Chinese (Modern) BA

Year of entry

2025 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
4 years full time
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Students working in Language Zone

By studying this course, you’ll be equipped with strong language skills and gain a deep understanding of modern China. In your first year, you’ll gain a firm foundation in the contemporary Chinese language, readying you for immersion in Chinese society in your second year, when you’ll live and study in either mainland China or Taiwan. Your residency will successfully prepare you for your upper years of study, as you’ll have a richer understanding of Chinese culture and society, as well as a solid grasp of the language.

We emphasise the importance of embedding Chinese language studies in a firm understanding of the contexts in which the language has evolved and is used. You’ll learn this through the authentic Chinese language material that you’ll engage with during your studying and through a range of optional modules that cover topics such as Chinese society, literature and history.

Alongside gaining language skills, you’ll develop a contextual understanding of China’s influence as a major player on the world stage, including its social and cultural diversity and its complex motivations and actions. Constituting for almost a fifth of the global economy, you’ll explore the dominant cultural, political and economic significance of China. You’ll study the country’s importance as a centre for technology, business and culture.

Additional highlights

Our course is home to the internationally renowned Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing, and you’ll benefit from the many exciting activities and events run by colleagues, including talks by leading Chinese fiction writers, translation competitions, and workshops.

Specialist facilities

The Chinese collection housed in the Brotherton Library is one of the most impressive collections of modern Chinese books in the country. The University Library also has impressive holdings of books in English about China, backed up by a wide range of digital materials. You’ll have access to free classes and workshops so you can learn how to find resources and develop your study skills.

As well as our great library resources, our Language Zone gives you access to free learning resources, including space for personal study, language learning software, and video, audio, books and magazines.

Our Martin Thomas Translation Labs feature state-of-the-art computing facilities for translation studies as well as Interpreter Training Suites – ideal if you are considering a career in interpreting.

Take a look around our libraries: 
Brotherton Library
Laidlaw Library
Edward Boyle Library

Course details

Year 1

You’ll study core Chinese language modules that give you a thorough grounding in spoken and written Chinese, with more class hours per week in your first year than most other Chinese language programmes in the UK. You’ll also choose from modules on topics in Chinese and wider East Asian history, culture and society. These provide essential context for your language studies and a foundation for building a sophisticated understanding of China and East Asia in subsequent years. 

Year 2

During your residence abroad, spent in mainland China or Taiwan, you’ll immerse yourself in the local culture, enhancing your language skills and gaining an inside view of the diverse ways in which Chinese people see themselves and the world. Your time will be balanced between language classes and the opportunity for you to explore your own interests and develop your broader linguistic and cultural knowledge. 

Year 3

When you return to Leeds, you’ll build upon what you have learnt by studying authentic Chinese language material taken from a variety of real-life contexts in the Chinese-speaking world. While the majority of texts are simplified-character texts from mainland China, we also teach traditional characters at every level, so you’ll be able to read older texts and texts from Taiwan or Hong Kong.

You’ll choose from modules focusing on various aspects of Chinese and wider East Asian society, literature, politics and history, some taught entirely in English, but some working with Chinese language material. You’ll focus on important themes (such as social change, literary and visual cultures), giving you deeper insights into key questions in Chinese society and culture.

Year 4

In your final year, in addition to advanced language classes, you’ll apply the critical and research skills you’ve developed to produce your Final Year Project – an independently researched project on a topic of your choice, supervised by a tutor with the expertise to guide you. 

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

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

For more information and a list of typical modules available on this course, please read BA Chinese (Modern) in the course catalogue.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Basic Chinese Language 1 (20 credits) - This intensive Chinese language module is suitable for complete and false beginners. It progresses fast and aims to help students to improve all their four basic skills in a balanced way through a range of classes – lecture, drill, listening and practical. Students will be engaged in an interactive and communicative learning environment and work with both simplified Chinese characters (read, write and type) and traditional Chinese characters (read).

Basic Chinese Language 2 (20 credits) - This intensive Chinese language module is suitable for students who have learnt about 500 Chinese characters and are familiar with essential features of Chinese syntax. It progresses fast and aims to help students to achieve a lower-intermediate level overall through a range of classes – lecture, drill, listening, speaking and practical. Students will be engaged in an interactive and communicative learning environment and work with both simplified Chinese characters (read, write and type) and traditional Chinese characters (read). Students are encouraged and supported in developing into efficient autonomous learners.

