China's rapid transformation in a globalising world presents exciting new opportunities for employment, leisure and further study. This course enables you to combine in-depth study of contemporary Chinese society, popular culture and media, economics, politics, geography, and modern history with Mandarin Chinese from beginner to advanced levels. No prior experience of Mandarin is required, although students with existing language expertise can also be accommodated.
In the first year you take core modules on aspects of contemporary China and Mandarin language from beginners' level, along with small-group tutorials in both the autumn and spring semesters in which the emphasis is placed on reading and discussion of relevant academic literature, essay writing and seminar presentations. Topics are drawn from the core modules and from broader intellectual, cultural and political fields. Your remaining optional modules are chosen from a list of approved Chinese studies and other modules.
The introductory non-language core modules are designed to provide you with appropriate study skills, familiarity with resources, an understanding of the methodological approaches used in studying contemporary China, and an overview of the major cultural events and social changes that occurred in China during the 20th and 21st centuries.
Modules in year one include Introduction to Contemporary China and Approaches to Contemporary Chinese Studies. Topics include major events and processes in China's political, cultural and social development during the modern and contemporary period, the impact of Western and international influences on China's history and national identity and issues relating to gender, women, family, one-child policy, popular culture, internet culture, urban culture, rural living, education, student movements, ethnicity, China's border cultures, ethnic minorities, religious movements, nationalism and globalization.
Study skills will also include e-learning – learning how to access sources on the internet that can aid and develop our understanding of China and how to study it through academic disciplines and interdisciplinary approaches.
You will spend your second year at The University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus (UNNC) in China. This is a compulsory part of the degree course in contemporary Chinese studies. It will provide an amazing opportunity to experience China and to learn how to study it from within a Chinese cultural and educational environment. All your work in your year abroad will count towards your final degree result. You will again take core modules on contemporary China, this time with an emphasis on training in research methods and practice in a Chinese context, and involving the design and carrying out of an individual research project on a topic of your choice. You will also continue with Mandarin language.
Your remaining optional modules this year are chosen from a list of approved modules including International Organisation, Media Studies and China and the World.
In your final year you will write a 10-12,000-word dissertation on a China-related topic of your own devising. Further Mandarin language and advanced translation modules are available as options. A minimum of 60 credits of your optional modules are chosen from a list of approved Chinese studies, Mandarin and other modules.
A levels: AAB-ABB, no specific required subjects but social science or humanities A levels or equivalent and/or evidence of ability in modern languages are preferred
English language requirements
IELTS 6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)
TOEFL iBT 79 (minimum 17 in Writing and Listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking)
For details please see the alternative qualifications page
Flexible admissions policy
We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances.
Notes for applicants
If you are a non-native speaker of Mandarin Chinese, you will spend the second year of your course at our Ningbo Campus in China. For this year, you will pay your tuition fees to Nottingham in the normal way and will be eligible for a China Campus bursary, which is currently £500. If you are a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese, you will remain in Nottingham for your second year.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore subject to change but should give you a flavour of the modules we offer.
Typical Year One Modules
Introduction to Business and Economy of China
This module introduces you to the economy, business, institutions and economically-related political aspects of contemporary China with a focus is on the reform period. You’ll gain an overview of macro- and micro- economic, institutional and political factors that affect business and development in China, as well as major economic sectors in China. Issues covered include: economic development, economic reform, exports and FDI, the financial and banking system, state and non-state firms, technology, major challenges including income inequalities, and the state’s role in the growth and management of the economy. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture and a one 1-hour seminar each week.
Introduction to Contemporary China
This is an introductory course designed to provide students with an overview of contemporary China and help students establish a foundation of knowledge and skills to pursue more advanced studies of China in their later years of study. You will examine a variety of topics such as Chinese economy and politics, security and foreign relations, and Chinese media since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 with particular attention paid to the changes in China since 1978. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
Popular Culture in China
This module examines the rise of ‘popular culture’ in China and the wider Chinese-speaking world from the end of the 19th century through to the present era. You’ll debate about what ‘counts’ as popular culture in a Chinese context, the module traces the development of specifically ‘modern’ forms of popular culture, ranging from music and film to the ‘mass culture’ of Maoist China and television in more recent decades. The module also focuses on significant sites and periods in the development of modern popular culture, including 1930s Shanghai, postwar Hong Kong, Taiwan in the 1970s and 1980s, and the Reform-era PRC. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
Approaches to Contemporary Chinese Studies
This is an introductory course designed to provide students with appropriate study skills, familiarity with resources, an understanding of the methodological approaches used in studying contemporary China, to develop students' understanding of how to use critical approaches to study all aspects of contemporary Chinese society. Topics include: understanding interdisciplinary approaches, presentation skills and essay writing, familiarity with e-learning resources among others. For this module you will have a one 1-hour lecture and a one 1-hour seminar each week.
Introduction to the Chinese legal system
Studying this module you will gain an introduction to the origin, key elements and characteristics of the evolving Chinese legal system including the history of Chinese law, the organization of the P.R. China as a state and its constitutional laws, the law making process in China, the legal institutions and the Chinese court system, the criminal process, and the civil process and legal profession in China. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
Typical Year Two Modules
The Rise of Modern China
In this module you will study the history of China from the 1840s, through to the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949. You will focus in particular on the ways in which Chinese society responded to the arrival of ‘modernity’ in the form of the Western powers and Japan throughout the period in question, but also how different groups in China tried to remould or redefine China as a ‘modern’ nation-state and society. In this module you will have a two-hour lecture each week.
In this module you will be given a theoretical and applied overview of strategic management in today's operational environment. It introduces and analyses the key concepts, frameworks and techniques of strategic management, which allow them to diagnose complex situations related to real-world business development. For this module you will have a one 1-hour and a half lecture and a one 1-hour and a half seminar each week.
International Political Economy
The study of International Political Economy is essentially interdisciplinary, based on the premise that the political and economic domains are inextricably intertwined in the international system. You will learn the main approaches to International Political Economy, related to a conceptual as well as empirical engagement with the history of, and recent changes in, areas such as international trade, global finance, transnational production and development related to the North-South problematic. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture and a one 1-hour seminar each week.
Chinese Business Law
This module aims to provide an overview of the development of Chinese business law in the context of economic globalization and in particular of China's WTO membership. The module mainly include: Political Economy of Business Regulation in China and China's WTO Membership; Introduction to the Chinese's Legal System and Law Making Process; Chinese Contract Law, Law on Business Organizations, Company Law and Corporate Governance in China, Chinese Antimonopoly Law and Intellectual Property Laws. It concludes with discussions on the possible impacts of China's integration into the economic globalization on its domestic business regulation. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
Social Change and Public Policy in China's Reform Era
In this module you will learn how the Chinese central government has responded to socio-economic changes by issuing a number of key policy initiatives, most notably in the field of social security, health, education, labour, innovation and the environment. In the first part of the module participants will be sensitized about the interplay between socio-economic transformation, administrative reform and public policy making during China's reform era (1978).
In the second part of the module students will learn about the expanded spaces for participatory policy making in China by analysing case studies in all five substantive policy fields. As part of their course assignments students will be asked to write one 3,000 word essay and put insights into practice by developing group presentations on a selected public policy. This optional module will provide a socially relevant policy curriculum and help students develop necessary skills for a democratic practice of policy inquiry. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.
East Asian Business in the Global Economy
This module builds on the first semester module on the organization and globalization of business in the major economies of East Asia. Focussing on Japan, China and Korea, you will be able to identify characteristic features of East Asian business systems, the internationalization of various types of business systems and the trajectories of interaction between East Asian and north Atlantic businesses. This will involve the analysis of the emergence of distinctive national business systems, trends in globalisation and debates about global convergence, impacts of the 1997 East Asian financial crisis, financial liberalisation and flows of foreign direct investment in East Asia, Trade policies in East Asia and what they mean in Europe, government-business relations in East Asia, and the rise of 'collective management'. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
Typical year Three Modules
In this module you’ll learn China under the communist party in the pre-reform era of 1949-1978. You’ll examine how China was organized and governed, changes in rural and urban society, the family, the economy and the Chinese workplace under Mao Zedong's CCP. You’ll have an hour a week of both lecture and seminar learning during this module.
