Learn Arabic and Chinese and deepen your understanding of the modern world by studying the history, politics and culture of China and the Middle East and North Africa.
In this five-year degree you’ll have the opportunity to spend two years abroad, with a year in China and another in an Arabic speaking country, to strengthen your skills and give you first-hand experience.
We teach Arabic and Chinese from beginners’ level, but if you already have some knowledge of either language we can normally accommodate you.
Arabic is one of the world’s major languages, and you’ll become proficient while building your understanding of the cultural, religious and historical contexts that have shaped the Middle East and North Africa. You’ll develop language skills in Chinese while exploring the society, history and culture of one of the world’s major economic powers. Core language modules will develop your spoken and written Arabic and Chinese, and you’ll study optional modules in topics that suit your interests.
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:
In your first year you’ll study core and optional modules which will develop your proficiency in Arabic and Chinese and introduce you to the history and cultures of the Middle East and North Africa, China, and the wider Asia Pacific region. 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 options and discovery modules so you can fit in both subjects.
All of this will prepare you for your time abroad, where you’ll take language classes and immerse yourself in the local culture. You’ll spend a year studying at a university in mainland China or Taiwan (subject to travel restrictions), and study for a year in an Arabic-speaking country, at an institute such as the Arabic Language Institute in Fes (ALIF), Morocco.
When you return to Leeds, in your fourth year you’ll refine your skills through core language modules and choose from a variety of optional modules on topics such as Middle Eastern history, Chinese literature, and contemporary Arab media.
In your final year you’ll refine your language skills and take optional modules such as Chinese linguistics, Middle Eastern politics, translation skills or Japanese cinema. You’ll develop your interests into an independent project, such as a piece of research, a translation or a documentary.
The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.
Year 1 compulsory modules
|Beginning Arabic 1||20|
|Beginning Arabic 2||20|
|Studying the Middle East: Culture, History, Politics and Religion||20|
|Basic Chinese Language 1||20|
|Basic Chinese Language 2||20|
Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
|China in East Asian History||20|
|Modern China: History and Culture||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 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
|Arabic Year Abroad||120|
|Year Abroad in China||120|
Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
|Arabic Year Abroad||120|
|Year Abroad in China||120|
Year 4 compulsory modules
|Advanced Arabic Grammar and Translation||20|
|Essential Skills in Practical Arabic||20|
Year 4 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
|Arab Media, Politics and Society||20|
|Modern Middle Eastern History||20|
|Japan's International Relations||20|
|Classics of Chinese Literature and Thought||20|
|Society and Culture of Early Modern China||20|
|Japanese Development Assistance in a Globalising World||20|
|Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector in Contemporary China||20|
|Women and Family in Chinese Society||20|
|Japanese Cinema in the World||20|
Year 5 compulsory modules
|Advanced Skills in Arabic Language||20|
|Chinese 3: Advanced Skills||20|
|Final Year Project||40|
Year 5 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
|Islam and Modernity||20|
|Advanced Media Arabic: Translation Skills in Text Typology||20|
|Religion in China||20|
|Modern Documentary Chinese: Politics and Law||10|
|Chinese Language for International Trade and Business||20|
|Trauma Narratives in the Contemporary Sinophone World||20|
|Death and Religion in Japan||20|
|Religion and Violence||20|
|Final Year Project: Dissertation||40|
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
Our tutors are experts in their fields, and their teaching is informed by their own research.
We use a range of teaching methods to help you benefit from their expertise, including lectures, seminars, tutorials or 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 central to this degree, since it allows you to develop your skills in research and analysis. You’ll be able to apply your skills and knowledge in a final year project on a topic of your own choice.
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.
We also use different types of assessment. Usually we use a mixture of exams and essays, but you may also be assessed on oral presentations or group work in some modules. Support will be on hand throughout your time at Leeds – for example, you’ll be able to attend extra classes on exam technique, structuring an essay and public speaking if you need them.
GCSE: Grade 4/C in a foreign language.
Other course specific tests:
Access to HE Diploma
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: DDM. Other BTEC qualifications are also considered. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.
M1, M1, M2
34 points overall including 16 at Higher Level and 4 in a foreign language at Standard Level
Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)
H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers
European Baccalaureate: 75%.
Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.
Were 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: BBC 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.
This course is taught by
School of Languages, Cultures and Societies Undergraduate Admissions
In this degree you’ll gain proficiency in two major world languages, and experience living abroad. Throughout your studies you’ll develop a range of skills across disciplines that employers are actively looking for.
You’ll have strong research skills, and be able to communicate your views clearly, either verbally or in writing. In addition, you’ll be confident working independently and in a team, with an understanding of cultural diversity, allowing you to work effectively with people whose backgrounds differ from yours.
Your knowledge and experience will open up a broad range of career choices and opportunities to connect with people across the Middle East, North Africa and China.
Our graduates have pursued careers in diverse fields such as translation and interpreting, education, journalism, business, law and civil and diplomatic services.
Postgraduate study in languages at Leeds or elsewhere provides an opportunity to continue to learn and prepare for a PhD and a career in academia.
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
In this five-year course you’ll spend two years abroad, in year two and year three.
For the Arabic year abroad you’ll study at an institute such as the Arabic Language Institute in Fes (ALIF), Morocco, or Jordan Language Academy in Amman, and on your Chinese year abroad, you’ll study at one of a selection of Chinese universities.
Read more about the Arabic residence abroad
Read more about the Chinese residence abroad