History with Contemporary Chinese Studies BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:V1T1
Qualification:BA Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:History with Contemporary Chinese Studies
UCAS code
UCAS code
History with Contemporary Chinese Studies | BA Hons
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
usually including A in history at A level 
IB score
32 (usually including 6 in history at Higher Level) 
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


This course offers the opportunity to combine a broad history degree with an in-depth study of contemporary China.
Read full overview

This course offers the opportunity to combine a broad history degree with an in-depth study of contemporary China, one of the world’s most rapidly changing countries. Most students will devote three-quarters of their time to history and the rest to Chinese studies. In history, you will develop the skills to think critically about the use of sources, to construct persuasive arguments, and to challenge established historiography. In Contemporary Chinese Studies, you will have the option to learn Mandarin to degree level and to spend a semester at University of Nottingham’s campus in Ningbo, China.

Year one 

The history core is Learning History, a skill- and methodology-based module. The emphasis is on reflecting on the nature of history as a discipline and to develop the skills required for the writing and debating of history. Your other compulsory module is Introduction to Contemporary China. You will be able to choose your remaining modules from a range of history and Chinese studies options. We would encourage you to take Mandarin as one of your options.

Year two 

The core element in Year Two is provided by the compulsory module, the Contemporary World since 1945. The focus of this course is not just on global developments, political and economic, social and cultural, environmental and demographic, but also on exploring key historical debates concerning the immediate origins of the world in which we now live. In addition, you will be able to select from a wide menu of historical modules covering a broad chronological and thematic range, as well as numerous options from Chinese Studies. The Chinese Studies options include studying for a semester at our Ningbo campus in China.

Year three 

In History you can work on a Special Subject (a year-long, research-based seminar) and dissertation (10,000 words). In addition, you will also take a number of optional modules in Chinese Studies. As in year two, the Chinese Studies options available include modules on aspects of China's contemporary society, economy, politics, environment, culture and media.

More information 

Please visit the Department of History website.


Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, usually including an A in history at A level (General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted for A level).

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 (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 

We recognise that applicants have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education.

Consequently we treat all applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) on an individual basis, and we gladly accept students with a whole range of less conventional qualifications including:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

This list is not exhaustive. The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification.

Please see the alternative qualifications page for more information.

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.  


Typical Year One Modules


Learning History

This module will provide you with the learning skills necessary to make the most of your studies in history. You will be introduced to different approaches in the study of history as well as to different understandings of the functions served by engagement with the past. The module aims to encourage more effective learning, bridge the transition from school or college to university, prepare you for more advanced work in the discipline, and enhance the skills listed. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars 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 one 2-hour lecture each week.



East Asian Business in the Twentieth Century

This module provides the historical background to key developments in the evolution of East Asian business and its impact on world business and trading patterns in recent decades. Issues covered include the history of Western business in Asia from colonial times to the post-Second World War period, the economic, political and social background to business development in key countries in the region including the emergence of Japan as Asia’s first industrialised nation, and the development paths of East Asia’s newly industrialised countries (NICs) from colonial rule into the 1980s. China’s post-1978 economic growth and business development and the 1997 Asian financial crisis are also discussed. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture 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 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, and the civil process and legal profession in China. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.

Introduction to Business and Economy of China

This module will provide fundamental knowledge of China’s economic transformation and business development, establishing an understanding of issues including economic strategies, industrial sector transformation, investment, trade and business management. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.

From Reformation to Revolution: an introduction to early modern history, 1500–1789

This module introduces you to major issues in the social, political and cultural history of Europe in the early modern period by analysing demographic, religious, social and cultural changes that took place between 1500 and 1789. You will examine the tensions produced by warfare, religious conflict, the changing relationships between rulers, subjects and political elites, trends in socio-economic development and the discovery of the ‘New World’. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.

Introduction to the Medieval World, 500–1500

This module provides an introduction to medieval European history in the period 500–1500. It offers a fresh and stimulating approach to the major forces instrumental in the shaping of politics, society and culture in Europe. Through a series of thematically linked lectures and seminars, you will be introduced to key factors determining changes in the European experience over time, as well as important continuities linking the period as a whole. Amongst the topics to be considered are: political structures and organisation; social and economic life and cultural developments. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.

Roads to Modernity: an introduction to modern history, 1789–1945

In the first semester, the module provides a chronology of modern history from c.1789–1945 which concentrates principally on key political developments in European and global history such as the French Revolution, the expansion of the European empires and the two World Wars. The second semester will look more broadly at economic, social and cultural issues, such as industrialisation, urbanisation, changing artistic forms and ideological transformations in order to consider the nature of modernity. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.


Typical Year Two Modules


The Contemporary World since 1945

The module surveys and analyses some of the main developments in world affairs since the end of the Second World War. This includes major international events, particularly the course and aftermath of the Cold War, as well as national and regional histories, especially in Europe, East Asia and the Middle East; the module also looks at key political and social movements. Attention is paid to political, economic and social forces. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.



Heroes and Villains in the Middle Ages

The module compares and contrasts key historical, legendary and fictional figures to examine the development of western medieval values and ideologies such as monasticism, chivalry and kingship. It explores how individuals shaped ideal types and how they themselves strove to match medieval archetypes. The binary oppositions between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are explored through study of the ‘bad king’, and the creation of stereotypical villains such as ‘the Jew’. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

The Crusaders

This module addresses evidence for crusader motivation and experience through sources relating to crusading activity in Europe and the Middle East from the late 11th century to the mid-13th century. It seeks to understand how crusaders saw themselves and their enemies, their experiences and activity on crusade and as settlers, and how this horrifying yet enduringly fascinating process has been interpreted historically. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

The Venetian Republic, 1450–1775

This module explores the nature of the Venetian Republic in the later 15th and 16th centuries. It examines the constitution, its administrative and judicial system, its imperial and military organisation, but will above all focus on the city and its inhabitants itself. The module will discuss the enormous cultural dynamism of the city (especially the visual arts from the Bellini to Tintoretto and Veronese), changing urban fabric, the role of ritual and ceremony, the position of the Church, and class and gender. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

De-Industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History, 1970–1990

This module examines the social and cultural impact of economic change in three traditional industrial regions in the UK, Germany and the US in the 1970s and 1980s. It takes thematic approaches, exploring topics including: overlaps and differences between Contemporary History and the Social Sciences; change and decline in traditional industries such as coal, steel and shipbuilding; political responses to industrial change, with a particular focus on industrial conflict over closures, among others. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

Soviet State and Society

This module examines political, social and economic transformations in the Soviet Union from the October Revolution of 1917 to Gorbachev’s attempted reforms and the collapse of the state in 1991. You will look at Russia both from the top down (state-building strategies; leadership and regime change; economic and social policy formulation and implementation) and from the bottom up (societal developments and the changing structures and practices of everyday life). You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

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 one two-hour lecture each week.

Management Strategy

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 one 1.5-hour lecture and one 1.5-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 globalisation and in particular China's WTO membership. The module includes: 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 Organisations, 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 economic globalisation on its domestic business regulation. For this module you will have 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 sensitised about the interplay between socio-economic transformation, administrative reform and public policy making during China's reform era (1978).

Environment and Development in China

The module provides an introduction to environmental challenges faced by China, with special reference to the reform era since 1978. A variety of environmental issues, including air, land and water management will be dealt with in connection with analyses of economic policies, institutional changes, politics and social and cultural changes. The lectures will address a number of environment and development issues in contemporary China, including the implications of industrialisation and urbanisation on the environment, the tensions between economic development and environmental protection, the characteristics of government decision-making and public participation in environmental governance, the evolution of the environmental legal system and the rise of environmental activism in China in recent years. You will also study such topics as the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) on China's environment, China's position on climate change and international environmental cooperation. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week and one 1-hour seminar.

Doing History

You will also attend a non-assessed weekly lecture module throughout the year called ‘Doing History’. This builds on the first-year core module Learning History and aims to develop your awareness of the craft of the historian, developing essential skills to get the most out of your second-year options and enabling you to determine what sort of historian you are. It also operates as a bridge to your third and final year, permitting you to make informed decisions about your choice of Special Subject, third-year options, and dissertation.




Typical Year Three Modules



This module involves the in-depth study of a historical subject from which you will create a 10,000 word dissertation. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor and a weekly one hour lecture to guide you through this task. Usually this will be linked to a special subject in History.



