and into Mandarin Chinese and German
  • To use the Internet and bibliographic resources in both Mandarin Chinese and German
  • To communicate effectively in English to inform and educate others about Chinese and German 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 German 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 German languages and translating and interpreting from and into Chinese and German are assessed by class and home exercises, tests and degree examinations.  The ability to gather information on Chinese and German speaking countries and to present it effectively in English is assessed through degree examinations on Chinese and German 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.

Programme structure and features

MA with Honours in Chinese and German

1 Chinese 1 G 8 40
  East Asian Civilisation G 8 40
  German 1B G 8 40
OR German 1A G 8 40
         
2 Chinese 2A G 8 40
  German 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
  German Language Paper 1 G 10 10
  German Language Paper 2 G 10 10
  German Oral G 10 0
  Course in German 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. German Language Paper 1

2. German Language Paper 1

3. German Language Paper 2

4. German Oral

5. Chinese Language 4A

6. Chinese Language 4A

7. Chinese Language 4B

8. Chinese Oral

9. German option

10. MEL Long Essay

11. Course in Chinese

12. Course in Chinese

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching and Learning strategies employed at the University of Edinburgh consist of a variety of different methods appropriate to the programme aims.  The graduate attributes listed above are met through a teaching and learning framework (detailed below) which is appropriate to the level and content of the course.

Teaching and Learning Activities

In Year 1

Lectures

Tutorials

In Year 2

Lectures

Tutorials

In Year 3

Year Abroad Work

Independent Study

In Year 4

Seminars

Lectures

Presentations

Group Work

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

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 German 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 German.

German graduates from the University of Edinburgh enjoy a choice of careers. The communication skills you develop will equip you for a career in business, public relations, banking, journalism, the Civil Service or the legal profession. You can also use your language skills more directly for translation, teaching or research.

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.