Chinese and Japanese Studies BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

Open Days 2023 - Saturday 14 October

Explore our campus, talk to staff and students and find out about your subject at our open day. Book your place

UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
5 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
AAB-AAA (specific subject requirements)
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Students working in Language Zone

In this varied and challenging degree you’ll learn Chinese and Japanese from beginners’ level. You'll also explore the history and culture of China, Japan and the wider Asia Pacific region, and graduate with valuable skills for a global career.

Core and optional modules will build your skills in both Chinese and Japanese and introduce you to the culture and history of the regions. But the most exciting element of the degree is the chance to spend one year in Japan and another in China, improving your language skills and gaining first-hand experience of local culture.

You could study East Asian religions or Japanese cultural history, the rise of the non-profit sector in contemporary China or the complex dynamics of Sino-Japanese relations. It’s a great opportunity to develop language skills and gain an insight into two of the world’s biggest economies.

This degree allows you to learn both languages from beginners’ level, although if you already have some knowledge of the languages, we can normally accommodate you.

Specialist resources

The world class Brotherton Library holds a wide variety of manuscript, archive and early printed material in its Special Collections – valuable assets for your independent research. Our additional library resources are also excellent, and the University Library offers a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of them.

You’ll also have access to the Language Zone – the University language resource centre – with books, DVDs, magazines, audio/ video resources and language learning software. To practise your speaking skills, you can participate in language groups with other students or a language exchange with a native speaker.

Take a look around our libraries:

Brotherton Library
Laidlaw Library
Edward Boyle Library

Course details

In your first year you’ll focus on intensive language classes to develop your speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in Chinese and Japanese, while choosing modules that introduce you to the culture and history of China, Japan and East Asia. You will learn both simplified and traditional Chinese characters from your first year. A joint honours degree allows you to study the same core topics as students on each single honours course, but you’ll take fewer optional modules so you can fit in both subjects.

This will lay the foundations for the next two years, when you’ll spend a year in Japan followed by a year in mainland China or Taiwan (subject to travel restrictions), studying dedicated language courses at partner universities to improve your language proficiency and experience life in each culture.

When you return to Leeds, over years four and five you’ll take advanced language classes to refine your skills in Chinese and Japanese. You’ll choose from a variety of optional modules on topics as diverse as Japanese cinema, international relations in the Asia Pacific or modern Chinese history. You’ll also have the option to learn about specialised uses of Chinese and Japanese in professional contexts.

In your final year you’ll also undertake an independently researched project on a topic of your choice to showcase your knowledge and skills.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Chinese and Japanese Studies BA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Basic Chinese Language 1 20
Basic Chinese Language 2 20
Basic Japanese Language (1) 20
Basic Japanese Language (2) 20

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
China in East Asian History 20
Modern China: History and Culture 20
Modern Japan: History and International Politics 20
Japanese History and Society 20
Foundations of East Asia 20
Introduction to Religious and Philosophical Texts of East Asia 20
Introduction to East Asian Religions 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Year Abroad in Japan 120

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Year Abroad in China 120
Year Abroad in Japan 120

Year 4 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Chinese 2A 20
Chinese 2B 20
Japanese 2A: Written Communication Skills 20
Japanese 2B: Spoken Communication Skills 20

Year 4 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
China Since 1979 20
Classics of Chinese Literature and Thought 20
Classical Chinese 20
Contemporary East Asian Culture 20
Japanese Literature in Translation: Gender and Sexuality in Modern Japan 20
Japanese Development Assistance in a Globalising World 20
Religion in China 20
Pre-Modern Chinese Fiction and Drama 20
Modern Japanese History 20
Sino-Japanese Relations: Past and Present 20

Year 5 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Chinese 3: Advanced Skills 20
Japanese 3: Advanced Communication Skills 20
Final Year Project 40

Year 5 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector in Contemporary China 20
Modern Documentary Chinese: Politics and Law 10
Modern Documentary Chinese: Society and Development 10
Chinese Literature 1912 - 1949 10
Modern Japanese History 20
East Asia's Regional Political Economy 20
Advanced Japanese in Context 5: Japanese Diplomacy and Foreign Policy in Historical Context 20
Death and Religion in Japan 20
Adventures of the Imagination: Crime and the Fantastic Across Continents 20
Social Movements across Cultures 20
Minoritised Languages, Dialects and Cultures from Past to Present 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

We use a variety of teaching and learning styles including lectures, small-group seminars, tutorials and occasionally workshops. You’ll also build your language skills in practical classes, and as you progress, some modules may be taught in your target languages.
Independent study is also a major part of the course, building research skills and learning to think critically about the information you find. The University Library runs comprehensive training programmes to help you make the most of our resources.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Exams and essays are our usual forms of assessment, but some modules may also assess you on oral presentations or group work. We’ll provide plenty of support to help you handle this – throughout your time at Leeds you’ll be able to attend extra classes on issues like public speaking and exam technique.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB-AAA including a foreign language.

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be ABB-AAB at A Level (including a foreign language) and grade A in the EPQ.

We welcome applications from mature students with Access qualifications, and from students with a wide range of qualifications.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may also be required. This course has additional subject specific requirements. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.


We will consider this qualification in combination with other qualifications. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M1, M2 to D3, D3, M2 including a foreign language

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall with 16 - 17 at Higher Level including 6 at Higher Level in a foreign language.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 to H2, H2, H2, H2, H2, H2 including a foreign language

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers including a foreign language and AABBB in Highers, or A in Advanced Higher foreign language and AABBB in Highers, or to AA in Advanced Highers including a foreign language and AABBB in Highers, or A in Advanced Higher foreign language and AAABB in Highers.

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80% - 85% including 80% in a foreign language.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBB including a foreign language at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £22,250 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Contact us

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

This degree gives you proficiency in two languages, as well as an insight into the fascinating culture of some of the world’s largest economies. These will open doors to a wide range of careers in East Asia and around the world, but you will also develop transferable skills which are highly sought by employers.

You’ll have strong research skills, allowing you to find information from a wide range of sources and draw your own conclusions. Then you’ll be able to communicate and defend them clearly. Teamwork, adaptability and time management are also among the key qualities you can develop. Spending time abroad will also demonstrate that you are resilient, independent and adaptable.

As a result, graduates have pursued diverse careers. Many join the Japanese government’s Japan Exchange and Teaching programme (JET), which recruits graduates to work in teaching and international relations positions. Others have moved into teaching, tourism, publishing, business, broadcasting, overseas aid work, PR, and language-based roles such as translating and interpreting throughout China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and across East Asia as well as in the UK, USA and Europe.

Many also progress to postgraduate study or further training in fields such as translation or interpreting.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

You'll spend two years abroad studying a dedicated language course for non-native speakers at one of our partner institutions in each country (Japan in year 2 and China/Taiwan in year 3). Of course, you’ll also have plenty of time to travel and explore everything that China and Japan have to offer.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to develop your language skills and gain a new appreciation of both Chinese and Japanese cultures. It can also really enhance your CV. For many of our students, it’s the highlight of their degree.

Read more about the Japanese year abroad

Read more about the Chinese year abroad