Triangle

Course overview

In the 21st century 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.

Many of our students say the year abroad is their course highlight. Not only do you have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in both the Russian and Chinese languages and cultures, but spending time abroad can make you more independent and confident. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone won’t only benefit your degree, it’ll shape the person you are to become.

For more information on our teaching, research and what it's like to study with us see the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures website.

Why choose this course?

  • Gain access to job opportunities around the globe with the ability to speak Russian and Mandarin
  • Spend a year abroad immersing yourself in Russian and Chinese languages and cultures
  • Beginners welcome! Learn a second foreign language from beginners' level
  • 92% of our joint honours class of 2019 graduated with a 1st or 2:1 degree classification (read more)

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level ABB - including a B in Russian or Mandarin (you may start one language at beginners' level)
Required subjects

B in Russian or Mandarin (you may start one language at beginners' level)

IB score 32 including 5 in Russian or Mandarin at Higher level or 6 at Standard Level (B Programme) (you may start one language at beginners' level)

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

If you have already achieved your EPQ at Grade A you will automatically be offered one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject.

If you are still studying for your EPQ you will receive the standard course offer, with a condition of one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject if you achieve an A grade in your EPQ.

Foundation progression options

If you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A Level, you may be eligible for our Foundation Year. You may progress to a range of direct entry degrees in the arts and humanities.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

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 learning languages can sometimes seem challenging (they've all been where you are!) and take pride in their teaching. Demonstrating this our Modern Languages academics have been awarded seven Lord Dearing Awards over the last five years. These recognise outstanding student learning and are based on nominations from students and other academics.

Lord Dearing Winners: Erica BrasilPierre-Alexis Mével, Heike BartelJose Rino SoaresTara Webster-DeakinMarilena MinoiaManuel Lagares Alonso.

If you have worries about your work we won't wait for them to become problems.

You will have a personal tutor from the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures who will review your academic progress and help find solutions to any issues.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Oral classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

Following your year abroad your improved language skills and improved cultural understanding shall be assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments.

Assessment methods

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

Contact time and study hours

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.

Study abroad

One year is spent abroad. For Russian, you can take part in a study placement at one of our partner universities or language school.

For Contemporary Chinese Studies, you have the opportunity to learn about Mandarin and Chinese culture by spending a semester at our campus in Ningbo.

We’re dedicated to ensuring that your Year Abroad runs as smoothly as possible and have university staff to provide you with support whilst you are overseas.

For more information, see Year abroad options in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

Placements

Become 'workplace-ready' with our Work Placement and Employability programme tailor made for students in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies. It helps you develop skills and experience that allow you to stand out to potential employers.

You also have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

Why study more than one subject?

Watch our animation about studying a joint honours degree with us.

Modules

Our first-year core modules are designed as an introduction. This means that we will build everyone's knowledge to the same level, so you can progress through to year two.

In Russian, in addition to a core module in the Russian language at the appropriate level, you take optional modules in Russian culture, politics, society and history. If you wish to, you have the option to begin study of the history and culture of South-East Europe.

In Contemporary Chinese Studies you take a core Mandarin module at the appropriate level, together with a module introducing Chinese culture and institutions.

You must pass year one but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

Russian core modules

You will take one of two Russian language modules depending on your existing language ability.

Russian 1

We'll take your A level Russian skills and support you towards becoming fluent by the end of your degree and this module is where it all begins! Designed for students who have an A Level in Russian, we'll identify any gaps in your knowledge and help you improve in that area.

Using examples from newspapers, short stories, websites and television we'll take your studies outside of the textbook and explore 'real' Russian in its natural environment.

Through classroom conversations and written exercises, you'll become more confident in your language skills and gain the ability to start tackling increasingly complex subject areas.

Russian 1: Beginners

This is where it all begins. Designed for absolute beginners (those with GCSE Russian are also welcome!), this module will get you started on your exciting journey towards Russian fluency.

From the very first session, you'll be immersed in the Russian language. We believe it's important to use as much 'real life' material as possible, so we'll be looking at real Russian articles and websites right from the beginning. You'll work on all the key language skills: reading/listening comprehension, grammar, oral, and written.

We'll also explore the culture and society of the Russian-speaking world through a variety of contemporary texts such as newspapers/magazines, websites and video.

