Contemporary Chinese Studies BA

   
   
  

Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:T130
Qualification:BA Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Contemporary Chinese Studies
UCAS code
UCAS code
T130
Qualification
Contemporary Chinese Studies | BA Hons
Duration
3 years full-time
A level offer
AAB-ABB 
Required subjects
Social science or humanities A levels or equivalent and/or evidence of ability in modern languages preferred
IB score
34-32 
Course location
Jubilee Campus and Ningbo Campus
Course places
50
 

Overview

Covering China's society, culture, economics, politics, geography and modern history, this course includes Mandarin tuition and non-native speakers spend a year at our Ningbo campus.
Read full overview

On this course you can combine in-depth study of contemporary China's society, culture, politics, media, economy, geography and recent history, along with training in Mandarin language from beginners' to advanced level.

Year one 

You will be introduced to aspects of life in contemporary China and a variety of academic approaches to understanding China today. 

Year two 

Year two will be spent at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China. You will take modules designed and delivered to Nottingham standards, and will receive training in research skills. Native Mandarin speakers remain in Nottingham for the second year and choose from a range of optional modules.

Year three 

You will return to Nottingham for year three, where your core module will be the dissertation. You can also choose from a range of Chinese Studies modules. Optional modules can be taken from other academic schools, subject to approval.

Student profile

Simon Thomas explains why he's glad he chose Contemporary Chinese Studies.

 

Entry requirements

A levels: AAB-ABB, social science or humanities or equivalent and/or evidence of ability in modern languages preferred

English language requirements 

IELTS: 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies. Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS. Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications 

View the alternative qualifications page for details.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

Notes for applicants 

All applications are considered equally on merit; students are usually selected on the basis of academic excellence and personal qualities. We do not rely on predicted grades alone and aim to take into account the broader context of each applicant's achievements, primarily as reflected by their personal statement and reference.

If you apply to us having already completed your A levels, your application will be considered in exactly the same way as those from candidates with predicted grades. Please tell us something about your gap-year activities in your UCAS personal statement.

Applicants are not routinely interviewed. If you are offered a place you will be invited to a UCAS visit day. The aim of the visit is for you to ensure that Nottingham meets your perceived needs and aspirations. In addition to a formal presentation, which provides details of the courses we offer, you will also be able to meet members of the teaching staff and current undergraduates.  

 
 

Modules

Typical year one modules

Core

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.

The educational aims of this module are to:

  • develop students' ability to find and utilise relevant empirical materials 
  • develop students' intellectual and transferable vocational skills 
  • develop e-learning skills
 
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. The module examines the following topics since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, though particular attention is paid to the changes in China since 1978.

On completion of this module, students will:

  • have a basic knowledge of political, economic, social and environmental developments in contemporary China 
  • be familiar with theoretical debates regarding issues in contemporary China and differing empirical approaches to studying the nature of changes in contemporary China 
  • be able to comment in an informed, critical manner on contemporary issues and developments 
  • have improved their capacity to conduct research on contemporary China
 
Mandarin Chinese for Beginners

Mandarin modules are available from beginners’ (Level 1) to research (Level 5). Students are assessed and placed at the appropriate level of study. 

Please note: Native speakers of Mandarin will take Advanced English for Disciplinary Study modules instead of Mandarin.

This module provide students with the knowledge of Chinese phonetics, grammar, vocabulary and cultural information in order to develop their competence in Mandarin Chinese. The focus is on communicative competence in both spoken and written language. The script of Mandarin Chinese is taught to make sure that students on the course are not disadvantaged by their written language.

The overall aim of the module is provide students with the phonetic and basic grammatical knowledge and develop a competence in Mandarin Chinese in spoken and written language.

 

Optional

Introduction to Business and Economy of China

This module intends to provide the fundamental knowledge of China's economic transformation and business development. It assists students to establish an understanding of issues including economic strategies, industrial sector transformation, investment, trade and business management.

The educational aims of this module are to:

  • provide an introductory programme that facilitates students learning in the disciplines of Management, Economics and Chinese Studies
  • introduce to students theoretical debates and empirical materials that are used in explaining business-related issues
  • familiarize students with comparative perspectives on business practices generally, and Chinese business practices specifically
  • practise and develop students' intellectual and transferable vocational skills 
  • foster students' awareness with economic issues, policies and institutions of China
 
Introduction to the Chinese Legal System

The module aims to provide an introduction to the origin, key elements and characteristics of the evolving Chinese legal system. It mainly includes an introduction to the history of Chinese law, organisation 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, the civil process and legal profession in China. 

Based on the introduction on the legal system, it also aims to provide contextual understanding on the political, social and cultural factors which have impacted or shaped the Chinese legal development.

The educational aims of this module include:

  • Providing an overview to the Chinese legal system 
  • Introducing students to the origin, key elements and characteristics of the Chinese legal system 
  • Setting out the foundation for students to better understand important issues in relation to studies on contemporary China (such as economic reform, promotion of democracy and human rights, protection of environment and sustainable development) from a legal perspective 
  • Further development of analytical skills
 
 

Typical year two modules

Core modules in China

Intermediate Mandarin

Mandarin modules are available from beginners’ (Level 1) to research (Level 5). Students are assessed and placed at the appropriate level of study. 

