Modern Chinese (BA)

Entry year

2017 2018

The BA in Modern Chinese provides the perfect opportunity to learn a language but to also embrace a fascinating culture and country while spending two years in China.

Four Cardiff University students with images of iconic Chinese locations.
You will spend two years in China, with a Beijing based internship opportunity included in Year 3.

Our BA Modern Chinese degree is jointly delivered between Beijing Normal University and Cardiff University. It is the only Chinese degree programme offering you dual certificates at the end of the four years. 

At Cardiff University, Chinese Studies is pitched to give you both wide and in-depth linguistic knowledge, as well as a distinctive research and learning profile in the 21st century Chinese pillar economy - the cultural and creative economy (arts institutions, digital media, cultural policy, entrepreneur-artists and more).

Internship opportunities are embedded within the study with wide private and public arts sectors, in both the UK and China.

By the end of the four years, you will have developed solid research skills, established transnational networks and obtained near native Chinese linguistic skills. You will be well placed to pursue postgraduate studies with original research content or to enter the global job market with linguistic skills and network links between China, UK and beyond. 

Distinctive features

  • A unique degree that offers dual certification from both Cardiff University and Beijing Normal University (BNU): a BA in Modern Chinese from Cardiff and a BA in Chinese Language and Culture Studies from BNU.
  • The opportunity to explore Chinese studies with a research and teaching focus on the 21st century cultural and the creative economy and integral internship opportunities in cultural and creative economy sectors included in both the UK and China.
  • Spending two years in China gives you the chance to fully immerse yourself in cultural and linguistic settings; the distinctive research and learning profile, with internship opportunity, will allow you to consolidate your linguistic skills, collect original research data and produce original essays and dissertations. 

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe school typically has 185 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe school typically receives 600 applications.
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

Typical A level offerABB, excluding General Studies. Knowledge of Mandarin Chinese as a heritage language will also be considered alongside other A Levels.

Knowledge of Mandarin Chinese as a heritage language will also be considered alongside other A Levels.

Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core plus grades BB at A-level, including a language.
Typical International Baccalaureate offerConsidered on individual merit.
Alternative qualificationsAlternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Modern Languages admissions criteria pages.
English Language requirementsIf you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.
Other requirementsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here. Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.

We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2017 and this page will be updated by end of October 2017 to reflect the changes.

The four-year programme is divided across both institutions and is a unique and exciting opportunity for students who are interested in learning about China and its culture. You will spend years one and four in Cardiff University and years two and three in Beijing Normal University.

Before going to China, you will acquire a thorough grounding in Chinese history and culture as well as linguistic skills. Whilst in Beijing, you will take part in classroom studies and undertake an internship, chosen from a wide range of options in the cultural sector which could range from private art galleries, book publishers and media design companies to state opera houses, for linguistic consolidation as well as research data collection.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2017.

Year one

Year one is spent at the School of Modern Languages, Cardiff University.

You will be introduced to the concept of China and learn the complex social, political, economic and cultural context through literature as well as cinema studies. Your language training will support you in perfecting your character writing skills and standards before you fully immerse in the Chinese linguistic world in Beijing.

Module titleModule codeCredits
China in ContextML119220 credits
Mandarin Chinese Language BeginnersML119340 credits
Chinese CinemaML119420 credits
Introduction to Translation MethodsML810020 credits
Introduction to Translation TheoryML810120 credits

Year two: Sandwich year

Year two is spent in Beijing Normal University.

You will continue to learn Chinese. You will also study modern China, Chinese history, media, politics, economics and culture via a variety of modules. Modules will also be taught on China and the West and Ancient Chinese Thought. You will be required to take one physical education module in year two.

Year three: Sandwich year

Year three is spent in Beijing Normal University.

You will have the opportunity to choose modules on Ancient Chinese history, cities and villages in China, internet culture in China, business negotiation in Chinese, popular culture in China and will continue to study Mandarin Chinese at advanced level.

During the third year in Beijing you will spend one day per week on an internship, chosen from a wide range of options in the cultural sector which could range from private art galleries, book publishers and media design companies to state opera houses, for linguistic consolidation as well as research data collection.

Module titleModule codeCredits
InternshipML128210 credits
Advanced Mandarin Chinese 2ML128330 credits
Advanced Mandarin Chinese 1ML128430 credits
Popular Culture in ChinaML128510 credits
Business Negotiation in ChineseML128610 credits
Internet Culture in ChinaML128710 credits
Cities and Villages in ChinaML128810 credits
Ancient Chinese HistoryML128910 credits

Year four

Year four is spent in Cardiff University at the School of Modern Languages.

You will study Mandarin Chinese Language at a further advanced level. You will also benefit from modules in Mandarin Chinese for business, management in China and domestic and international developments.

You will be required to write a dissertation as part of your fourth year. The dissertation will be undertaken in conformity with Cardiff University and the School of Modern Languages’ regulations for dissertations alongside Beijing Normal University’s (BNU) dissertation regulations. You will be provided with a list of suitable dissertation subjects in line with the laws and regulations which govern the delivery of higher education in China.

You will be fully informed, through a module kit, about the standards and outcomes expected, word limits, rules on plagiarism, submission deadlines, supervisory roles etc.