At the end of the module you'll have made significant progress and be able to understand Russian in a variety of everyday contexts and you'll feel confident to engage in social conversation.

Russian optional modules

Depending on your language abilities you will take one or two modules from this group.

From Tsarism to Communism: Introduction to Russian History and Culture

In the early sixteenth century, Muscovy was a large but precarious state on the fringes of Europe, characterised by absolute monarchy, an official religion, crude economic and administrative systems, disgruntled ethnic minorities and an impoverished peasantry. Four hundred years later, following rapid expansion, enforced westernisation, industrialisation, a world war and a revolution, everything had changed for Russia … or had it?

This year-long module provides an introduction to the forces that have shaped modern Russia, starting with the first tsar, Ivan the Terrible, through the end of the New Economic Policy. In addition to political and social history, there is a significant focus on culture and the study of primary sources.

This module is an option for those who are studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies.

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

This year-long module is an introduction to Balkan history and Balkan cultural studies, covering the cultural history of the South Slavs and the legacy of empires in this region since antiquity – the Hellanistic Empire, the Roman Empire, Byzantium, the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Empire, Venice, France and Russia.

By focusing on the visual cultures of the three key religious traditions – Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Islam – the module explores the common features and differences in alphabet, architecture, sculpture and painting across the region. The topics covered include the imperial border, army structure, types of conquest, capital and peripheries, client states and demographic policies.

The module will develop your understanding of how living under empires informed the self-understanding of Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks and other South Slav nations. This module is an option for those studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies.

The Soviet Experiment

Soviet rule lasted not quite three-quarters of a century, but this short and turbulent period of history not only brought profound transformations within Russian society and culture and the societies and cultures of the non-Russian republics, but influenced geopolitics in ways that are still at play in the 21st century.

If you are studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies, this module is available as a year-long option. It offers a grounding in the politics, society and culture of the Soviet Union from the 1917 October Revolution up to its fall in 1991. In lectures, we look at the political and social changes that led to the development of institutions, environment, culture and lived experience that even today we recognise as ‘Soviet’. Topic-based seminars focus on texts, music, visual culture and other sources.

Contemporary Chinese core modules

As well as the "International Politics" module you will also take one Chinese Mandarin language module appropriate to your existing knowledge.

Mandarin Chinese for Beginners

This is the start of an exciting journey where we'll take you through the basics of learning Mandarin.

Designed for beginners, this module will cover Chinese phonetics, grammar and vocabulary helping you to start feeling confident in understanding and communicating in your new language.

We make our sessions as practical and communicative as possible by using a core textbook, supplemented by a wide variety of Chinese learning resources including online news articles, graded storybooks and online video/audio files.

Besides language skills, we recognise the importance of employability skills, such as creativity, teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving . We'll also integrate drama activities including story or script writing, performing and dubbing to not only help you gain new skills but build confidence in your new language.

You will also begin to learn about Chinese culture and society helping you to put your new language understanding into context.

Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Level

Now that you have gained in confidence and ability, we're going to take your Mandarin skills to the next level!

We'll use interesting examples from online resources to further develop your Chinese comprehension (written and aural) and expression (written and oral).

You'll also learn about Chinese culture and society, preparing you for the exciting time you'll spend in China during year three.

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Now that you have gained solid Mandarin language skills, we'll push you to develop them to a more sophisticated level. Not only will you continue to improve your understanding of the language but also the cultures of the Mandarin-speaking world.

With your increased proficiency you'll be able to examine more complex texts covering themes such as leisure activities and lifestyles, personalities, love and relationships, economic developments, language learning, and social customs.

You will be asked to reflect and compare your own culture and the target culture via group discussions and debates to enhance both, your cultural awareness and intercultural competence.

International Politics of the Asia-Pacific

This module introduces you to a broadly defined international politics of the Asia Pacific, incorporating political history, political systems, political economy, foreign relations, security, development and social issues.

The module critically engages with issues in the Asia Pacific region, while situating these issues within their international context and assessing their interaction with global politics. The module combines comparative, analytical and historical approaches, with abundant use of cross-national studies and single-country case studies.

In addition to substantive learning about the region, you are introduced to key concepts, approaches and methods in the study of international politics. Through careful engagement of theoretical and substantive material, you are encouraged to reflect on how an understanding of Asian politics can better inform a more holistic understanding of global politics.