Please note: Native speakers of Mandarin will take Advanced English for Disciplinary Study modules instead of Mandarin.

This module concentrates on revising the basic skills acquired during previous study and aims to further develop students' oral and written communicative ability in the Mandarin Chinese language in more complex situations. The Mandarin Chinese language will be used as much as possible in class.

The overall aim of the module is to produce students who develop further competence in the four skills of the Mandarin Chinese language: listening, speaking, reading and writing, together with more complex grammatical structures.

 
Research Techniques in Contemporary Chinese Studies

How do researchers plan and deliver research projects? What are some of the ethical and practical considerations central to carrying out research? How do students start to become researchers in the China field? This module will address these questions by developing students’ skills, knowledge and understanding of a range of research methods and fieldwork techniques in the Chinese context. 

Topics for this module cover research design and strategies, case studies, semi-structured interviews, content & discourse analysis, risk assessment, safety and ethical issues, group and individual research projects.

Students will undertake practical fieldwork activities while based at The University of Nottingham campus in Ningbo. Seminar contact hours will comprise of student-led teaching sessions, small group and/or individual tutorials, and fieldwork trips. Where possible, students of Chinese language programmes will be encouraged to apply their nascent Chinese language skills to research tasks. Relevant fieldwork, information gathering and recording, writing and presentation skills will also be developed and enhanced.

The aims of this module are to:

  • develop awareness and understanding of a range of research methods and fieldwork techniques in China
  • enable students to plan and undertake research activities in a field setting in China
  • provide guidance in the development of safety, ethical and cross-cultural considerations associated with research and fieldwork investigations
  • introduce skills of information collection and synthesis, and develop the ability to evaluate the significance and relevance of information
  • enable students to locate and handle a variety of primary source materials together with other relevant data, and to construct a bibliography of secondary sources
 
The Rise of Modern China

This module covers the history of China from the 1840s, through to the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949. It looks at social, cultural, political and economic developments in this period from a variety of angles and approaches.

The module focuses 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.

The educational aims of this module are to:

  • develop students' understanding of the major events and processes which shaped Chinese society between1840 and 1949 
  • enhance students' understanding of historiographical debates around the subject 
  • practise and develop students' intellectual and transferable skills
 

Optional modules in China

Chinese Society and Economy

This module emphasises sociological theories of family and society with reference to China. Topics include:

  • Political and social structure of China: the State, society, families and individuals 
  • Trust, Guanxi (social relations), and social capital 
  • Rural-urban divide: dualism, 'urban bias' or 'State bias' 
  • Nationhood, identity and ethnicity 
  • Health, education and aspirations

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the socio-economic aspects of China. The module objectives are to develop an understanding of contemporary Chinese society, its social structures and the effects of economic reform upon these, and to generate a familiarity with the main sources of information concerning China. 

Students will apply relevant theoretical frameworks to the analysis of social issues in contemporary China and analyse evidence on these issues.

 
International Political Economy

This module introduces students to the major topics in China's interaction with and role in international political economy (IPE). It includes useful concepts and theories in IPE, the evolution of China’s ties with international political economy since 1949, the linkage between domestic and international political economy of China and players in the making of external political economic policies in China.

It also examines China's role in international economic regimes (such as the WTO) and in the global and regional orders of political economy. It provides a survey of the political economy of China’s ties with the major powers and regions such as the US, East Asia, and major oil producing nations.

This module aims at enabling students to develop an understanding of the role China plays in international political economy and think critically issues related to this topic.

 

Core modules in Nottingham

The Rise of Modern China

This module covers the history of China from the 1840s, through to the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949. It looks at social, cultural, political and economic developments in this period from a variety of angles and approaches.

The module focuses 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.

The educational aims of this module are to:

  • develop students' understanding of the major events and processes which shaped Chinese society between1840 and 1949 
  • enhance students' understanding of historiographical debates around the subject 
  • practise and develop students' intellectual and transferable skills
 

Optional modules in Nottingham

Social Change and Public Policy in China's Reform Era

Students 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-). Students will gain a deeper understanding how new government functions contribute to innovations in public sector management.

Drawing both on primary and secondary sources students will familiarise themselves with the increasingly lively domestic debates among social and political scientists, educators, media professionals, civil society practitioners, government officials and lawyers about goals and means of China's modernisation drive. 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.

Students will be enabled to acquire the necessary theoretical and practical skills to analyse public policies in China. They will be encouraged to think critically about policy models and contrast them with evolving practices of public policy making in China.

Participants will gain a better understanding of the scale of social change in China, learn about the value of participatory policy making, and through small and big group deliberations and action will internalise a culture of collaboration by developing group presentations on selected public policies.

 
 

Typical year three modules

Core

Dissertation

This 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.

