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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies



Applications open: Sept. 4, 2017
Application deadline: May 31, 2018

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. 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 Graduate 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 Graduate Administrator.

The course provides an excellent foundation for doctoral research for those interested in continuing their academic careers. Graduates 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

University Senior Lecturer in the Anthropology of Modern China

Dr 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 Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature and Culture

Dr Inwood is happy to supervise students in topics relating to her research into contemporary Chinese culture.

However, Dr Inwood will be on sabbatical leave during the 2020-21 academic year. She will resume taking on new MPhil and PhD students for 2021 entry.

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

On sabbatical: September, 2019 to October, 2020
Professor of East Asian History

Prof. Kushner is pleased to supervise graduate students interested in imperial and postwar Japanese history, 20th century Japan-Taiwan, as well as Sino-Japanese relations, the history of the Cold War in East Asia, and history of war crimes in East Asia.

Research interests: Modern East Asian history - including Japan, Taiwan, and China - in particular the wartime, postwar imperial dissolution of the Japanese Empire, and the Cold War in East Asia, as well as history of war crimes, memory politics and the pursuit of justice.

Professor of Modern Chinese History

Prof van de Ven is happy to supervise graduate students in a range of topics relating to Chinese contemporary history.

However, Prof van de Ven will be on sabbatical leave during the 2020-21 academic year. He will resume taking on new MPhil and PhD students for 2021 entry.

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

Reader in Chinese Language and Linguistics

Dr Yuan is happy to supervise students in topics relating to his research into Chinese linguistics.

Research interests: Empirical studies of bilingualism and multilingualism; linguistic approaches to non-native Chinese grammars; Chinese linguistics, syntax and semantics