China Through Film and Literature
In this module you will first examine the close linkage between literature and cinema in China and the consequences and then explore trends in modern Chinese literature and cinema, with a primary focus on different genres and themes developed since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. By placing Chinese literature and film within their cultural, social and historical contexts, you will analyse, interpret and appreciate such phenomena. You will analyse individual texts in translation and films with English subtitles to increase your awareness of the major developments in literature and film as they are embedded in the wider changes in contemporary China. You will have one 3-hour practical class each week studying this module.
Media and Communications in Globalising China
Media systems are critically important in any modern political system, and this module leads you directly to the heart of understanding how the media relates to contemporary society and politics in the People’s Republic of China. It introduces you to the unprecedented transformation in contemporary Chinese media and communication in the context of economic reforms, development of new media technologies and globalisation through a two hour weekly lecture.
Chinese Business and Society
In this module you will be introduced to the economic, social, cultural and institutional settings in which businesses operate in China. Possible topics to be covered include: Chinese firms and business groups and internationalization, management business culture, management and business practice, and consumption and regional development. Students will also apply this knowledge to the analysis of business opportunities and risks in contemporary China. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
China's Political Economy
This module examines the interaction between politics and economy in China during the economic reform period from 1978 onward. Particular attention will be given to the progress and periods of China’s reform, the political context of major economic policies, reform of major aspects of the economy, evolution of economic institutions, as well as an overview of economic development in China prior to 1978. The module will highlight the role of the political factors and state policies in China’s economy, which is important for a good understanding of the reform and economic development in China. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
Government and Politics of Taiwan and Hong Kong: Alternatives to Leninism
In this module you’ll learn about the two countries that choose a different pathway from mainland China whilst still under the leadership of the communist party. You’ll address a number of questions in order to gain a good understanding of the processes of these unique countries and be able to critically reflect on their differences with mainland China. You’ll have two hours of lectures weekly studying this module.
Globalization and Innovation in China
This module is designed to analyse and assess the momentous changes taking place in China’s technology and innovation landscape from the perspective of globalization. After identifying the impacts of globalization on innovation in China, the module will concentrate on the vast transformations that have occurred since 1978 in China’s national innovation system. Special attention will be given to the dynamics of innovation in a changing China where new technologies have emerged and new business models developed and to the key issues for China as well as its international partners to succeed in what continues to be the fastest growing, most dynamic market in the world. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.
This module is an individual dissertation project based on a Chinese studies topic to be agreed by the candidate and the dissertation tutor (module convenor) and specialist supervisor. For this module you will have a one 2-hour seminar each week.
You will have developed an in-depth knowledge of contemporary China through a range of disciplines including history, geography and economics. Your language skills will be at degree level and you will have had the opportunity to practise Mandarin in its native context. Your international experience will impress employers.
Average starting salary and career progression
In 2012, 90.9% of first-degree graduates in the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £19,333 with the highest being £24,000.*
* Known destinations of full-time home and EU graduates, 2011/12.
Careers Support and Advice
Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.
Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.
Scholarships and bursaries
The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help.
There are several types of bursary and scholarship on offer. Download our funding guide or visit our financial support pages to find out more about tuition fees, loans, budgeting and sources of funding.
To be eligible to apply for most of these funds you must be liable for the £9,000 tuition fee and not be in receipt of a bursary from outside the University.
* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.
The International Office provides support and advice on financing you degree and offers a number of scholarships to help you with tuition fees and living costs.
Key Information Sets (KIS)
KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.
Time in lectures, seminars and similar
Although this figure may appear low, you will undertake a module during your studies which involves over 90% of independent learning. This module is usually a dissertation, thesis or research project and will provide the opportunity to gain research and analytical skills as well as the ability to work independently. You will have a higher percentage of contact hours for other modules.