Russian and Contemporary Chinese Studies BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:RT71
Qualification:BA Jt Hons
Type and duration:4 year UG (year 3 out)
Qualification name:Russian and Contemporary Chinese Studies
UCAS code
UCAS code
Russian and Contemporary Chinese Studies | BA Jt Hons
4 years full-time/year 3 out (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
B in Russian at A level if applicable 
IB score
32; 5 in Russian at Higher level or 6 at Standard Level (B Programme) 
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places
20 (across RT11, RT21, RT71 and RT41)


This course combines studies in Russian and Chinese literatures, histories and cultures. As well as learning the languages of Russian and Mandarin, you also have the chance to study a second Slavonic language.
Read full overview

This course combines studies in Russian and Chinese languages, literatures, histories and cultures. Alongside your courses in Russian and Mandarin, you will choose from a wide range of modules in Russian and Chinese history, culture, society and linguistics, which begin at introductory level and become more specialised as the course progresses. The breadth of research expertise in these subjects means we are able to offer our students an exceptionally broad choice. The year abroad gives you a unique opportunity to practise your language skills and enhance your understanding of Russian and Chinese cultures. Additionally, we offer all students the chance to study a second Slavonic language (Serbian/Croatian or Slovene).

Year one

Your core language module in Russian will consolidate and build on the grammatical knowledge and skills you acquired at A level. Your studies in Russian language will be complemented by the core module Nation, Myth, Identity, which introduces key areas, concepts and skills in Russian and Slavonic histories, literatures, cultures and linguistics, and you will also choose an optional module in Russian history or literature, or one introducing the study of South-East Europe. In Contemporary Chinese Studies you will take intensive modules in Mandarin, alongside introductory modules in contemporary Chinese society, economy and culture. All students have the option of taking part in a special subsidised language course in Russia in the summer vacation.

Year two

In Russian and Chinese, your language studies will be consolidated to prepare you for the year abroad. You will take modules in history, culture and society in both Russian and Chinese studies. You may choose to begin studying Serbian/Croatian or Slovene as a second Slavonic language.

Year three

The year abroad is divided between Russia, where you will participate in a study or combined study and work placement, and China, where you will also concentrate on studying the languages. Students benefit from the chance to spend a semester at the University of Nottingham’s campus in Ningbo, China. Tuition fees for all approved courses in Russia are covered by the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies.

For more information see our Year Abroad pages.

Year four

You will develop your command of both languages and their use in increasingly sophisticated contexts, including those focused on applied and career-related contexts. You will also choose optional modules drawn from the areas of language, literature, history, culture. Students may opt to continue or to begin the study of a second Slavonic language.

More information 

See also the Russian and Slavonic Studies website.


Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including Russian at 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 potential students have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education, so we treat applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) as individuals, and accept students with a range of less conventional qualifications including:

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

This list is not exhaustive, and we consider applicants with other qualifications on an individual basis. 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.

For more information, please see the alternative qualifications page.

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


Russian 1
You will consolidate and develop the knowledge of Russian which you gained at A level. This module focuses on practical application of your language skills, including reading, writing, comprehension and oral communication. You will also study some grammar topics in depth. You’ll spend four hours per week in practical classes workshops and tutorials, benefiting from experienced teachers, most of whom are native speakers, and the use of excellent language laboratory facilities.

Nation, Myth, Identity: Introduction to Russian and Slavonic Studies

This module introduces students to important areas and topics in Russian and Slavonic Studies, examining important aspects of the histories and cultures of the region, as well as aspects of the languages, cultures and literary traditions. You will learn to analyse a wide range of cultural phenomena, including pictures, music, film, literary texts and other kinds of written sources.
Mandarin Chinese for Beginners 1A
This module provides you with the knowledge of Chinese phonetics, grammar, vocabulary and cultural information in order to develop your competence in Mandarin Chinese. The focus is on communicative competence in both spoken and written language.
Mandarin Chinese for Beginners 1B
This module builds on the knowledge you acquired in semester 1, introducing post-elementary grammatical structures and phonology of Mandarin Chinese. You will learn to write notes, simple letters and a diary, as well as to use more diverse basic vocabulary for social and everyday situations and more sophisticated language 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. 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.




