Why study this course
Spend a year abroad
Adventure into a new culture; open your mind to new ideas and experiences while applying and developing your language skills.
Tailored to your ability
All our languages can be studied at beginner or advanced level and do not require an A Level.
Chinese culture in context
Explore Chinese culture and language in society including: history, literature and politics.
Our aim at the School of Modern Languages is to develop and educate our students to become ‘global citizens’, in addition to developing high-level language skills. Our BA Chinese programme allows you to gain an in-depth intercultural understanding that encompasses a specific knowledge of Chinese culture. You will develop high-level communication and critical-thinking skills, and foster resilience and independence through time spent in immersive foreign language contexts.
China is founded on a rich and fascinating cultural history that stretches back thousands of years. It remains a major economic power as well as an innovator in the fast-moving automotive and electronic industries. 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 global workforce and opening the doors to a variety of career paths.
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 global workforce and opening the doors to a variety of career paths.
Your understanding of the language will be further developed and refined during your year abroad, when you will experience life in a Mandarin-Chinese speaking country at first hand.
In the final year, you have the opportunity to write a dissertation, which stimulates initiative thinking and can serve as a useful preparation for postgraduate study.
It is important to remember that studying languages is not just about the language itself, it involves exploring many aspects of a country, and we aspire to offer a genuinely broad course that offers challenging and stimulating modules.
On completion of this four-year programme, you will have a high level of proficiency in the both Chinese history, culture, literature, politics and contemporary society.
We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. If you are applying to study this course via Clearing, entry grade requirements may be higher than those advertised. Typical offers are as follows:
ABB-BBB. If you have grade B in Chinese at A-level you will have access to the languages advanced pathways.
Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.
Our grade range covers our standard offer and contextual offer. We carefully consider the circumstances in which you've been studying (your contextual data) upon application.
- Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.
- Where there is no grade range advertised and/or where there are selection processes in place (like an interview) you may receive additional points in the selection process or be guaranteed interview/consideration.
32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects. If you have grade 6 in HL Chinese you will have access to the languages advanced pathways.
From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Other qualifications from inside the UK
DDM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Arts, Humanities, Science, and Social Science subjects. If you have grade B in Chinese at A-level in addition to or in combination with a BTEC you will have access to the languages advanced pathways.
M in a T Level in any subject.
Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.
Interview or selection process
Each candidate's profile is considered as a complete picture, taking into account your interest in and suitability for the degree, as shown in your personal statement and referee's report, as well as achieved and predicted grades. Your ability to present an argument, evidence of intellectual curiosity and your enthusiasm for and commitment to studying will also be assessed.
Tuition fees for 2023 entry
Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.
Fees for home status
|Year three (sandwich year)||£1,350||None|
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Fees for island status
Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Fees for overseas status
|Year three (sandwich year)||£3,068||None|
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.
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.
We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
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 2023 and this page will be updated by end of October 2023 to reflect the changes.
The BA Single Honours Chinese is a four-year degree programme. It is structured in such a way that you will acquire over successive years high-level language competencies and the skills to become an independent and critical thinker, equipped for professional employment.
In each year of the programme you will study 120 credits. Your third year will be spent studying in China or a Mandarin Chinese speaking country.
Year one contains a 40-credit core Chinese language module and a 20 credit modules introducing you to Chinese history, society and culture from a global perspective. Students will choose an additional 40 credits, choosing from modules which explore Chinese cinema, the culture of daily life in contemporary China, translation or cultural studies.
In year two, you study 30 credits of Chinese language and a 30 credit transnational module. You will also be able to choose an additional 60 credits, ranging from modules that explore Chinese cinema, the culture of daily life in contemporary China, translation, cultural studies or study the world and language of business in China.
In year four, you will build on the broad base of knowledge and skills you have developed to follow specialised research-led dissertation work (30 credits), taught and/or supervised by cutting-edge research staff, working on the culture, politics and history of China. You will also study 30 credits Chinese language, building on your study abroad, in addition to 60 credits of optional modules.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/2024 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.
In year one we run a beginner’s pathway for students with limited or no knowledge of Mandarin Chinese. The first year of this programme provides a thorough foundation in the grammar of the language for those students on the beginner’s pathway, and develops the linguistic skills for post A-level students on the advanced pathway.
You will also study a non-language module which introduces you to the development of China as a nation, exploring what it has symbolised for different groups at different moments in history. It also explores China’s exchanges with the world, enabling you to explore China’s role beyond the national borders. Studies in these areas will enable you to develop a good understanding of intercultural awareness, and the highly-prized ability to mediate between cultures.
Students will choose an additional 40 credits, choosing from modules which explore Chinese cinema, the culture of daily life in contemporary China, translation or cultural studies.
The language elements of year two build on the work undertaken in year one, and prepare you for your year abroad.
In addition to 30 credits Mandarin Chinese language, you will study 30 credits looking at China in a transnational context. This will introduce you to key approaches, methodologies and critical tools which you can apply to an in-depth study of your target culture, looking at a range of topics such as culture, history and politics. You will also study Business Chinese and Specialised Translation from Chinese into English.
Outside of your formal studies, you will have the opportunity to take part in our highly-praised Student Mentoring Scheme, supported by the Welsh Assembly Government. Pupils in selected secondary schools are mentored by our specially-trained undergraduate students who go into schools to mentor pupils in small groups of two or three over a period of five weeks.