Dark Age Masculinities

This module re-evaluates the history of masculinity in medieval Western culture. Most existing analysis of masculinity in Western culture deals with modern cultures. Yet, many of the key characteristics of this masculinity can plausibly be traced back to the Dark Ages. Students will study such issues as: how to use gender as an analytical tool with which to investigate early medieval evidence; gender ideology; codes of male honour; men's life cycles and fatherhood; relations between the sexes; rituals of violence; military and clerical ideals of masculinity. You will have three hours of seminars and lectures each week for this module.

Italy at War, 1935–45

Spending four hours per week in seminars and tutorials, you will be given a framework to understand the experience of Italians (and to a lesser degree their enemies, allies, and collaborators) during the military conflicts in the long decade 1935–45, as well as knowledge of the background factors that shaped these experiences. As source material you will have the chance to explore diplomatic correspondence, personal memoirs, newspapers and magazines, newsreels, as well as examining the representation of the war in literature and cinema.

Samurai Revolution: Reinventing Japan, 1853–1878

This module surveys the dramatic cultural encounter in the 19th century as the world of the samurai was confronted by Western expansion and the Age of Steam. It explores the forces at work in Japan’s rapid transformation from an ‘ancien régime’ under the rule of the Shogun into a ‘modern’ imperial power. Original documents examined in class draw on the growing range of Japanese primary sources available in English translation, together with the extensive works of Victorian diplomats, newspaper correspondents and other foreign residents in the treaty ports. You will have four hours of lectures and seminars each week for this module.

From Racial State to Reconstruction: women and gender relations in Germany, 1939–45

This module adopts a perspective of women's and gender history to explore the history of Germany in the period from the beginning of the National Socialist dictatorship up to the division of Germany into two post-war states in 1949. It will examine National Socialist discourses, policies and practices in relation to women and gender relations by drawing on records of public authorities and institutions concerned with educating and training the female population in line with Nazi precepts, mobilising labour for the Nazi war economy, sustaining home front morale, and combating ‘threats to the race’. You will have four hours of lectures and seminars each week for this module.

China from Revolution to Socialism

This module focuses on China from the Communist Revolution in the 1920s through the pre-reform era (1921–1978), examining how China was organised and governed, changes in rural and urban society, the family, the economy and the Chinese workplace under the socialist period (1949–1978). You will learn about topics such as the origins of communism in China and the CCP's rise to power, the transformation of rural and urban society post-1949 and the Great Leap Forward and subsequent famine. You will analyse in-depth all phases of the Cultural Revolution including return to power of the pragmatists and the beginning of reform as well as changing views of Mao as a leader. In this module you will have one 1-hour lecture each week.

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 2-hour weekly lecture.

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 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 one 2-hour lecture each week.



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. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



With an excellent track record of graduate employment, a Nottingham History with Contemporary Chinese Studies degree will prepare you for a wide range of professions. Some of the most popular of these are journalism, publishing, law, business and finance, national and local government, non-governmental organisations (both national and international), administration, teaching, library and museum work, and research-based careers.

A Nottingham History with Contemporary Chinese Studies degree can cater for such a diverse field of employment because the skills that you will acquire are versatile, wide-ranging and transferable. You will learn to think critically, to analyse large amounts of data, to construct logical arguments, to communicate knowledge intelligibly, to work effectively in teams, to manage time and workloads, and to lead discussions and presentations. These skills will develop your capacity to learn and adapt and will therefore equip you with the tools you need to develop your future career.

Your acquired knowledge of contemporary China, both with or without Mandarin language skills, will give you a competitive edge in an increasingly global economy and job market.

For more information on the career prospects of Nottingham History graduates, please visit our Careers page.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 95% of first-degree graduates in the Department of History who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,221 with the highest being £40,000.*

Availability for employment and salary data for the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies is not attainable for 2014 due to a small sample size.*

*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. 

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.



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. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* 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.


This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment. 

How to use the data


bringing the past to life
Find us on FacebookFollow us

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.

+44 (0)115 951 5559 Make an enquiry


Sarah Smith
Taught Courses Administrator  







Student Recruitment Enquiries Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
w: Frequently asked questions
Make an enquiry