Arabic and Chinese BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

Open Days 2024

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2025
Delivery type
On campus
5 years full time
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
ABB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Students in the Language Zone

In this fascinating and varied five-year degree, you’ll learn two major world languages and deepen your understanding of the modern world by exploring the histories and cultures of the nations that speak them. You’ll spend one year at a university in mainland China or Taiwan and another in an Arabic-speaking country, improving your language skills and gaining first-hand experience of these cultures and societies to enrich your understanding of these amazing countries.

We teach Arabic and Chinese from beginners’ level, but if you already have some knowledge of either language, we can normally accommodate you.

You’ll become proficient in Arabic while building your understanding of the cultural, religious and historical contexts that have shaped the Middle East and North Africa. You will also learn about contemporary relevant issues of these regions, and explore themes such as cultural identity, sexuality, gender and race.

The dominant cultural, political and economic influence in East Asia for over two millennia, China today constitutes almost a fifth of the global economy, and is a major centre for technological, business and even cultural innovation—think of TikTok. Chinese at Leeds is one of the longest-running programmes in the UK and has always sought to reflect China’s diversity and changes and to equip you with the skills and knowledge to gain a deep understanding of modern China. One of the strengths of East Asian Studies at Leeds is that we have expertise which spans the many diverse aspects of this fascinating region.

The School of Languages, Cultures and Societies at Leeds is an exciting place for your undergraduate experience. Our diverse international community of students and staff, student-led societies and outstanding pastoral support creates a friendly and dynamic atmosphere for all our students.

To find out what it is like to study with us, visit the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies website.

Specialist facilities

With a variety of specialist facilities and four libraries on campus, you’ll find plenty of space for study, group work, and research.

The School archive at Leeds holds Arabic manuscripts and as many as 10,000 archaeological artefacts ranging from Pharaonic to early Palestinian eras. It’s a fantastic research resource. 

The world-class Brotherton Library is home to a wide variety of manuscripts, archive and early printed material in its Special Collections – valuable assets for your independent research. These include rare copies of magazines and unpublished letters, with materials across the range of languages that we teach. It includes extensive collections relating to Middle Eastern, North African and Islamic studies. Our Chinese collection is one of the best collections of modern Chinese books in the country. Our main library resources are also excellent, and the University Library offers a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of them.  

The Language Centre includes digital language labs, audio/video practice booths and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). The Language Zone offers excellent learning material in more than 50 languages, including online resources and advice. The Language Exchange and the Language Groups programme provide opportunities to practise with other learners and native speakers; you can also volunteer to help other learners and enhance your CV at the same time.  

The University also hosts the Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing, with regular visiting speakers. 
This means you have the unique and exciting opportunity to participate in many cultural events such as interesting talks, poetry readings and film screenings, and take part in competitions.  

Course details

This course, and the unique experience of living abroad, will equip you with the knowledge, skills and intercultural awareness necessary to pursue a wide range of exciting global careers.

Core and optional modules will give you a firm grounding in both languages while you study topics that suit your interests. You'll also develop a range of transferable skills which are highly regarded by employers including critical thinking, enhanced communication, analytical and cultural awareness skills.

Year 1

In your first year, you’ll study core and optional modules that develop your language skills in both Arabic and Chinese, introduce you to the politics, history, cultures and religions of China, the wider Asia Pacific region, the Middle East and North Africa. 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.  

Years 2 and 3

In your second and third years, you’ll study abroad. You’ll study language classes for a year at a university or language institute in mainland China or Taiwan, all of which have been selected for their high-quality methods of teaching and success in running language courses. You'll spend another year in Morocco or Jordan (subject to availability of places in both countries) at an institution that has been selected for its high-quality methods of teaching and success in running TAFL (Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language) courses. The curriculum you will study during your year abroad is exclusively for our students. 