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

Module Name Credits
Modern China: History and Culture 20
Japanese History and Society 20
Foundations of East Asia 20

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Year Abroad in China 120

Year 3 compulsory modules

China Since 1979 (20 credits) - This module offers students the opportunity to develop their understanding of the historical, political, governmental and policy context against which the economic transformations of contemporary China take place. The general aim of this module is to give students: - A basic understanding of the history of the People's Republic of China since 1979 - An appreciation of the political, economic and social changes brought about since the Reform Era - A practical awareness of how social, economic and political changes since 1979 have impacted on Chinese institutions and on individuals’ daily lives. - Opportunities to engage critically with the key debates surrounding these changes including the rise and impact of China in a global context.

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 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Classical Chinese 20
Contemporary East Asian Culture 20
Trauma Narratives in the Contemporary Sinophone World 20
Cantonese for Mandarin Speakers 1 10
Chinese Cinema 20
Topics in Contemporary Asia Pacific Societies 20
Global Environmental Humanities 20

Year 4 compulsory modules

Chinese 3: Advanced Skills (20 credits) - This module emphasises the active language skills students will need to gain a deeper understanding of China, to equip them 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. Students will also be introduced to advanced language-learning strategies and techniques to enable them to meet the challenges of further strengthening their Chinese language skills beyond university.

Final Year Project (40 credits) - This may be produced in either English or, subject to the approval of the Module Leader and project supervisor, the Target Language. Lectures and workshops provide the skills training necessary, whereas more specific guidance is provided through one to one supervision with a member of staff.

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

Module Name Credits
Chinese Oral and Performance Traditions 20
Religion in China 20
Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector in Contemporary China 20
Global China and the Developing World 20
Sino-Japanese Relations: Past and Present 20
Minoritised Languages, Dialects and Cultures from Past to Present 20
Advanced Chinese to English Translation 20

Learning and teaching

We use a range of inclusive teaching methods to meet the needs of students with different learning styles. Your lecturers are all experts in their fields, so you’ll be able to benefit from their knowledge in lectures, workshops, small group seminars and tutorials. You’ll build your language skills in practical and highly interactive classes, and as you progress, some modules may be taught in your target languages.

Independent learning is an important element of your studies, allowing you to build your research skills and think critically about the range of different sources you can access. We offer support on everything from choosing your modules to making the most of our excellent library resources. You’ll have regular opportunities to provide feedback on teaching, course content and what is working well and what can be improved. You’ll be introduced to a range of texts and participate in inclusive safe spaces for critically engaged discussions on sensitive topics (such as gender, race, sexuality, religion, and politics).

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 ensure inclusive assessment by making sure you are assessed in a range of ways. We test listening, speaking, writing and reading through essays, exams, literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, digital projects, poster presentations and translation projects. You’ll regularly receive detailed feedback on your coursework, helping you to keep track of your progress.

We offer training and support to help you prepare for assessment and to equip you with the transferable skills you’ll need for your future careers. For example, we run extra classes on skills such as public speaking, structuring essays and exam technique.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB

GCSE: 4/C in 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 BBB at A Level 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. Grade 4/C in a foreign language at GCSE is required. An interview and a piece of written work may also be required.



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 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: £9,250 (per year)

International: £24,500 (per year)

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 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

A degree in Chinese equips you with the knowledge and skills to pursue a range of careers. Our graduates have gone on to work in the media, translation and interpreting, teaching, business, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and many other fields.

We are committed to helping you achieve your career ambitions. You’ll benefit from bespoke support and opportunities in the School and the University.

Our experts in the award-winning University 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.

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.

Careers support

We regularly host employability events where you can listen to Leeds alumni talking about their careers and ask them for advice.

You’ll 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 us 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 other part-time and volunteering opportunities that you can fit around your studies.

This course specific high-level knowledge provides access to many careers, but you’ll also acquire a range of transferable skills that are highly desirable to employers. You’ll be a clear communicator with strong presentation skills, as well as being a critical thinker who draws your own conclusions from the information available to you.

Study abroad and work placements

You’ll spend your second year in China or Taiwan where you’ll be strengthening your language skills. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about another culture, combining intensive language classes with plenty of time to travel and explore. For many of our students, it’s the highlight of their course.

You'll study at one of our partner universities, all of which have been selected for their high-quality methods of teaching and success in running Chinese language courses.

You'll have access to support and advice before, during and after your study abroad year and you’ll be able to network with returning students for first-hand advice about living overseas. You'll also have meetings with the residence abroad tutor and access to online information before you relocate.

We’ll be in touch with you during your year abroad and you’ll have support at your host institution too. On your return, we’ll ask you to share your experiences and help you to make the most of your new and improved skills and experience.