From Tsarism to Communism: Introduction to Russian History and Culture
This module introduces you to the development of Russian history and culture, starting with the reign of Peter the Great (1682-1725), following the development of Russia into a modern state through to the end of the 19th century, and ending with a survey of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet period (1917-1991). Alongside the history of Russia, you will study aspects of Russian culture relevant to different periods of its history (such as painting, architecture, music, folklore and religious beliefs).You will have three hours per week in lectures and seminars. 
Modern Russian Literature: Texts, Contexts, Approaches
This module introduces the main developments in Russian literature of the 19th and 20th centuries through study of texts by important writers such as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Zamiatin, Bulgakov, Akhmatova and Petrushevskaia. You will learn skills for analysing and discussing literary texts, whether prose, poetry or drama, as well as insights into the historical and political evolution of Russia during this period. 
The Clash of Empires: Introduction to Balkan Cultural Identities
This module introduces you to the cultural history of the South Slavs and the legacy of great empires such as the Ottomans, and the Habsburgs on the Balkan peninsula. By focusing on the visual cultures of the three key religious traditions – Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Islamic – the module explores the common features and differences in alphabet, architecture, sculpture and painting across the region. You will learn how living under empires informed the self-understanding of Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks and other South Slav nations. 
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 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 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 People’s Republic of 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


Russian 2

This module will help you to develop your comprehension of Russian and your communicative skills, including reading, oral fluency in Russian, and translation from Russian into English. The module also includes some writing in Russian and study of more sophisticated grammar topics. You’ll spend three hours per week in practical classes.

Mandarin Chinese for the Intermediate Level (2A)

This module will consolidates the skills you have acquired in Year One and aims to further develop your oral and written communicative ability in the Mandarin Chinese language in more complex situations. You will have three hours per week of lectures and practical classes.

Mandarin Chinese for the Intermediate Level (2B)

This module aims further develops your knowledge of Mandarin in increasingly complex situations, focusing on oral and written communication. You will have three hours per week of lectures and practical classes.




Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin

In this module you will acquire an in-depth understanding of developments in Russian society and culture as reflected in popular and influential films from the period 1900 to 2010. You’ll examine how films are constructed technically and develop skills in analysing cinema in its historical and social contexts. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.

Repression and Resistance: Dissidents and Exiles in Russian Culture

This module provides you with an introduction to the themes of dissidence and exile, central notions in Russian literature, culture and thinking, using the examples of the life and work of four major Russian writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Bulgakov). You will learn the theory of different literary forms (verse narrative, novel, short story and drama).

The World of Orthodox Sainthood

You’ll gain an understanding of the growth and development of the cult of saints in the Eastern Christian world in the context of the history and culture of late antiquity and the middle ages. In particular, you’ll learn to interpret original written sources and icons and will master the basic tools for conducting research in the field, spending around three hours in lectures and seminars each week. 

Serbian and Croatian Literature 
You’ll examine major literary movements in Serbia and Croatia during the 20th century, from Modernism to the socially engaged literature of the 1930s, Socialist Realism, literary politics under the Communists in Yugoslavia and the emergence of critical literature in the 1980s and 1990s. You’ll also undertake a textual analysis of representative works from 20th century literature; for example, works by Milos Crnjanski, Ivo Andrić, Miroslav Krleža, Danilo Kiš and Slobodan Selenić. You’ll spend around two hours per week studying in lectures and seminars.
The Russian Novel
This module offers an in-depth analysis of world classics of the novel genre - from nineteenth-century pioneers of realism such as Pushkin and Gogol, through the masterpieces of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, to the revolutionary advances of Russian prose fiction in the twentieth century. 
History of Yugoslavia and Successor States since 1941
The aim of this module is to examine developments in the political, social and diplomatic history of Yugoslavia after 1941 leading towards an understanding of the reasons behind the collapse of the country and subsequent violence in the 1990s. You’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
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.
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 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.



Students also have the option of beginning study of Serbian/Croatian or Slovene.



Year Three

The year abroad is divided between Russia, where you will participate in a study or combined study and work placement, and China, where you will also concentrate on studying the languages. Students benefit from the chance to spend a semester at the University of Nottingham’s campus in Ningbo, China. Tuition fees for all approved courses in Russia are covered by the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies.

For more information see our Year Abroad pages.

