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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies



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:

  • three optional modules providing specialist training relating to the history, literature and culture of pre-modern China
  • 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 Pre-Modern and Modern and Contemporary Chinese Studies 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 Pre-Modern Chinese Studies

University Associate Professor in the Study of Late Imperial China

I welcome proposals for graduate work in the areas of late-imperial Chinese literature, print culture, and Chinese religions.

Research interests: Chinese history, premodern Chinese literature, religious practice in China, print culture and history of the book, travel and pilgrimage, and popular culture. I am particularly interested in the interplay between literature and religion in late-imperial China (primarily during the Ming and Qing dynasties). I am also interested in the history of the book, travel and pilgrimage, popular culture, and religious practice.

Joseph Needham Professor of Chinese History, Science and Civilization

Chinese thought; pre-imperial and early imperial cultural history; natural history; classical Chinese language.

Prof. Sterckx will be on research leave during the academic year 2024-25 and is unable to take new students or host visiting scholars during that period.

Research interests: Classical and literary Chinese language and philology; cultural history of pre-imperial and early imperial China; text and manuscript studies