A final research topic and question is agreed upon, at the latest within three weeks of the start of the academic year. You will be advised to consider the research interests of supervisors available when considering the topic for investigation in order to benefit from cutting edge expertise. 

Please note: if you choose not to adhere to BNU’s dissertation guidelines, including a list of suitable dissertation subjects, you may not be awarded the BA Chinese Language and Culture element of this degree from BNU.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Most of our modules consist of a mixture of lectures, seminars and language classes that enable you to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas.

Seminars provide an opportunity for you to engage critically with key ideas and explore the ideas outlined in lectures in a small group environment, usually consisting of around 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations.

Language classes are taught in groups to enhance confidence and active learning. A varied timetable includes oral expression, aural comprehension and writing skills, which are taught in small groups to enhance confidence and active learning. These vital communication skills are practiced and developed through regular classwork exercises and written work. Our teaching methods allow you to engage with a range of language-learning technologies. Materials including textbooks, videos, films, novels, audio files and websites are supported by online resources that compliment classroom activities and promote and enable independent learning. Class materials include a range from literary and historical to contemporary journalistic texts, providing a broad insight into language and culture.

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a personal tutor when you arrive. Personal tutors are members of the academic staff who will be on hand to provide advice, guidance, help and feedback.

A reading week each semester allows for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. These weeks are also used by staff to visit students on their year abroad. 

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

Our undergraduate Professional Services Team provides academic and student support for all programmes. The team are located in a dedicated ‘student hub’ within the school and provide information and guidance in response to any queries you may have. We also have a dedicated Student Support Administrative Officer within the School, who can provide you with the necessary advice and guidance in a supportive, caring and confidential environment.

We pride ourselves on the level of engagement we have with our student body, giving you the opportunity to express your opinions and be partners in School decision-making where possible. We survey students regularly to make sure we are always working in your best interests.   

Beyond the School, the University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, the Academic Skills Development Centre and excellent libraries and resource centres.

Due to the unique nature of the BA in Modern Chinese significant support is built into this programme to ensure that you have as much preparation as possible before travelling to China for your second and third years.

You will attend pre-departure meetings with the Academic Co-ordinator for Chinese as well as visiting scholars from BNU, the International Exchange and ERASMUS office at the School.  The meetings will provide important cultural information on manners and conduct in China, travelling, food and shopping, staying safe, Christmas and other practical matters.

You will also have access to your Student Case Officer whilst in Beijing Normal University. The Student Case Officer will be your first point of contact for any issues and will provide you with any guidance that you may need whilst in China. This will be clearly explained. You can email your Cardiff University tutor to discuss any issues that you are having .You will also have access to a Professional Services member who can communicate in Chinese in case of specific issues requiring Chinese.  Any extenuating circumstance that requires special attention can be brought up to the Student Case officer and this will be taken to the BNU academic council to review and address. This is done on a weekly basis so a prompt and attentive response will always be guaranteed

You will be allocated a personal tutor by Beijing Normal University while studying there. Support is also available from other structures, as described above. You will also have access to all online support and help provided by Cardiff University whilst in China. Academics will also have pastoral care over their students who are at BNU and you will have contact with named academics who will also perform pastoral care duties when visiting in China.


We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback, personalised feedback on written work and general feedback in relation to examinations. You will also be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.


How will I be assessed?

Essays, written examinations and oral presentations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capability to gather, organise, evaluate and communicate relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments.

Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enable you to produce your best work for submission, while written feedback on submitted work feeds forward into future work, enabling you to develop your strengths and address any weaker areas.  You may also be provided with additional oral feedback. 

The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic in depth and to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study. You will develop your research skills by collecting and presenting material, and your evaluative skills by formulating a clear, cogent argument and drawing appropriate conclusions.

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’. These will allow you to:

  • develop your linguistic skills, as well as a broad appreciation of the culture, literature, and history of China
  • grasp complex issues with confidence
  • ask the right questions of complex texts
  • have an imaginative appreciation of different views and options and analyse these critically
  • identify and apply relevant data
  • develop practical research skills
  • propose imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence
  • communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech
  • work to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time
  • learn from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights
  • work as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem-solving
  • use IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate
  • take responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development

In 2013/14, 95% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

Many graduates enjoy their year overseas so much that they take time out for more travel, or go abroad on graduation in search of employment.    

Of those who choose to remain in the UK, many pursue postgraduate studies such as one of the School’s MA degrees in European Studies or in Translation or a PGCE. Others start work immediately following their studies, and our graduates go on to secure excellent careers in international diplomacy, the Civil Service, teaching, business and journalism. Other employment options include roles as translators, language assistants, export assistants and proof-readers.   

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

This programme has established business and research collaboration with Wales Government, Wales Arts International and its wider arts institutions developing links with China. Whilst in Wales in your first year, you will have the opportunity to identify an area of your research/learning interest, for example, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Wales National Theatre, or a private digital company. You will also make initial contact with the company.

During years two and three in Beijing you will spend around one day per week on an internship in corresponding art institutions or private companies. You will be assessed through a linguistic portfolio and research data collection.

Upon your return to Wales in your final year, you will continue the research interest in a Wales based art institution to complete a research dissertation on comparative studies between China and the UK (or another country).

The four-year internship provides you with a valuable base for both taking on postgraduate studies, or for global career opportunities in the wide field of cultural and creative economy. 

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