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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies



MPhil applications for 2024/25 are now closed. Applications for 2025/26 will open in September 2024.


The Chinese Studies taught MPhil programme is an intense one-year research course with substantial taught elements primarily designed for students who intend to go on to do a PhD in Chinese Studies or related fields at the University of Cambridge or elsewhere.

The course 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 intense training in primary source language(s) and research skills. 

You will already have good reading skills in the Chinese language, which you will be given the opportunity, if necessary, to enhance during your degree.  All Chinese Studies MPhil students should also have the ability to use Chinese-language primary sources and related scholarly literature for their research.  If you are not a native English speaker, you will also be expected to have an excellent command of the English language, evidenced by appropriate English-language test scores. 

For specifics on how to apply, requirements, fees and finance, please see the University Postgraduate Admissions pages for this course

The course entails:

  • A required, core module, Asia in Theory, in which the Chinese studies team introduces theoretical and methodological approaches across pre-modern and modern Chinese Studies
  • two optional modules providing specialist training relating to modern and contemporary studies; these will include topics relating eg to history, literature, social anthropology, linguistics and international relations
  • a 15,000-word research dissertation on a topic of your choice

Further details of the course elements.

In some cases, it is possible to combine options from the Modern and Pre-Modern Chinese pathways. 

Before you apply, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your research interests.  Please see the list of Faculty members below.  For more general queries about the degree course please contact the Postgraduate Administrator.  If possible, please attach a draft research proposal for your MPhil dissertation when contacting us.  The proposal should usually be fewer than 1,500 words in length and can later be submitted as part of your formal application.

The course provides an excellent foundation for doctoral research for those interested in continuing their academic careers. Postgraduates have also found employment in a wide range of fields including commerce, international relations, development and charity work, media, the cultural sector and education.

Faculty Members with Research Interests in Modern Chinese Studies

Professor of the Anthropology of China

Professor Chau is happy to supervise research students in the areas of Chinese religious and ritual life; social and cultural change in contemporary China; Chinese environmentalism; the local state; urban renewal; China and the overseas Chinese and other topics relating to social anthropology of contemporary China.

Research interests: Social and cultural transformations in contemporary China; Chinese religions, especially their social aspects; ritual theories; Indonesian Chinese returnees

University Associate Professor in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture

Dr Inwood is happy to supervise students in topics relating to her research on modern and contemporary Chinese literature, culture and media.

Research interests: Chinese contemporary genre fiction and poetry; popular, fan and folk cultures; internet culture and society; media studies; sociology of literature and culture

Professor of Modern Chinese History

Prof van de Ven is happy to supervise graduate students in a range of topics relating to modern Chinese history. He is interested in the history of war, the history of the Chinese Communist Party, and economic and political history. 

Prof van de Ven is not currently taking any MPhil students.

Research interests: History of the Chinese Communist Party before 1949; the history of warfare in modern China; Chinese globalization in the 1850-1950 period