East Asian Studies BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2025
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
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 in the Language Zone

On this course, you’ll develop a diverse understanding of East Asia, home of the world’s second and third largest economies (China and Japan). Encompassing the study of Northeast Asia (China, Japan and Korea) and Southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam), you’ll explore the region from historical, economic, political, social and cultural perspectives.

We have expertise that stretches across the communities of this dynamic and fascinating region. You’ll study compulsory modules that explore history, cultures and societies. You’ll also be able to tailor your studies to your interests by choosing from the range of optional modules including basic language skills, East Asian religions, modern Thai history, Chinese society, Japanese cinema or Korean society and culture.

Throughout our range of modules, you’ll consider key challenges in the region today, such as climate change, economic development and non-traditional security issues, as well as offering insights into the region’s huge cultural, political and social diversity.

You can also learn Chinese, Japanese or other East Asian languages from beginner level. The industrial variant of this degree includes the opportunity to undertake a work placement in your third year, while the international variant offers you the chance to undertake a period of study abroad in your third year.

Specialist facilities

The University Library has impressive collections of resources in English about the East Asian region, its history and culture, backed up by a 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. 

If you choose to study language modules, our Language Zone gives you access to free learning resources, including space for personal study, language learning software, video, audio, books and magazines. 

Course details

This course offers you the flexibility to focus on the topics and countries in East Asia that interest you from your first year. You’ll start by learning about aspects of the region’s social and cultural development and explore more specific topics such as Japanese, Chinese or Thai history, religions, politics and economics. You’ll also have the option to learn an East Asian language from beginner level. 

In your upper years, you’ll deepen your knowledge and enhance your research and critical skills with a range of more advanced modules. You can continue with language study, examine complex issues such as the international politics and economies of East Asia, learn about the impact of major religions like Buddhism or explore facets of the culture and history of specific countries. Each module gives you the scope to focus on the topics, themes and countries that suit your own interests. 

In your final year, you’ll be able to demonstrate the in-depth knowledge and research and critical skills that you have gained with your Final Year Project, which allows you to focus on a topic of your choice in depth, guided by an academic tutor. 

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

Typical optional modules

Modern China: History and Culture (20 credits) - In order to understand contemporary Chinese society and culture it is vital to be familiar with its recent history. The aim of this module is to give students an overview of the major events and trends in the political, social, and economic history of modern China, and of how these have been reflected in literature, cinema and other cultural forms.

Japanese History and Society (20 credits) - This module introduces the students to key terms and developments in Japanese history and in contemporary Japanese society. Focusing on Japanese history, the first part emphasises larger paradigms, but also keeps in sight the specific socio-political and religious contexts of particular historical periods. The aim is to critique the common stereotypical conceptions of a monolithic and unchanging ‘Japan’ and ‘Japaneseness’ by exploring the rich dynamics of historical and cultural change. The second part of the module focuses on the social dynamics of contemporary Japan. Reading case studies, the students will learn about some major social challenges experienced by Japanese today.

Foundations of East Asia (20 credits) - The East Asian region is home to approximately 22% of the world’s population, 25% of the world’s GDP, and several of the world’s most significant political hot zones. Some knowledge of East Asia, in its complexity and on its own terms, is increasingly important not only to students of East Asia, but to all adults in the contemporary world. The module will provide an introduction to the geography of East Asia, and an overview of the cultural, political and social diversity of the countries that comprise East Asia. It will provide an outline of major historical developments, examine some of the continuing areas of that make the East Asian region a political hotbed from Taiwan to Tibet, and the cultural diversity that make it a fascinating and dynamic part of our world.

Basic Japanese Language 1 (20 credits)

Basic Chinese Language 1 (20 credits)

Basic Thai Language and Culture (20 credits)

Modern Japan: History and International Politics (20 credits)

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Topics in Contemporary Asia Pacific Societies (20 credits) - The Asia Pacific region is a dynamic part of the world, home to some of the world’s largest economies and populations. In light of the region’s significance and diversity, building skills to understand societies in the Asia Pacific is increasingly important. The module will equip students with the vocabulary and the skill set to critically approach societies in the Asia Pacific region.

Optional modules

China Since 1979 (20 credits)

The Making of Modern Thailand (20 credits)

Contemporary East Asian Culture (20 credits)

Chinese Cinema (20 credits)

Japanese Development Assistance in a Globalising World (20 credits)

Japan's International Relations (20 credits)

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Final Year Project: Dissertation (40 credits) - This module provides students with the opportunity to develop research and writing skills through a dissertation on a topic of their own choice, within the available fields, and refined in consultation with an academic member of staff. The dissertation may be written 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.

Optional modules

East Asia's Regional Political Economy (20 credits)

Sino-Japanese Relations: Past and Present (20 credits)

Global China in the Developing World (20 credits)

Trauma in the Sinophone World (20 credits)

Religion in China (20 credits)

Buddhism: A Lived Tradition (20 credits)

Death and Religion in Japan (20 credits)

Civil Society and the Non-Profit Sector in Contemporary China (20 credits)

Japanese Cinema in the World (20 credits)

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.

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

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. 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.

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.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

This course is designed for students whose backgrounds mean they are less likely to attend university (also known as widening participation backgrounds) and who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry to a degree.

The course will give you the opportunity to be taught by academic staff and provides intensive support to enable your development of academic skills and knowledge. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will progress to your chosen degree course. Find out more about the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year course.


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 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 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

Email: artsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk

Career opportunities

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.

Leeds University 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 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 other part-time and volunteering opportunities that you can fit around your studies.

This 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

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.