You may also choose to take part in the Student Language Ambassador (SLA) scheme, acting as advocates for language learning. Following specific training, as an SLA you may get the opportunity to speak publicly at events, sharing your personal experience of language learning. You may take part in a range of activities, such as language taster sessions, presenting and promoting the year abroad, supporting School language days and events, or promoting modern languages at career fairs or open days.
Year three: Sandwich year
Your third year will be spent in China or another Mandarin Chinese-speaking country. The year will enable you to develop your language skills, deepen your understanding of the Chinese culture and develop your independence, resourcefulness and resilience.
Whilst in China, you will also have the opportunity to undertake take an ‘internship’ in an arts institution. The purpose of the internship is to further develop your linguistic skills, both oral and written. You will also be required to compile a diary, to collect research data for essays and the dissertation in the final year of your studies. The ‘internship’ is one day per week throughout the year or an accumulated few weeks during holiday periods.
The internship is not paid. The scheme is supported and monitored by the partner universities which include: Beijing Normal University, Wuhan University, Shanghai Jiaotong University and Shanghai Arts Research Institute. The internship process is monitored by both the partner university coordinator and the home university project leader. No matter what you choose, the year abroad is a great opportunity for you to improve your understanding of the language, immerse yourself in another culture, and gain international study or work experience.
Progression to the Year Abroad in China is dependent on the Chinese embassy successfully approving your visa application. Further information on the process of applying for a visa to study in China can be found on the UK Chinese Embassy website.
Support and guidance to prepare you for applying for your visa and your Year Abroad will be provided by the School of Modern Languages in Year 2 of your programme of study.
When we welcome you back to Cardiff in your final year, you will continue to develop your research skills, studying a 30 credit dissertation on China (in English) and 30 credits of Mandarin Chinese language, in addition to 60 credits of optional modules. You will also have the opportunity to build on the broad base of knowledge and skills you have developed to study an area of research expertise in the School, through taught modules and/or a dissertation.
You will also have the opportunity to take part in our very popular teaching module, an accredited module where you will build on study and workshops at the University to undertake a teaching placement at one of our partner schools in the area.
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
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. The teaching covers all the key competencies, and is enhanced by the inclusion of digital learning.
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.
Independent study forms a key part of your learning, and our independent learning portfolios have been developed to provide you with online resources to support your independent language learning.
How will I be supported?
Our BA Chinese programme is team-taught, with the programme as a whole overseen by the Programme Director. You will be supported by a number of different staff, some focussing on academic performance in a particular area and some looking at learning and progress more holistically.
All academic staff have designated hours where they are available to meet with you to offer advice and feedback on the subjects that they teach.
You will also be allocated a personal tutor, who will meet with you regularly to reflect on your progress and development across your studies, and to think about how to build on your achievements and advance further. The personal tutor can also guide you if you are experiencing difficulties towards appropriate support.
While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned a Year Abroad Coordinator, who will keep in touch with you and monitor your progress. You may also get a visit from one of your lecturers who will be keen to find out how you are getting on.
Studying or working abroad is excellent preparation for your final year and gives you a level of self-confidence and maturity that has proven popular with employers.
A skills development 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 to relevant learning resources, 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.
How will I be assessed?
Feedback and assessment is a priority area for the School of Modern Languages, with a dedicated assessment and feedback lead tasked with ensuring you have the best experience. The focus of assessment is in supporting you to develop your ideas, skills and competencies, with the feedback you receive feeding forward into future work. We use traditional assessment formats (such as essays, class tests, exams and dissertation) as well as more innovative forms of assessment, (such as vlogs, participation in radio shows, video and audio projects, interviews, portfolios, and so forth). Assessments include formative assessments (which enable you to develop your skills and do not count towards your final degree classification) and summative assessments (which do count towards your final classification).
As part of your skills training in year one, you will be supported in understanding how the assessments work, what is expected of you, how you will be marked and how to make the most of your feedback.
What skills will I practise and develop?
The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you.
The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:
Knowledge & Understanding:
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- The ability to speak, write, and understand one or more foreign languages to a high level of competency.
- An in-depth intercultural understanding including specific knowledge of other cultures, allied to the ability to navigate and mediate between more than one culture.
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- The ability to communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively in writing and speech, both in English and Mandarin Chinese.
- Applying a range of strategies to initiate and undertake analysis of information.
- Reach conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of views and arguments, justifying these with sound reasoning and detailed interpretations of source material.
- Relevant and effective research techniques to plan and write an academic essay, using the correct referencing conventions.
- Critical evaluation of ideas and arguments, through the coherent presentation of information and ideas using a plethora of written and oral skills.
Professional Practical Skills:
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- the use of IT programmes and digital media, where appropriate.
- Resilience and independence through time spent in immersive foreign language contexts.
- Communication and critical-thinking skills.
- Working to deadlines and priorities, managing a range of tasks at the same time.
- Working as part of a team, developing a collaborative approach to problem solving.
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- The ability grasp complex issues with confidence.
- The ability to analyse complex texts.
- The ability to interpret and applying relevant data.
- Practical research skills.
- Learning from constructive criticism and incorporate its insights.
- Enhanced linguistic skills, as well as a broad appreciation of the culture and literature of China and Mandarin Chinese-speaking countries.
- Taking responsibility for your own learning programme and professional development.
- Critical skills (reasoning, evaluating evidence, problem solving, relating theory to practice).
- Creativity and innovative thinking.
- Leadership, teamwork and self-management skills.
- Identifying, recording and communicating your relevant career attainments.
Careers and placements
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 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 Postgraduate Taught degrees 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.
If you are interested in teaching you may have the possibility of completing an internship teaching language in a UK secondary school in your final year.
HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.