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

Russian and Contemporary Chinese Studies BA

University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK

Course overview

Russia and China are both dynamic, rapidly developing nations with extensive influence in global politics. This degree allows you to develop knowledge of these complex and contrasting cultures, developing valuable linguistic expertise and gaining unique international experience.


In addition to targeting your language skills, this course offers you a rich variety of modules in Russian history and culture while allowing you to uncover the complexities of contemporary Chinese politics, society and identities. You may also choose to branch out into the study of Serbian/Croatian and South-East European histories and cultures.

 

Indicative modules

Mandatory

Year 1

Russian 1: Beginners

Mandatory

Year 1

Russian 1

Mandatory

Year 1

Mandarin Chinese for Beginners

Mandatory

Year 1

Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Level

Mandatory

Year 1

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Mandatory

Year 1

Culture and Society of Contemporary China

Optional

Year 1

From Tsarism to Communism: Introduction to Russian History and Culture

Optional

Year 1

The Clash of Empires: History of the Balkans from Alexander the Great to Napoleon

Optional

Year 1

The Soviet Experiment

Mandatory

Year 2

Russian 2

Mandatory

Year 2

Russian 2 - Beginners

Mandatory

Year 2

Mandarin Chinese for Research

Mandatory

Year 2

Mandarin Chinese for Proficiency Level

Mandatory

Year 2

Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Level

Mandatory

Year 2

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Mandatory

Year 2

China Beyond the Headlines

Optional

Year 2

Serbian / Croatian 1: Beginners

Optional

Year 2

Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin

Optional

Year 2

Gulag Archipelago: Stalin’s Prison Camps

Mandatory

Year 3

Year abroad

Mandatory

Year 4

Russian 3

Mandatory

Year 4

Mandarin Chinese for Research

Mandatory

Year 4

Mandarin Chinese for Proficiency Level

Mandatory

Year 4

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Optional

Year 4

Russian Interpreting

Optional

Year 4

The World of Orthodox Sainthood

Optional

Year 4

Serbian / Croatian 2

Optional

Year 4

Brotherhood and Unity: Yugoslavia on Film

Optional

Year 4

Myths and Memories: Histories of Russia's Second World War

Optional

Year 4

Language Project in Russian and Slavonic Studies

Optional

Year 4

Dissertation in Russian and Slavonic Studies

Optional

Year 4

Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors

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 Wednesday 4 October 2023. Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.

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.  

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
  • Written exam
  • 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. Your lecturers will usually be academic staff.

 

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.

“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

Find out more about careers of Modern Language students

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).

Undergradute student studying in the George Green library, University Park. November 5th 2021.

I think at first most people are put off Mandarin because it sounds and looks like a hard language. But once you get past that initial perception, it really is such a logical language; everything makes sense, and it is extremely mathematical! The characters are really relaxing to write too. You can’t beat the surprised faces either when you tell people you speak Chinese! 

 

Rosie Lloyd

Spanish and Contemporary Chinese Studies BA

Course data

Open Day June 2022