Contemporary Chinese optional modules

Introduction to Contemporary China

This is an introductory module designed to provide you with an overview of contemporary China and help you establish a foundation of knowledge and skills to pursue more advanced studies of China in your 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:

  • The Chinese economy
  • Chinese politics
  • Social policy
  • Security and foreign relations
  • China's increasing activities and engagements with the world
  • Chinese media and the Chinese internet
  • Civil society and state society relations
  • Taiwan and cross-Strait relations
China: Civilisations, Cultures and Society
This module allows you to critically engage with current and past debates around the nature of Chinese 'culture' and 'civilisation'. It introduces some key ideas in the study of Chinese society and culture, such as Confucianism, ancestor worship, patriarchy, folklore, Chinese 'ethnicity', literati culture and diaspora, thus providing a conceptual basis for material covered in modules at higher levels.
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 05 May 2021.

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 as a second Slavonic language.

You must pass year 2 which is weighted at 33% of your final degree classification.

Russian core modules

You will take one of two Russian language modules depending on your existing language ability.

Russian 2

Building on the Russian skills developed in Year One, this module is going to improve your language proficiency skills and confidence so that by the end of the year you're ready to spend time living in a Russian-speaking country.

We'll develop your communicative skills, including oral fluency, through classroom discussions and interesting texts such as newspapers, websites and video. You'll improve your written Russian and get to grips with more sophisticated grammar topics.

We'll also help you build translating skills from Russian into English and English to Russian.

Russian 2 - Beginners

Building on the skills developed in Russian 1 Beginners, this module shall help you improve your language proficiency skills and gain confidence so that by the end of the year you're ready to spend time living in a Russian-speaking country.

We'll focus on the practical application of language skills including reading, writing, listening comprehension and oral communication. In classes, workshops and tutorials you'll have the opportunity to be involved in discussions to build your conversational skills and sessions to help you use more in-depth grammar.

Russian optional modules

Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin

 If you are studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies, this is an optional year-long module. It examines Russian society and culture as reflected in popular and influential films from 1900 to the present day, covering a variety of genres (including melodramas, biopics, youth films and musical comedies).

Lectures and seminars examine Russian and Soviet cinema’s historical contexts and reception, as well as how films are constructed technically. You develop skills in analysing cinema in its historical and social contexts, from the products of the burgeoning industry of late imperial Russia to post-Soviet arthouse films and blockbusters – via the extraordinary legacy of Soviet cinema. All the films covered are available with subtitles, and this module does not require any prior study of film.

Repression and Resistance: Dissidents and Exiles in Russian Culture

The relationship between the state and the intellectual in Russia has traditionally been a problematic one, marked by repression, persecution, forced and voluntary exile and censorship. Political concern and resistance to an authoritarian state are central themes in the Russian cultural and literary tradition as well as a defining feature in the lives and works of numerous Russian writers and intellectuals.

We will explore the cultural tradition and identity of the literary intelligentsia in Russian and Soviet history. We'll also examine different responses to the experience of state persecution in the work of writers and artists.

Covering an extensive period of Russian history we will look at examples of writers and artists who have defied the state.

Wider questions which will be discussed include the role of the artist and the intellectual in Russian culture, the myth of the persecuted writer and the complex relationship between the intellectual and the masses.

Serbian / Croatian 1: Beginners

Welcome to learning Serbian/Croatian. This course is designed for absolute beginners (we also welcome those with a little knowledge) and will take you to intermediate level by the end of the year.

In class you'll cover different points of grammar and vocabulary through everyday situations. We'll guide you through basic case and verb patterns, building up to more complex grammatical points like modal verbs and verbal aspect.

But we won't only be looking at grammar! Once you have the foundations of the language in place, we'll use your new skills to explore aspects of daily and cultural life. We'll be using structured course materials and textbooks, but we'll also learn how to use everyday language to ensure you have the skills to use Serbian/Croatian in real life.

The History and Culture of Early Rus' c.800-1400

This module introduces you to the medieval period in the history of the East Slavs, covering pre-Christian times to the Mongol conquests and beyond.

Through lectures and workshops, we will explore political, cultural and social developments, with a particular emphasis on working with primary sources in various media (including texts, painting and architecture).

