University undergraduate students studying in the Monica Partridge Building Digital Hub. Friday November 5th 2021.Khaqan Khan (red jumper); Megan Mahoney (blue top); Cole Pearce and Sara Bintey Kabir (yellow top).

History and Contemporary Chinese Studies BA

University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK

Course overview

If you’re passionate about history but also dream of spending time in China and becoming fluent in the language – how do you choose which degree to study? We say, choose both!

This joint honours course allows you to combine your curiosity for human experience with your love of communicating in another language.

On this course you will follow an intensive language course in Mandarin at an appropriate level designed to take you to advanced, proficiency or research level within four years, depending on your entry level.

Indicative modules

Mandatory

Year 1

Learning History

Mandatory

Year 1

Culture and Society of Contemporary China

Mandatory

Year 1

Mandarin Chinese for Beginners

Mandatory

Year 1

Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Level

Mandatory

Year 1

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Optional

Year 1

Making the Middle Ages 500-1500

Optional

Year 1

Making of Modern Asia

Optional

Year 1

Roads to Modernity: An Introduction to Modern History 1750-1945

Optional

Year 1

Roads to Modernity: An Introduction to Modern History 1750-1945 (Part 2)

Optional

Year 1

The Contemporary World since 1945

Optional

Year 1

The Contemporary World Since 1945 (Part 2)

Optional

Year 1

History of Philosophy: Ancient to Modern

Mandatory

Year 2

The Rise of Modern China

Mandatory

Year 2

China Beyond the Headlines

Mandatory

Year 2

Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Level

Mandatory

Year 2

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Mandatory

Year 2

Mandarin Chinese for Proficiency Level

Optional

Year 2

Kingship in Crisis: Politics, People and Power in Late-medieval England

Optional

Year 2

Sexuality in Early Medieval Europe

Optional

Year 2

Environmental History: Nature and the Western World, 1800-2000

Optional

Year 2

Soviet State and Society

Optional

Year 2

The Venetian Republic, 1450-1575

Optional

Year 2

European Fascisms, 1900-1945

Optional

Year 2

De-industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History, c.1970-1990

Optional

Year 2

The British Empire from Emancipation to the Boer War

Optional

Year 2

'Slaves of the Devil' and Other Witches: A History of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

Optional

Year 2

Rule and Resistance in Colonial India, c.1757-1857

Optional

Year 2

Poverty, Disease and Disability: Britain, 1795-1930

Optional

Year 2

Travel and Adventure in the Medieval World

Optional

Year 2

African American History and Culture

Optional

Year 2

The Stranger Next Door: Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages

Optional

Year 2

Heroes and Villains in the Middle Ages

Optional

Year 2

A Tale of Seven Kingdoms: Anglo-Saxon and Viking-Age England from Bede to Alfred the Great

Optional

Year 2

Consumers and Citizens: Society and Culture in 18th Century England

Optional

Year 2

A Protestant Nation? Politics, Religion and Society in England, 1558-1640

Optional

Year 2

Communities, Crime and Punishment in England 1500-1700

Optional

Year 2

The Early Modern Global Spanish Empire (1450-1850)

Optional

Year 2

Imagining Britain: Decolonising and Repopulating the Mythology of the British Isles

Optional

Year 2

Rethinking the Tudors: Monarchy, Society and Religion in England, 1485-1603

Optional

Year 2

Se, Lies and Gossip: Women of Medieval England

Optional

Year 2

Gender, Empire, Selfhood: Transgender History in Global Context

Optional

Year 2

Commodities, Consumption and Connections the Global World of Things 1500-1800

Optional

Year 2

In the Heart of Europe: Histories of Modern Poland

Optional

Year 2

British Foreign Policy and the Origins of the World Wars, 1895-1939

Optional

Year 2

The Second World War and Social Change in Britain, 1939-1951: Went The Day Well?

Optional

Year 2

History and Politics: A Problem or a Solution?

Optional

Year 2

International History of the Middle East and North Africa 1918-1995

Optional

Year 2

Villains or Victims: White Women and the British Empire c.1840-1980

Optional

Year 2

The Rise of Modern China

Optional

Year 2

France and its Empire(s) 1815-1914

Optional

Year 2

Central European History: From Revolution to War, 1848-1914

Optional

Year 2

The Victorians: Life, Thought and Culture

Optional

Year 2

From Imperial Downfall to Republican Crisis: Themes in Modern German History, 1888-1933

Optional

Year 2

Liberating Africa: Decolonisation, Development and the Cold War, 1919-1994

Optional

Year 2

The politics of memory in postwar Western Europe

Optional

Year 2

The US and the World in the American Century: US Foreign Policy 1898-2008

Optional

Year 2

Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States

Mandatory

Year 3

Year abroad

Mandatory

Year 4

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Mandatory

Year 4

Mandarin Chinese for Research

Mandatory

Year 4

Mandarin Chinese for Proficiency Level

Optional

Year 4

Sexuality and Society in Britain Since 1900

Optional

Year 4

Life During Wartime: Crisis, Decline and Transformation in 1970s America

Optional

Year 4

After the Golden Age: The West in the 1970s & 1980s

Optional

Year 4

Overseas Exploration, European Diplomacy, and the Rise of Tudor England

Optional

Year 4

The British Civil Wars c.1639-1652

Optional

Year 4

Sexuality and Society in Britain Since 1900

Optional

Year 4

Alternatives to War: Articulating Peace since 1815

Optional

Year 4

Windrush and the (Re)Making of a Nation: Myth and Memory

Optional

Year 4

Early Medieval England in the Age of Bede

Optional

Year 4

From Revelation to ISIS: Apocalyptic Thought from the 1st to 21st Century

Optional

Year 4

Dissertation in History

Optional

Year 4

Transnationalising Italy: A History of Modern Italy in a Transnational Perspective