Year 4

You’ll return to Leeds to continue developing your language proficiency in Arabic and Chinese and choose from a variety of optional modules on topics as diverse as Middle Eastern history, Chinese literature, and contemporary Arab media, international relations and the political economy of East Asia, or literature and visual cultures in China.

Year 5

You’ll deepen your knowledge in your final year at Leeds, studying advanced language modules and working on a final year research project. This could be a dissertation, translation or digital documentary, submitted as a podcast. You'll also have the flexibility to choose from a range of optional modules in areas that interest you. The international outlook and knowledge you develop alongside advanced language skills will allow you to consider career options in a range of fields.

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.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Beginning Arabic 1 (20 credits) - This module enables students with little or no prior knowledge of Arabic to develop their language skills up to A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). It focusses on achieving basic skills in all four areas (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and developing confidence and a degree of accuracy in basic communication in a limited range of situations. This module is designed for students studying Arabic as part of their degree.

Beginning Arabic 2 (20 credits) - This module will help you to progress from A1 to near A2 according to the CEFR scale in the four skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) in Arabic. On the completion of this module you will be able to understand simple instructions in Arabic and respond appropriately in everyday situations. You will develop awareness of the Arabic culture and linguistic diversity. This module is designed for students studying Arabic as part of their degree.

Studying the Middle East: Culture, History, Politics and Religion (20 credits) - The Middle East as an area of interest is the focus of much media attention. This module surveys and attempts to study the Middle East not only as a geopolitical entity, but also as a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-linguistic and multi-ethnic region.

Basic Chinese Language 1 (20 credits) - This intensive Chinese language module is designed for students who have limited or no previous exposure to Chinese. It progresses fast and aims to help students to improve all four basic skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in a balanced way through a range of lectures and practical classes. Both simplified and full-form traditional Chinese characters are introduced and basic IT skills regarding typing Chinese characters are also introduced.

Basic Chinese Language 2 (20 credits) - Building on the foundation laid in Basic Chinese Language 1 (or equivalent), this module aims to further enhance all four basic language skills – listening, speaking, reading, and writing – in a well-balanced manner. Students continue to engage in an interactive and communicative learning environment, fostering practical language use in real-life scenarios. The module emphasises the application of language skills in authentic contexts. These activities reinforce language concepts learned in Basic Chinese Language 1 and introduce more complex language structures.

Modern China: History and Culture (20 credits) - To understand contemporary Chinese society and culture it is vital to be familiar with its recent history. This module provides an overview of the major events and trends in the political, social, and economic history of modern China, and shows how these have been reflected in literature, cinema and other cultural forms. The lectures introduce the history of China from the start of the 20th century, through to the reform period and present day.

If you have prior knowledge of Chinese, you may – subject to a placement test – study more advanced language modules as appropriate in your first year.

Year 2 and 3 compulsory modules

Chinese Year Abroad (120 credits)

Arabic Year Abroad (120 credits)

During this part of your degree, you will have the opportunity to:

  • make substantial linguistic progress, over a wide range of registers, in respect of the target language
  • face the linguistic, intellectual and psychological challenges of living in another country
  • acquire a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the target language
  • develop the social/personal/transferable skills necessary for gaining maximum benefit from living in a different community
  • seek to enhance your future employability by familiarizing yourselves, when appropriate, with the world of work within the target culture or by reflecting on the utility of skills that you are acquiring while living abroad for your future employment

Year 4 compulsory modules

Advanced Arabic Grammar and Translation (20 credits) - This module will train you in how to translate contemporary texts from and into Arabic. It will also acquaint you with the grammatical skills that will enable you to write in a fluent and effective style, and to comprehend Arabic texts. On completion of this module you will be familiar with the grammar rules as well as the function of Arabic grammar in texts. You will also acquire the skills to translate different genres of texts from and into Arabic.