Typical Year Four Modules



Russian 3
Through this module you’ll develop a high level of Russian language skills, both written and spoken. The written skills include English-Russian and Russian-English translation, business Russian, summaries and creative writing in Russian. Oral presentations d year abroad. You’ll also cover advanced grammar topics of Russian. You will spend three hours per week in practical classes and workshops.
Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

The final year Mandarin Chinese course will develop your communicative competence in Mandarin Chinese in both spoken and written language to a high level. Following on from your work during your time abroad, you will further improve your ability to employ your language skills in everyday formal and informal situations and across a broad range of contemporary applications.




Russian Popular Music in the 20th and 21st Centuries
The module offers an in-depth study of the development of popular music in Russia in the 20th and 21st centuries. You will gain knowledge of the popular musical culture of the late Tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras, and learn to analyse songs and performances using such concepts as authorship, performance, technology and ideology. You will have one lecture and one two-hour seminar per week on this module.
The Petersburg Text
Through three hours of lectures and seminars each week, you’ll undertake an in-depth analysis of the Russian imperial capital, St Petersburg and its artistic representations. You will study the development of the image of St Petersburg in Russian poetry (Pushkin, Blok, Akhmatova, Mandelshtam) and prose (Gogol, Dostoevsky, Bely, Bitov) of both the 19th and 20th centuries. You’ll also be given a historical overview of the evolution of the legend of St Petersburg, its representations in folklore, and readings of its urban landscape.
History of the Byzantine Empire, c. 300-1453

This module offers advanced study of the history of the Byzantine Empire from the reign of Constantine I to the fall of Constantinople. The course is structured chronologically, focusing on particular themes for each period: religion and heresy in late antiquity; warfare and the arts in middle Byzantium; and politics and international relations in late Byzantium. In an average week you’ll spend around three hours in lectures and seminars on this module.

East European and Balkan Cultural Studies

The module examines issues covering the division of Europe into East and West, the West’s construction of Russian, East European and Balkan identities in its own imagination, relations between dominant and subordinate cultures in Europe, and theoretical frameworks in which to examine intercultural relations (semiotics, orientalism). You will examine examples of such constructions in travelogues, popular fiction, film and journalism. The module also includes study of the influence of such largely negative views on identity formation within Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Myths and Memories: Histories of Russia's Second World War
This module introduces you to the construction of national and collective memory of the Second World War in Soviet and Russian culture and society. You’ll focus on contemporary and subsequent artistic and social responses to the experience of war, but also look at individual acts of remembering (diaries, reports, letters) in the context of a wider cultural memory. The module is conducted in English and you’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Serbian/Croatian for Linguists
This module is a fast-track course of study for students in their final year who wish to acquire a new language. The module is based on the textbook Teach Yourself Serbian and will introduce you to everyday use of the language. Through three hours of practical classes each week, you’ll study different points of grammar (syntax and morphology) as well as vocabulary for everyday situations.
Slovene for Linguists
The module covers a basic knowledge of the Slovene language along with the first fundamentals of Slovene grammar. It develops aural comprehension and oral communication based on information acquired, and enables students to translate simple texts from and into Slovene. The module is taught by a native speaker and is based on a textbook, supported by additional materials.
Russian Interpreting
This module will introduce you to different forms, modes, and models of interpreting as well as the issues that are often encountered by professional interpreters. It will offer opportunities to explore the different techniques/skills required for both simultaneous and consecutive interpretation. The module is seminar-led in order to maximise practice in class with two hours of both lectures and practicals weekly. The main difficulties of interpreting will be examined, along with strategies to deal with them.
Mao's China

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.


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.


Year abroad

The year abroad is divided between Russia, where you will study or participate in a combined study and work placement, and China, where you will also study languages. Students benefit from the chance to spend a semester at the University of Nottingham’s campus in Ningbo, China. Tuition fees for all approved courses in Russia are covered by the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies.

For more information see our Year Abroad pages.



By the end of this course you will have attained a high level of expertise in Russian, an advanced level in Mandarin and a broad knowledge of the culture and history of China and Russia. Your international experience will prove to employers that you are adaptable and independent, and your transferable skills will include critical analysis and effective communication.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 86% of first-degree graduates in the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £23,375 with the highest being £50,000.*

* 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 contains a period of study or work abroad between the second and final year of the degree programme. Students' language skills and cultural understanding are assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments upon their return to Nottingham. 

Mandarin is compulsory when students spend their second semester at Ningbo Campus.

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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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