The module draws on a selection of primary sources in translation, which you learn to assess as historical evidence. It also focuses on basic trends in the historiography of this period and how it has been manipulated for various political purposes in modern times.

History of Yugoslavia and Successor States since 1941

This module covers the history of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, formed after WWII. We will discuss key economic and political factors of the state’s creation and disintegration, as well as Yugoslavia’s individuality during the Cold War.

Other topics for discussion include gender and social inequalities, nationalism and its rise, and circumstances surrounding the state’s collapse into the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.

European Silent Cinema

This module will examine the development of cinema during the silent era, from its invention in the 1890s through to the early 1930s, in France, Germany and the Russian Empire/Soviet Union. Because silent cinema was easy to translate and export from one country to another, it was highly transnational, and the module will enable you to see how filmmakers in different countries entered into dialogue with one another. You will be able to compare and contrast the themes and preoccupations of films produced in these countries, and consider how these reflected distinct political and cultural agendas.

The first part of the module will introduce students to the history of early film, primarily as it developed in France, looking at short actualité films produced by the Lumière brothers and others. It will consider the practices of display of ‘silent’ film (looking especially at how it was accompanied by music, speech and sound effects), and look at its appeal to popular audiences as well as its broader critical reception. We will then go on to consider a range of films made during the silent era, which represent two main tendencies:

  • A tendency towards realism and the examination of everyday life
  • A tendency towards fantasy and the creation of spectacular new realitie

You will be introduced to the fundamentals of film language and will be encouraged to engage in close analysis of short extracts from the films.

Films will include (but will not be limited to):

  • Georges Méliès, Voyage to the Moon (1902)
  • Louis Feuillade, Fantômas serial (1913)
  • Paul Wegener, The Golem (1920)
Media in Russia

This module aims to develop understanding of Russian-language media from the Soviet era to the present day.

You will explore the use of Russian on different media platforms, including print, broadcast, television, and online media, and will cover such topics as advertising, internet, music, television, radio, journalism and the freedom of the press.

The module aims to develop translation and comprehension skills when dealing with Russian media. You will widen your vocabulary and gain experience in dealing with more complex grammatical structures, taking into consideration style and register.

Contemporary Chinese core modules

Depending on your language abilities you will take 40 credits worth of Chinese Mandarin language modules from the group below as well as the "China Beyond the Headlines" module.

Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Level

Now that you have gained in confidence and ability, we're going to take your Mandarin skills to the next level!

We'll use interesting examples from online resources to further develop your Chinese comprehension (written and aural) and expression (written and oral).

You'll also learn about Chinese culture and society, preparing you for the exciting time you'll spend in China during year three.

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Now that you have gained solid Mandarin language skills, we'll push you to develop them to a more sophisticated level. Not only will you continue to improve your understanding of the language but also the cultures of the Mandarin-speaking world.

With your increased proficiency you'll be able to examine more complex texts covering themes such as leisure activities and lifestyles, personalities, love and relationships, economic developments, language learning, and social customs.

You will be asked to reflect and compare your own culture and the target culture via group discussions and debates to enhance both, your cultural awareness and intercultural competence.

Mandarin Chinese for Proficiency Level

This module includes: 

  • topics such as careers, job application, contemporary Chinese families and marriages, gift cultures corruption and life for Chinese people today 
  • vocabulary on the above 
  • grammar knowledge for the level 
  • language functions such as expression ideal situations, reasoning for choices and opinions 
  • understanding of authentic materials on the above topics 
  • productive skills for the above topics
Mandarin Chinese for Research

This module will focus mainly on:

  • reading skills for understanding research-relevant texts
  • writing skills for presenting academic ideas and debating in such contexts
  • understanding spoken Mandarin Chinese for academic contexts and about social and cultural issues
  • communication in spoken Mandarin Chinese for such contexts
China Beyond the Headlines

This module emphasises sociological theories with reference to current events and social policy making in China. Topics change every year according to what is in the news, but may include:

  • nationhood, identity and ethnicity
  • gender, family and sexualities
  • inequalities, social capital and welfare
  • health, education and popular culture
  • crime, deviance and justice
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

The year abroad is divided between Russia, where you will participate in a study placement at one of our partner universities or a language school, and China. For your Chinese placement, you will benefit from the University of Nottingham's campus in Ningbo, China, where you will spend a semester developing your language skills and gaining first-hand experience of life in China.

For more information, see Year abroad options in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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, culture and history, with the option to write a dissertation.

You must pass year four which is weighted at 67% of your final degree classification.

Russian core modules

Russian 3

Following your time spent living in a Russian-speaking country this advanced module will be your final step towards fluency.

We'll continue to improve your five key language skills of reading/comprehension, listening, writing, speaking, and cultural awareness through translation and writing workshops, class discussions and the use of relevant texts such as authentic newspaper articles, radio and TV programmes and sophisticated fiction.

We'll give you the opportunity to develop translation skills (with emphasis on Russian-English) and gain creative writing experience, demonstrating your advanced Russian capabilities and helping you build a potential portfolio to assist you in either finding employment or postgraduate study.

Russian optional modules

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 offers opportunities to explore the different techniques/skills required for both simultaneous and consecutive interpretation. The main difficulties of interpreting will be examined, along with strategies to deal with them. The module is seminar-led in order to maximise practice in class.

Serbian / Croatian 2

This year-long module builds on the skills acquired in Serbian/Croatian 1 with more emphasis on independent learning and preparation.

The module develops abilities to break down complex linguistic structures in order to facilitate comprehension and communication skills.

Teaching uses materials from written, audio and video sources, and includes grammar classes. There are exercises in comprehension, translation, guided composition writing, and presentations in the target language.

Russian Popular Music in the 20th and 21st Centuries

This module covers popular music in Russia during the late tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras as an area of culture that affects ordinary people in many different ways – in Russia, songs have often brought people together, sometimes in celebration, sometimes to challenge authority, and they have also offered individuals fun or solace.

In the module you learn how to examine all this, applying concepts such as authorship, performance, technology and ideology, and learning how to evaluate the relationship Russian music has to popular music in the UK, USA and elsewhere. The examples studied include pre-revolutionary popular songs and gramophone culture, the assimilation of jazz, patriotic and propaganda songs, rock and pop-rock.

With guidance you will develop your own essay question focusing on a topic within Russian popular musical culture of their choice. No prior study of music is required for this module but you must also be taking Russian 3, or to be at an equivalent level in Russian, in order to choose this module.

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

This module introduces the construction of national and collective memory of the Second World War in Soviet and Russian culture and society. The lectures and seminars focus on contemporary and subsequent artistic and social responses to the experience of war, but also examine individual acts of remembering (diaries, reports, letters) in the context of a wider cultural memory.

The module equips you with the skills to analyse, evaluate and discuss Russian and Soviet commemorations of the Second World War and the construction of a collective memory; to identify and contrast different strands of narratives of war experiences which unite individual and collective responses to the Second World War; to analyse and apply relevant theories of memory to Russian and Soviet strategies of commemorating the war; to discuss some of the central problems related to Russian and Soviet memories of the Second World War, including the relationship between memory and forgetting, narratives of suffering and sacrifice and the relationship between acts and rituals of commemoration and the construction of national identity/identities.

Dissertation in Russian and Slavonic Studies

Working closely with a supervisor who teaches and researches in a relevant field, final year students carry out in-depth research into a topic of their choice, building on work they have done in a module studied in year two or the final year.

Areas of study include history, literature, cinema, music and religion.

Recent topics include:

  • Mongol rule in medieval Russia
  • the cultural remembrance of Porajmos (the genocide over Roma during World War II)
  • the works of Mikhail Bulgakov
  • reporting on the Pussy Riot trial in UK and Russian media
  • adaptations of US television comedy series for the Russian market

 

Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors

In this module students learn to devise and develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the age and ability group they are working with. The module enables students to gain confidence in communicating their subject, develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and to understand how to address the needs of individuals.

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.

We focus on the interpretation of original written sources and icons, allowing you to master the basic tools for conducting research in the field.

Brotherhood and Unity: Yugoslavia on Film

This module offers a detailed study of selected films from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its successor states, with a particular focus on films from Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia.

You will examine films in terms of their aesthetic and cinematic meaning and also considers the historical and social factors relevant to understanding Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav cinema. Students do not require knowledge of Serbian/Croatian language or prior study of the history of Yugoslavia or cinema in order to choose this module, and all films are available with subtitles.

Language Project in Russian and Slavonic Studies

This module aims to equip you with the skills required of linguists in the modern, digital workplace and may be taken by those studying Russian or Serbian/Croatian.