Essential Skills in Practical Arabic (20 credits) - This module will equip you with the skills to comprehend and analyse texts critically. It will also help you sharpen your writing skills through weekly writing practice. Also, the module will give you an opportunity to strengthen your oral and aural skills. By the end of this module your four language skills will have improved immensely.

Chinese 2A (20 credits) -This module is a comprehensive course of upper-intermediate language skills, which provides students with the opportunity to improve their Chinese linguistic and communicative competence through newspaper readings, a systematic study of some main features of Chinese grammar, translation between Chinese and English, listening comprehension, interpersonal communication and oral interpretation. It combines traditional classroom teaching with independent learning and group work using VLE and other online resources. It will broaden students’ thematic vocabulary, improve their linguistic sense in accordance with various topical and stylistic contexts, and develop their written and spoken skills to a more advanced level.

Chinese 2B (20 credits) - This module is a comprehensive course of upper-intermediate language skills, which aims to improve students' practical language skills through intensive and extensive readings, writings, translation/interpretation between Chinese and English, listening comprehension and interpersonal communication. Topics covered may include literature, business, tourism, education, Taiwan and other cultural issues.

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

  • Arab Media, Politics and Society (20 credits)
  • Cultures of the Arab Middle East and North Africa (20 credits)
  • Society and Culture of Early Modern China (20 credits)
  • Chinese Cinema (20 credits)
  • Society and Culture of Early Modern China (20 credits)
  • Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector in Contemporary China (20 credits)
  • An Introduction to Cantonese (20 credits)
  • Trauma Narratives in the Sinophone World (20 credits)

Year 5 compulsory modules

Advanced Skills in Arabic Language (20 credits) - This module will introduce you to different genres of advanced Arabic texts. It will also help you to enhance your oral and aural skills.The module will train you in how to interpret and analyse critically different genres of Arabic texts. The focus here is mainly on the function of language in texts.

Chinese 3: Advanced Skills (20 credits) - This module emphasises the active language skills you will need to gain a deeper understanding of China, to equip you for the workplace, for possible further study and for lifelong engagement with China and its people generally. The practical training in this module includes speaking and listening, translating from English into Chinese and composition in Chinese, taught in a mutually reinforcing way.

Topics covered may include China's politics, economy, environment, education and other key social and cultural issues. You will also be introduced to advanced language-learning strategies and techniques, to enable you to meet the challenges of further strengthening your Chinese language skills beyond university.

Final Year Project: Dissertation, Translation or Podcast (40 credits) - This module provides you with the opportunity to undertake one of the following projects:

  • developing research and writing skills through a dissertation
  • developing research, writing and translation skills through the completion of both a translation and a research project essay
  • producing your own digitised research-based podcast

You may produce your project on a topic of your choice, within available fields and following consultation with an academic member of staff. Your work may be produced in English or (subject to the approval of a Module Leader and a project supervisor) a target language. Lectures and/or workshops will provide you with the necessary training skills for dissertations and translations/essays, while one-to-one supervision will also be provided through a member of staff.

Podcasts will see you recruit research participants on the basis of their personal connection to a research topic. The interviews you conduct will adhere to either oral history methodology or qualitative research methods (where participants answer a fixed set of questions). Your activities will be carried out in accordance with relevant ethical protocols, and you will be supervised by a member of staff who specialises in your topic. You will also receive training in digital production, critical engagement and research or history methodologies.

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

  • Arabic Stylistics (20 credits)
  • Islam and Modernity (20 credits)
  • Middle Eastern Politics: Regimes, Societies and Conflict (20 credits)
  • Advanced Chinese in Context (20 credits)
  • Chinese to English Translation (20 credits)
  • Religion in China (20 credits)
  • Globalising China and the Developing World (20 credits)
  • East Asia's Regional Political Economy (20 credits)

Learning and teaching

You will learn through a mix of seminars, lectures, workshops, group supervisions and one-to-one supervisions, as well as independent learning supported by a rich range of resources. Our tutors are passionate researchers and dedicated teachers who use a range of teaching methods to help you benefit from their expertise, including lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops.  
Independent study is also 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 research project on a topic of your own choice.  
We are committed to an innovative and inclusive approach to teaching, which draws on a variety of activities, including flipped learning, group presentations, and bespoke digital resources to prepare you for your seminar discussions.  