The module aims to:

  • develop skills of problem recognition and definition
  • raise awareness of and responding to the ethical issues related to gathering data
  • implement risk assessment skills related to fieldwork and developing a culture of safety and appropriate research practices
  • have the opportunity to develop and apply research design and investigation skills in a field-based environment
  • enhance skills of information collection and synthesis, and the ability to evaluate the significance and relevance of information
 

Optional

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.

The educational aims of this module are to:

  • enhance students' understanding of the relationship between politics and economics in contemporary China and how politics affects economic policies in China 
  • familiarize students with debates and empirical materials that are used in explaining changes in China's political economy 
  • provide a programme that facilitates progressive learning in the disciplines of Political Economy and Chinese Studies 
  • foster students' cultural awareness and understanding of a populous developing nation and economy 
  • provide a programme that facilitates students' progressive learning in the disciplines of Political Economy and Chinese Studies
  • enhance students' understanding of the theoretical debates and empirical materials that are used in explaining the inter-relationship of politics and economics in contemporary China 
  • practise and develop students' intellectual and transferable vocational skills 
  • foster students' cultural awareness
 
Chinese Film and Literature

The module examines the close linkage between literature and cinema in China. It also explores trends in modern Chinese cinema and literature, with a primary focus on different genres and themes developed since 1978. By placing Chinese cinema and literature within their cultural, social and historical contexts, students will analyse, interpret and appreciate such phenomena.

It will include analyses of individual texts in translation and films with English subtitles. The module requires students to view films in English subtitles each week. It will increase students' awareness of the major developments in literature and film as they are embedded in the wider changes in modern China.

The module leads students to examine the shifting socio-political and cultural landscape in mainland China in the 20th and 21st centuries through the lens of film and literature.

Crossing disciplinary boundaries including film studies, cultural studies, media studies and sinology, students will not only gain a knowledge of key issues and events in modern and contemporary Chinese history and society, but also of approaches to understanding and appreciating literary and cinematic texts.

 
International Political Economy of China

This module introduces students to the major topics in China's interaction with and role in international political economy (IPE). It includes useful concepts and theories in IPE, the evolution of China’s ties with international political economy since 1949, the linkage between domestic and international political economy of China and players in the making of external political economic policies in China.

It also examines China's role in international economic regimes (such as the WTO) and in the global and regional orders of political economy. It provides a survey of the political economy of China’s ties with the major powers and regions such as the US, East Asia, and major oil producing nations.

This module aims at enabling students to develop an understanding of the role China plays in international political economy and think critically issues related to this topic.

 
Media and Communications in Globalising China

Media systems are critically important in any modern political system, and this module leads students directly to the heart of understanding how the media relates to contemporary society and politics in the People's Republic of China. It introduces students to the unprecedented transformation in contemporary Chinese media and communication in the context of economic reforms, development of new media technologies and globalisation.

The educational aims of this module are to:

  • demonstrate to the students that Chinese media embodies a tense negotiation site between official ideologies and the market, the Party and state and the society, propaganda and commerce 
  • foster students' awareness of the relationships between the Party-state and the society, intensified by powers brought by commercialisation, globalisation and new media 
  • introduce students to the key changes in media and communications embedded in the rapidly changing political, economic and globalising contexts since 1978 
  • develop students' understanding of the debate between media and democracy and their ability to handle relevant empirical materials 
  • practise and develop students' intellectual and transferable vocational skills
 
Religion in Modern China

This module will introduce students to Chinese religion as a social phenomenon, and provide an overview of the officially-recognised belief systems comprising China's religious landscape. It will examine the doctrines, practices and institutions of different religious groups, while also considering the unofficial traditions that play an important role in modern Chinese religiosity.

Major topics covered include:

  • Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Protestantism and Christianity in China 
  • Folk belief and new religious movements (NRMs) 
  • China's ongoing Confucian revival 
  • Policies affecting the governance of religion, and their history, in China 
  • The political dimension of religion in China

In this module, students will gain a nuanced understanding of religion in modern China and its relation to politics and society at large. Through lectures, seminars and analysis of the news-cycle, students will develop informed perspectives on the various issues affecting Chinese religious belief and practice. This will, in turn, inform their broader understanding of Chinese culture, society and its recent history.

 
 

 

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

 
 

Careers

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain's leading graduate employers.* The skills you develop during your Chinese studies degree at Nottingham are skills which a wide range of employers will recognise and value. You will leave us with an insight into the world's fastest growing economy.

As well as transferable skills, the other great benefit of your Nottingham degree is the in-depth understanding you will develop of the rapid changes China is undergoing today. If you take advantage of opportunities to study in China, you will see a side of the country that tourists, backpackers and most expatriates working there, never discover.

Your assumptions about China will be thoroughly challenged during your studies and you will see what is really happening in the world's most populous nation. This kind of knowledge and understanding of China is still in very short supply in the UK and beyond, and can give you a vital edge in the graduate jobs market, with or without a high level of language proficiency.

* The Graduate Market in 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 100% of first-degree graduates in the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates 2013/14.

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.

 
 

Fees and funding

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.

Home students*

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.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.  
 
 

Key Information Sets (KIS)

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.

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Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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