The project gives you the opportunity to combine your achievements in language and non-language modules studied over the course of their degree. You work in a group on a topic agreed with the module convenor to create a final Language Project, in the form of a translation, blogpost, podcast, short film or public performance.

Contemporary Chinese core modules

Depending on your language abilities you will take 40 credits worth of Chinese Mandarin language modules from the group below.

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Now that you have gained solid Mandarin language skills, we'll push you to develop them to a more sophisticated level. Not only will you continue to improve your understanding of the language but also the cultures of the Mandarin-speaking world.

With your increased proficiency you'll be able to examine more complex texts covering themes such as leisure activities and lifestyles, personalities, love and relationships, economic developments, language learning, and social customs.

You will be asked to reflect and compare your own culture and the target culture via group discussions and debates to enhance both, your cultural awareness and intercultural competence.

Mandarin Chinese for Proficiency Level

This module includes: 

  • topics such as careers, job application, contemporary Chinese families and marriages, gift cultures corruption and life for Chinese people today 
  • vocabulary on the above 
  • grammar knowledge for the level 
  • language functions such as expression ideal situations, reasoning for choices and opinions 
  • understanding of authentic materials on the above topics 
  • productive skills for the above topics
Mandarin Chinese for Research

This module will focus mainly on:

  • reading skills for understanding research-relevant texts
  • writing skills for presenting academic ideas and debating in such contexts
  • understanding spoken Mandarin Chinese for academic contexts and about social and cultural issues
  • communication in spoken Mandarin Chinese for such contexts

Contemporary Chinese optional modules

China in Global Politics

China, as the new and upcoming superpower, has become a focal point of global attention. This module introduces you to the major topics in China’s interaction with the evolution of China’s foreign policy since 1949 as well as its role in the international political economy.

The module will explore how domestic politics and other developments have contributed, on the one hand, to the rise of China as a great power of the first league and to the emergence of a 19th-century European-type of nationalism, on the other.

Much of the module will be an examination of China's political and economic relations with major powers and regions such as the US, Asia, the EU, the UK, Russia and Africa, the responses towards China from these powers and regions, and major issues in their relations. This module will also survey China's role in critical global issue(s) as well as the global order and governance.

The Politics of Celebrity, Sex and 'Alternative' Lifestyles in China

This module will introduce you to developments in Chinese society, media and popular culture. Through the vehicle of 'alternative' lifestyles it will examine the political, social and economic contexts that have given rise to expanded opportunities, and concomitant responses from the state, for personal and political expression.

The module will provide detailed studies of Chinese celebrity, sex, internet culture, self-development, and numerous subcultures through a lens of class, gender, urbanisation and generation change.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2021*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2022/23 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

Books

You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. A limited number of modules have compulsory texts which you are required to buy. We recommend that you budget £100 per year for books, but this figure will vary according to which modules you take. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (e.g. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.

Year Abroad - Reduced fees (subject to change)

As a year abroad student, you will pay reduced fees, currently set at:

  • Home/EU students: £1,385
  • International: 50% of the relevant international fee

Costs incurred during the year abroad

These vary from country to country, but always include:

  • travel
  • accommodation
  • subsistence
  • insurance

Depending on the country visited you may also have to pay for:

  • visa
  • vaccinations
  • self-funded language courses
  • additional administration fees and study supplies in the host country or organisation

There are a number of sources of funding:

  • Student Finance Loan
  • Means-tested travel grant
  • University of Nottingham bursaries and scholarships

Your access to funding depends on:

  • the course you are taking
  • your residency status
  • where you live in term time
  • your household income

You may be able to work or teach during your year abroad. This will be dependent on your course and country-specific regulations. Often students receive a small salary or stipend for these work placements. Working or teaching is not permitted in all countries. More information on your third year abroad.

Volunteering and placements:

For volunteering and placements e.g. work experience and teaching in schools, you will need to pay for transport and refreshments.

Optional field trips:

Field trips allow you to engage with source materials on a personal level and to develop different perspectives. They are optional and costs to you vary according to the trip: some require you to arrange your own travel, refreshments and entry fees, while some are some are wholly subsidised.

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 £1,000 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 students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

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

76.7% of undergraduates from the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,668*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived 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).

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" 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

Related courses

Important information

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.