Optional

Year 4

European colonialism and the boundary of the human in the long eighteenth century

Optional

Year 4

China under socialism, 1949 – 1989: society, politics and culture

Optional

Year 4

The Mongols and the West

Optional

Year 4

The 1960s and the West, 1958-1974

Optional

Year 4

Russia in Revolution 1905-21

Optional

Year 4

The Reign of Richard II

Optional

Year 4

The African Atlantic and the British Slave Trade c.1600-1897

Optional

Year 4

European Politics and Society, 1848-1914

Optional

Year 4

'World wasting itself in blood': Europe and the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648)

Optional

Year 4

The Politics of Thatcherism, 1975-1992

Optional

Year 4

Rebels Against Empire: Anticolonialism and British Imperialism in the Mid-20th Century

Optional

Year 4

Voices from North Africa: Resistance, Decolonisation and State-Building in the Twentieth Century

Optional

Year 4

China in the Media: A Clash of Narratives

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About modules

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer, but is not intended to be construed or relied on as a definitive list of what might be available in any given year. This content was last updated on Tuesday 3 October 2023.

When you begin studying at university, you will probably find that you cover material much more quickly than you did while studying for your A levels. The key to success is preparing well for classes and then taking the ideas you encounter further in your own time.

Lectures – provide an overview of what you are studying, using a variety of audio and visual materials to support your learning.

Seminars and workshops – give you the chance to explore and interact with the material presented in lectures in a friendly and informal environment. You will be taught in a smaller group of students, with discussion focusing on a text or topic you've previously prepared.

Workshops are more practical, perhaps through exploring texts, working with digital materials, or developing presentations.

Tutorials – individual and small-group tutorials let you explore your work with your module tutor, perhaps discussing plans for an essay or presentation, or following up on an area of a module which has interested you.

eLearning – our virtual-learning system, Moodle, offers 24-hour access to teaching materials and resources.

Peer mentoring

All new undergraduate students can opt into our peer mentoring scheme. Your peer mentor will help you settle into life at Nottingham, provide advice on the transition to university-level study and help you access support if needed.  

The majority of the language teaching you will experience on this degree will be led by native speakers.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A weekly lecture on a core module may have 50-60 students attending while a specialised seminar may only contain 10 students.

Teaching quality

Our staff know that studying complex subjects can sometimes seem challenging (they've all been where you are!). Their contributions to high quality teaching and learning are recognised through our annual Lord Dearing Awards. View the full list of recipients.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Oral classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

You will be assessed by a wide variety of methods, consisting mainly of coursework and exams, but you may also be tasked with commentaries, dissertations, group work, in-class tests, portfolios and presentations.

Each module has its own methods of assessment and we strive to make these as varied as possible so that everyone can perform to the best of their abilities. When choosing optional modules, you will be able to see how the module is assessed in advance.

Assessment methods

  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • In-class test
  • Oral exam
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Presentation
  • Commentary

As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive independent reading and research. A typical 20 credit module involves between three and four hours of lectures and seminars per week. You would ideally spend 8-10 hours doing preparation work.

Studying languages can open up a world of opportunities. From banking to charities and from teaching to MI5, businesses and organisations across the globe seek to employ language specialists.

During this degree you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of modules, allowing you to tailor your studies around personal interests. In doing so you’ll start to identify potential career paths and begin to discover your areas of professional interest.

In addition to language skills, you’ll develop transferable skills highly sought after by employers such as confident communication skills, strict attention to detail and the ability to work within different cultures and organisational styles.

Combining language studies with history will help you develop critical reasoning skills, becoming an innovative problem solver able to communicate effectively. 

“My [language] studies have helped me to develop excellent communication skills, as well as helping me to hone my reading, writing, listening and speaking skills for both my target languages.  I have also become a much more resilient learner, being able to persevere when things start to get tough and independently solve issues where possible.” Charlotte Allwood , French and Contemporary Chinese Studies BA

Average starting salary and career progression

78.8% of undergraduates from the Faculty of Arts secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual starting salary for these graduates was £23,974.

HESA Graduate Outcomes (2017 to 2021 cohorts). The Graduate Outcomes % is calculated using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

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 consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

University undergraduate student Cole Pearce studying in Nightingale Hall accommodation's library, University Park. November 5th 2021.

"These two subjects have complemented each other immensely, the best part about studying them is that they're so different from one another there's always something new and exciting to learn. Also, they allow me to study the history of China, the country I will be studying abroad in next year. "

Michelle Phan

History and Contemporary History BA

Course data

Open Day June 2022