Skip to content

Modern Chinese (BA)

Entry year

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.

Book an Open Day

Two students speaking to each other

Course overview

Our aim at the School of Modern Languages is to enable our students to become ‘global citizens’. Our graduates are highly skilled linguists with a comprehensive skillset which prepares them to work in a host of careers and professions nationally and internationally. 

Our BA Modern Chinese allows you to gain very high level language skills and an in-depth understanding of Chinese culture. This degree hones your language, your intercultural awareness and builds a valuable skill set for your CV in a job market thirsty for strong foreign language capability.

This four-year Modern Chinese programme is a unique and exciting opportunity to study a dual degree offered jointly with Beijing Normal University (BNU). Two years of the degree are spent in China (years 2 and 3), two years in Cardiff (years 1 and 4).

Chinese is a major language with a global reach, possessing a rich and sophisticated culture. By studying Chinese, you will gain a wealth of transferable skills and knowledge beneficial to the world of employment, making you competitive and attractive in an increasingly international workforce and opening the doors to a variety of career paths.

On completion of this four-year programme, you will have a high level of proficiency in the language, as well as a critical understanding of key aspects of Chinese history, culture, literature, politics and contemporary society.

Distinctive features

  • Study in Cardiff and Beijing and receive a degree from both Cardiff University and Beijing Normal University.
  • Spend two years in China to achieve advanced fluency in Mandarin.
  • Fully immerse yourself in Chinese life via modules in Chinese history and modern day Chinese culture.
  • An internship opportunity is included in year three, embedding vocational employability into the programme.
UCAS codeRC12
Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration4 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe school typically has 185 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe school typically receives 600 applications.

Entry requirements

Please contact the University.

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

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Please contact the University.

Please contact the University.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Modern Languages admissions criteria pages.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.


At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You will require GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4. Alternatively, IGCSE English First Language or English Second Language will be considered at grade C. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Additional costs


We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

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

Before going to China, you will acquire a thorough grounding in Chinese history and culture as well as linguistic skills. While 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 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

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

You will be introduced to the Chinese language, translation and China via a variety of modules.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Introduction to Contemporary ChinaML119120 credits
China in ContextML119220 credits
Chinese CinemaML119420 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. 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 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 your third year in Beijing you will carry out in internship which is offered at a variety of institutions ranging from multinational companies to cultural organisations. BNU also organises teaching placements in Chinese villages as part of its civic mission, and this can be taken as a work placement.

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. 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.

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.

Learning and assessment

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

Other information

What do employers think about this programme?

As part of the curriculum design, the School consulted with employers’ organisations about the attributes they look for in graduates. Employers highlighted the importance of intercultural awareness and the ability to write well in English, both of which are key learning outcomes for the programme, in addition to developing super language skills and the ability to think critically analytically.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

In 2016/17, 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 after graduation they take time out to continue travelling or they go abroad to work.

Our graduates flourish in the job market as our employment statistics underline. Their language degrees lead them into a diverse and exciting range of careers which have included finance, international sport liaison roles, business consultancy, education, health, the media, politics, diplomacy, interpreting, translation, law and teaching.


During the third year in Beijing you will spend one day per week on an internship. Another option is to spend a month teaching English on BNU run scheme. You will be assessed by evaluation and report.


Next Undergraduate Open Day

Saturday 26 October




Get in touch


How to apply