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Chinese Studies (Taught)

MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Chinese Studies)

The MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Chinese Studies) is an intense one-year course primarily for students who intend to go on to do a PhD in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Chinese Studies) at the University of Cambridge or elsewhere. It is designed for highly-motivated future researchers who have a substantial undergraduate background in Chinese Studies or related fields but need more exposure to topic-specific or discipline-based analytical frameworks and more intensive training in primary source language(s) and research skills.

Students admitted for the MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Chinese Studies) will have the option to choose from one of the following programmes of study:

(1) Modern and Contemporary Chinese Studies OR (2) Pre-Modern Chinese Studies.

With the consent of their supervisor and relevant teachers, students may be permitted to combine papers from options (1) and (2).

Students taking the MPhil in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Chinese Studies) choose three papers from either:

(1) Modern and Contemporary Chinese Studies:

REQUIRED: Asia in Theory - [Team taught; theoretical and methodological approaches]

Students then choose TWO optional papers from the following list:

War and Modern China - The Anthropology of China - Japanese Imperialism in East Asia - Chinese Linguistics - Advanced Readings in Chinese on a relevant subject [e.g. Qing and Republican historical documents, modern literary texts etc.] - Alternative Exercise (to be arranged with specific instructors).

OR from:

(2) Pre-Modern Chinese Studies: 

For pre-modern Chinese Studies, students need to choose THREE of the following papers:

Classical and Literary Chinese Texts (received and excavated texts, manuscripts) - Early China, specified topic - Medieval China, specified topic - Asia in Theory [team-taught; theoretical and methodological approaches: with the supervisor's permission as the focus of this paper is on the modern period] - Japanese for Sinologists [reading Japanese scholarship on pre-modern China] - Alternative Exercise (to be arranged with specific instructors).

Most papers are assessed by long essays and research projects. Some advanced text papers are assessed through examination. Please note that not all papers will be available every year and are subject to modifications if necessary.

For more information about this MPhil programme, please refer to the following webpage on the Faculty's website:


The taught one-year MPhil in Chinese Studies has the following structure:

  • (i) three modules which will be assessed by written essays or by written examinations.
    The cumulative score of these three papers will be worth 50 percent of the final mark.
  • (ii) a 15,000 word dissertation which will constitute the other 50 percent for this course.


The dissertation provides an opportunity to learn the process of carrying out research and will help train students to be a future researcher (in academia or elsewhere). Applicants should consider carefully the formulation of a potential MPhil dissertation topic before applying. They should be in touch with members of staff who would act as supervisors before submitting the final version of their dissertation proposal.


Applicants for the PhD will be expected to have scored at least 67% or above (or the equivalent from an overseas University) in their Master's degree which should be related to the PhD programme they wish to pursue. All applicants should submit with their GRADSAF (graduate application) a workable and interesting research proposal and demonstrate that they have the required academic knowledge and skills to carry out their project.

Admission is at the discretion of the Degree Committee, which judges each graduate applicant on his or her own merits and in accordance with its own set rules and regulations.

For further information about this course and how to apply, please refer to the following webpage(s) on the Graduate Admissions website: