Arabic and Chinese BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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

Course overview

Students in the Language Zone

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.

Specialist facilities

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 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.

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 Arabic and Chinese BA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
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)

Module Name Credits
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)

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

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

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

Year 4 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Advanced Arabic Grammar and Translation 20
Essential Skills in Practical Arabic 20
Chinese 2A 20
Chinese 2B 20

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

Module Name Credits
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
Chinese Cinema 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

Module Name Credits
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)

Module Name Credits
Arabic Stylistics 20
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

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

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.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB

GCSE: Grade 4/C in a foreign language.

Other course specific tests:

When 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 BBB at A Level and grade A in the EPQ.

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.


BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: DDM. Other BTEC qualifications are also considered. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2

International Baccalaureate

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

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers, or B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers, or AABBBB 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: 75%.

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: 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.

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

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.

Careers support

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