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 are creative in our approach to assessment, and always use assessment to support your independent learning, to ensure assessment is fair and inclusive.  
We use a wide range of assessments including essays, exams, presentations, podcasts, literature reviews, reflective logs, and group projects. Assessments are designed to deliver the transferable skills needed for the world of work; task-based activities are designed to evidence critical thinking, demonstrate initiative, and show knowledge of a range of relevant subjects and sources. We often try to provide you with a choice of assessment type.  

Support for assessments is integrated into our teaching and you'll usually have the opportunity for formative assessments that allow you to practice your skills and do well in your formal assessments. We also run extra classes on skills such as public speaking, structuring essays and exam technique that you’ll be able to attend throughout your time at Leeds. 

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 or D3, M2, M3

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 a contextual 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 contextual 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: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 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 UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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 Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Contact us

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

You’ll gain the language and professional skills to prepare you for an international career in a wide range of sectors. This Arabic & Chinese degree allows you to gain proficiency in two major world languages.

As well as demonstrating that you’re intellectually versatile, your languages degree will equip you with a wide range of skills across different disciplines which are attractive to employers such as:

  • good research skills and the ability to analyse complex information from multiple sources before drawing your own conclusions
  • communication skills, enabling you to defend your views clearly either verbally or in writing
  • strong organisational skills and the confidence to work independently or in a team
  • a deep understanding of cultural diversity, allowing you to work effectively with people whose backgrounds differ from yours

Leeds graduates have pursued careers across the globe and in a range of sectors including education, the media, law, publishing, the civil service and diplomacy, business and finance and the charity sector. Many others have also pursued postgraduate study, including further training in language-based careers such as translating and interpreting.

Careers support

At Leeds, we are fully committed to developing your employability and career prospects. You’ll have a wealth of opportunities to develop your skills and make the most out of your time at Leeds and during the time you’ll spend abroad. 

Experience of living abroad, combined with detailed study of languages and cultures, is valuable preparation for employment in a multicultural, multinational environment. 

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. 

Our experts in the University’s Careers Centre will support you to make informed decisions about your career path, understand the opportunities available and the steps you need to take to pursue your choices. You’ll be encouraged to attend on-campus events including graduate recruitment fairs, employer networking and information sessions, and meetings with our alumni.    

The Union provides career-related support through the part-time job hub, student societies and other activities throughout the year. Clubs and societies are a great way to get involved in lots of activities and explore your interests. They’re also a great way to develop your skills such as team working and leadership. For example, you could be a key player in an award-winning sports team, or become a committee member and chair society meetings, or you could even project manage a volunteering trip overseas. The Union is home to School Reps who are appointed by students to represent the views and be the voice of students in your School.   

At Leeds, you can access support to help you start your own business. Whether you want to learn about enterprise or become an entrepreneur, we offer award-winning specialist support.

As a student with us, you will be guided in your career choices and prepared for life after your degree in a variety of ways. Workshops and events are organised for you by the School throughout the year and focus on networking, understanding the value of your language skills, hearing from alumni about their career experiences and hosting graduate recruiters who want to hire you.  

We’ll also keep you informed of work/voluntary placements for your time abroad and of any other part-time and volunteering opportunities that you can fit around your studies.  

Study abroad and work placements

Residence abroad

In this five-year course you’ll spend two years abroad, in Years 2 and Year 3. You'll study for a year at a university or language institute in China or Taiwan.

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.

During your time abroad, you’ll have the chance to practice and develop your language skills as well as immersing yourself in the local culture.

Read more about the Arabic year abroad

Read more about the Chinese year abroad